I've waited FOUR YEARS for this game. I love it, but it's not without it's faults.
The world to some is a bit small. I am in the category that believes this to be the case. Bree, and Hobbiton are a mere 15-minute walk. Unnatural animation of players, mobs, and NPC's.
Physics model is very poor
No transitional/simultaneous emotes. You can't sit down, AND laugh, smoke, eat, or drink at the same time.
Graphics hiccup on my machine, in spite of it's status as a powerhouse. (Dual processor, 2.66Ghz, 2 gigs ram, 512MB ati XTX 1950 card. This game should perform flawlessly graphics maxed, and it doesn't.
Interface not as intuitive as WoW's. Also cannot be re-sized.
Environmental interaction isn't as natural feeling as WoW's.
When you target a mob or NPC, the targeting circle around the ground is gigantic, and it is hard to take a good screenshot. (In other words, you can't take a good screenshot whilst fighting something) At least, I haven't been able to do so.
Cinematics aren't very well-done. (In-game drama, etc.)
Farming (yes, FARMING.. As in tilling fields) has been ruined as of release. This may change in time.
PROS: (In no particular order)
A VASTLY superior crafting system. If you're reasonably dilligent, you can make items for your level that are vastly superior to the drops you get from drops, and the items purchased from vendors. This is a very refreshing change of pace compared to the artificial controlled economy WoW.
*Unprecedented* graphics. Environmental animations are beautiful.
4-hour full day cycles and large variety of weather is very, very immersive. You can have bright, and sunny days with almost no clouds, partly cloudy days, overcast days, foggy days, and hazy days in-game. Variety IS the spice of life. Quests are quite fun, and story enhancing. They're area appropriate, and are well-done.
The traits system is quite superior. It allows for MAXIMUM custumization of a character, and their strengths.
*HUGE* number of emotes! You can even set your character's MOOD! (I mean a persistent set of behaviors!) Happy, Sad, Mischievous, Apprehensive, Surprised, Solemn, Calm, and a few more.
The developers so far have adhered to the lore. It is reasonably faithful to the BOOKS. They are not afraid to use the word queer as Tolkien used it. There's pipeweed, and pipeweed farming. Pipeweeds have their distinct animations when being smoked. All of these things are LORE-APPROPRIATE
A FANTASTIC toggle list, and graphical tweaks. These features allow you to get the absolute most out of your game. They could use a few more toggles, to be honest, but what they have is prolific, and far above and beyond most other games.
The game boasts a very good soundtrack, and there are some stunningly beautiful visual effects. (Sunrises, sunsets, smiths working on various items, and you can see the heat waves radiating from the brazier and forge)
Bear in mind that this game was BORN 24 hours ago, as of this writing. Who knows what will be changed, added, or fixed in a few month's time. I pre-ordered, and am now going to be a lifelong subscriber. I have participated in the process since the early stage of ALPHA, (Alpha II to be precise) and I am going to see this game through to whatever end it takes. Am I shamelessly biased? Well, I'll leave that to you to decide. I honestly felt that some of my cons were scathing, but all-in-all I like the game more than I do WoW. My opinion is apt to change after spending even MORE time with LOTRO, but considering what they have done with it by the time of release, I stand impressed. The devs have shown themselves to be not only interested, but accomodating to the wants and needs of players. (By and large) they are a bit knee-jerk with certain issues, and unfortunately, the level cap in open Beta caused an economic problem that was dealt with far too harshly, and further adjustments will need to be made with the game.
It's all a learning process, I think. Turbine has a right to be proud of what they've created here, but they'd BETTER be of the mind that their job has just begun, and that more work needs to be done to improve the game. Anything less than a philosophy like that may prove to be disastrous not only for theplayers, but to Turbine.
Well worth the money in my opinion. My apologies for the long review, but four years is a long time to spend getting ready for a game, so as it pertains to ME, it is a suitable review.