Sauntering back form the temporary postal office in Olin lawn, i held in my hand the one box to rule them all. Carrying more parsals than i could manage, i was quick to throw the excess weight onto my bed. Through the clutter of the mail, i found the two boxes that would allow me to begin my adventure and Middle-earth. Armed with only a borrowed computer, the game, and my trusty mouse, i sat into my rather uncomfortable deskchair (thanks Vanderbilt) and began the Epic adventure, Lord of the Rings Online. I came at the game with the usual apprehension i do with most every Mmorpg that i have played in the past, and prepared myself for 2 hours of intense rabbit slaying. But the infamous “Kill seven rabbits that have plagued my field” and “Find my potion, here is the exact position where i left it” were not yet introduced. Quickly choosing a DPS class, I selected to be a Human Champion (the name was enough to instill me with confidence). I found my character imprisoned in the city of Archet, and a mysterious man helped rid me of my shackles. After teaching me how to walk (interesting because my character looks around 25), he tells me to save a hobbit. This hobbit was no ordinary hobbit, he was blessed with certain knowledge that made him target of the dark lord. After saving him, my mysterious Strider-like ranger friend was attacked by a wraith, and wounded gravely. Gravely wounded, we entered the city of Archet and the normal chain of introductory quests began. Allowing a sigh to escape me, i ran back and forth, from city to a hunter’s lodge, to a farm, and yes, slaying not rabbits, but wolves that were eating sheep. After i hit my quota of sheep, ran thousands of calories off my athletic frame, and talked myself into a politcian, I began to learn of a betrayal that was occurring within the ranks of Archet. Some thieves had planned to overtake the city. While learning minute details through each intro-quest, my destiny became clear. I was the one chosen to stop this terrible occurance. Believe it or not, at the end of this intro, i was thrown into an instance where i was lead by another captian of the prison agisnt the thieves. Naturally, i was taught a new lifeskill, throwing water on a raging fire to extinguish it. Note to self: Right-click to fill water pale. Once i passed the wall of fire (put out with one well-placed water pale), I was faced with my first boss. This intimidating foe was a combination of wraith and human. He reminded me of the wraith who had injured my Ranger friend, and i decided to open a brand new can of Whoop-Ass on his face. Through the battle i spammed my hotkeys 1,2,3 until my foe collapsed. During the battle he brandished a really sweet sword, and i was hoping the whole time i would recieve this “Fat Lewt.” When i went to check his body, i knew something was up. His dead body was relinquishing a single piece of loot, let alone the uber sword i was pining for. The hobbit began to tell me the information the Wraith was after. Just as he let out the juicy details, the Wraith jumps to his feet, Mwhahas, and runs off before i can gank his Uber sword. Thouroughly angry, I was transported to the new Archet, firetorn and battered by the assult. Now the game had truly begun. Impressed with the introductory quests, i didn’t mind the next two hours of Bs’ing. (Bear and Boarslaying).
I must admit that I have never really embarked on the adventure that is the whole MMORPG scene. I tried guildwars for a time, but I got fed up with it after perhaps a week, so LOTRO is my first true experience. The beginning, speaking as a hobbit burglar, provided me with some interesting scenes from the Fellowship of the Ring, at least from the movie’s perspective. As soon as I left the post office I started out in, I find myself right in the middle of the scene where one of the ringwraiths confronts a hobbit and asks him where Bilbo Baggins is. I remember thinking: is the game going to be like this all the way through? Am I going to be a sort of witness to scenes in the books and the movies, viewing the universe from my own unique point of view?
An hour later I learned that the answer to these questions is no.
Until I left Archet, I would meet various people with various tasks for me. Perhaps I was delivering a message, killing some wolves, or collecting some king’s foil (I must concede, that is an element of LOTR). I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t fun delivering messages and killing every wolf pup I found just wandering the fields on their own, but I didn’t feel invested in any sort of storyline.
Sadly, leaving Archet has been a similar experience, if slightly better. Now that I’m in the Shire, I am seeing the many of its parts and meeting the various Tooks and Cottons that have been close to my heart since I discoverd the Lord of the Rings universe. Aside from meeting old friends and learning to play the clarinet, however, I have just been running (and jumping, to be fair) around the shire with a feather in my cap solving the little problems that the little people of the Shire have. Perhaps I need to leave the calm of the Shire to really find some epic adventure, as all ten hobbits to ever leave the Shire have done, but for now, all the walking has gotten a little tedious, and I should probably sit down for a bit before hiking somewhere else.
In my first few hours playing Lord of the Rings Online, I thought that it was going to be a different beast from the other MMO’s that I’ve played. As much as I’ve probably tried to deny it, I have had plenty of experience in the genre, playing games all the way back to Everquest, Final Fantasy XI, and, of course, World of Warcraft.
At the beginning of my time in game, and this is speaking as a Dwarf Guardian (I don’t know how relative it all is to story experiences), I had a very fun instanced beginning bit wherein I was helping to rescue Thorin’s Hall from the Dourhand dwarves, who apparently had become disillusioned with their complacency and had been tempted to the dark side with promises of power beyond their wildest imaginings (stop me when you’ve heard this one, right?). I had to help a dwarf named Dwalin to fight through and free Thorin’s Hall, which then became the main hub city for all my auctioning, banking, and training needs. This was a great way to start the game, and I had high hopes at this point that the rest of the game would be similar – very story driven, with possibly even more instanced, story-propelling events like this.
However, not long after leaving that intro quest, I realized that LOTRO didn’t totally escape the inane fetch and kill-this-many-pack-rats quests that MMO’s have been recycling since, well, for as long as there have been MMO’s. It didn’t surprise me all that much, but what I found unfortunate was that the story started to get mucked up behind all of those silly little mundane tasks. For a town that had just been liberated from what could have been Sauron’s puppet regime, the Dourhands, it seemed quite like it had just experienced a spot of amnesia. Instead of driving the plot forward, I was back to killing goblins, fetching an old man his medicine, and… killing dangerous, deadly flowers?
All in all, I would say that LOTRO thus far has been immensely fun to play, but I only wish that the main story arch would have been encompassed in more than just the first hour intro quest, and from time to time thereafter.
- Post a Screen Shot of your character at an interesting locale outside of Archet (to this blog).
- Write a blog entry commenting on some aspect of a story line you encountered during your interactions with NPCs (i.e. Non-Player Characters) as they give you quests.
Assignment due date: by 1600 (4 pm) Central on Friday 7 Sep 07.
Click here ——> Example of a quest dialog interaction
Welcome to the class! This is the space in which we will create and comment upon our weekly posts based upon class discussions. Click on the Syllabus to see what the course has in store for us this semester!