I got my snark out of the way. Before I continue, let’s rewind a little bit to the Volume 3, Book 1 Prologue. The Oath of the Rangers starts off with a journey to Rivendell, where I eventually met with Lord Elrond to discuss a letter sent by Lady Galadriel regarding Aragorn’s need for the Rangers. I knew going into this epic quest line that it was going to be a lighter Book entailing traveling about all the old zones. To expand on the content, I was sure that I would be waylaid by tasks as I talked to each Ranger. My hopes were not very high for a meaningful story or new lore, at least, until I got to the new Skirmish set in the Rift.
In the Prologue, Turbine blew me away. They created a kind of montage where Elrond walked with me around his library discussing the whereabouts of the eight Rangers I was to rally. Every few steps Elrond would discuss the whereabouts, demeanor, or skills of the Ranger, and the Ranger would pop into view as if my character was visualising the man we were discussing. I could picture the essence of each zone as Elrond talked. Lothrandir would be just out of the cold wind watching the icy landscape below while northern lights gave color to the snow, and Calenglad would be looking out at the great lake Evendim on a starry night as far off chantings of the broken Angmarim floated from the ruins across the water. The team/person that thought up this scene should be congratulated for far surpassing what could have been a simple laundry list of Rangers to collect.
After a few more NPC waypoints in Chapter 1, I found the cave with Radanir. While there is pointed jest in my recreated scene where I met with Radanir, my paraphrased dialogue is not very far from the truth. Radanir gave absolutely no explanation as to why I should go kill the orcs without him. Now, the Chapter would’ve been better done as a solo instance fighting alongside Radanir than a shared cave where little hobbit minstrels can scare the poop out of me by running up behind me and yelling. But, I can accept that less development time was available to this small Chapter than, to say, the Skirmish.
However, I feel that the quest text writer completely ignored the player, instead assuming that the player would be happy to do whatever the Ranger wanted. I feel that if any attempt was made to explain the complacency of the Ranger, it would have been acceptable. The next quest with Candaith, asks the player to retrieve a hidden cache of items while Candaith breaks down his camp. While still a little trope-like, for gameplay and story reasons it seems acceptable.
Unlike the majority of players, I read every snippet of quest text in the MMOs I play. Not only do I find it interesting, but I feel that if someone actually spent the time to write it there must have been a reason. For example, the quest text writer for Radanir does get redemption points for bringing up the attack on Celebrian, Elrond’s wife, who was severely wounded by a similar orc party. I have to quibble though because she was not “lost” to the orcs. She was captured, irreparably wounded, and freed by her sons from captivity. Celebrian then went to the Grey Havens and sailed to the West.
Anyway, I am not sure what rollercoaster ride of quality in the story will bring as I move forward. I am still looking forward to the story and lore around the Rift Skirmish. For the most part, Turbine’s text and use of lore is of a very high quality, and I hope this one blip can be polished over.
I am the author who scratches these rhymes