Hawley the LostAugust 28, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Posted in LotRO, Moria | Leave a comment
Tags: azhara, exploring, game design, LotRO, lucky finds, mines of moria, Moria, stopping to admire the view, the waterworks
The other night, whilst mooching my way around Moria, I was presented with this view:
Now, I may complain about having got lost in Moria the moment I entered, and remaining lost ever since, but this was one of those moments in gaming that I love.
I’m not really an explorer. A old and very dear friend of mine would take a sub-level 10 gnome rogue exploring in the original Everquest (back when it was cool, y’know) and see what sights he could see with it. The answer? Quite a surprising amount. We used to get the screenshots as “Wish-you-were-here” postcards. Sometimes he’d buzz level 60 raids as they were about to go into a raid area. Genius. If there was an opportunity for online special forces, he’d have been in there.
I, on the other hand, am an inadvertent explorer. I just don’t feel the urge to go and hunt out the dark and remote corners of a map. Being some sort of awful achievist, they’re just not exciting enough when compared to smacking something royally about the head. I know, I’m a healing thug.
Having said that, I just love that moment. That moment when you see a view, and something about the artwork and artistry involved in creating that view *just clicks*, and I get to gaze in awe and wonder at it.
I had been looking for a quest target, but suddenly I had to investigate the shiny thing more. So all thoughts of questing aside, I went to explore. And promptly got a better view:
Fabulous. Who’d have thought that Moria, with all its dark faceless caves and dour, stentorian halls could have something so… blue. And it’s not just the colour palette, but the sheer conceptual bravado: A Waterworks. No, *The* Waterworks. Of course somewhere the size of Moria would have plumbing, but done in the style of the finest builders and engineers in Middle Earth. And it is the sheer size and scope of The Waterworks that really hammered that belief home. Only a race born to build would even conceive of such a place on such a grand scale.
Much as I love the look of many of the zones in World of Warcraft (apart from Azshara. Hates you, Azshara!), one of the things about Lord of the Rings Online that makes it special is the thought that this version of Middle Earth could, just could, exist in the real world.
And one of the things I really like about The Waterworks is that it could, just could, exist in the real world too. So what did I do? Well, I went in there, and found stuff to smack about the head repeatedly. Fabulous!
Games designers are all too often far too anonymous. I however, would like to send a thank you to the person or persons behind the creation of The Waterworks. For a surprisingly long time, you made a jaded gamer see something wonderful, rather than just another place to go and collect xp.