Sunday, January 22, 2012

WHILE PLAYING IN MIDDLE EARTH...



Almost immediately, fans of other CRPG blogs will probably want to have my head, since those other blogs focus mostly on older CRPGs. Worse yet, I've made my first topic about an MMORPG, which a lot of folks will complain isn't really a pure CRPG.

Well, it's okay if this sort of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea. Most of my blog posts will not be about MMORPGs, but I felt this one in particular merited some mention. The game I'm currently playing is Lord of the Rings Online, and I've been a regular player there for about a year and a half.



What I love about the game is pretty symbolic of what I love about really good CRPGs, which is why I felt it was important to mention. It has all the same elements of a really great CRPG under it's belt, and it doesn't hurt that it's free-to-play with a model that allows you to pay if you want to, but still play without paying a cent if that's the kind of thing you want to do. As for myself, I've put a couple of hundred dollars into the game and I don't think it's been wasted given the hours of enjoyment it's given both me and my wife.

So, what makes Lord of the Rings Online similar to a really good CRPG? Let's look at some of the elements:

Great Storyline:
The most important thing for a CRPG to have is a really good storyline. I think most folks would agree with that. While some older games lacked in storyline, their implied storylines made them a lot of fun, even if it was something simple like "go and kill the evil wizard."

What Lord of the Rings Online has is a ton of great storylines, all in keeping with the lore of the original books. If you've never played an MMORPG, you probably are under the impression that there's no storyline underneath it all to keep a player hooked...just a bunch of fetch quests and endless grinding. In reality, this MMORPG focuses more on the story and less on the grinding. I've always been pretty happy with how quickly the game moves me from point A to point B without needing me to kill 300 of one thing to fulfill some quota.



Tons of Quests:
Another good element of CRPGs is the number of quests that a player can become involved in. I'm happy to say that Lord of the Rings Online has hundreds and hundreds of quests...possibly even thousands. There are so many quests that I have yet to see them all. The best part is that the majority of them are completely optional, so you can pick and choose which quests you want to take and which you want to skip.



Open World Exploration:
We all love to explore. I think one of the things that keeps me playing CRPGs versus First-Person Shooters is that you frequently have the freedom to explore a lot of different areas at your leisure. In this case, the world of Middle Earth is so vast, I have yet to see it all. But, when I first started playing, I spent most of the first week just exploring areas and looking at things (the visuals are quite stunning). My wife and I still head into new areas we haven't been to just to see what they look like (even if it means we might get killed along the way).



Everything Else:
The three elements listed above are probably the most important things when it comes to CRPG play, in my opinion. Others might have different opinions, and that's okay...it's a big enough world for us to all come to the table with our own outlook on things.

These three things are more important than other elements, like great visuals or hardcore stats. While I love games with both of these, I still love some games that are easy to play and have terrible graphics. They aren't essential to me.

My favorite CRPGs of all time, the Gold-Box games (like "Pool of Radiance") have all three of the same elements I just attributed to Lord of the Rings Online. And that is why I wanted to start off my blog mentioning this MMORPG. It won't be what I normally talk about, but it is something I love to do. Besides, I wanted to set a different tone than some of the other CRPG blogs by showing that I'm not afraid to mix old-school with the new breed of CRPGs once in a while.

If you stick with me, you'll find that I will talk about a lot of different things. But, the variety is what will make it fun.


1 comment:

  1. Hi, TEG. I'll have to bookmark this blog, but just want to mention that LotRO is one of the games I enjoy also. As you point out, the payment system lets you choose when to pay and how much. Better than a fixed amount per month that if you stop paying you can't get back in the game.

    It also runs very nicely on Linux (via wine), another reason I like it.

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