If LOTRO would let you be evil, the world would be a much better place

I’d like to think that I’m a good person, although I know the truth of the matter is that I’m far from that.  And even though, if given a moral choice in a game, I’ll usually pick the nice guy option, it severely chafes when that choice is lacking.  I think it’s because there’s a disconnect between how I know how my character feels and how the devs are forcing me down a path of their own (sometimes faulty) morality.  At times, I feel like I’m screaming inside a placid-looking character, just begging to be let out to do serious damage instead of being forced down the path of righteousness.

LOTRO is probably where I experience most of this, because the devs have taken the stance that the players are Noble Heroes and cannot choose evil.  I’d rather be a flawed hero, because that more reflects reality, but other than mistakes beyond my character’s control, I have no way of portraying my character in the game as anything other than a girl scout.  No, we’re not going to dip into the RP pool today; that pool is full to the brim of angst pee.

Case in point, last night I was finishing up some quests that would let me be readmitted to Harwick, a town that I fled to and then the head guy promptly labeled me a miscreant and kicked me out.  Nevermind that I’ve been saving Middle-earth since he was in diapers or that the Hobbit version of the internet should’ve given him a heads up that I’m an indestructible killing machine that’s slaughtered a medium-sized army worth of bad guys — no, I look all scruffy, so get out of my town please and thank you.  To punctuate that point, if a guard saw me back in town, they’d escort me kicking and screaming to the exit.

See, that’s when this “noble good” stuff chafes.  The dude is being a royal (pun intended) jerk, and I’ve had it up to here with these NPCs requiring me to prove my worth over and over again.  If the game would allow me to do so, I’d hire a troupe of heralds to go in front of me and proclaim loudly of my deeds and imminent arrival, so that the town would receive me in a proper fashion.

But no, there’s no choice in the matter.  I had to prove myself again.  Chore, chore, chore, “oh wait, you’re a GOOD guy!  Well then, come on back!”

There’s this whole quest where the mayor invites you to his table and basically apologizes to you for ten minutes.  To be honest, it’s not enough.  For one thing, he wasn’t on his hands and knees, with my sword against his neck drawing a thin line of blood.  For another thing, a few paltry words are not enough compensation for public humiliation and banishment.  Nay, if I had a choice, the center of the table would replace the truffle-stuffed boar with his head, and I would begin a new rule of me-centered worship in that town.  I’d do a proper cleansing of fools and lock the gates to their cries as the prowling salamanders and errant wolves had a midnight snack.  I’d stop my questing once and for all, and establish my base of operations as I sought to take on Saruman, Sauron, and the Free Peoples in a no-holds cage match for the dominion of Middle-earth.  I’d make my coat of arms a terrifying clown face and my army a hired band of unstoppable Hobbits and Dwarves.  I’d cast elf and ring alike into Mt. Doom and then break for a light lunch.

And then…

And then…


On second thought, probably a good thing there are safeguards in place.  I’m probably not the only wandering psychotic warrior in the area.

7 thoughts on “If LOTRO would let you be evil, the world would be a much better place

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus November 5, 2012 / 1:59 pm

    This bias towards the “good” side is another example of the victors writing history. Sauron was just misunderstood, ahead of his time, what with his dabbling in ring lore and his advocacy in favor of being able to cast magic on the move. But no, the vested interests… the elves… had to have things their way, and woe be to those who saw things in a different light. Saruman “got” Sauron, and look what they did to him. Fëanor didn’t have enough blood on his hands I guess.

  2. Green Armadillo November 5, 2012 / 5:52 pm

    Haven’t started in on Rohan yet, but some of the things the Dunlandings have you do to their neighbors (poisoning food, etc) are of the Dark Side Points variety, and there is zero real discussion of this.

  3. Yeebo November 5, 2012 / 7:20 pm

    I’ve been finishing up the Great River as a way to get warmed up before I jump into Rohan. One quest chain there gave you the option to finish it out with one guy that wants to humiliate the Dunlanders into submission, and another that wants to remind them of their proud past and get them to honor their vows. It’s literally the only option remotely resembling a moral decision I can think of in LoTRO during my 76 levels of play.

    More on topic, even though it is ultimately mainly a cosmetic choice (your cutscene and follow up mail will change, but your overall story arc will remain the same), I still am enjoying the option to be a saint, douchnozzle, or something in between during dialogues in SWTOR. .

  4. flosch November 6, 2012 / 2:15 am

    Yeah, heralds like that would be very useful. Just make sure you don’t hire Sir Robin’s minstrel’s brother. On the other hand, he’d make a good snack if you’re stranded somewhere…

  5. Bad Elf November 6, 2012 / 2:20 am

    If you want to behave bad I can help you: Use all festival pranks and forced emotes you have on the roleplayers to annoy the crap out of them. Lotro is the perfect game to annoy other players because they give you all the easy teasy tools to disturb all those RP-types. They cry and whine and have the hardest time to learn that they can do nothing about it. That’s because Turbine doesn’t do anything about it if they complain. Just don’t go over the top with it. A little poking every day is just enough for a good laugh. And laughing is healthy as you know.

  6. Ravanel Griffon November 6, 2012 / 10:40 am

    Haha, this article brilliantly describes my exact same emotions when faced with the thane of Harwick. My, what a douchebag!

  7. firithnorm November 6, 2012 / 5:47 pm

    This whole prove yourself to the bane… er thane of Harwick by doing a bunch of trash quests has really derailed my enjoyment of the expansion. I was rolling along and really getting into it, finally learned how to do mounted combat (anyone else think it’s kinda hokey?) and was looking to continue on with the Epic storyline and – WHAM – I’m unceremoniously dumped outta town! So, to progress further I’ve gotta kill even more stupid animals (ones that I’ve been killing since SoA :P). My response – back to GW2 for the Halloween event!

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