Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Disadvantage of Purity

Since the release of the NDA, there has been quite a bit of talk regarding LoTR Online not catching "the feel" of Tolkien, or that the game was not staying true to lore by having magic. Rubbish...just pure rubbish.

I have addressed this before, but this type of narrow minded approach to how a game should be designed just drives me bonkers. Turbine has run into this before and very recently with DDO. DDO is as close to the PnP experience as you can get it...you guys who think its not, go design something better and report back when you're done. They stayed very pure to the license and look what happened. The game is really good, but falls short on content and it lacks a persistent world in which to travel. Everything is an instanced experience in which you can enjoy with a handful of friends and yet, nobody is really taking to it. Shame on us. When I last played D&D, waaaaay back in the 80's, our Dungeon Master brought us through dungeons...surprise!! On our trek to the dungeons, we'd have a random encounter or two, but the main point of us getting together was the dungeon itself. Turbine comes along, gives that pure D&D experience and you'd think that would be a hit...after all, they stayed pure to that D&D "feel". But noooo...you get the "well, its not pure enough", or the "what? no persistent world? /logoff /cancel account". Amazing.

Now we have LoTR Online and we have the same personality type...the "Rules People" as I like to call them. They cringe if we, heaven forbid, stray from the pure path that Tolkien set out for us. Well, Turbine gave you guys the pure implementation in DDO and you bit their heads off. So I'm really not surprised that they're giving the "Rules people" the finger this time...I would. They are doing their best to get the IP right and I saw it with each patch in the Beta.

So lets imagine for a second that we do a pure translation from book to game...no wiggle room...just book->game. Would the game be fun? Noooooo. Would it attract a lot of gamers to play it? Nooooo. Would non-gamers try it? Noooooo. We'd be sitting around the Shire as a Hobbit doing nothing but dancing and drinking. As a human I'd be in Bree cleaning up horse shit. As an Elf, I'd either be reading a book or crying (Elves cry quite a bit). I don't even want to think about what I'd do as a Dwarf. This would be the case because the whole series is based of on the struggles of only a handful of people...everyone else is either going about their daily lives or is being steamrolled by current events.

Magic in LoTR Online?!! OMG! Its the seventh sign...we're all going to die. Two little words:...who...cares. Why on earth would it make one smidgen of difference whether a character in a LoTR GAME can shoot fire balls? Really...in the grand scheme of things...does it really matter? How are you and the spirit of Tolkien somehow vexed if a player character has this ability? Do all of the LoTR novels spontaneously combust when a player does this? Does this somehow make baby Jesus cry is some way? You see...in an MMO GAME, there is this little thing called "fun" and for some reason most players have "fun" when shooting fireballs from their fingertips. When I play LoTR Online, I'm not thinking of the purity of Tolkien lore...I'm thinking, "hey, this game is fun. I think I'll stick around play some more". That's the feeling Turbine is shooting for from each player.

Can the game be better? Yes. Are there issues with its current state, i.e crafting, classes? Yes. Should I be concerned about the direction Turbine will take the IP. God Yes! But you purists out there...and I know that there are only 12 of you, need to either a) get out of gaming and stick to books, or b) get on board and enjoy the gaming medium for what its meant to be, i.e. fun, engaging and entertaining.

D out.

6 comments:

Presume said...

Preach on!

You nailed this one spot on!

Thank you!

mrrx said...

They really got on your nerves about that one didn't they ?

darrenl said...

Oh gawd yeah...but I feel muuuuch better now

:)

Saylah said...

I NEED magic in a game. No magic - no play. Personally, anyone who that a pure version of the lore would be implemented in this game is down right silly. This is a game. This is s-e-r-i-o-u-s business, also known as Turbine has to make money. Where do these pinheads come from? If they want a pure version get someone to put in on a console and they can cream...err pure themselves to death on it.

There has to be adventuring, excitment, killin and maimin, healing and yes, some form of magic. Go figure.

wilhelm2451 said...

The key here is to get the "it's not like the movie" grou into a fight with the "it's not like the books" group, and then wall them off and let everybody else run off and play.

I must admit an affinity for the "Book" faction, though I have mellowed with age.

Saylah said...

I love them both but small changes to make the story fight into the gaming genre isn't going to freak me out. I'm fine with the typical schema used for classes in RPGs so I'm not going to be offended by compromises. I mean - it's Tolkien but not the Bible. :-)