Shamus Plays LOTRO: Part 5

By Shamus
on Feb 17, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Never has losing a battle and seeing a village sacked been so much… “fun”.

I’m still not decided on just how long I want to run this series. The content under level ten is good (for my purposes) as is some content approaching level 20. But there’s a gap in the middle where the material is either too dry or just not good comic fodder. (Or the jokes would simply be too similar to material I’ve done already.) I should probably play through the mid-teens stuff a bit more before I decide.

(And yes, these should probably be filed under “Let’s play”, but that would make a mess for people in the archives. Spoiler Warning is twice weekly, and that content is actually on this site. So someone paging through the archives would find that every third post would just be a link to a series unrelated to the one they’ve been watching.)

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20A natural twenty.

From the Archives:

  1. ngthagg says:

    Eogan’s trip through the fire is even more funny considering that it was an impenetrable barrier to you just a couple of minutes earlier.

  2. NotYetMeasured says:

    Another good one. I hope you’ll keep it going, Shamus!

    The three starter zones can each take you past level 12 now, I think, but grabbing the highlights of each could be tough for narrative flow. I think I know what you mean about the material gap, too. Some places are barely worth visiting from a gameplay perspective but are interesting in terms of a comparison to the source material (*cough* Old Forest).

    I’m looking forward to more adventures for Lulzy.

  3. Patrick says:

    Always lovely, Shamus.

    Ed: When these come up, they are always the highlight of my day. Although says more about my day than the column, I guess.

  4. krellen says:

    As I recall, doesn’t Eogan come up in the Man half of the Hobbit/Man starter area, and Hobbits are dropped with this revelation from out of the blue? Or have they finally fixed that little plot hole?

    • Shamus says:

      My hazy memory tells me:

      When you face the Nazgul for the first time, the ruffians are talking about Eogan just before they notice you.

      • krellen says:

        It has been two years since I played LOTRO, so they could have fixed that in that time. A small addition like that would make sense.

        I do remember as a definite fact, however, that Eogan used to come out of nowhere in the Hobbit start.

        The Elf/Dwarf start had a similar problem, though it’s not quite as bad.

  5. Nathan says:

    Using Final Fantasy as some kind of benchmark for terrible storytelling in an offhand remark isn’t going to win you a lot of respect… If nothing else, it really makes you sound like a PC gaming/western RPG elitist.

    • Shamus says:

      What? I’ve read the original post and the previous comments. I see nothing about FF.

      • Daniel says:

        I think he means on the last page of the linked article, where you say “[T]his ‘bad guy faked his own death and then walked away during a cutscene’ crap works in a Final Fantasy game, but this sort of cheesy plot hack feels completely out of place in Lord of the Rings.”

        I honestly didn’t have any problem with that crack, but then “PC gaming/western RPG elitist” wouldn’t be that unfair of a way to describe me either.

        • Shamus says:

          Ah. Thanks for clearing that up, Daniel. It’s been over a week since I wrote the play-though for this week and I’d forgotten about that.

          Ah well. I stand by it. It IS a cheesy plot hack, and it DOES work in FF games. It’s more a comment on the different styles of the two than “this one is better”.

          It’s the difference between Fifth Element (Final Fantasy) and 2001. (LOTR) Both are good, but one has a far more serious tone and a lot less room for plot-bending shenanigans.

    • houser2112 says:

      Well, it wins respect for him from me, because I AM a PC gaming/western RPG elitist. :)

    • Joshua says:

      Yeah, the part where Eogan gets up from apparent death, taunts the PCs and runs away without anyone stopping him is straight Kefka from Final Fantasy VI.

      • Nathan says:

        That is exactly what I thought it was referring to. The problem with the comparison is that Kefka’s escapes are always perfectly justified in the game itself, since Kefka is both far more powerful than he lets on, tends to trick people into fighting illusionary versions of himself, and almost always has a crew of soldiers move in to distract the heroes when he needs to escape. Not to mention he seems to simply be a fast runner (since he can simply outrun the heroes when they do chase him). Comparing what Kefka does to the blatantly stupid “guy I just defeated just stands up and runs through a fire” sequence in Lord of the Rings Online is rather unjustified, in my opinion.

        Besides, we are talking about the Final Fantasy series, which built the entire world and story of Final Fantasy 10 around a unique and fascinating premise that allows them to explain why you keep fighting Seymour over and over even though you flat out kill him the first time you fight him. The series has much better writing and story than it is getting credit for here.

        • Joshua says:

          Sorry, I’m going to have to disagree. I really liked Final Fantasy VI when it came out while I was in high school. I got it again for the Game Boy Advance a year or two ago, and thought the story was pretty juvenile, although I’ll admit that the gameplay was pretty groundbreaking for its time.

          However, both times I played I was just pretty much annoyed with Kefka and the complete plot protection that he receives. I’ll disagree that his “escapes are perfectly justified”. There are a lot of times you just plain let him run away. One time, you smack him around a few times and he just says something like “time to flee” and then runs away again. The worst example is when Celes backstabs him on the floating continent- he just gets up and does his evil villainy anyways, while your characters just stand around acting useless.

    • Burning says:

      Le shrug. I prefer JRPGs to western RPGs, and Final Fantasy is my favorite JRPG series. I didn’t find the remark insulting, nor did I read it as being a slam on all the writing in the FF games.

      It’s just a plain fact that FF pulls the “fight the same boss over and over” card in a lot of the games in the series. And they do make it work fairly well. It fits the tone of those games. It doesn’t really fit in Lord of the Rings.

  6. Nick L says:

    I’ve got to say, Shamus, “Shamus Plays” might be my favorite feature on the Escapist.

    Bravo, bravo.

  7. Andrew B says:

    The end of the Epic quest line, book 1 might seem a logical stopping point if you need one.

  8. RTBones says:

    I remember when I played through the free trial. When Eogan got up, gave his speech and ran through the fire, my reaction was, “Huh? What just happened here? I just got done laying the smackdown on this dude and now he’s up and about again?!”

    Looking forward to you roaming around the game outside the starter area. Go Lulzy!

  9. am waiting for you to take on Star Trek Online, Shamus :) Its teh first non-WoW MMORPG Ive had genuine interest in. And I only started WoW because of you in the first place!

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