So what's the big secret? Is Turbine employing the power of the one ring? Well, according to Steefel there's a couple of reasons, "Somebody who's really looking for that heavy [Player vs. Player] or [Realm vs. Realm] experience, they're going to go play 'Warhammer.' But if they're looking for the best [Player vs. Environment] game, it's clearly 'LotRO.' Period. Plus, it's 'Lord of the Rings!'" Seems like a solid argument, although none of it would matter if Lord of the Rings Online wasn't an incredibly well-made game.
Steefel even points to this fact when asked why games like Tabula Rasa fail while others succeed, saying, "Consumers aren't so forgiving anymore, and I think that's why [MMOs] are starting to have difficulty." Blizzard certainly played a role in that, although it was bound to happen with time, anyhow.