When I launch the game, the 'launcher' itself is unable to connect or is giving me an error and is not connecting or letting me log in.
After you double-click on the shortcut you use to launch the game, this opens the game "Launcher" enabling you to log into the game world you choose on this launcher. When successful, the game launcher then opens the game "Client" (the program that basically renders all the 3D graphics) and you enter the game world.
The game launcher has some prerequisite items that need to be functioning in order for it to be able to launch the game client and get you into character select to log into the game world on your chosen character.
Important Notes: If you are not encountering any issues with the game launcher itself, but instead are experiencing one of the issues detailed in the list below, please view the article here.
- Searching for Logon Server Attempt 1 of 20.
- Receiving the message Connection to the server has been lost.
- Inability to log into or losing connection while using one or more characters.
- Cannot connect to specific or any world servers.
- Receiving the error Client timed out the connection entering character select or the game world.
Important Note for LOTRO players post Update 11: If you are receiving "Internal Error", or encountering issues with the "Play" button please see the article here. If your launcher is stopped at the "Initializing" stage, see sections two through four of this current article page (below).
Section One: Starting with the basics. (Is the game login down?)
When you get to the connecting stage and a connection issue or error comes up, it can be one of a few things.
To start, check the forums to make sure there is not currently any scheduled downtime or if there are any reported outages:
Important Notes: At the connect stage, receiving a message "Value Cannot Be Null" (Failed to read authentication response [err: unexpected end of file][line: 1][col: 1] for the updated LOTRO launcher) is an indicator the servers are down for an update.
DDO/LOTRO European Players will encounter this issue if they installed or reinstalled using the original EU version of the game installation which is attempting to connect to the original EU login and patch servers. We would recommend uninstalling and reinstalling using the North American version of the install.* (DDO here, LOTRO here)
(* Some EU players have reported success using the "Updates for the DVD installs" steps outlined towards the bottom of the article here to convert their launcher to an NA version, however this is unsupported and may not work, requiring reinstalling using the NA version anyway.)
Section Two: Testing connectivity. (Can I reach the internet through Internet Explorer or is a proxy setting causing this?)
If the servers are not down, and there are no reported outages, then make sure that you can connect to the internet at this stage by opening "Internet Explorer" and trying to access http://www.turbine.com; http://www.lotro.com; or http://www.ddo.com using IE.
Note: Internet Explorer does not need to be your default browser, but the game does share its system-wide connection settings, so if it cannot connect or is being prevented from connecting normally, neither can the game.
Whether or not you can or cannot reach one or more of those pages, just to be sure you should further troubleshoot IE's connection by performing the following steps and connection checks:
Important Notes: If you find that IE was configured to use a proxy server of 127.0.0.1 or similar, you may have active malware on your system. A proxy setting using this or a similar address might be a local proxy program, but most often they are malware setup as a "local" proxy to better take over the system's internet connection. If you find any proxy configured that is not required by your internet service provider, immediately update and run a full system scan with your antivirus and antispyware scanners.
*Also, if there was a proxy in use for IE, you may need to update the game launcher to not use it either. Open the game launcher and click the button that has the single down-arrow on it in the row of buttons on the launcher's upper-right corner (click here to see where this button is) and choose Options or Settings. In there, under the "Advanced" or "Proxy" tab, click the "Configure Proxy Settings" link and then click to select the "No Proxy" option and click ok and ok again on the launcher options. You may need to close and restart the launcher to have it apply the change.
Section Three: Firewalls and other internet security tools. (Is my firewall or other security blocking it?)
Once you have confirmed IE's connection ability, then also double-check to make sure that the game is being allowed through the (Windows) firewall per the instructions in the knowledge base article linked below. Keep in mind that even if you do not use Windows Firewall, whatever firewall/internet or web security tool you do use, still may also have to be manually 'told' to allow the game files inbound/outbound connection to the internet.
So while the steps to do so are detailed in those articles and are outlined for Windows Firewall, they are essentially the same if you use a third-party firewall/security tool except that the options and menus may be different. Refer to your suite/application's provider or manufacturer's website for details on setting up 'game exclusions' or 'program exceptions'.
Be mindful of the fact that some Internet Service Providers (ISP's) offer 'customized' versions of popular internet security software including firewalls. If you installed one of those the options may be different, you might need to contact your ISP regarding its use/configuration and "exceptions".
Some antivirus/web security and similar "security suites" that are known to periodically cause issues with the game launcher's/clients connection (even after exceptions/exclusions are enabled for the game files) are listed below:
Usually these and similar applications have additional stricter security settings/profiles that affect the game's connection. Options to look for are filtering/monitoring of secured http (https) connections; "behavior" or "heuristic" method filtering/protections; any kind of 'paranoid' or testing/sandboxing functions, email/port filtering (these often conflict with the games use of ports 9000 to 9010 and 2900 to 2910).
Typically these suites just have somewhat more 'in-depth' settings/options to be changed when they are reconfigured to allow the game's connection without restrictions while still being able to protect the PC.
Your networking hardware (e.g. your modem and/or router) may also have a 'built-in' firewall setup, this too may need to be configured for allowing the game files inbound/outbound connections to and from the internet, refer to the manufacturer's website for details on doing so.
Section Four: How to use a "clean boot" as a testing tool. (Is there another cause?)
One method of testing any kind of connection issue with the games is a 'clean boot' of Windows. To clarify what that is, basically you (temporarily) turn off all non-essential programs and (non-Microsoft) "services" that start up when you boot up your computer. By then running the game without these active, if it can then connect as normal tells us that there is something that normally runs at the same time as the game and now is not letting it do so unless you basically turn it 'off'.
So once the firewall and internet security tools are updated if the game still cannot connect, try performing a temporary "clean boot" of Windows per the steps outlined here. Perform the steps as detailed, restart the PC when prompted. Upon rebooting, relaunch the game to test.
If while running under the clean boot the game can connect, review what items were disabled by this change as most likely one or more of the programs or services configured to start with Windows is affecting the game's connection when it is running.
Note: After testing the game, Windows can and should later be returned to
Section Five: Why "Microsoft .Net Framework version 1.1 Service Pack 1" is required. (Is .Net 1.1SP1 installed correctly?)
If the game still is not connecting, undo the clean boot, restart Windows under a normal startup and then perform the steps below to uninstall and reinstall Microsoft .Net 1.1 and its "service pack" which is used by the launcher for its connectivity and related functions (if this specific version of .Net 1.1 is not installed; has corrupted copies of its files, or has had its files replaced with incompatible versions, connection issues and errors can and do occur):
To reinstall .Net and its service pack (referred to as a "hotfix" in some dialogs) start by clicking on the Windows "Start" button > "Control Panel". In the control panel, click on either "Add or Remove Programs" or "Uninstall a Program". Look in the list that comes up for:
"Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1"
"Microsoft .Net Framework 1.1 "Hotfix" (KB####)"
You may see one or both listed. Either way, uninstall them and once they are removed, reboot the PC.
Once rebooted, re-download and reinstall them via the downloads at the link below:
Note: You may receive "incompatibility" message dialogs installing one or both of the above. In most instances these can be continued past via the "Install anyway" or similar option. Typically they are just referring to incompatibility issues relating to other versions of .Net installed but should not affect those.
Section Six: Additional and related followup items and links.
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