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  1. #1
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    My review of U14 (mainly landscape, lore aspects)

    Landscape

    Firstly, I'd like to say that Dol Amroth and Belfalas are particularly beautiful. The Blackroot Vale and Tarlang's Crown are also very pretty, though Lamedon feels a bit more stale (though that might be in comparison to the majesty of Belfalas). The Paths of the Dead are also sufficiently eerie, and remind me particularly of the Halls of Night, and the Rift of Nurz Ghashu (particularly the bridge from the Coliseum to Thaurlach), with wide vistas inside caves; its like a whole different world under the ground, though without the rather repetitive Dwarven architecture of Moria.

    Some issues:

    - The transition from The Blackroot Vale into Tarlang's Crown is quite pronounced, and appears to change very rapidly from Northern Europe to Mediterranean (the climates that appear to be represented). Any way to soften this change would be appreciated.

    - Edhellond seems a bit... clean. Without elves there to maintain it, the fact that Edhellond is as pristine as the towers of Celondim and Duillond seems a bit odd. Perhaps decay more in line with the current state of Edhellion would be more suitable? Especially considering that corsairs are currently scurrying around inside it.

    - The ships in the wharf at Dol Amroth appear to be exactly the same design as the Corsair ships, with the only difference that their ships are blue, not red. The moth-eaten sail look should be reserved solely for the Corsairs, and the Dol Amroth ships should have a different design.

    - In some places around Dol Amroth, I have found the Tower of Orthanc on doorways - I guess this wasn't intended.

    - The 'Fallen Beacon' doesn't appear to be 'Fallen' at all - its not in a state of decay, its fire is burning, and there are no enemy mobs around it, leading me to question why it is seen to be a 'fallen' beacon.

    - Lamedon feels a bit lacklustre to me - I haven't quested in any of the regions because I will be doing that repeatedly when I get to u14 on live, but just riding through it, it seems rather empty, and lacking the character of the other two regions.

    Lore

    - I'm not entirely sure what timeframe we are currently operating in when we arrive at Eowyn to start Volume 4 - Aragorn has already headed through the Paths of the Dead, but what has happened to the Muster of the Rohirrim? The only recognisable figures in Eowyn's depressingly small camp (which is meant to be the majority of the people of Rohan) are Magla, and a grandchild of Elfhelm. While it may be the case that the decision was made to present this camp AFTER the army has departed, we should at least be catching up with the various characters such as Mildrith, Thane of Elthengels, Winsig, Thane of Walstow, Etta, mother of Radwig, presumably now acting-Thane of Floodwend, Cyneburg of Scyflig, the children of Frithild (and Lufa), in addition to a whole host of Rohirrim who did not ride with the Rohirrim. While I really wanted to catch up with the Thanes of all Rohan, a decent compromise would be seeing the Dunharrow camp properly populated.

    - On the topic of population, Dol Amroth feels rather quiet - as far as I remember from the books, the people of Dol Amroth did not evacuate to Minas Tirith, instead they sent their Swan Knights with the Prince, but that should mean that a city the size of Dol Amroth should have far more wandering people than it currently does.

    - I'm a tad disappointed that there's no foreword to Vol. 4, as rocking up to Eowyn without preamble seems a bit disjointed - especially considering that if you have not completed Vol. 3, then you don't appear to get the linking quest to take you to Dunharrow.

    - What has happened to Horn, Nona and Corudan? Did we just leave them behind in West Rohan? Perhaps this would function as a nice epilogue for Vol. 3 - while I know that their story probably isn't finished, the fact that we seem to have abandoned Corudan at Helm's Deep, while Horn and Nona ride against Falcon Clan raiders (though Lheu Brenin is dead...) seems a tad odd.

    - From a story perspective, events seem to rush rather quickly from us talking to Aragorn, Théoden, Eomer, Gandalf and Pippin outside Isengard to the point where Aragorn has already headed through the Paths of the Dead, and Théoden has marched to war. I think this would profit greatly from a foreword which covered the intervening time period.


