Immersion for a Skimmer Like Me: LOTRO

I used to be into immersion, I really did. I loved an immersive gaming experience, even if it was linear. A first person game with a focus on cinematics was a guilty pleasure for me over games with, perhaps, better game mechanics and replay value.

Now that I’m a bit older, I appreciate elegance in game mechanics. I now see the appeal for classic games like Super Mario and many arcade games where you can just jump in and start playing. In addition, it takes a more integrated narrative to get me invested nowadays.

I don’t read many of LOTRO’s quest prompts. For me, running around Middle Earth and piecing together my own story creates experience that I still love. Ideally, the lore of the quest would come out as I play the game (the floating dialogue above the characters is a great tool). I can understand wanting an initial text prompt (which can then be easily translated to other languages) for the important quests, but why would anyone care about the reason that they have to go kill five random bears?

It evens out, though. On my journey to kill the five bears for the never-again-relevant Dinglebeard the Dwarf, I get to see Middle Earth and other players running around doing their own quests. I can’t compltely explain why, but it just makes me happy. I get the same feeling that I did while playing Runescape when I was in sixth grade. There are no real-world problems or societal pressures. There are just a bunch of adventurers looking for their own experience, whether it be curiously poking their head around the world or stategically gaining XP and dominating the game.



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