I finally dipped my toe into the Ettenmoors, out of curiousity more than anything.
Some initial reactions:
- I'm impressed at how much thought went into designing it; the interface is subtly different than the standard interface - great use of colour (red vs. blue) to highlight notion you are the "bad guys" now. Some interesting skills and such for the "enemy" characters.
- It strikes me there is some value in just exploring the Ettenmoors as a bad guy, but of course, as Palantir posted in another thread, the attraction of LOTRO in general, and Monster Play in particular, is that it is yet one more level of diversity in the entire experience. You can play in a group of monsters, fight NPCs, fight against other human players, have group quests, solo play - a ton of stuff you can do in this one region.
- Based on my initial run through, though, I found I couldn't really get into it. I attacked the cutest little Elf guarding a Free People's encampment, and after besting her in single combat - my character cut off one of her ears as a souvenir! A very nice touch, but I just couldn't get into the spirit of commiting these heartless atrocities! Maybe for some other people, but not for me.
A tip of the hat to the creators, though. This was a "standard" multi-player approach you see in multi-player shooters like Medal of Honor, tacked on for people who zip through the solo campaigns. I can't say how much replay value it would have since I don't intend to play much of it, but like all of LOTRO I've seen to date, it shows much more depth than I'm accustomed to in the products I've bought. My MOH online PvP combat, for example, was dull as dishwater - it took place on a map the size of a broomcloset, and was with a friend in another city and some buddy of his he knew through the army. My friend "hates" tactical games (turned his nose up at Combat Mission as being too cerebral) and pretty much roped me into MOH online because he liked picking up the bazooka and blasting me everytime I came into range. When I selected one of the "capture the flag" games by mistake, he quickly shut it down - it actually required tactics, you see - and we spent 45 minutes running around some Stalingrad-like maze consisting of about 1/2 a city block shooting each other and his buddy for no apparent purpose. Happily, LOTRO's PvP model seems to be much more than just that.