I have played RPGs since the 70s. I ran an I.C.E. Middle Earth campaign for many years. Last campaign I played in was Knights of the Old Republic back in the early 2000s. I saw the TOR2E Kickstarter and backed it out of curiosity. When the Alpha rules became available I shared them with my old game group and we all became very excited to try it out.
Over the years I have drifted from combat focused RPGs to narrative focused RPGs. I believe that dice should add excitement, not drive the system. I have been reading the playtester's comments, and I believe I understand where they are coming from. 2E is a streamlined version of 1E. This is right in my wheelhouse, but if I were coming from 1E I would feel like a lot of the "meat" had been stripped away. That is what I am picking up from the comments. Stripped down v. Streamlined.
Having the perspective of only knowing 2E, I have to say that I am eagerly looking forward to its release! Fria Ligan has created a system that is true to the feel of Tolkien's legacy, without bogging down the narrative experience.
I read a lot of admissions to having to house rule things. Of course you are going to house rule things! Everyone does with every RPG. If you don't, you're playing it wrong.
I really like that the combat system is simplified. Yes, a mace is different from a longsword is different from a spear, etc. However, all are combat implements that are effective in the hands of a competent wielder. Quibbling over differences seems misplaced. I like the Endurance/wound difference.
Although I have no experience running TOR combat, as a DM for D&Dx.y, I was very used to adjusting ACs if necessary to make the encounter balanced for the party, up or down, so the TN concerns seem irrelevant. I see the value in sharing one's experience and perception while playtesting, but I'm not worried about it.
We are starting our campaign next week, and we are simply(!) travelling from Hobbiton to Lake Town to retrieve some Elven accounts of the Battle of Five Armies, for Bilbo to add to his story. I am really looking forward to trying out the Journey rules. I have the 1E pdfs and if the party desires they may do some side adventures whilst getting there. Once we get 2E, we will decide whether to continue with what we have started, or just flip the table and begin again!