Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine has announced they have decided their "Friends Don't Let Friends Tank Balrogs" policy just wasn't going to cut it. So they have decided to make raid encounters and as described they are nothing more than stolen World of Warcraft raid instances! World of Warcraft sort of stole the idea from Everquest, but Blizzard just happened to make them quite a bit more fun, challenging, and less exploitable. Everquest pretty much stole the idea from MUDs, but raised the number of people and added 3D graphics.
So, isn't Turbine just following suit and offering the next upgrade in raid content? If this article is anything close to their final system then this is going to be a near CLONE of the WoW raid instances. Replace LotRO in this article with WoW and you couldn't tell the difference other than the raid party sizes. WoW has 40 and 20 person raids, while LotRO will have 24 person raids.
I really could go on and on about how this is such a blatant rip off, but its not worth my time. Turbine doesn't fucking get it. DDO is basically being redesigned and LotRO has a different design idea being tossed back into the game every other week. None of the ideas are original and there are so many of them (faction, raids, etc) that just STINK of rip off that it amazes me someone isn't suing.
Wake up Turbine! World of Warcraft is here and they have hit the nail on the head for achiever oriented game play. You have THE MOST BELOVED fantasy license of ALL TIME in your hands (Lord of the Rings is 2nd only to the Bible in all-time book sales BTW). Do something true to the nature of Tolkien's work. Don't throw the MMORPG copy-cat bullshit out on shelves with the LotR trademark as you did with Dungeons & Dragons Online. Screwing up DDO is recoverable, fucking up LotR is not.
NOTE: I realize that a big budget AAA title is nothing to go hog wild with. There needs to be a solid and proven game design under the hood. However, this does not mean Turbine needs to go back against their initial designs to include things that are DESTROYING other online communities. Turbine had a very different game with Asheron's Call and I can't understand why all their new games stink of copy cat bullshit. They don't even make the slightest attempt to hide it...
Update: 5 Aug, 2009 - Edited post, applied labels.