The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) was released 5 years ago and is still going strong. The server I play on (Brandywine) is more active than my current WoW server. This game boasts simply the best graphics of any MMO out there, an engrossing story and a much more interesting levelling experience than WoW. Any fan of LOTR should enjoy this game as it is the most detailed depiction of Tolkien's world (and more accurate to the books than any other LOTR game/movie).
As a South African, I do not lag and have good ms. This game has recently gone 100% free to play. For some games such as Guild Wars, 'free to play' means you must still purchase the game (for about R300) and then you get to play without having to pay a subscription. In LOTRO this is not the case. If you have the client, you can sign up for an account (without ever entering credit card details, address etc) and log straight in and play the entire game for free. As a free player you don't have access to surprisingly few things, and in the game you earn points through achievements which can then be spent to unlock zones (but you'll only need to do that at around level 50!).
I'm surprised that the game actually is gaining momentum - the next expansion (Riders of Rohan - http://rohan.lotro.com/) has been announced, and free content patches are provided at a faster pace than WoW and every alternate update adds a huge new playable zone to the game + a raid. You can see all the recent updates and map of the world here: http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Lorebook_home The forums are located at: http://forums.lotro.com/forumlist.php
NB: Do not buy any copies of this game at any shops in South Africa. All this stock was meant to be recalled because all those game keys are now invalid as they were sold back when they were European Servers on LOTRO which have since been moved to another company. The game also FREE and you do not need to purchase a box. You will not be able to redeem any game key from a shop in South Africa.
If you live in Durban, I can provide you with a full client. I can also refer you and we both get rewards, similar to WoW. I repeat : No credit card or payment of any kind required - you can play a huge bulk of the game for free which many other games of this kind do not support.
Click here to sign up: http://my.lotro.com/referral/Awoken