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WoW vs LOTRO: The Expansions

Written: June 28th, 2011.

This is an updated head to head comparison of "World of Warcraft" and "Lord of the Rings Online". I've played each game both in their pre- and post-expansion forms through the current level caps (85 for WoW and 65 for LOTRO). The goal of this article is to provide a fair comparison without favoring one game over the other. Enjoy the article.

Questing 101

Both MMOs offer a great variety of quests and areas to quest in. You should be able to level multiple characters without revisiting more than 25-35% of the game's content from level 1 to their respective level caps.

"World of Warcraft" offers two playable factions with multiple races and classes to choose from. Instances are numerous, well-designed, quick to run, offer standard and hard modes of difficulty, and many are scalable. More raids are available to run than in LOTRO.

"Lord of the Rings Online" offers one playable faction with multiple races and classes to choose from. Instances are numerous, most are well-designed, some are quick to run, offer multiple levels of difficulty, and most are scalable. Raids are fairly limited but LOTRO makes up for it in additional content offered by epic storyline quests that follow the Fellowship on their way to Mordor and skirmishes that allow for scalable group sizes.


When it comes to PVP content, WoW far surpasses LOTRO and offers players who don't raid plenty of opportunities to gear up.

"World of Warcraft" offers different server types: PVP, PVE, and Roleplaying which allows for additional challenges while questing. Battlegrounds are numerous and scalable with multi-server queues to allow for balanced numbers on each faction side. Arena play offers players the chance to join multiple teams in the form of 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 along with multi-server ladder play.

Currently "LOTRO" only offers 1 battleground and Monster Play (MP) characters can only be levelled from killing Free People characters. Destiny points accumulated by questing are used to purchase class upgrades. There is no queueing so battles are often very one-sided which because the developers intended there to be more Monster Players that Free People so that the higher numbers made up for the lower DPS and lack of gear that Monster Play characters have. The lack of queueing and balance makes leveling a Monster very time consuming and frustrating as does the lack of different battlegrounds.

Player Costs

Since LOTRO moved to a Free To Play (F2P) model after the Siege of Mirkwood expansion while WoW still uses a monthly subscription, neither model harms player enjoyment.

"World of Warcraft" costs about $15 per month and each previous release of content must be purchased and installed in order to play the latest expansion. Patches and new content are released between expansions more often than LOTRO and there is a wider variety of content available to enjoy. Over time, WoW has evolved from a major grind to level up to the level cap to an easy to pick up title with much to offer for the cost.

"Lord of the Rings Online" offers three tiers of play: VIP accounts cost $10-15 per month and offers additional character features plus access to all content; Premium accounts are free but include purchased quest areas and other content from the LOTRO store; Free accounts have limited character features and only has access to a few of the quest areas from the original release. Players can accumulate Turbine Points to purchase content with by questing and completing deeds so technically you could play the entire game for free if you are dedicated to grinding out as many Turbine Points as possible. Patches and new content are fairly limited between expansions. Originally LOTRO was what WoW is today...easy to pick up and level without much grinding but now end game content requires constant grinding in order to acquire new gear sets and fully customize legendary weapons.

And The Winner Is...

Both games have plenty to offer and are stronger than the other in certain areas of gameplay so it really depends on your preferences for a game with a strong story-based questline or a faction-based game with a wide variety of PVP content.

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