Reminder: You Are Not the Hero

The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ takes an unusual path with its epic storyline. You start out as the epic side-quest, running parallel to Bilbo and the gang around the time of the Prancing Pony. Villains appear there, and you chase them down for several books, like one of The Nine or the Witch-King’s servants who lead the attackers in that side-quest. That takes you about one-third of the way through, when the real story picks up. Now you are defending the homelands against the armies of Angmar (hence the name of Volume 1).

Through it all, you are reminded frequently that your PC is not the point of this story. This is not just the prologue for Volume 2, where you are sent to buy supplies for the company, or the frequent other errand and courier quests. More than that, the big end scene for many of the epic books involves stopping the action and having NPCs take over. A few times, you really do get to defeat the big enemy. Good for you! Often, not. Either there is no big end fight, or the NPC gets to finish it. Books I, II, VIII, XIII, and XIV all do this, and there may be more that I do not remember. The enemy gets to 5-10% hp, the fight stops, and the NPCs do their little play.

In one sense, the ending to Book XIV was fantastic. It gives a piece of lore that has been speculated upon, it theoretically changes the dynamic of the game world (despite the game world being utterly static), and it has a really great scene with the mount you all want. In another sense, it even takes camera control away from you. You are not just standing there watching a brief machinima, reading text, or seeing a cut scene. You lose camera control for several minutes as you stand there and watch the NPCs carry out their business.

Without you. Because you’re not important.

: Zubon

9 thoughts on “Reminder: You Are Not the Hero”

  1. That’s how I felt every time in WoW, when I picked up a piece of armor or weapon in an instance that not a single person in the group were even allowed to wear! “Oh, this must be equipment for the real heroes of this adventure. I’m sure they’ll be along in a minute. I’ll just tidy up until they get here.”

  2. :) personally I much prefer not being “the hero” because every other game has already done that to death, and if those games are so full of “heros” how come nothign ever changes? The “heros” must be pretty inept.. :P (either that or their powerful actions just get reset every few minutes)

  3. @Thallian
    Ok then…why play even. We know how the story ends, so you cannot affect any part of it.

    Personally I like the Guild Wars dynamic, where the cutscenes are all about YOU, and your actions DO affect the world for that character. (I like the fact I even talk, and “surprise”…my voice acting is TOP NOTCH…lol)

    I play games with heroes to be the hero…not the janitor who cleans up after the hero.

  4. :D well who says there only has to be one story, with a hero? You bring up a good point. I think you just misunderstand my intentions. I enjoy being a normal joe instead of a “hero” with main character powers. The invincible main characters, frodo and sam are off to do their thing, along with aragorn and the gang. Sure hanging out with them is ok and all but I enjoy writing my own stories and Lord of the Rings Online lets me do that with my friends in middle earth, though were just now going to be able to go to places that are really scary and interesting (other than the few dungeons in the game :))

  5. That’s a difference between a single-player RPG where you are playing The Hero who saves the world vs. being in a massively multiplayer RPG where we play A Hero, not The Hero.

    Guild Wars blurs the line for a bit with its story-based instanced missions and cut-scenes, where you and your group *are* the stars of the show. But once you return to town, it’s just like an MMO where everyone else has done that mission and everyone else has been “the star” of their own show.

    LOTRO is no different. It’s not a single-player game where we’re playing the role(s) of The Fellowship. We have our own stories which occasionally intersect with that of The Fellowship, so at least in those occasions it brings us more into the LOTR story than merely seeing the NPC’s scattered about the landscape with wasted potential (looking at you, SWG).

  6. @Scott
    A better point I think…to be “A” hero is cool also. I know the world is full of them, and there is no need to be “THE” hero.
    I just also do not want to feel like a nobody, and LOTRO made me feel like that.
    My main mission besides Bear and Boar extermination did not feel too Heroic is all. I helped but never had a chance to show my abilities.
    Having control taken away also like what happened to our OP is just …YUCK!
    But, LOTRO just irks me I guess. I hope MoM is so much better!

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