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.

7 thoughts on “Whiteout in the Misty Mountains

  1. Genda

    “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.”

    Everyone is trying to copy Blizzard, now they are trying to simulate them too!?


  2. mmojuggler

    A sudden storm like that means an EM (elite master) spawned nearby you. They were great finds in the SoA era because they were a source of Adamant Shards, for crafting.


  3. Warsyde

    Although it doesn’t count as a general outdoor zone, I think the blizzard effect in the Winter section of the Realm of the Fae instance in Rift is quite possibly the best I’ve ever seen. It hearkens back to the rains of the Karanas, only with better graphics and a more solid environmental feel.

    I really wish more games would implement weather in a meaningful way, but it seems like most are happy to have every day be sunny and clear in all or most of the zones in the game. I think it’s sad that even after all this time, EQ is one of the few games that even tried.


  4. bhagpuss

    I was going to mention the Realm of the Fae, too. I’m something of an aficionado of snow art and the RotF is the best I’ve seen, although there are some pretty good white-out areas in Allods. Rift is pretty good with weather generally, although it’s used fairly sparingly. The current event has rain everywhere, rather effectively, while the zone events in Stonefield sometimes trigger large earth tremors in Meridian, which isn’t even in the same zone, and the huge lightning storms in Moonshade Highlands can be seen as you approach even while you’re still in Silverwood.

    I agree with Warsyde on the use of weather. many MMOs mention it but few really use it effectively. Everquest did, very much so, but eventually toned it down. I’d love to see more and more significant weather in my MMOs.


  5. Yunk

    I remember when the Misty Mountains were first released, and we ran over there real quick and saw the whiteout. One guy in my group kept saying “somethings wrong with my monitor, i can’t see anything” and he tried restarting and fixing things. I thought “you know I see the same thing, I think it’s the weather” it just blew me away, that you could have such extreme weather in the game where you can’t even see.

    It really makes you laugh about how they added rain to STV and Tirisfall and it was such a big deal at the time, we thought it was so great.


  6. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    First time I saw that effect in LotRO was when my GF and I were exploring the Misty Mountains. We had stumbled into a few too many monsters and started to run. Got turned around and started running the wrong way, deeper into enemy territory. Not a problem, she’s a Captain so she did her Make Haste and we were running past enemies. Until we hit the blizzard.

    All hell broke loose then. We couldn’t see where we were going, couldn’t tell if the monsters chasing us had stopped, if we were going to bumble into more of them, or how to back out of the area gracefully. It was intense, to say the least, and then we found the Elite Master mmojuggler talked about above. Then we stumbled out of the blizzard… into the elite giant area in the southern part of Misty Mountains.

    I think we eventually did get defeated, but it was sheer madness in the middle of it all! Definitely unexpected and quite a story to tell afterward. :)


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