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Reader Comments (52)

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 3:14PM Zuljundwumn said

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Amen.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 3:31PM Lenn said

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I couldn't agree more. Turbine did an excellent job of getting almost everything right. The few lore-bending things can easily be forgiven, as they make the game more playable.

As for runekeepers, I was initially against them. Their introduction was one of the reasons why I quit playing LotRO for a while. But I have come to realize that the runekeeper isn't lore-breaking at all. It's actually quite an original concept. The runekeeper uses the power of the written word against enemies (much like the minstrel uses the power of song). The problem that most lorists had with them was the fact that their "spells" were way too flashy, even after Turbine toned them down. It's one thing to drain an orc's morale by using sarcasm against him (like Doug Piranha), but a whole other thing when that skill is visually represented by a bolt of lightning.

But that's just the thing: they're visual representations. All the other classes have abilities that are like that.

However, even more than the visuals, it was Jeffrey Steefel's remark that just rubbed a lot of us the wrong way. "We're slowly trying new things; the addition of the Rune-Keeper in Moria, a straightforward magic using class, is a pretty big step in that respect. It's not something that a pure Tolkien lore person would accept, it just couldn't exist in Middle-Earth. On the other hand, this is an RPG, it must exist."

The general feeling was that he sold out to the people who desired a pewpew class in their games. Still, considering his unsensitive remark, I think Turbine actually did a very good job with it when looking at the descriptions and names of the various abilities.

I still can't forgive them the goat mounts, though.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:04PM (Unverified) said

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@Lenn
I love LOTR as much as anybody, and I found that I quite liked playing the Runekeeper. You can cast a little, and heal a little, a nice balance, and something you don't get very often, kind of a hybrid mage and cleric.

I think part of the reason why it never bothered me is that there are definitely magic runes in middle earth... like the Doors of Durin... I just had this feeling that, sure, a rock with a rune on it could be a magical item.

Most of us seem to understand the line between complete faithfulness, and fun.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:33PM Lenn said

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@(Unverified) I get what you're saying and I agree, up to a point.

The whole problem with magic in Middle-earth is that it doesn't really exist. Other than the wizards, Sauron and a few elves (Galadriel, Elrond) nobody really had any "magic" skills.

The problem lorists had with the runekeeper (and, to a lesser extent, the loremaster) was that now, all of a sudden, every Tom, Dick and Harry elf, dwarf or man could perform feats of magic.

As fun to play as runekeepers are, and as much as Turbine has managed to squeeze them into the lore, they were really an unnecessary addition.

By the way, I strongly suspect a lot of devs at Turbine weren't too happy about having to add a magic class either, which is why they tried so hard to make it at least seem "logical" within the confines of Tolkien's lore.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 3:35PM Sinystrad said

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The lore Nazi's that play Lotro get much more excited about the opportunity to complain than they do playing the game. I believe they scour every patch note in hopes of finding something to get their righteous nerd rage fix. Go walk into the shire, or spend some time in Mordor. Turbine brought LOTRO to life, they have done amazing with lore.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 3:46PM Lenn said

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@Sinystrad Godwin's Law is kicking in early. And Mordor? Do you even play the game?
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:00PM Oskari said

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@Sinystrad

Personally, I don't find it unreasonable for people who play Lord of the Rings Online to want the game to be, you know, faithful to the Lord of the Rings. If that's not your thing, there are plenty of other games with less established lore.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:17PM Sinystrad said

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@Lenn
@Oskari
I made a typo because I was rushing. I meant to say Moria. I am guessing, if you play, you know what I meant. I think some people go overboard and scour every patch note and immediately whine about lore it feels like they are hoping fore something to complain about. The game is amazing lore accuracy wise. IMO Turbine deserves some leeway if they need to break lore a little to make the game more playable because of this. The funny thing about the LOTRO lore Nazi’s, if you play, you are well aware that most of the time they are proven wrong. Turbine has some people working for them that are EXTREMELY well informed in regards to lore. Then when they are proven wrong the shout RUNEKEEPER….Give it a rest
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:39PM Lenn said

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@Sinystrad You know, it isn't so much the fact that you disagree with people who would like more lore-abiding in LotRO, but more the fact that you keep referring to them as Nazis.

