Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lord of the Rings Online

I tried the Lord of the Rings Online beta, but I'm not going to give you a review; you can get those at Tobold's, MMO Musing or maybe Kill Ten Rats. What I'll talk about, however, is an instance of the Mini games rule: the possibility to play real music in-game.

From what I could see, each class gets an instrument type they can play (Minstrels can learn all instrument types at level 20). From there, you just equip your harp, lute, flute or whatnot, and press number keys to play (Control for a flat, shift for an octave higher. Control + shift doesn't seem to work, however). You can impress everyone with your musical talents, or annoy everyone in the main square with your lack of; the only problem seems to be that music suffers from lag, and notes may get delayed different amounts, which leads to off-beat songs.

I think that concept is, to put it simply, awesome. Players can have fun with simple musical instruments, and perhaps entertain players in the main places for tips (Now if they could only find a way to make the lag between notes even, it would be perfect). And with a G15 keyboard, making songs would probably be quite simple. So yes, I think Turbine got it right with the /music.

I think if developers spent a little more time finding simple and fun things to entertain players, MMORPGs would have a longer time-to-boredom. We can only hope that they will find other such great ideas, and that their example will be widely followed.

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