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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 6:49PM Faith said

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It's a shame that game never made it to release, though I guess we wouldn't have LotRO if it had.

I still love the idea of permadeath in a MMO, I miss the days of when you treated your MMO character like you would a table top RPG character, where you were afraid to make dumb choices with them.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 7:16PM Alluvian EstEndrati said

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I really would have preferred a MEO type of experience. While LotrO is a well done game, I absolutely hate the feeling like I am in the shadow of the Fellowship and other important book characters all the time.

Heck I would have loved a MMO based on MERP. Best ICE rpg variant ever.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 7:27PM Lucid Renegade said

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I have a feeling that "few Elves" would have worked out about as well as "few Jedi" did in SWG...

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 8:43PM Saerain said

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@Lucid Renegade Very well?
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Posted: Jun 21st 2011 11:51PM Space Cobra said

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@Lucid Renegade

I agree, player tenacity and either sharing the secret or making a guide to grind out elf characters would have become the norm eventually.

Good dev intentions can only go so far against determined players in such situations, depending how they'd introduce such an elf limit in a game.
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Posted: Jun 22nd 2011 12:55AM Elikal said

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@Lucid Renegade Amen to that. It is just absurd to cut or reduce the most wantes stuff of a fandom. This MMO so would never have worked. I am glad it was the only one with permadeath.
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Posted: Jun 21st 2011 8:07PM Degu said

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One of the what-ifs in gaming that really bug me. I don't care for permadeath, but a polished Middle-earth sandbox would be my dream MMO. Sigh...

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 8:23PM gildhur said

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LotRO has its issues, but it's IMO the best mainstream version of an MMO Middle-earth that could exist. MEO wouldn't have surived long in the post-EQ/WoW world.

This was a great write-up, though. One of the best I've ever seen cover the issue comprehensively, and certainly the best article on Massively in a very long time. Thanks, Syp.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 9:12PM (Unverified) said

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Permadeath would work well if it was done similar to Mabinogi's Rebirth system, where certain stats/skill levels are carried over into a level 1 character that you can resdesign the appearance/age of. Otherwise, such a mechanic is just never going to work for 90% of players.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 10:48PM Graill440 said

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On a non MMO related note a group of folks is working a huge mod for oblivion that transforms it to middle earth and the ring adventur. Beta vids look promising.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 10:56PM Valdur said

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A great article indeed,if that game was released I would probably still playing it today.Those guys had some incredible ideas at that time but some of them made sense like the stats of a Nazgul during the day was lower than at night.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 11:26PM nathael said

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This really was a great article. Thanks for such a fun read.
I think that if some of the ideas these guys had would have went live in this game MMO's might look different then they do today. After all, there were no conventions in the genre at that time. Maybe a game based on such a powerful IP could have created conventions.

Posted: Jun 21st 2011 11:55PM Space Cobra said

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I remember talk of this game (and one or two more screenshots; seemed more like a mix between King's Quest and UO...or 2.5 Isometric D...with bright KQ colors).

I didn't remember about the Perma-death, but I was looking forward to the game (well, except the subscription, but times have changed).

In general, it's a shame what happened to Sierra in general; not just Sierra-Online. That studio probably could have really made MEO work and "sing" as it did with it's other games.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2011 6:32AM bobfish said

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This sounds like an awesome idea to me...

"To scratch the player-killing itch, Middle-earth Online was going to have its own version of Monster Play. Yes, you could join Team Sauron and begin as a free-roaming Orc. The more you leveled up, the bigger and badder you became -- but you'd start to become tied to locations. Eventually you might even become a superbad villain like a Balrog, but you'd be confined to, say, Moria."

You could totally flesh this out to make PvP more interesting for everyone.

Posted: Jun 22nd 2011 9:11PM shipwreck said

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What I dislike about LotRO is that you don't feel like a "citizen of Middle-earth"; you feel like one of a thousand Aragorn (meaning serious hero) clones.

Of course I love LotRO very much, but I would love to be able to play as a Hobbit baker and spend my game time going through all the steps to, like, bake bread or something and have a house and a shop and blah blah blah.

Who knows? Maybe after LotRO goes through the events of the book (around the same time my yet unborn child is old enough to play the game with me) they will open the world up as we approach the Fourth Age. Wishful thinking indeed.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 9:34PM MassiveMMOGamer said

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Wow, this sure is "one" way of remembering what was going on with middle Earth Online.

Is it just me or does this article try and represent MEO as being mostly something developed by Sierra, and then for a brief time picked up by Turbine and dropped immediately in favor of the game Turbine shipped?

While i can't speculate on what MEO was while in the hands of Sierra, i was around, and very interested in MEO, when it was MEO and being developed by turbine. There was a website, forums, all the things that happen when a game is getting close to launch. Details were starting to come out about the game, the different aspects of characters, magic,loot, all sorts of things. It felt like we were getting close to launch.

Then we got the press release MEO has been canceled and replaced with a new development....LOTRO. The rest is all a lesson in the failing arts of themepark cloning procedures as taught by Blizzard University Class of WoW.

I remember some very small discussions over permadeath, but they werent anythign more than brief forum posts here and there. Permadeath surely wasnt the Apex of discussion over MEO by the fanbase.

The BIGGEST concern on the forums and fansites was the Sandbox elements Turbine was known for with Asherons Call.

Turbine had established itself as an AWESOME Sandbox developer. Back then we didnt call it sandbox though.... we called it an MMORPG.

It wasnt until the release of WoW that we learned developers can create somethign entirely different from an MMORPG yet still call it an MMORPG.

Asherons Call was an awesome, actual, mmorpg. It still is. And so, the big question was how MEO would be different from AC. At the time, everyone had it in their mind, the AC way of doing an mmo was the standard. And so, many questions arose. But they were all based on how MEO would be different than AC or would enhance on what AC was, or preserve what AC had, etc etc.

And to be quite honest, if Warcraft and the Themepark fecal madness had never come to light, we would all be playing MEO today. There's NO WAY around it.

People remember.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 9:48PM MassiveMMOGamer said

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The article feels more like its trying to completely delete MEO by Turbine, and simply make us believe the Sierra version of MEO was the only MEO there was. Turbine picked up Sierras MEO but then set it down in favor of developing LOTRO.....

Which simply isn't true.

Which makes me wonder, who's paying for this article?

Turbine? Do they really want to erase their MEO development?

When we all found out Turbine was shelving MEO in favor of a themepark LOTRO, there was much sadness and even more "youll be sorry...."

And, well, everyone can judge for themselves how things turned out. I mean, its every developers dream to press release "Our game is now F2P, YaY!" right?

The inverse of Nichols statement goes somethign like "...the overlords wanted to take this Awesome sandbox game and turn it into a themepark canned linear singleplayer yawn festival...I was horrified by this, thats NOT what an MMORPG is. How could i live with myself, we promised the players a great MMORPG but we are instead developing a themepark....." But they did it anyways. The rest is history.


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