Shamus Plays

Shamus Plays: LOTRO, Part 1

Shamus Young | 20 Jan 2010 21:00
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Let's Play Lord of the Rings Online, the popular MMO based on one of the greatest and most influential works of fiction of the 20th century. As the guy who wrote the DM of the Rings webcomic, I have a history with this material. I think the books are a beautiful work of fiction and a celebration of language itself. I'm also one of those strange abusive fans who expresses his appreciation through satire and mockery, which is the fanboy equivalent of being a wife beater.

If you're curious what this series is all about, allow me to point you to my series on Champions Online, where I followed the adventures of superhero Star On Chest.

Here is how this is going to work: I'm going to play the game, and I'm going to drag you along with me, kicking and screaming. Text that looks like the paragraph you're reading now is in-character stuff. From now on when you see this kind of text it will be written from the point of view of my character. Roughly. If you're lucky.

And this is out-of-character. I'll use this when I want to comment on goofy gameplay mechanics, interface problems, or whatever else I think you'll put up with.

So... character creation time. I'm going to play as a female, because, hey - if I'm going to be staring at an ass for hundreds of hours, it might as well be...

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...shaped like a dumpling? Hey baby you got any fries to go with that bowl of yogurt?

I decided to play a Hobbit because:

1) Dwarves are too awesome.
2) Why play as human? You can do that in any game.
3) Everyone knows that Elves are tools.
4) It won't let me choose "Balrog".

Next I choose "Minstrel" as my character class.

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And now I just need to pick a name and we'll be good to go. The thing about LOTRO is that it is the most polite and mature MMO that has ever existed. Newcomers are usually disoriented by this. We're used to being welcomed into a new game with a duel request from some level 60 jerk named "IGankedUrMom". But in LOTRO people are polite, helpful, and pick lore-friendly names.

It's really weird.

What usually happens is that new people will enter the world with the usual dumb-ass MMO name like "MadKilla55", "AfroElf", or "Star On Chest". Then they see all of the appropriate names everyone else is using and they start to feel like the idiot who shows up at the prom in a dirty t-shirt. If you're too cool for Lord of the Rings, then why are you playing an MMO based on it?

So, I want to pick a good name for my lil' hero. Let's see, the character creation screen says that Hobbit women are named after flowers, and gems. Okay then. Just give me a minute here to try the name of each and every flower, only to find out that they're all taken. And then the name of every gem. And then the name of every flower, but sticking an extra "y" on the end. And then every gem...

Okay, I give up. Fifteen minutes is where I draw the line. There just aren't that many flowers and gems in the world that work as girl names, and I'm not all that keen on naming myself "Tourmaline" or "Orthoceras". It's obvious all the good ones were taken about five minutes after the game went into open beta.

Screw it. I type in:

"Lulzy"

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