|Name||Monster Play, What Is It?|
One of the more intriguing features of the Lord of the Rings Online is it's Monster Play PVP system. While it is intriguing, it is also mysterious to new players. This guide is aimed to give new players a brief run down on how Monster Play works and what the benefits of it are.
In LoTRO all PVP takes place in the form of Monster Play, and in a single zone: The Ettenmoors. The Ettenmoors is a high level zone for player characters level 40+. This zone features five capturable keeps, which are guarded by boss monsters. Players and monsters can fight for control of these keeps, changing the NPCs, guards, and quests to their own. As a side gains control over a keep the Ettenmoors map will be updated to reflect which team owns which side. The zone also features a number of quests and monsters, who will reward Destiny Points when killed. Finally there are high end resources available. The zone was designed to make players want to participate in it.
So that's a general overview of The Ettenmoors. But we mentioned a second side, the Monsters. Where do they come in? Any player who has achieved level 10 can visit a Fell Scrying Pool to create or log in as one of his monster characters. These are real characters who you will keep, and have unique names. When you create them they are automatically boosted to level 50, but they cannot leave the Ettenmoors. They are only available in this zone. While monsters are already level 50 and can not advance further, you can buy both passive and active ability upgrades to them by spending destiny points. They are also ranked in the ladder system.
So why would players want to play as a monter rather than their real character? One reason is that they can jump into PVP while only having to level up to level 10. The second is that they can have a monster of each of the five Monster Classes, allowing them to fill into different roles. Some players simply like to be the bad guy, and the monster side is the easier side to jump into. There is another advantage though...
... Monsters and players can complete quests, and kill players or monsters, earning destiny points. Destiny points are shared across your account. They can be spent to purchase temporary enhancements such as the ability to gain experience faster, run faster, regenerate morale or power more quickly, or increased hit points and power. You can for example play in PVP as a monster or as a player, and earn destiny points which you can later spend on leveling up another character by buying them experience boost charges, or by enhancing their armor and hit points so that they can slay Signature monsters for quests they may need.
Another great feature is the ranking system. PVP is ranked online and viewable in-game. You can see who are the most active PVP players and they can gauge themselves on one another. You can also earn unique titles from PVP. All in all the system was very well thought out and provides a very unique, and completely opt-in experience which should appeal to all players.