Online Gaming As Realtime Military Strategy

HEYO!! I’m Westley Taylor from last year’s class and I admire the gusto with which you’ve thrown yourselves at the blogs. Just droppin’ in for salutations and to pass on this link to a really cool article my dad found. I’ll let the article speak for itself, but to hook you let me just hint that it involves World of Warcraft being used to facilitate terrorism…

 

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/09/world-of-warcra.html

 

😀 enjoy I hope you Professor Clayton likes it

(oh and if you’re reading this Prof, I have class with one Jonathan Farina this semester who i think you know, and I’m really enjoying his class a LOT- if that, you know, has any bearing on if he might get an offer to stay or not :P)

 

 

Peace

Bilbo’s Cracked, Frodo’s Cracking, and Sam’s Taking a Crack at Rosie

By: Dan Nockels

The three interpretations of the journey through the Green Dragon at Bywater varied mainly in their purpose and the desired emotional reaction provoked in the reader. In the book it is a method of revealing that strange happenings are going on in the shire. Also we get to see Ted the Hobbit kick the crap out of Sam at barroom chatting. Although in LOTRO the bar did seem boring enough that if one hobbit burned another that excellently I might have clapped too. Not in the movie though, way too much drunken hobbit dancing to pay attention to where elm trees are located in the shire. I’m pretty sure that the purpose of the Green Dragon visit in the movie was to assure us that Sam’s not actually gay. Although if they best they can do convince the audience of Sam’s sexual orientation is show him drinking and sighing at the other end of the bar from a hobbit chick then I am far from convinced. Still better than nothing, and better still than checking out Frodo.  Last and probably least in the Lord of the Rings online game I not only went to the Green Dragon, I went there with a pie. As the helpful hobbit that I am I was drafted to deliver a piping hot pie all the way from Hobbiton to Bywater without any hungry hobbits catching me. The hard part is that, as I learned from the movie all hobbits are hungry all the time, and Hobbiton is full of hobbits. After a few tries I managed to dodge the entire population of the shire and made it to the Green Dragon. Where nothing was going on, no drinking, no merry dancing (not even any Pippin dancing) and no pseudo-gay hobbits pining over their ostensible love interest, I was pissed

Picking on Sam (How I’m Not the Only One)

By Colin Doberstein

In my first post, you may remember that I poked fun at one Samwise Gamgee for being essentially useless, except as moral support for Frodo. As far as the movie version of The Fellowship of the Ring goes, I maintain that this characterization is true (don’t worry Merry and Pippin, you two are also mostly useless. I haven’t forgotten you). In the book, however, Sam’s character is more than just part of a hobbit comic relief trio. For those of us who use Sam’s feckless portrayal in the LOTR movies as a running joke in their blogs (don’t all jump at once), it is just a bit disappointing to read Tolkien’s text and see that Sam is capable of both acting and thinking independently from Frodo.

 

In the Green Dragon scene from the movie, Sam’s role is to make eyes at the fetching female bartender while the older hobbits around him discuss the troubling events outside of the Shire. As he leaves (with Frodo, of course) Sam forlornly watches a drunken hobbit flirt with his crush (not Frodo, the bartender girl). Frodo reassures Sam that she “knows and idiot when she sees one”, which leaves poor, simple Sam even more confused one he realizes that Frodo could just as easily be mocking him as comforting him.

 

In the book’s version of events, Frodo does not even make an appearance in the action of the scene. Instead, Sam debates Ted Sandyman on the swirling rumors of the increasingly unstable outside world. Even though most of the hobbits present disregard Sam’s position as fairy tales, the reader is presented with a thoughtful side of Sam, who, we are told on page 56: “had a good deal to think about.” From looking at these two visions of this scene, it becomes clear that the movie is setting Sam up to be the butt of most of its jokes, while the book wants him to be something of a contributor to the party. Have no fear though, Haters of Samwise, as long as there is life in my fingers, I swear to you that I will still attempt to mock everyone’s second favorite hobbit of questionable sexuality at every opportunity. That is my promise (that, and something about a white city. But that one seems less important).    

Time Passage in LotR

By: Lynne M.

The movie, obviously, integrates the Green Dragon conversation into one that occurs at The Prancing Pony. The reason for this was to keep out any extra scenes and still get in the important dialogue.  However, it seems to lose a little of its effect. The Prancing Pony is loud and boisterous, while The Green Dragon seemed more calm (especially in LOTRO — There was barely a soul there.) and allowed for the conversation to flow more freely, rather than trying to talk over others.

