I think that all of us who have extensively played a particular MMO over several years develop very specific pet peeves due to our intimate knowledge and observation of these titles. So today I want to share the one thing that bugs me more than anything else in Lord of the Rings Online. Ready for it?
I give you the LOTRO NPC Stance.
This is the default standing pose of what I would say is about 50% of NPCs in the game (more earlier on, fewer later on). And once you notice it, you’ll never UNnotice it. It’s a stance that looks a lot like the pose that artists use for character design and mockups before animating them and adding them to the game, except that here, they were just plopped in like this.
The LOTRO Stance is a character who is standing with arms jutting down at an angle, not touching anything, with legs spread apart, knees bent, and a back that’s ramrod straight. The bent knees is what gets me, because looking at this pose, I cannot imagine anyone actually standing in this position without losing one’s balance or developing horrible cramps.
It just looks slightly off and unnatural, which is not what you want your players to be thinking when they’re constantly interacting with your NPCs and trying to get into this world. It’s always bugged me how their arms never touch their sides, just float out there while they start taking a squat. It also makes me think of this:
What is especially aggravating is that the LOTRO devs have shown that this squatting, spread-eagle pose doesn’t have to exist at all. There are some NPCs and enemies — just not enough — that sport far more natural stances.
Here’s Gandalf (and his Mighty Eyebrows) from the same instance that I took the snaps of Galadriel above. This is a great stance. It looks natural. It looks like something you might do if you had a giant walking stick. And it even communicates a bit of his character and tone.
So yeah, there you go. My big LOTRO pet peeve. Am I alone in this?