Tuesday, 20 May 2008


For me, one of the most important aspects of LOTRO is the epic story line. It's one of the things that make LOTRO different from other MMORPGs - a developing plot in which players have an active role, giving them a real sense that the game world they are immersed in is dynamic rather than static. Of course, some books are better than others. Book 13 proved disappointing, as it mostly reduced the player to a hapless gofer: "Gofer this, now gofer that, then come back all the way round the bay and back here so that I can ask you to gofer something else that I forgot to mention the first time round...". In the main, however, the epic story line has produced some of the best moments in the game.

Problem is, I can't remember the half of it. I know, I could go through the completed epic quests one by one in the quest window and reconstruct the whole thing, but that would be really tedious, and wouldn't produce anything like a coherent narrative. I think the developers have missed an opportunity here. Why not have a book among your possessions which would include, chapter by chapter, a complete record of the epic plot line to date? In time, the chapters would become the chronicle of an alternate History of the War of the Ring, one running parallel to that of Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, whose protagonist would be the player.

It would be easy enough to implement - for one thing, except for the very early sections, the chronicle would be the same for everybody - and a hardly noticeable drain on server memory. Lots of of CRPGs have a variant of the system, with the best by far being that used by the last two volumes of the "Elder Scrolls". Check it out, please, devs.

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