Lord of the Rings Online officially went live eight years ago today. I had been in the late beta, but made sure to note the first day that it was officially a going concern back in 2007.
Of course, one of the ongoing jokes about the game is how long it has take it to move through the story relative to how long the events in the books were reported to take. Even allowed a generous spread of dates, say from when Gandalf warns Frodo to get out of the Shire (April 11, 3018 TA, or five months before Frodo gets off his ass and goes… hobbits…) through to when Sam Gamgee arrives back from the Grey Havens (October 6, 3021 TA) after Frodo and Bilbo depart Middle-earth, still only comes up to three and a half years. The old LOTRO news site A Casual Stroll to Mordor came by its name honestly,
It wasn’t so bad at first. The game only took about a year longer to get to The Mines of Moria than it took the fellowship to get through to the other side, though that still put the expansion out longer than it took to Frodo to throw down Sauron, celebrate with the new king, meander back to The Shire, fight the last battle, and start complaining about his PTSD.
But here we are, eight years in, and still in The Two Towers, with Minas Tirith still over the horizon. I like to try to imagine the story playing out over a longer stretch, the war of the ring as an ongoing quagmire, though it requires both sides to move at a pretty lethargic pace. Vast armies slow to form then lumbering about at a snails pace as Frodo… I don’t know what Frodo is up to. He and Sam seem to have found something to do.
Anyway, Turbine’s vision of Middle-earth is still here to explore. Things do not look promising, at least if you were holding out hope against hope of seeing Mount Doom or the gates of Mordor. The look forward into 2015 seemed rather modest, and then we had all those tales of woe about Turbine itself leak. But we are also unlikely to see as ambitious an attempt to recreate Middle-earth any time soon, so enjoy it while we have it.