Creative License Done Well

The quests in the Prologue and Epic Book 1 were a pretty novel idea.  I’ve never played an MMO that followed any sort of storyline.  Oh, well I guess there was Guild Wars.  Not my favorite MMO by far.  That game forced you to follow the story line throughout its progression and all the areas where you would kill monsters et. al. were completely instanced.  The only place you actually got to play with everyone were in the cities.  And there’s never anything going on there.  All that, and the fact that your character seemed rooted to the ground (there wasn’t any jump function at all!) and the paths throughout the game were very set in stone, made for a relatively unenjoyable MMO experience.

But LOTRO does very well to remedy that.  In LOTRO, there is much less of the feeling that you are constantly following a set storyline.  Ultimately, if you want to get anywhere, you do have to follow the storyline, but it’s added into the game as an element that feels somewhat like a choice.  This, combined with the fact that you do get to jump and go almost anywhere you like, makes for a good experience.

The Prologue and Epic Book 1 quests are an interesting and creative addition to Tolkien’s original story.  The major problem that the game developers faced when creating this game was the application of an MMO gamespace onto a “single-player” storyline.  They had to mesh the choices and customization of an MMO and the storyline of Tolkien’s works.  They had to realize that no one could be Frodo, Gandalf, Strider, etc. because everyone creates their own personal character, their own personal identity.  So they decided to add the player’s character as someone who works in the background of the Fellowship and main story, so, at least for the first time playing, it doesn’t feel as though the player is following a set story that everyone already knows.  This also gives the developers some creative license, as well as protection from the hard-core fans that would rip the developers for the smallest lack of similarity if they were to follow the main story.  And while the developers do pretty well recreating the story from the original work, their strength lies in the creation of the world in which the alternate story takes place.  It may be somewhat simplified from the novel to facilitate player comprehension, but almost anywhere that you can think of from the LOTR series, or any of Tolkien’s other works for that matter, you can go to in the game.  Which in my opinion is pretty darn cool.

Tyler Gilcrest

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The Ring and the Heart

At first glance, the Lord of the Rings series and Pirates of the Caribbean series appear to be very different. Pirates is set in the real world, while Lord of the Rings is set in a complete fantasy world. Magic and the supernatural are common and accepted in the Lord of the Rings, while at the beginning of the Pirates series, most of the characters did not even know magic existed. Overall, it seemed like Lord of the Rings is completely immersed in fantasy, while Pirates is mostly based on real life with bits of fantasy sprinkled in.

There is, however, one area where the two films are almost alike: the presence of an object of great importance that brings the holder power over others. In Lord of the Rings, that object is the One Ring. Made by Sauron, it controls all of the other rings of power. Throughout the course of the film, most people who come into contact with it desire it immensely, with the notable exception of Frodo. In the Pirates series (especially Dead Man’s Chest) the object is the heart of Davy Jones. Since Davy Jones rules the seas, whoever controls his heart controls the seas. Throughout the movies Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and others battle for control over it.

There are still some differences between how the two objects are treated. The One Ring is treated as if it were an object of divine power that no man can control, but every man desires. Meanwhile, Davy Jones’s heart is treated as an object that can be used to accomplish a specific goal or objective. For example, Will wants it so he can get his father back, Norrington wants it to get his honor back, Jack needs it to settle his debt with Davy Jones, and Cutler Beckett uses it to try to rid the world of pirates.

Although the two series are different in many ways, one of their most important ideas is an important object that gives the holder great power and control over others, a plot point that makes them unique when compared to other films.

– Kashyap Saxena

Fighting Styles Within Fellowships

By: Max Mam

In The Fellowship of the Ring, the movie remediation of Tolkien’s epic novel, there are many different races each excelling in different types of combat. Frodo’s fellowship contained four hobbits, three men, an elf, and a dwarf. Just by looking at the characters’ respective weapons, it is apparent that each race has a different fighting style. The short-swords of the hobbits show that they are suited to fighting by hiding and confusing their opponents. The swords wielded by Aragorn and Boromir strike an efficient balance between offense and defense. Gandalf of course uses his ancient magic to obliterate his foes while Gimli relies on his powerful close-combat attacks with his axe. Legolas hangs back releasing a torrent of arrows and also uses his elven agility to perform acrobatic close-combat attacks.This combination of varied fighting styles allows the fellowship to efficiently work together to defeat their many foes.

In LOTRO, players get the chance to create their own fellowships and fight together in a fashion not unlike that of the movie. Though the races are the same, the classes that a player may choose from are quite a bit more varied than in the movie. Race plays a part mainly in how a player’s avatar looks and directly affects which classes a player may choose from. A player wanting to specialize in sneaking around and launching surprise wouldn’t be able to use a bulky dwarf character to do so; instead he would have to use the smaller statures of either the hobbits or men. The fact that certain classes are available to only certain races makes the game more believable and encourages users to seek out players of other races and classes to form varied and powerful fellowships. By including a wide variety of both classes and races the population of each server enriches the narrative experience since the diversity throughout the world creates a more realistic environment and facilitates heightened immersion within the game.