Also, the journey to The Green Dragon from the novel takes up more time passing, which was not shown in the movie. In LOTRO, it is easy to see (if you look at a map and don’t consider your character’s blazing fast speed) the distance they walked and how long it would take them to do that. Thus, movement within the imagined world varies according to which interpretation of the story is being examined.

Also, the passing of time within the novel seems more like time manipulation to me. Tolkien subtly adds in that 12 years have passed, all while describing a currently happening scene of Sam walking home from The Green Dragon that causes the reader to be drawn back in to a current scene, possibly not even realizing that 12 years have passed. I, honestly, didn’t really think about how odd it was that those 12 years just slipped by until our conversation in class. Tolkien did a wonderful job of glazing over what seems like a long passage of time by adding in only a few paragraphs of detail related to that time.

Hustle n’ Bustle

By: Sam Fisher

 

            The level of bustle in the bar varies from the movie and book to the game. In the game, the level of activity is extremely minimal (excluding our class meeting in front of the barkeep). On the other hand, the book and movie depict a packed bar that creates a different mood for the viewer and reader. The bar becomes a culture in itself evoking a particular mood. The Green Dragon serves more as a place to be rowdy and converse while inebriated. In game, it appears more as a ghost bar, with the sole purpose of offering the gamer quests. It is strange as well that there are a few NPC’s in the bar, which shows that there was an option to add these characters and the game designer chose not to.

            Perhaps there was a reason for keeping NPC’s out of the Green Dragon. Did the designer expect the bar to get to its normal level of bustle from characters “filling the seats” by loitering there. Clearly after game sales peaked, the designers could determine that there would be no further increases in activity in the bar. It makes one wonder what the purpose of keeping the Green Dragon so empty in game really is…

The World’s Tamest Dragon

By Justin G

When I heard that we were going to visit the Green Dragon in LOTRO, I (along with everyone else in the class, it seems) had this image of hobbits dancing, drinking, and generally being their merry selves.  The scene in the book (and movie, though in a different pub) led us to believe that The Green Dragon is a popular place, and that hobbits are there every day after working the fields.  We even went there after nightfall, so I was expecting the place to be packed.  To my dismay, though, our large group of adventurers was the only presence in the tavern.  The only other character in the entire place was the barkeep!  My first thought was, of course, “what a letdown!”  I wanted to see a rowdy group of hobbits dancing on tables and drinking.

I have some experience with an online “game” (game goes in quotes because there is no point to it whatsoever) in which you create a simple avatar and walk around talking to people.  Now I will not go into my motives for playing this other than to say that I was kind of a troll.  But the reason I bring it up is that there are quite a few computer-generated characters that sit around and answer questions.  The first thing I thought of upon entering The Green Dragon in LOTRO was, “why aren’t there any of those?  It would be really easy to have people to talk to.”  But then I realized that it wouldn’t really be that easy.  Unlike that other “game,” talking to these would have to serve some kind of purpose.  Gamers don’t usually talk to random characters, only the ones they have to talk to in order to complete their quest.  It would’ve been an unnecessary burden to put other computer-generated characters into the tavern.

However, that fact really takes away from the charm of the environment.  In the book and movie (though the movie portrays the wrong pub), there are cheery hobbits drunkenly prancing about and celebrating.  When seeing (or imagining) this happening I feel a desire to join the hobbits.  It seems like they are just having so much fun that I want to see if I can do that.  But in LOTRO, the one medium that offers the option of possibly joining in with the merry-making, there are no hobbits to be found.  It makes for one disappointing Green Dragon experience.

The Differences in Distances Among Media

By: Max Mam

While they share many similar aspects, the movie, book, and video game version of The Fellowship of the Ring each carry vastly different characteristics. One of the main discrepancies among the three media is the way space is presented. In LOTRO your character can easily travel from The Shire to The Green Dragon in Bywater in a matter of minutes. If your character isn’t already a high level, there is the possibility that you might run into a few animals that you have to kill on your short journey to Bywater. Nevertheless the run is relatively painless compared to the many many miles of road between the two locales as presented in the Fellowship novel.

The expanded distance seen in the novel is fine since the reader is able to jump through long periods of time between sentences. Large distances, however, don’t cut it in video games like LOTRO where players don’t want to spend hours merely running from town to town. To achieve a shorter travel time for players the designers of the game merely compressed the Middle-Earth map to a smaller scale so that everything is much closer and more accessible to players.

The movie handles The Green Dragon scene in an altogether different way. Instead of incorporating the actual scene in Bywater, the producers saved film time by inserting the Green Dragon conversation in the group’s visit to The Prancing Pony. It just wouldn’t have been practical for the movie to include every single scene.