Daily Archives: February 26, 2007

Initial LOTRO Timeline Oddity

In which the author gets to display some minor Tolkien nerdiness.

I have found my first nit to pick with The Lord of the Rings Online when it comes to deviating from the books.  It is probably pretty minor, but it is one of those things I love to carp about, like people who write up all those errors about movies on the Internet Movie Database.

The game is called, of course, The Lord of the Rings Online.  That means, to me, that not only do I expect to be running around in Middle Earth, but I expect I will be doing so in a given time frame.  Since I have read that I will be interacting with members of the fellowship of the ring, my expectation was that the game’s story line would probably start a little before Frodo leaves the shire.

So when I created my first character, Nomu the dwarf, I was rather surprised by my first vision in game.  So surprised I took a screen shot right away, lest it disappear.

gloinandbalin.jpg

Gloin is who I am supposed to be talking to, but in the background is Balin.

Balin?!?!

I walked up and took a closer screen shot.

balin.jpg

Yup, it is Balin alright, if one is to believe the golden drop cap letters floating over his head.

The problem here, for me, is that in the Third Age time line, Balin is already dead before you read page one of “The Fellowship of the Ring.”  He died in Moria.  Yet here he is sitting around the initial starting area.  He doesn’t have any lines to read, he is just hanging out.

So I look around the starting area and who else should I see but Thorin Oakenshield!

thorin.jpg

He’s off to one side, talking to Gandalf about finding a burglar.

My first thought is, “Oh, crap, I’ve been sent back to “The Hobbit” by mistake!”

Silly me, I guess, thinking I might start within 50 years of the first page of the books on which this game is based.  Still, what the hell, why not start further back.  It isn’t like the world stood still between the two books.

And, true to “The Hobbit” you run around in the noob area killing goblins rather than orcs while you learn how to play.  All fine and good.

Eventually you learn that one clan of dwarves is making nice with the goblins and you have to run around with Dwalin to thwart them.  This is the quest bridge between the beginner area and the main world.  I was playing my elf by that point, but I assume the quest is the same for dwarves in the area.

At one juncture between fights Dwalin has to stop and rest.  He complains that he really hasn’t done any fighting since the Battle of the Five Armies.

Huh?

Of course, one of the more notable deaths at the Battle of the Five Armies was Thorin Oakenshield.  Thorin whom I saw talking to Gandalf not 90 minutes ago my time.  And Dwalin is talking about the battle like it was some years ago.  (How long does it take for a dwarf to get out of shape?)

Maybe I missed something along the way, but I got no sense that that much time had elapsed between my coming into the game and getting to this quest.  Furthermore, members of Thorin’s party have been around the whole time.  When did they find the time to run off and have this little adventure?

And now that I have finished that quest and have been dumped into the real world, what day is it?  Where am I in the story?

I suppose I am only confused because I know too much.