Mostly True to Tolkien

It was the recreation of the siege of Minas Tirith with gummi bears that pointed out to me that Tolkien named everything. Monsters and swords, of course, but why not a battering ram? The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ plays this straight, with a constant string of named quest rewards. Fill your character with named rings, cloaks, bracelets, weapons, hats, gloves, and shoes. (Yes, every letter there is a link. I have plenty of alphabet to go.) I assume that most of the names are words from Tolkien’s made-up languages.

Make sure your item’s name has an international character or two. Your sword is weak if it lacks a diacritic.

At some point, you start to wonder about all this magic loot. Here we are in Middle Earth, with some five wizards on the planet, and we sell packs of magic weapons as vendor trash.

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Mostly True to Tolkien”

  1. The constant restriction of magic in the Lord of the Rings MMO is one of the reasons I think it wasn’t a bigger success. The spells and abilities for each class are horribly hamstrung by trying to stay true to the lore. At least an abundance of magic items allow some players a chance to actually have some fantasy in their fantasy MMO.

  2. That’s one thing I’ve never understood.
    Why does the common adventurer need to have access to magic for a game to be fantasy? In fact, the only real magic item the fellowship had before Lothlorien was the Ring (excepting Gandalf’s ring, but that was never used).

  3. I just reread the Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring and was amazed at all the magic that’s there. Pretty much every time they found a sword it was magic. But Tolkien just doesn’t describe it as glowing and huge. Everything the elves touch is magic, but they don’t think of it as such.

    They stumble on some ogres in the Hobbit and find two famous (named) swords. Bard’s arrow was named and passed down from generations, and seems to have some magic property. They fall into a barrow and find 4 magic swords, so powerful they could harm the WitchKing though most other weapons couldn’t. Even Boromir’s sword is described as being a lesser cousin of Narsil, not quite as powerful, but there are hints it’s not an ordinary sword.

    It seems in Middle Earth anything old is magic, but not described as being magical, glowing, etc.

    I think LOTRO captured that pretty well. They have actually really increased the magic since the beginning. Look at Loremaster and Minstrel spells and the flashy effects there that were not present a year ago. Even that almost seems “too much”, but they bend the lore when they have to. But putting fireballs and big aoe blasts would just be ridiculous since even Gandalf didn’t do that (maybe he could have but it wasn’t in any book I found).

    The only way to REALLY capture that feeling of the books would be to have no stats at all, but that would take a certain type of player to enjoy which might not be a big enough market.

    That’s one thing I don’t like about most Forgotten Realms books. Many authors will actually name the classes of the characters and spells and items. No mystery at all. That’s the ones I can stand reading.

  4. The LOTR lore could fit well into an MMO, but not a gear-focused MMO. The genre needs to evolve before a truly great LOTR game can be made.

  5. @Morvelaira, :) Gandalf did use his ring a number of times, one very notable one was when he worked with Elrond to summon horses of water in a raging torrent to wipe out the ringwraiths. Another time was when he fought the balrog and yet another when he fought the goblin king (see lightning) in the hobbit and pre-hobbit when he sought out Sauron(the necromancer) in the forest or Mirkwood. Also when he did special things with his fireworks in the shire and battled the ringwraiths on Weathertop and when he was fighting the wargs (gotta read the books to know about this) before they reached the “friendship” gate of Moria.

    I really like yunks point that the lord of the rings is full of magic but its not pulp fiction wow and final fantasy style with fatty weapons of glowiness +12 and ginormous fireballs and so on. In their defense they have added some very Tolkeinesque effects for teh lore master recently like the earthquake caused by a summoned ent and the lightning storm thingy that messes up my framerate.

  6. I understand the importance of lore and I think LOTR did a really good job creating a MMO interpretation of Tolkien’s books. But in general most MMOs are a product of D&D which was quite fond of giant fireballs and magic missles. Trying to move backwards into a less magic intensive universe is a good way to keep your game limited to a small niche of players. Luckily, there are enough Tolkien fans that the niche is quite large, ~150k I think

  7. The gummi siege is genius, hahahaha! Thanks for the laugh!

    “I’d like my Nobel Prize now.”

    LotRO does a great job sticking to the Lore. Turbine, as noted above, has done a number of improvements on most classes over the past year to make them more flashy. They’ve also added a lot of content in the “dead zones” which were present at launch (mid-30s, 40s) and at the “end game.”

    I’m looking forward to Moria!

  8. Yeah I forgot about Gandalf on top of Weathertop, that fight could be seen for miles. So I guess he did have fireballs/lightning blasts when he needed them. Of course Loremasters are not Myar sent down in human form like the 5.
    The final five?
    Wait a minute…

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