Daily Archives: July 5, 2011

Whiteout in the Misty Mountains

Such is the fickle nature of our MMO obsession that a couple of us found ourselves in Middle-earth again this weekend playing Lord of the Rings Online.

LOTRO is always an easy transition for me as a lifetime subscriber and I am determined to get to Moria some day.

Moria calls to Gaff as well it seems, a fellow Tolkien fan.

I got out my hunter, who is level 44, while Gaff was working with his mid-30s champion.  History shows that it is highly likely he’ll get to 50 before me even at this level disparity.

So while he was getting back into the game, I headed out to the Misty Mountains with my hunter.  I had started him off in Forochel, but got a bit ahead of the quest chain in levels, so I was picking up quests a few levels above him.  That made me decide to head to the Misty Mountains, another snowy area where I had only just started on a few quests after the Trollshaws.

As you would expect, the Misty Mountains are covered in snow.  But unlike Forochel, which is also snowy, the weather can get extreme in the Misty Mountains.  I was in the midst of a fight when a sudden storm came up and everything… went white.

White after the fight

I do not think I have seen a general, outdoor weather effect with this much impact on what you could see since running around in the dark in the Karanas in EverQuest back before I discovered the magic of the gamma slider.

Looking into the white

I could still see things nearby, but the grand vista across the mountain pass was completely obscured.  I also had to take care not to stumble onto the aggro mobs in the area, as they were somewhat concealed by the blizzard.

Vision obscured

The effect was quite cleverly done in my opinion.  There is snow and a certain amount of fog, but that cut off vision from things in the medium to far distance.  To get it to feel right up close, Turbine applied a layer of white to all of the textures.  So if I zoomed up really close, my character looked like he had been lightly covered with that spray flocking that people use on windows during the Christmas season.

The end result was that even things close by blended into the snowy terrain and the whiteout conditions of the medium to far distance, making for a very effective blizzard simulation.  It was good enough that I stopped what I was doing to explore it.

The only problem I found with it was that it did not last very long.   Only a few minutes after it started I was back into the crystal clear, valley spanning views of the (not so) Misty Mountains.