It was amusingly coincidental that one of my kinnies posted the gushing quote on the right-hand side there about LOTRO while I was taking a leisurely tour through the Gondorian city of Dol Amroth. Word for word, that’s pretty much what I was thinking as I took in the sights.
Edoras was neat as a wide, spread-out city, but Dol Amroth feels more established and functional the way that I envision a Middle-earth city being. It’s giant, it’s rich, and it’s still showing us new sights after all of these years in the game. Putting it on a peninsula surrounded by the ocean gives it a very different feel, especially with all of the seagulls swooping around and the trading ships sitting in the harbor.
The game gives you a quest to tour through the city, accomplishing various small tasks on the way. I appreciated that, because I did want to explore it without feeling as though I was wasting my time.
Dol Amroth is imposing, with large, solid stone structures all around. It’s almost cluttered, or at least far more compact than what I had grown used to with the Rohirrim towns. It’s less organic too; more like a city of statues and fortresses. I think it conveys well the fact that there wasn’t much room for the city to grow out, so it had to grow on top of itself in layers.
Looking down at the harbor. I’m weirdly thrilled that we’re seeing the ocean here. I see the ocean and seas in other MMOs, but I think I’m only realizing now that the largest bodies of water that I’ve witnessed in this game are lakes (Everswim) and the Forochel ice bay.
There’s a massive swan motif going on all around here, including the armed forces being the Swan Knights. It has to do with some local Gondor guy, but I don’t remember much about the lore other than “he was really, really into swans.” Not to knock the birds — they’re lovely and all that — but swans don’t project military might, financial accumen, or political saavy. They kind of project “ooh I’m a 14-year-old girl falling in love for the first time.”
The bridge over to the Swan Knights’ keep. LOTRO is still pretty, yes, but compared to newer games you can see more of its hard angles. I wish that it could have a graphic engine upgrade to allow for new tricks, because this could look even better than it already does.