Iconic Distraction January 29, 2009Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Design.
As I said previously, Lord of the Rings Online sure is nice. Nice.
Turbine has used its time well and has smoothed down many of the rough spots that bothered me in the early days of the game. Of the five things I was complaining about back in May 2007, a couple have been addressed, the combat mechanics one being the key item for me.
Still, all is not perfection. There are still things that get in the way of me immersing myself in the game.
One of those things is the icon art.
People have been complaining about the icons from day one, and with good reason; the icons in LOTRO just are not up to the standards of the industry.
But even beyond their inadequate size and indistinct appearance, there is the whole matter of the messages they convey.
With each of my characters, there are icons that I find distracting from the game, but my champion has far and away the most. Here is the quick bar for my Champion:
And here is what goes through my mind almost every time I look at some of these icons:
1 – Pull lever to dispense product
2 – Shout like Kenneth Branagh in Henry V
4 – Keep arm straight on back swing when teeing off
5 – Shout like Mel Gibson in Braveheart
6 – Start “None shall pass” black knight routine from Holy Grail (or the “Go cut the rabbit’s head off” scene)
7 – Stand back, let others fight
8 – Deploy Tesla Coil
9 – Use cleaver… but I don’t HAVE a cleaver
0 – Build fence and/or OCD weapon arranging
- – That scene from Flashdance
C+1 – How Moe Howard cuts his hair
C+2 – Britney gets pissed
C+3 – Drop weapons on the ground
C+4 – Admire Sir Robin’s shield really close up
C+5 – Impale with comically over-sized sword
C+6 – Punch Amy Tan
Seriously, while I sort of know what most of these buttons do, I have to look at the tool tip to remind myself of the specifics of each of them.
And while I will be the first to admit that my brain is… well… perhaps wired a little bit different… I do not have this problem in World of Warcraft or EverQuest II or even Warhammer Online.
So Turbine, if you’re listening, have somebody redo some of those icons with your next expansion. You’re redone the inventory icons twice now, lets show those skill icons some love. No matter how much I want to shout like Kenneth Branagh or punch Amy Tan, it is really distracting when I want to mentally be in Middle-earth.