And no, I am not a lore nazi. I have come to just enjoy LotRO for what it is, warts and all (lifetimer here). But at the same token, I love how some people are so emotionally attached to the IP and are so passionate about it, that they genuinely get upset when Turbine puts a coat rack in the wrong room in Bag End.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:50PM Oskari said

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@Sinystrad

Well I will admit I play on Landroval in a large kin (Sons of Numenor) and really haven't experienced the lore purists making too much ruckus. But that could be because I ignore most of the chat channels when they get too trollish.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:57PM Oskari said

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@Lenn

Agreed. "Nazi" is disrespectful.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 3:49PM Jef Reahard said

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o.O, now that's a blast from the Soapbox past.

In rereading my rant, it does come off as rather harsh, not just on LotRO but on all the games I mentioned. That said, I stand by it. Lore is a huge deal to me, especially when it comes to a property like LotR that I grew up with and have read more times than I can count.

I do agree that Turbine has done a passable job when compared to other MMO lore comedy acts, but the concessions to unimaginative design cliches offset all of the little things they got right. Tbh, if you're going to adapt something like LotR, getting little things right is the bare minimum that I expect, and you don't get brownie points for doing what you should have done anyway while simultaneously getting other very large things completely wrong (I'm talking less about the new dragon here and more about the things I mentioned in that old article).

So, yeah, agree to disagree on the "couple of examples" vs. the "vast majority of the game" argument. The couple of examples are rather huge and inescapable.

The main point of my piece wasn't an attack on LotRo as much as it was an indictment of modular MMO design as a whole (as well as the way that lore always bends the knee to these "fun" game mechanics). I guess we can crown Turbine the we-kind-of-stuck-to-the-lore-as-much-as-we-could champion, but to me that's about as appropriate as handing out trophies for second place. Middle-earth deserved better.

Anyhow, commence with the down-voting folks!

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:09PM Liltawen said

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For me it depends on where it is.
There were supposidly dragons in the Grey Mountains & the Iron Hills north of Mirkwood and not much, if anything, is known about the western White Mountains or Anfalas; but the Southern Misty's? Dragons should be rare and special, not just poping up here and there.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:15PM (Unverified) said

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I think the bigger problem with Turbine is that Middle-Earth Online was going to be so awesome and Lord of the Rings Online wasn't anything like it. Also, the graphics-style or aesthetics don't really fit Middle-Earth in my honest opinion. Middle-Earth is a dark, grueling and cruel place, and the graphics just seem way too cartoony to me.

Oh, well. It plays well, on a good engine and has decent content. Not my cup of tea, though.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:24PM Lenn said

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@(Unverified) For all we know, Middle-earth Online would have been cringeworthy. They were going to set it at the beginning of the Fourth Age. The sheer amount of lore-freedom that would have given would certainly have sent quite a few lorists even more around the bend.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 5:06PM Ardra Diva said

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@(Unverified)
You can't really say that about a game that never actually existed. LOTRO is brilliant.. it exists... still going strong after 4 years.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 6:24PM (Unverified) said

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@Ardra Diva OK, maybe it was the concepts that were appealing. I'm glad you like what LotRO has to offer. It just isn't something I'm willing to spend time playing or spend my money on anymore.
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Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:16PM pcgneurotic said

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Well I did start to write that I didn't understand, in the broad psychological sense, the need for a product to adhere to lore to make it enjoyable. Then I remembered how disappointed I was with STO's 'The universe went crazy! Black is white and up is down' approach. But where Cryptic saved their bacon was in offering such a broad spectrum of customisation options that you can play for hours in whichever Trek you like and not have the current 'Crazy Trek' be too intrusive outside of public areas.

In LoTRO's case, I've never had a problem with the lore handling. And yes, I am almost 40 and have read the books more times than I've had hot dinners, la la la. But Turbine's implementation is, as stated elsewhere, handled with a maximum of respect *overall*, so that the weird bits don't stand out too far. I think the only thing I took some getting used to was, yes, the Lore Master. But since I hate magic users anyway, eh. :D

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:34PM Ocho said

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It is for this reason that I love playing LotRO over most other MMO's. They do bend the lore, but they're far from breaking it. I love that, when coming into Bree, everyone is riding horses. All horses. There are no phoenixes and dragons, and flaming steeds, and magic carpets and eagles and brooms... just horses. Even though it's still fantasy, it just feels more mature.

Posted: Jul 22nd 2011 4:41PM Lenn said

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@Ocho I guess if you squint hard enough, those goats do look a little like disfigured ponies, yes. :)
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