Updated Mon, Jan 05, 2009 by Aelryn
by Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
Table of Contents
Now it's time to make your first character. Your character is your representative in the world of Middle Earth. You can have multiple characters and you can always make a new one if you don't like the first one, so don't stress out about it too much. Your character has several parts that are used to indicate your skills and abilities to other players: a class, a race, and a level. I'll explain each of those now.
Your race is exactly what it sounds like. It's the biggest controller of your character's appearance, and it also affects your beginning statistics (the numbers which determine how strong, smart, fast, and tough you are). In Lord of the Rings Online, the available race choices are humans, hobbits, elves and dwarves. There are some statistical differences, but ultimately any race can play their classes well, so just choose what you like. Your character's gender has no effect on gameplay. As a side note, dwarves can only be male. The reason for this is that in Tolkien's original works, female and male dwarves looked identical and the females rarely left the large strongholds.
You have many options at the Race Selection Screen.
You can think of your character's class as his or her "job" in Middle Earth. This determines your abilities, the types of equipment you can use, and will heavily influence how you play the game. Choosing the right class could be an entire guide in itself, so for now lets keep things simple: If you like to fight up close and in the thick of things, choose Champion, Guardian, Burglar, or Captain. If you want to play far away and influence the battle from a distance, choose Hunter, Minstrel, or Lore-master. The race you chose does affect what classes you can pick, so if you don't see the one you want go back and pick a different race. The game does a pretty good job of describing each class more in-depth as well. You can watch the class videos provided by Turbine that are built into the game engine.
The last part of your character is your level. You can't choose this; everyone starts at level 1. This is basically a number which determines your character's overall ability to meet challenges in the game world. You will gain levels by killing and questing, and you will almost always seek monsters and quests near your level. You can tell anyone's level (including your own) by clicking on them and checking the number in their portrait. The maximum level as of right now (May 2007) is level 50, although that is likely to increase with game expansions.
You can customize your hair, eye, and skin colors as much as you like.
Once you've chosen your race and class that you want to play you get to customize your look. There are many hair and facial hair style choices for each race. The game also offers a number of hair, eye, and skin colors. On the left side of the screen is a drop-down box where you can choose your character's area of origin, and this changes the base color palettes you have for their coloring options. Go ahead and flip through these until you have choices you like. Finally, you can cycle through the faces and make small alterations like adding freckles, age lines, or scars. Pretty nice, eh?
Here's the big part: your name. You can name your character anything you like, but many players will appreciate it if you choose a name that somewhat fits the lore instead of something like "Leethaxxor." Trust me on this. You'll get more group invites. If you're having trouble coming up with a good name, look on the left side of the screen. Turbine has provided suggestions and guidelines for each race and area when it comes to naming. Many of the ones listed or the combinations listed will be taken, but anything that sounds reasonably similar will be welcomed by the community. Side note: Please don't name your Elven Hunter "Legolaszx", "Legolasss," or "Ligolas." Similarly, avoid names like "Gymly" or "Gondulf." People may not be polite. I promise that you will get to experience the fun of Middle Earth without being a member of the fellowship.
Also, while it may look cool to add special characters to your name, like in "Bëørñ," remember that it can make it tough for people to send you messages and in-game mail. Most players will not go to the trouble of figuring out how to type the special characters in your name and just skip messaging you. There are work-arounds for this, but life will generally be easier for you if you stick to the regular alphabet.
After choosing a name you like, go ahead and enter the game world! Are you ready for your first fledgling steps in Middle Earth?
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