By Justin “JCov” Covington
In LOTRO you can become whatever free peoples person you want. (Try and say that ten times fast!) You can assert your characteristics and decide who you want to be in Tolkien’s world. This substantially remediates the novel by giving the player control as to whose viewpoint they want to see the story from. The player can choose their own race and from there their own backstory. They can even assign themselves a unique name depanding on which area they hail from!
This is absolutely fantastic as this pushes the player into learning more about the world around them. From the beginning you can choose to delve into the lore of Tolkien’s world by looking into the naming system, finding out more about your race, and then uncovering even more information about the factions of your race. For instance, if you choose to become part of the Race of Man, you can then dive deeper by choosing where you come from. I hail from Gondor, the proctectorate from the evils of Mordor! This does effectively enrich the narrative. It pushes the players to build their own lore and discover more about Tolkien’s world than they would have previously been interested in researching.
As well as choosing the aesthetics and background lore you are able to decide what kind of hero you want to be! You could be an elven hunter, a dwarf champion, a lore-master man, and even a…what’s this…a hobbit guardian!? How can the makers of this game honestly tell me that a tiny hobbit can stand against the hordes of Sauron and not get punted like a helium filled football?! Sure, hobbits play a big role, but as secondary damage! Maybe some DPS here, a few heals, and even perhaps a pet handler role or something. But to say that they are the front line defenders is to spit in Tolkien’s face! A hobbit guardian! Next they’ll tell me that Sauron has decided to become a Minstrel!