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Role Playing (Games) Lord of the Rings Media Movies

The Call On Lord of the Rings Online 64

Posted by Zonk
from the a-wizard-is-never-late-frodo-baggins dept.
The Beta has been going on for some time now, and for all intents and purposes Lord of the Rings Online has launched. Pre-order players will be able to move their characters to the live game when the title officially lights up on April 24th, and commentators on Massively Multiplayer games have weighed in. Their opinion, generally, is unanimous: buy it. Tobold contributes a full-on review, as does CVG. AFK Gamer doesn't go in for such long-form opinions, but he still has a lot to say. Specifically, Foton comments on the good, the okay, and the bad, as well as a few words on the game's (somewhat out of the ordinary) classes. "[The game is] deep and broad. An MMOG, any MMOG, with its premium box price and its premium subscription prices, needs to offer more activities than: you can kill stuff, and, umm, you can kill other players, and umm, you could check the auctions/trade channel. There's many ways to screw around in this MMOG: Deeds, accomplishments, exploration (easy to outrun higher level mobs), titles, player-made music, engaging quest text, a solid start to the crafting system, MONSTER PLAY!!! There's probably more, but that's all I've tried so far."
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The Call On Lord of the Rings Online

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  • by Organic Brain Damage (863655) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:57PM (#18817047)
    I've been playing my way through game content since 1974. Here's what the dungeon games all resolve down to:

    for (iLevel = 1; iLevel iMaxLevelAllowed; iLevel++)
    {
            currentMonsters.hitPoints = X * iLevel;
            currentMonsters.attackStrength = Y * iLevel;
            currentMonsters.graphics = GetMonsterGraphics(iLevel);

            currentTreasures.value = Z * iLevel;
    }

    And we players crank through the iLevel loop and get bored about the third or fourth time through. It's been this way since D&D was played only on paper with dice. Even with EQ2 and WoW it's still basically the same.

    Why?

    Two reasons. First, because there are far more players than content producers. And because computers are good at looping. So, the content producers, in a natural attempt to provide more play-time given a limited amount of content production resource use looping and repetition...this is why player's grind.

    What does this have to do with LOTR MMO? Not much, except it's still going to, ultimately, be a boring grind.

    To get past the boredom, we need an open RPG game where people are encouraged to produce content for other players. Maybe 2nd life fits that criteria. I dunno because 2nd Life doesn't have monsters and spells and wizards, so I've got no interest in it.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:42PM (#18818375)
    I think the real problem Lord of the Rings Online is facing is due to the very nature of it's theme. Of course we've seen this all before, because nearly every single freaking fantasy-based RPG developed over the last few decades draws on the world Tolkien crafted. Compounding the problem is the fact that the gameplay mechanics of most of these RPGs is based on Dungeons and Dragons, or at least the closest approximation we can get with an automated system.

    The fact is that the grind is the draw. It's a form on conditioning. Perform set actions repetitively to bring about a positive outcome, in this case character growth. This allows new areas, new equipment and new foes to be revealed. That in turn promotes further growth which brings about additional content. It's satisfying to see a character hit that next level. And when it comes down to it real live involves a lot of repetition so it's inevitable that the sort of game that gets closest to emulation life, in some regards anyway, would also involve a lot of that repetition. Some games simple manage to package it more nicely than others. The grind is obscured in a way that makes gameplay enjoyable.

    So I don't see that as the major issue here. The problem I have with LOTR Online is that it's yet another fantasy game. It may be one of the originals, but at this point that's irrelevant. I've heard good things about it, but it just doesn't strike me as interesting. Inevitably it comes off as yet another World of Warcraft.

    Other genres have been long overdo. The problem is that the ones that have appeared have generally been lackluster or a bit too esoteric to make the sort of impact World of Warcraft has.

    LOTR Online may have an edge over WoW in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, WoW is just too dominant to be so easily unseated from its position as number one. LOTR Online needs to offer something truly phenomenal and distinct beyond it's source material. Of course, this may be just the thing those bored with WoW are looking for. But if people are tired with WoW they might be tired of the fantasy genre in general, going back to my point above.
  • by MsGeek (162936) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:03PM (#18818637) Homepage Journal
    Dude, you don't wanna know.

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