    This is just based on initial impressions, and I must stress that much of what I have seen in West Gondor has greatly impressed me, and I have never before seen a region in a game which compares to Belfalas. The above are simply the issues I have found with continuity and some of the changes I would hope to see in order to prevent the breaking of immersion in the story and the game world.
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  2. #2
    Well - Edhellon looks really a little bit to clean. Also - Please remove or decrease them. If it is not possible maybe you can make a place in edhellond without this enemys.
    Think about the Role Play Community.
    Edhellond is a special Place for Roleplayers but with Level 98 Enemy in there - No way for Roleplay.
    Maybe you can change this.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Tirian-Hammerfist View Post

    Some issues:

    - The transition from The Blackroot Vale into Tarlang's Crown is quite pronounced, and appears to change very rapidly from Northern Europe to Mediterranean (the climates that appear to be represented). Any way to soften this change would be appreciated.

    I agree with most of your points. I think a workable solution for the above point would be a to have a small rocky ridge run down to meet the river into Tarlangs Crown, and then some Gondorian styled portal cutting into it, so we cannot see the landscape as easily until we cross through the gate, then we see the vegetation change.

    Yeah, a few posts also mention some missing events. Maybe we get them as session play throughout later sections of the game. A foreword would seem best, lol, it could even be an optional list of objectives like the Vol 2 epiliogue so people who want to rush into the new zone can and miss all that stuff, or those of us playing for the story can visit each of the quests involved with the Vol 4 Foreword.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirian-Hammerfist View Post
    Landscape

    Firstly, I'd like to say that Dol Amroth and Belfalas are particularly beautiful. The Blackroot Vale and Tarlang's Crown are also very pretty, though Lamedon feels a bit more stale (though that might be in comparison to the majesty of Belfalas). The Paths of the Dead are also sufficiently eerie, and remind me particularly of the Halls of Night, and the Rift of Nurz Ghashu (particularly the bridge from the Coliseum to Thaurlach), with wide vistas inside caves; its like a whole different world under the ground, though without the rather repetitive Dwarven architecture of Moria.

    Some issues:

    - The transition from The Blackroot Vale into Tarlang's Crown is quite pronounced, and appears to change very rapidly from Northern Europe to Mediterranean (the climates that appear to be represented). Any way to soften this change would be appreciated.

    - Edhellond seems a bit... clean. Without elves there to maintain it, the fact that Edhellond is as pristine as the towers of Celondim and Duillond seems a bit odd. Perhaps decay more in line with the current state of Edhellion would be more suitable? Especially considering that corsairs are currently scurrying around inside it.

    - The ships in the wharf at Dol Amroth appear to be exactly the same design as the Corsair ships, with the only difference that their ships are blue, not red. The moth-eaten sail look should be reserved solely for the Corsairs, and the Dol Amroth ships should have a different design.

    - In some places around Dol Amroth, I have found the Tower of Orthanc on doorways - I guess this wasn't intended.

    - The 'Fallen Beacon' doesn't appear to be 'Fallen' at all - its not in a state of decay, its fire is burning, and there are no enemy mobs around it, leading me to question why it is seen to be a 'fallen' beacon.

    - Lamedon feels a bit lacklustre to me - I haven't quested in any of the regions because I will be doing that repeatedly when I get to u14 on live, but just riding through it, it seems rather empty, and lacking the character of the other two regions.
    Very well said,Tirian. Im totally agree with you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tirian-Hammerfist View Post
    Lore

    [...]

    - On the topic of population, Dol Amroth feels rather quiet - as far as I remember from the books, the people of Dol Amroth did not evacuate to Minas Tirith, instead they sent their Swan Knights with the Prince, but that should mean that a city the size of Dol Amroth should have far more wandering people than it currently does.

