This is the first in an occasional series about other MMORPGs. Basically, I'm going to try games, and report back. First off is a game near and dear to my heart, Lord of the Rings Online. This game is free to play, and while there are loads of extras you can buy, you earn currency through in game stuff as well, allowing you to never have to purchase points if you don't want to.
To that end: complete deeds. I know, you're going "wtf are deeds?" Deeds are rather like achievements, but there's a lot more of them and you get titles and turbine points and virtues from them. So, you kill x goblins, you complete a deed. You use special attack A so many times, you get a deed. See, here I just got one for Wolf-Killing.
Your creation screen won't look quite like this. I ponied up for the two pay classes, Warden and Runekeeper cause I wanted to. But the basics are pretty similar to Wow. Different races, not every race can be every class, and oh, no female dwarves. Dwarves and elves start in the same zone, and hobbits and humans share the other starting zone.
Captain->think pallies with squires. Yup, they're a pet class.
Champion->warriors (but not prot ones)
Hunter->More or less the same as WoW, but no pets. Good in range, not so good in melee, kinda squishy
Lore-Master->the closest you're going to get to a mage, but with pets.
Minstrel->healers and buffbots
Rune-Keepers->Dunno, haven't rolled one yet.
Warden->weird combo of ranged and melee dps with complicated on the side. My warden's lvl 2, so it's entirely possible I have no idea what a warden actually does yet.
There are a few things to keep in mind with lotro. First, it's the journey, not the destination. Yes, there's end-game raiding (or so I'm told, my highest toon is in the low 20s), but there's a huge amount of stuff to do before then. In fact, if you rush straight to endgame, you're kinda missing the point. There's a huge world and tons of content!
Second, crafting's a bit more complicated than in WoW, but also more valuable if you keep it up (the weapons I crafted right off the bat are better than any quest drops I've seen).
So, go try lotro. You lose nothing by trying it (being free and all) and it's a fun game for explorers and quest-lovers. Just be aware, if pvp's your thing, this is probably not your game. PVP is monster PCs vs regular PCs, and is not free (last time I checked).