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.