    [...]
    Yeah,i think the citys in Gondor are generally very calm. I'd love to see more Buildings,which i can enter. Especially Dol Amroth appears at the moment,as would nobody live there. More NPC's which work in the citys and their homes would be great(similar to Rohan).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWalker View Post
    Yeah, a few posts also mention some missing events. Maybe we get them as session play throughout later sections of the game. A foreword would seem best, lol, it could even be an optional list of objectives like the Vol 2 epiliogue so people who want to rush into the new zone can and miss all that stuff, or those of us playing for the story can visit each of the quests involved with the Vol 4 Foreword.
    Of all the things I discussed in my post above, I think, from a story perspective, the implementation of a foreword feels the most necessary - at the moment the start of Vol. 4 feels rather disjointed, and is a tad confusing - why, after reuniting Aragorn with the rangers, and being an honourary member of the Grey Company ourselves, do we abandon them when they head through the Paths of the Dead? Obviously from the perspective of telling the landscape story this makes sense, as if we were to follow Aragorn we would be rushing through this part of Gondor far too fast, however when viewed from the story perspective of where we left Vol. 3, it feels a tad confusing. While I know that the Volumes have always been separate stories, and aren't generally linked together, the fact that the end of Vol. 3 tied in so closely with the central LOTR storyline means that we can't avoid acknowledging previous events, and thus the jump from the Fall of Isengard to the Paths of the Dead misses a rather important part of the story.

    My suggestion is a forward which sees us ride around Rohan summoning the Thanes to Dunharrow - we don't have to do anything while with these people (as we did in Book 1 of Vol. 3 with the rangers), but I think it would make sense as part of a conclusion for our time in Rohan to help Muster the Rohirrim. Then a concluding instance, with Théoden and the Rohirrim riding off to war, the Grey Company heading into the Dwimmoberg, and us being left with Eowyn would, I think, greatly help to contextualise the situation we find ourselves in at the beginning of Volume 4. Oh, and the beginning of the foreword should also see Gandalf ride off with Pippin. We would then be left in the camp of the Rohirrim at Dunharrow (which REALLLLY needs to be expanded, at the moment it seems to barely be the population of Upborn with a few high-born refugees of Kingstead), and Eowyn decides to send us to aid Aragorn.

    This is just a suggestion, and I leave the idea in the capable hands of MadeofLions, but I really think this is essential to filling out the epic story in preparation for Volume 4.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirian-Hammerfist View Post
    but I really think this is essential to filling out the epic story in preparation for Volume 4.
    I could have made some connective tissue with a little more walking around, maybe a session play, some tying-up of loose ends -- but it would have been the end of Volume III instead of the beginning of Volume IV, and feedback has been pretty clear that people are ready to put Volume III to bed. I'll cover 'what the other characters got up to' when we see them again, but for now we're arriving at Dunharrow after Aragorn and before Theoden. I've asked for more soldiers and deco at Dunharrow, which should make the timing of our arrival more clear.

    Loose ends drive me batty, so know that Volume IV will have some stretches where we fill in some of the details we seem to be skipping.

    MoL

  7. #7
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    There are some great points in this thread, and I agree with them. I'll add a few concerns of my own, focusing on Dol Amroth:

    o Where do you stand on the walls to defend? We need towers guarded by archers and soldiers and ones you can enter and walk through like the Deeping Wall. Where are all the defensive things for the walls?
    o And on that note, you can see the Corsair ships in Edhellond. There should be a bunch of soldiers at the ready in Dol Amroth's wharf in case the Corsair ships make it past the sea chain. Speaking of which...
    o Sea chain is a great visual feature.
    o Swan Knight building needs to be open.
    o Can’t get onto the ships in the wharf, and they don't look very Gondor-y to me.
    o No useable exit in the Armoury (and maybe the Warehouse as well?).
    o Court of the Prince is huge on the outside, but feels like three big, empty rooms inside. Should be a bunch of people inside helping Lothiriel, who is the Prince’s daughter (and who, by the way, is dressed as a servant).
    o More people. This is the biggest point for me. Dol Amroth feels very, very empty. There should be a lot of people in town, including refugees and carts of their belongings from elsewhere in Gondor.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post
    ...feedback has been pretty clear that people are ready to put Volume III to bed...
    MoL
    Why, though, is THIS particular feedback being listened to as opposed to instances where it's clear that the feedback swings in the other direction, but Turbine's collective decision is in the opposite direction?

