If it quacks like a duck then it must be a duck – or so the old adage claims. But that isn’t always the case.
Welcome to the “Quack like a duck” issue (part 1).
Our first pseudo duck is not a duck at all, but more like a pig in a dress. Many in the gaming community (and mind you this is only hearsay) seem to feel that a game with an established intellectual property (IP) already has a built in fan base, and therefore a leg up on games who create their own lore/IP. But that isn’t always the case. An established IP can be a sword of Damocles as much as a double edged sword – the better known the IP, the worse the problems. Try discussing the presence of female dwarves with any devout Lord of the Rings (Lotro) player and chances are you will soon find yourself in the midst of a shouting match. As long time Lotro fans know, after many months of going to loggerheads over the issue, Turbine finally “compromised” by allowing players with Dwarven characters to wear dresses – giving rise to the occasional, and perplexing, sight of a stout dwarf in a tight dress and full beard walking through the streets of Bree. This is also why players in Lotro don’t die, but merely “lose morale” and retreat, since, of course, only Gandalf managed to return from the dead in Lord of the Rings. This same double edged sword is also the impetus behind the many, many missives Turbine has received concerning Rune Keepers from players who are distraught because there are ”mages” in Lord of the Rings (and supposedly there aren’t supposed to be).
In fact it is this same “pig in a dress” that came to mind when I read the quote of the day (or perhaps quote of the day number one) over at Bio Break :
“Turbine has had to balance creating an innovative and entertaining game with a lore beloved by many. They’ve had to balance creating a story that make you feel part of Tolkien’s epic quest, with classes that appeal to players, and with game play that is entertaining. I think that what these Lore Lawyers need to understand is that if Turbine stayed true to the ‘Tolkien Lore’ this game would probably be very boring.”
~ Alberos, Irritated by Lore Lawyers
Normally this quote might have only received a passing notice from me as I perused the morning news feed, which always makes a stop for the Bio Break (but not necessarily a bio break). The catalyst for the notice I gave the quote was that it was an issue which arose on No Prisoners, No Mercy show 61, which was published yesterday afternoon.
Now I will have to admit, that before I read “Irritated by Lore Lawyers” I had never even considered whether or not Chuck Norris could solo a Nazgul (perhaps because I never frequent the looking for fellowship channel that apparently maintains he can). Let me state at the outset, however, that I agree completely with Alberos’ statement above. What is more, it is a challenge that apparently Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of Lord of the Rings Online for Turbine, agrees with as well:
“In general, working with any IP [intellectual property] and working with this kind of lore is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, sure there were certain things we can’t do. But it also gives us a lot of context that we didn’t have to create ourselves… On top of that, working with Tolkien Enterprises has been great because they also have given us a lot of flexibility. I mean they get that we’re building a game, they get that we’re building out an entire world and that we’re going to be creating places that weren’t described and we’re going to be going places that weren’t described and we’re going to be going to very important places that were only described in moderate detail.” – Jeffrey Steefel
On an interesting side note, it appears that now that Warner Brothers has acquired Turbine, there is a new rank in the rank and file. According to Business Wire Turbine will now be reporting to the new Senior Vice President of Online Games and Digital Platforms, Jeff Junge.
As often as we here at No Prisoners, No Mercy have said “hell hath no fury like a gamer whose game has been scorned” few games have such stalwart defenders as Lord of the Rings Online (Eve Online would probably exceed that reputation however). So it is no surprise that the return of our Good Nun/Bad Nun feature engendered a few remarks, one of which was a missive from Ravious over at Kill Ten Rats:
“Anyway, my “rage” has subsided, but I was pretty disappointed with the latest podcast. When I read the notes on my iPod, I was excited you guys were going to talk about LOTRO, which you never do… and it turned in to a bash fest” – Ravious, Kill Ten Rats, in reaction to No Prisoners, No Mercy show 61
So it appears that it is time for round two. As we here at NPNM try to attempt the herculean feat of working around five separate schedules, we will leave you pondering whether the next quacking pig really is a duck or not.
See you online,