Confession: I play MMORPGs (Massively Multi-player Online Role-Playing Games). I've been playing them for over six years now, and not just World of Warcraft, but a large variety of them. I know some of you are right there with me, hooked to the genre despite yourself, and I know that some of you probably have never played one and have no intentions of ever trying one. You're probably sitting there wondering "why on earth are we discussing MMOs on Co-optimus?
Co-op games and MMOs are different." It's true that they have their clear differences (e.g. a co-op game tends to have somewhere between 2 and 12 players, not hundreds, thousands, or millions), but the reason I play MMOs is because I can play them co-op style. I'm part of a guild that's been together for years, and while our group is considered small by guild-standards (7-10 people active at any given time), there are often far too many of us interested in playing a game to play a co-op game as most co-op games often cap out at 4 players. Oh sure, we've played many co-op games together, but if we all want to play together at the same time, we turn to MMOs. The same communication and teamwork we apply to co-op games is identical to that which we apply to MMOs.
That being said, I've played my fair share of different MMOs out there. Some are favorites of mine that I pick up again after a substantial amount of new content has been released. Others I've been completely frustrated me, leading me to swear them off for good. Some have been great, others mediocre. Regardless of these differences, I believe each one I've played has presented its players with unique co-op opportunities, or Co-Opportunities! These co-opportunities may be some fancy mechanic that requires strong teamwork, or special areas where your communication must be strong to survive. It may even be a class that just makes you think "damn, now THAT'S a class that is solely meant to be played with others!" The point of this column is not to start arguments about MMO A being better/worse than MMO B. The point is to highlight a particular MMO's co-opportunities and appreciate how the game has made a special point to reward players for cooperating, which is something that I believe we all love here at Co-optimus.
I'm starting MMO Co-Opportunities with Lord of the Rings Online (which I will henceforth refer to as LOTRO), an MMO from developer Turbine. LOTRO is Turbine's newest MMO, as they also have Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call 2, and Dungeons and Dragons Online under their belt. Over the past few years, LOTRO has been a subscription-based game where you pay a monthly fee in order to access the servers. Recently, Turbine announced that LOTRO will be going free-to-play in the fall, where much of the content can be accessed without a subscription. VIP members can pay a subscription to access additional content and get additional perks. This is a system that Turbine also implemented with Dungeons and Dragons Online awhile back.
One of the reasons I wanted to start with LOTRO is that it's one of the few MMOs I keep returning to due to some of the strongest co-opportunities I've seen in any MMO. The co-opportunities I wanted to highlight in this issue are LOTRO's Burglar class and Fellowship Maneuvers.