And if you try it and enjoy it, Gamestop is currently doing a sale on LOTRO's Mithral Edition. It's $14.00 to download, and the 2000 turbine points alone generally cost more than that (and there's a mount and quest packs and okay, the mount alone on one toon is generally about 1100 points, so BARGAIN). (much thanks to Casual Stroll to Mordor for the info, and by the way, they have a great podcast. They've been doing a whole series on the monster/creep side of things (that's how pvp works in lotro, it's monsters vs normal toons) which has been greatly informative).
Now here's some pictures to show things off, and then I'm going to attempt a newbie advice thing. Oh and the UI differences are down to me experimenting with different UIs from lotrointerface.com and moving things around. Lotro might not be quite as moddable as WoW, but you have a huge amount of control over where things go and how big they are, even without a single mod.
This would be one of the repeatable anniversary quests. Launch fireworks just north of Bree while NPCs cheer you on. There's also one in the Shire. This is Nathyrra, my main and she's now level 26.
I dusted off my baby burglar, and you can see the anniversary quest on her quest log. It's a low enough level that any toon that's made it out of the starting area should be able to do it.
And here we have a modded UI. I forget which one this was, oh and I am in the Barrow Downs, killing undead.
More fireworks, and you can see the invitation quest (another repeatable anniversary quest) in her log. The horse she's riding actually came from one of the envelopes you hunt down as part of the quest, though I believe it's a rare drop.
Now, NEWBIE ADVICE!
First off, here's a developer's guide to leveling 1-30. I'm not doing it that way, because I am me, but it's a good place to start.
Class-wise, if you want a glass cannon with ports and decent CC (aka a wow mage) you want a hunter. If you want to sneak, you want a burglar, or an elf. Elves can get a racial trait that allows them to sneak, but burglars do it better. If you want to heal, you want a minstrel (or you can shell out for the Runekeeper who can also heal but costs points to unlock). If you want a pet class, you can choose between the loremaster (squishy magical damage dealers) or captains (melee support with sidekicks). If you're looking for tanking, guardians seem to be the way to go, but wardens (another shell out class) can also tank. Champions are great melee dps.
Profession-wise, I'd say the two easiest ones to start with are...
WOODSMAN: Forester, Farmer, Woodworker. This allows you to collect wood, turn hides into leather (which tailors use to make armor), make wooden weapons and craft tools, and grow crops (which a cook can then turn into tasty, tasty buff food).
EXPLORER: Forester, Tailor, Prospector. Again, you can collect wood and turn hides into leather, make light armor, and mine for ore (which loads of other crafters use)
I recommend these two professions because each has two gathering and one crafting, and the gathering naturally feeds the crafting, plus you get some stuff you can sell on the AH. Lotro forces you to pick one of six bundles of professions, and while the others are fine, it's nice to be able to make your own armor or weapons.
As far as stuff to get in the store, I'd put off getting more bag space. If you like the game, you can sub for a month, get the 5 bags on all your toons and then...keep the bag space! I'd also keep my eye out for sales and freebies, since the store will offer both from time to time
If I decide to downgrade from VIP to Premium player status, what will happen to my inventory bags?
If you downgrade from VIP to Premium player, you will not lose any of the inventory bags that you had as a VIP. Because you were a VIP, you will not be subject to the inventory bag limit of Premium players.
Now, I have a document on my computer that I use to keep track of my toons (I did the same for WoW and pretty much any mmo I play, just to help me keep stuff straight). Here's one toon from that...
Nathyrra->WOODSMAN Forester, Farmer, Woodworker
Goals->finish North Downs, get other holiday mount, housing, Woodworker guild rep
Stance->Main, Official Woodworker
Weapons/Armor: Light and Medium armor, can use traps made by weaponsmith, Bows, Crossbows, Daggers, one handed axes, one handed clubs, one handed hammers, one handed maces, one handed sword, spears
If you like that, feel free to swipe it, it certainly helps me keep things straight. And last but not least, if you decide to give lotro a try, please use my recruit a friend http://my.lotro.com/referral/MelfinatheBlue
It won't work on already made accounts, but it allows me to get points when you buy stuff in the turbine store. And if you log on, I'm hanging out on Gladden, come say hi!