By: Justin G.
It’s very difficult to find a good balance between playing LOTRO and practicing the cello. Still working on that.
I have thus far immensely enjoyed comparing LOTRO to the Lord of the Rings movie. We are all familiar with the story of LotR; those who have not read the books have at least seen the movie or heard some kind of plot summary. But I have found it very interesting to compare the LOTRO experience (it hasn’t been very much so far, but I feel that I have some idea of what it’s like) with the Lord of the Rings movie experience.
One of the things I (being a music geek) loved about the movie was, of course, hearing all of the different themes to accompany characters, places, stories, actions, almost everything. One of my favorite things was how the makers had the music drop out completely during the enormous battle scenes; that was a really interesting effect. Now it is true that the laptop I am using to play LOTRO is extremely loud, but I have not really noticed any compelling music thus far. It is not a feature that would make or break the game for me, but I do hope to encounter more music in playing this game.
No matter how much I love the music, the way in which the story is developed is far more important. The movie opens with hushed, passionate narration over dramatic images introducing secondary characters and background plot information. It is a wonderful cinematic effect, but I must say it would absolutely not translate into a good game experience (for me, at least). The game, on the other hand, has almost none of that. After the player creates an avatar, that character (and therefore the player) is thrown right into action. The backstory is, of course, not quite as important to a gamer as it is to a movie-goer. All the player knows is that he/she is trying to defeat a mysterious evil group called the Blackwolds. It’s very interesting for me to look at the differences between the storytelling of the two media; the game is, of course, completely interactive and therefore has the ability to give the player elements of the story as that player progresses. The movie, however, must heave a truckload of backstory and miscellaneous information and introduction onto the viewer within the span of about ten minutes at the beginning. Of course, the filmmakers somehow do this flawlessly.
In playing this game, I have also noticed something about myself. I (would like to) think that I am becoming a more “mature” gamer rather than one of those “grinders.” I have been paying attention to all the missions and stories, not just rushing through in an attempt to get to the highest level in the shortest amount of time possible. Comparing the game to the book and movie has, for me, reinforced the value of the fiction in games, even console games like The Legend of Zelda and Resident Evil 4 (even though LOTRO probably will have a better story). And as an added benefit of knowing the story of these games, I am becoming a better gamer (I think).