Thursday, 7 February 2008

TITLES & HONOURS IN LOTRO

Multi-player games are, by definition, a social activity, and one of the main characteristics of any form of social interaction amongst humans is a gentle jockeying for and preoccupation with prestige. Prestige accumulates from your actions and the degree of influence, good or bad, you exert on your social group – but it is also determined by visual clues of all kinds, particularly of course in anything as dependent on vision as a computer game. The designers of LOTRO have cleverly pandered to players’ desire for prestige and one-upmanship with their system of titles, any one of which, once earned, can be publicly displayed to any other player who has activated the “Names” option – though they may have scored an own goal by creating far too many of them, and making many far too easy to get.

In any case, it’s always fun to see which titles get used in the game – some are perennial favourites, while others appear briefly and then fall out of fashion. There is of course an excess of trait-related titles which merely confirm that you have massacred hordes of this or that foe – enemy of this, foe of that, bane of another and slayer of a fourth. Not much glamour there...

Some of the best titles, confirmed by the fact that they remain perennial favourites, are among the most poetic; they include the fine if low-level Watcher of Roads (slay 30 brigands in Bree) and that source of much frustration, The Undying (survive undefeated to l.20). Some players cock snoot at the whole idea by choosing tongue-in-cheek titles such as Slug-Squasher, Fly-Swatter, Pie-Eating Champion or that excellent chicken-play title, Crosser of Roads.

For a long time, one of the most impressive titles for those in the know was A Light from the Shadows, which indicates that a player has completed Books 1-8, but you don’t see it very often any more; too complicated and unclear, perhaps. My own favourite is Warlord of Angmar – an example of precocious influence, perhaps, since I remember being both awed and puzzled as a humble l.21 by the sight of a l.50 kinsman in all his glory flaunting that title (how could a good guy end up being called that?). I’ve also got a soft spot for the enigmatic Hated by Zaudru (who he, and why does he hate you?). Currently, the coolest titles to swan around with are both associated with fell deeds deep in the Rift: respectively, Ruination of Thrang and Vanquisher of Thaurlach.

5 comments:

Mark H. said...

Don't forget the one-upmanship, in a world full of wildly proliferating titles, of not having a title at all - the implication being that you are so cool, a title is unecessary. Winston Churchill went to his grave as plain Mr., since what title could be more impressive than the name he made for himself?

Fodegar said...

The eating titles, like "Breakfast Connessiour","Carnivore" and such also tend to be popular. Especially amongst hobbits.....who would have guessed....;o)

Darzil said...

My favourite, though I don't have it myself, is "The Unwise". I believe it is obtained through eating a dodgy cheese in the Bree Rep Dungeon.

I must work towards "Breakfast Connoisseur" on one of my hobbits, too.

Jason said...

Yes indeed, "the unwise" is obtained by finding a 'barrow bree' in the rep dungeon. You don't have to eat it right away, you can just leave it in your pack.

I went back to Bree with my kin, gathered everyone around and munched it. Our healer tried valiantly to keep me alive but the shadow took me.

When I awoke, I was Natbowman the unwise

Current title: Hero of the Lost from Forochel

Kairos said...

I think that once you consume the Barrow Bree (brie?), you are doomed, and no amount of healing will help you...