It holds its own against WoW and then some. Enough of WoW fanboys- I've played both and will give the ups and downs
++ lotro is truely quest based (always something to do- and lvling by quests is WAY faster than going out and grinding mobs) on top of that the quests are not a grind. You don't go to x place to kill 50 wolves like in WoW- here you kill 8-16. Additionally if you need wolf pelts from place x- 90-100% of wolves there will have them. This takes the grinding out of questing.
+ Graphics and Sound. I don't know what the reviewers were smoking giving an 8 on graphics- these are the best graphics I have ever seen on a stable MMO. The scenery is breath taking- the dungeons are awesome- the monsters and their effects are also amazing. I have a 7900gt and 2 gigs of ram and play the game on Ultra with 4x AA and 16x AF and it runs smooooth. My friend with a x1600pro and 2 gigs of ram plays on very high also running smooth and looking amazing. Granted- some people like the cartoony look of WoW- but if you are into reality EQ type graphics- this is as good as it gets for a MMO. The music and effects are also top notch.
+++ Story Line. Lotro is great in that you have an actual goal besides becoming lvl 50 (the current max lvl)- There are 8 epic books each with around 10 story line quests- which feature some of the toughest and most fun instances I have played in any game. Chasing the witch king through the great burrows, Killing off the Nazguls latest creation as Aragorn fends them off- and coming dang close to death doing so makes the story quests real, fun, and intense. Each of these has a cutscene afterwords.
+ crafting -though slightly watered down- does produce some of the best weapons, armor etc. of the game- making you actually want to become a master metalsmith/jewler/etc.
Pluses of WoW that Lotro lacks
-the talant system of WoW blows the trait system of LOTRO. LOTRO will lack character diversity- with 4 races and 7 classes and the fact that all lvl 30 Dwarf Champions are about the same. (though all LOTRO classes are very different to play)
-LOTRO lacks a great mage class- because there aren't low lvl mages in the LOTR universe- hopefully the LOTR lore will allow higher lvl loremasters (the mage class) some even cooler tricks. Right now the Lore Master is fun- but not as fun as a Warlock, Mage, or Shaman.
-Though I'm sure the end game of LOTRO will be fun I can't imagine it holding a candle to WoWs. Though there will be fun Player vs. Monster Raids- I'll miss capture the flag, and other fun WoW PvP games.
Well there are the pluses and minuses. All in all LOTRO is a better fit for me than WoW or any other MMORPG- but if you are a strict PvP guy- or way into player diversity this probably isn't the game for you. Though people complain that this isn't origional- NEWS FLASH- neither was WoW. Like WoW Lotro took an existing model -made a few tweaks to make it there own game. If you love a great story, a beautiful world to explore, and quests that are no where near as tedious- this is the game for you.