Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gwathnor

I recently helped out a kinmate with Book 6 Chapter 8 in Moria, and it reminded me of a small gripe I have about this game. The final boss is named Gwathnor, and before I say anything else take a look at the screenshot of him. He's the dude decked out in manly magenta in front of the inter-dimensional portal thing about to show all of those orcs what 2 gynormous blades carved with glowing runes can really do.

Anyway, this (to me) is a little too much of a departure from Tolkein than I would've liked. I'm fine with all of the hobbits and dwarves riding around in Lorien on goats with pirate hats and eyepatches. I'm fine (sort of) with the purple sparks and lightning bolts coming off of the axe at my hip. These are things that make the game accessible to all (ok maybe not the axe, but I'll touch on that in a minute). Do we really need this supra-ultra andriod/alien thing coming into Middle-Earth? Gandalf himself said that "there are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world." However, I don't think he was talking about anything this foul. Tolkein was never a proponent of what we would call "magic", i.e. fireballs and energy blasts coming from wizard's staffs. This is why he made the limits of Gandalf's powers lights and smokes (granted he could kill orcs with these things, but the fact remains that he never conjured anything more substantial than that).

I completely understand that Turbine needs money to operate, and they are just trying to cater to the occasional WoW convert. By the way, I'm not beating on WoW here. They are two totally different games with different play styles and estetical properties, but the fact remains the Warcraft universe is a bit more surreal, while the Tolkein world is more grounded in reality (as much so as you can get with magic rings and such). This sounds like I'm insulting WoW, but I'm not. Anyway, back to the money thing. If Turbine focuses on too narrow a player base, they'll lose people who are interested in the glowing weapons and alternative-dimensional monsters (not that there's anything wrong with that). Playing the devil's advocate here, so back to my opinion.

I personally wish all that kind of stuff would be taken out. Book 6, Chapter 8 is worse than most, with the mini black holes and final boss, but there are other things, like the grims (all through the game). With those I think they were going off of another ambiguous Tolkien passage, "...there many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs..." For me the grims are too real and solid (although I know they aren't actually solid) for this description.

As for the weapons, the only thing coming close to what's in LotRO was the elven blades glowing a faint blue when orcs were near at hand. In the Hobbit (which itself has a more fantastical touch to it) it is mentioned that the Gandalf's sword Glamdring "..was bright as blue flame for delight in the killing of the Great Lord of the Cave." That could be taken at it's most extreme as actually looking like it was on fire, but nothing on the scale that we've seen with the weapons in the game. Even then, Glamdring was an exceptional weapon, and from what I got from the story it would even be considered more exceptional than any weapon obtainable by a player in the game. Besides, lightning bolts? C'mon people.

Finally, this is coming from someone who didn't have to come up with the ideas and make the game, but it is coming from someone who pays $10 a month to play it. I'll obviously keep playing, because I love the game as a whole, and also this long rant makes it seem like I'm angrier than I really am, when I'm not even really angry at all. There are those who like this kind of stuff, and there's more than one of them, so logically Turbine should cater to them, not me.

6 comments:

  1. Hmmmmm, this worries me. I'll have to see how they explain it in the quest text and the like when I get to that chapter. Many times before I've gone, "okay, that's logical." But black holes and androids? Really? If that's the case, I completely object. Not to the point of not playing, but get too many of these things in more obvious places than Moria and I might just do that.

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  2. there's not explanation other than the elves suspect some ancient evil dwelling in moria and you have to go find it and kill it.

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  3. Leaving to one side the whole issue of LOTRO's possible drift towards a "typical", homogenised MMORPG, the foreign element I find most irritating in Moria are the outrageous Alien clones, complete with sinister glowing hatcheries, in the Foundations of Stone. Now that was both lazy and uncalled for...

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  4. I totally agree.
    And I, to some degree, also agree with the beefs people have with Rune-Keepers etc.
    But, you're right, they do have to spice things up occasionally to keep people coming back even if it is a little "blasphemous" and heck, I love my Runie :)

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