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The LotRO Experiment: Preparing to conquer the hurdles

When I decided to stop playing Aion until the US version launches, I found myself a little unsure of where to go in the meantime. Not to long ago, however, Ferrel from Epic Slant invited me to join his guild Sodality in LotRO if I decided to give it another shot. I’ve decided to take him up on his offer.

I had fun in the game the last time I played. The game was good fun, if not a little lacking in monster models, but that’s something I can deal with. What really brought down the experience for me was that the North Downs and Lonelands just seemed to last entirely too long. Not enough happened in them and the landscape itself was just a little too boring to keep me interested when other tantalizing games loomed just over the horizon. Adding into that a sense of separation from my kinship (I don’t know why, we just never clicked I guess) and you have a recipe for burn out.

I’m pretty sure I can avoid that from happening this time around. One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that persistence is one of my strong points. Things tend to seem easier after a couple of attempts. I made it most of the way through last time. Taking my last experiences with me, I should be able to tackle the hurdle and get to new lands that promise to be more interesting.

I’ve also decided to take another approach with my character. I’m somewhat of a pseudo-roleplayer. I don’t roleplay all the time but I like to have a sense that my character is a person, that he has a life and that whatever I’m putting through is an incredible experience for him. I like that connection.

In the days of MUDs, I used to really enjoy stepping into my character’s shoes, which were almost universally that of the villian. Yet, I’ve found that more and more difficult over the years. The experience has gotten a lot more shallow and, as a result, the amount of time I feel a connection with my character has decreased. I think Wolfshead explains the reasons for this best.

The more sensory data you provide to the player, the less the player has to “imagine” which results in less of a need to role-play. The quality of role-playing in a virtual world is inversely proportional to quality of information you give to the player.

People are lazy and always choose the path of least resistance. That’s how we are wired. Give them 3D graphics complete with surround sound and you create an environment where there is nothing left to the imagination.

Still, I don’t take this as a rule. More, I think modern MMOs simply require more effort of the player if they want a genuine RP experience.

Now, I’d like to make something clear because there’s a lot of RP haters out there. When I say that I enjoy an RP connection with my character, I don’t mean talking in any certain way. I don’t mean speaking to every other person as if we were knee deep in the Shire. What I mean is that I like to experience that essence of a virtual world over just an RPG. For me, what it takes to to get into that place is to first feel like I have a place in that world, which can only be accomplished by having a character that’s more than just an animated picture.

Again, Wolfshead expresses it better than I’m able.

When players decide to RP they are fully investing in their virtual world. Instead of being passing strangers they become part of the world. They truly belong.

Fully investing oneself into a virtual world means that a player has suspended their disbelief with abandon. The more a player RP’s in a world, the more they and other players get out of that world.

It’s hard to get to that place, however, when, as he says, it’s so easy to slip into laziness and leave your imagination at the door. To help me, I’ve written up a brief template for my character.

I’m going to leave you today with that template. It’s rough, written quickly and openly so I can expand upon it if I need to. Really, it’s meant to give me an impression of who this little Hobbit it, I’ve created. Hopefully, it will help me on my way and maybe help some others of you who’ve never considered RP before. This is the first post in the “Lotro Experiment” where I try to play through my character’s shoes exclusively, as much as I can, from start to finish. Wish me luck on this second trek into Middle-Earth.

Syeric Lightfoot

Homeland:

The Shire

Personality:

Introverted and somewhat quiet. He wants to be accepted but finds it hard to relate to other people. In his youth, his friends thought he was strange for his shyness and so picked on him, furthering his introversion.

Syeric invests himself fully in his hobbies as a means of coping with an inner loneliness.

He is not opposed to speaking to other people as he has learned it is a necessity of life. He is, however, untrusting and prefers the solitude of nature.

Family Background:

Father was a poor carpenter, since he wasn’t very good. His mother had died in childbirth. Most of the food they ate was from the garden but his father would occassionally trap small animals to stew. He tried to hunt on occassion but both despised and failed at shooting a bow and arrow. So, before long, the bow was left in the linen closet, to gather dust.

As an outcast from the other children his age, Syeric picked up the bow and, to his father’s dismay, would practice target shooting in the back yard. The neighbors thought him strange, yet he continued and focused his energies on mastering the skill.

Reason for Leaving Home:

After his father’s death, Syeric decided that there was nothing left in the Shire for him. He was not accepted and never what his neighbors would consider “normal” so he felt no qualms about leaving home, unsure of where he would go but knowing that, at very least, he might begin anew in Bree.

Greatest Fear:

Spiders

Greatest Love:

A sunlit, green, wood.

Important Points:

At his core, he *is* a normal person and just wants companionship

He finds it easier to open up to others after a few drinks, as some of his natural defenses have been lowered

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