Good evening gamefans! I know you may not care to read a wall o' text, or even a hedge o' text, but I gotta tell someone, and I think my wife is tired of listening. I'm going to try to divert from the things that everyone is already talking about, so this will leave A LOT of good points out.
So. LoTRO Rocks my socks smooth off. (I really think that's sig-worthy, somebody take that and make me feel special would you?) No place like the start to get started I suppose.
There are more than a few reasons why I (and a ton of other people) think that this game will be a huge hit. Here's some I feel like talking about.
1. Most people who have personally seen the game run have had great things to say about it's graphics. They are stellar, I've not seen a better looking game in some time. However, I don't have the system for those uber pretties, or the cash to upgrade my rig at the moment. Enter first bit of sweetness. This game will run, and be very playable, on ancient rigs. I've seen posts here and on the beta forums heralding the flexibility of this client after running it on old Socket A boxes and laptops with integrated graphics. It's not going to require you as the customer to buy the game and a new system to go with it.
2. This game is a book readers paradise. I'm not talking solely about LoTR readers either. The scripting of quests in this game as well as the quest-linking forbidden storybook world, a la when I'm reading Robert Jordan, or Harry Potter. (Yes Harry Potter. Laugh all you want.) The instanced quests also add to this, although I have a limited experience with them at this point. What I have experienced in the form of the intro instance was a great low level quest that kicked the storyline off well. In other mmo's I've had trouble getting into the game, it's as if you're just dropped in the world, with no idea of what to do or why you're there. If you typically skip the quest dialogue, you're missing out here. Give it a shot, if it's not for you, then it's not, but I love it. Granted, there are always going to be the token "kill x boars to help cut down on the natural fertilizer" type quests, but overall the quest system seems well done. For me, the level of immersion is top notch.
3. Your leveling experience isn't mainly grinding mobs. Now, some people hate this, but those people aren't posting here now are they? From what I can tell, the experience gained from quests is much more than that of mob killage. This is great for me, I don't mind grinding, but why do it if you could be questing? The grind is sometimes disguised as a quest, but even then it's grind with rewards other than a little xp and a trophy drop here and there. For me, this makes the game even more immersive. I don't find myself asking "Why is my character killing thousands of slugs? Is there an overpopulation problem?"
4. The Founder's offer. I know everyone is already talking about this one...but I really like it so I'll detour from my original intent just a smidge. I have been a long time fan of mmorpg's, but have a limited experience with them because of the cost. It's not really a matter of having the money, (Go mow a lawn kid!) but rather justifying the costs vs. the amount of enjoyment my wife and I will get from playing this game. Prior to LoTRO, we thought about WoW, but just couldn't get on board with $460 for the first year, and $360 every year after that. (2 accounts) This game however is different, not only do we both find it more fun, but it's much easier for me to swallow $500 once and then only paying for major expansions. Add to that the fact that we can take a break whenever we want (lifetimers) and the deal is too sweet to pass up. The Founder's offer was a major deal-maker for us, and I think alot of other people as well.
5. Last but not least, another that's been talked about a little. The game is very casual friendly. I'm married, with a job and a full load of college history forbidden get something accomplished in the relatively limited time I have to play every night. This game has so far been great at delivering that for me, I think it will continue to so for a long time.
I think this game is going to be a big hit. I don't think it will dethrone WoW, but I think it will light a small fire under Blizzard. It may also prove to be a major competitor for lesser played but still popular games such as Everquest II and Guild Wars.
Forgot this part: All of the above are my opinions. I'm not a dev or anything like it. I am in the closed beta. If your opinion includes bashing my opinions that's fine, but I strongly doubt you will change my mind. I'm always up for listening regardless.