Click for more images
BlueJeans07 writes: After seeing reports on TORn, I HAD to try to track down the new Lord of the Rings MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and give it a whirl to see if it’s something I’ll eventually invest in. However, since I didn’t know what company was creating the game, I had an interesting time finding, only to discover it on pure chance when I was walking to join the three hour line for the new Legend of Zelda game. After three hours had passed and I had the Zelda experience, I hurried back to the Turbine booth to try out a demo of the MMOG.
The booth was sectioned off like a cubical and a large poster advertising the game was stuck on a clear window. There were sections of the booth divided for information or for a demonstration of the different games including LOTR, and the new Dungeons and Dragons MMOG. Turbine is company that is completely devoted to producing MMOGs and that’s how they got the recognition to create the LOTR MMOG based on the movies.
When I asked if there was a playable trial, a worker of the booth informed me there wasn’t but he could show me a demo. He created a new character and named him after myself, choosing to play as a human although the player could choose to play as an elf, a dwarf, or as a hobbit. Humans are supposed to be the ‘noob’ characters who someone chooses if they had never played an MMOG before.
The first thing to begin is a trial mission where player learns how to use the controls before setting off into the rest of the world. The trial mission for the human begins when he wakes up inside a cell but is soon set free by a ranger named Andlum. Andlum asks you to find Celadine Brandybuck who was captured by brigands but is supposed to be in the general area. After the human finds Celadine, he had to escape with her with her creating a distraction by lighting a building on fire. After they discover the death of Andlum, Celadine returns the Buckland and the human goes into a town.
The human had overheard the brigands’ plans to sack the town so he immediately tells the captain of the soldiers and is given a mission to help protect it from the brigands’ attack. The player is given a full suit of chain mail, sword, shield and a few other things that will prove useful. The scene changes and it becomes sunset as the human discovers he is too late to save the town. Giant spiders are killing the soldiers, the town is on fire, the brigands are running around rampant and the player must try to restore peace. At that point, the player is supposed to team up with other players to form a plan and put the different fires out. A few players are supposed to try to grab buckets and drag it to the fire to put it out but it’s an incredibly vulnerable position since they can’t defend themselves.
The demo unfortunately had to end there since the Expo was being closed down and the floor was being cleared but I got some great information on the game. At first, the entire game is set in Eriador which includes the Shire, Rivendell, Bree, Fornost and more. Gondor, Arnor, Rohan and other parts of Middle Earth will be available to play later in expansion packs. The entire game takes place during the quest and the player will occasionally see the members of the Fellowship during the quest but will not be allowed to join in or create any kind of difference. The player will also be allowed to take part in the battles such as Helms’ Deep and Pelennor Fields, but basically the player has to form a fellowship with other players and search for missions such as saving a hobbit village or purifying an Elven settlement. The game is also mostly based on the movies, but other characters from the books will be wandering around such as Tom Bombadill.
The interface and the graphics looked great as well. It is a very beautiful game to watch especially in terms of environment. The sunset animation was very well done in rich colors that don’t overwhelm the screen. Interface design was very well thought out, mostly taking up the bottom left hand corner and expanding across the bottom of the screen when the player chooses different options.
The only argument I would really have against this game is that it’s only available for PC! Being a Mac user prevents me from being able to actually play the game when it comes out in 2006. But I would definitely recommend trying out the game especially for Tolkien fans because Turbine is working directly with Tolkien Enterprises to make the game accurate and expand Middle Earth to make the world more interactive and more available to explore.