  9. #9
    MadeOfLions is online now The Lord of the Rings Online Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardineck View Post
    Why, though, is THIS particular feedback being listened to as opposed to instances where it's clear that the feedback swings in the other direction, but Turbine's collective decision is in the opposite direction?
    This feedback lands squarely within my wheelhouse, so it's in my power to respond to it. There's no conspiracy here. :P

    MoL

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post
    There's no conspiracy here. :P
    Which is exactly what I'd expect you to say if there were a conspiracy!!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post
    I could have made some connective tissue with a little more walking around, maybe a session play, some tying-up of loose ends -- but it would have been the end of Volume III instead of the beginning of Volume IV, and feedback has been pretty clear that people are ready to put Volume III to bed. I'll cover 'what the other characters got up to' when we see them again, but for now we're arriving at Dunharrow after Aragorn and before Theoden. I've asked for more soldiers and deco at Dunharrow, which should make the timing of our arrival more clear.

    Loose ends drive me batty, so know that Volume IV will have some stretches where we fill in some of the details we seem to be skipping.

    MoL
    This is excellent, thanks for letting us know. While it would have been cool to go round Rohan 'mustering' the Rohirrim, greeting old comrades, it will suffice if we get to see properly named NPCs (various Thanes and families - from both the Eastement and the Westemnet) around the camp at Dunharrow. Adding the NPCs and more tents will go a long way to help contextualising the situation we are in at the beginning of Volume 4, and hopefully we will be seeing the valley south of Underharrow full of tents of the army, with the refugees at the top, near Eowyn's tent, where Magla and others already are.

    As always, the fact that you are prepared to discuss these things and listen to suggestions is greatly valued, so thanks
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othniel View Post
    There are some great points in this thread, and I agree with them. I'll add a few concerns of my own, focusing on Dol Amroth:


    o No useable exit in the Armoury (and maybe the Warehouse as well?).
    I second the issue with no useable exit in the Armoury had the unfortunate luck of discovering that this weekend. Thankfully was able to stuck out and use mitril to return to Gondor. Bugged it but gotta say no way to get to gondor from Aldburg or Helms Deep currently set up which I understand with it being build 1 is bit inconvenient at the moment. Especially since /stuck out of anywhere in Dol Amoroth at the moment ports you to either bree which happened twice or lamedon which is a fair ways away.
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    Have to agree with the notion that Dol Amroth looks more like the Paths of the Death than a lively and well populated city as it should be. The Corsair-ish Ships in its haven aren't that great either, I think there have to be more adjustments made, than just a different colour to those from Edhellond.

    The rest of the landscape looks great though, particularly loved the Stone of Erech area, and that the landscape around it looked quite similar to the one from the Session play in Volume III Book 2 (if memory serves me right). At first I was worried that Turbine might just throw out a couple of cities with no landscape in between them, so I'm positively surprised at the moment, especially in regards to what's coming next.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othniel View Post
    o Swan Knight building needs to be open.
    Agreed. I'm hoping it'll be opened once we reach a certain rep-level with the Swan Knights.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othniel View Post
    o Can’t get onto the ships in the wharf, and they don't look very Gondor-y to me.
    I wouldn't worry, just yet... those might be placeholders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othniel View Post
    o Court of the Prince is huge on the outside, but feels like three big, empty rooms inside. Should be a bunch of people inside helping Lothiriel, who is the Prince’s daughter (and who, by the way, is dressed as a servant).
    Court of the Prince is not the same thing as the Great Hall. The Court is the yard, the Hall is the... well, interior of a building.
    As for Lothíriel... surely you realized that that's a placeholder? I expect she'll either have her very own model, or look like the numerous Gondorian ladies seen elsewhere in West Gondor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othniel View Post
    o More people. This is the biggest point for me. Dol Amroth feels very, very empty. There should be a lot of people in town, including refugees and carts of their belongings from elsewhere in Gondor.
    Agreed... but this was the first open build. They're probably going to add life to Dol Amroth, among other stuff.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    As for Lothíriel... surely you realized that that's a placeholder? I expect she'll either have her very own model, or look like the numerous Gondorian ladies seen elsewhere in West Gondor.
    Lothiriel is indeed getting new art, as is Dorthaneth. They'll look unique and awesome.

    MoL

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post
    Lothiriel is indeed getting new art, as is Dorthaneth. They'll look unique and awesome.

    MoL
    Will we be seeing any of Lothiriel's three brothers? (Even if they have different names due to right's issues?) Surely one of them, (maybe the youngest, Amrothos) stayed behind in Dol Amroth while the other two rode with Imrahil?

    I hope there are lots of interior spaces in Dol Amroth.

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