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Editor's Note

Jon Wood, the Managing Editor of, gives his opinions on news, games, and all things MMORPG.

Author: Stradden

Thoughts on Spellborn and LotRO Dwarves

Posted by Stradden Friday April 11 2008 at 10:42AM
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It’s been a while since I updated my blog. It’s not for any nefarious reason, just that I’ve been pretty busy with work and haven’t had time to write. I know that sounds silly given that this is my job, but we’ll not get into too much detail.

I decided to write this week, because I saw some issues in the news that I thought might be fun to address. I’ll start with a publisher announcement.

The Chronicles of Spellborn

Yesterday, Spellborn International, the company behind (guess what?) The Chronicles of Spellborn, announced that they had signed a letter of intent with a US-based publisher.

Why is this important? Well, for the longest time, we kept hearing that while they were ok for a European publisher (and areas beyond that), Spellborn just hadn’t found a publisher for the US market. This caused a number of people to begin to ask a lot of questions about the game. The number one thing that I heard was “The game must be in trouble if they can’t find a US publisher”.

Honestly, I’m not sure that one is an indication of the other. One thing for us North Americans to remember is that not all of the upcoming MMOs that we’re looking forward to are actually being made here in North America. In fact, if you look at it, just off the top of my head you’ve got EVE Online, which was and is developed in Iceland. Age of Conan is being made in Norway. Earthrise, another highly anticipated game, is being made in Bulgaria. The Chronicles of Spellborn calls The Netherlands its home.

Of all of these games, I would say that Spellborn probably has the most intentionally European feel to it (just check out the art style), departing a great deal from what we think of as “American-Style” MMOs like EverQuest and World of Warcraft both in terms of cosmetic look and even functional design.

My personal feeling is that the head honchos over at Spellborn wanted a US publisher, but probably not bad enough to a) give up control over certain aspects of the game or b) settle for something less than they are looking for.

Ok, I’m pretty much done waxing poetic about Spellborn. I will say this though: It’s an interesting and innovative game being made by an indie company that takes MMO conventions and turns them on their ears. If you’re one of the people who has been complaining about “WoW clones”, there is no reason you shouldn’t at least try this game when it launches in the Fall. I’m not necessarily saying you’re going to like it, everyone has different tastes, but I am saying that if you don’t at least take a look, you lose your right to complain about WoW clones.

Lord of the Rings

LotRO has been my MMO of choice lately (although I pledge my undying video game fealty to Battlefield 2142). I had played a while back with an elf character. I moved on after I reached about level 17. Not because I wasn’t enjoying the game, but because work meant that I had to go on and play something else for a while. When the time came to jump into the game again, I decided against playing my elf character. One of the things that I had really been enjoying about LotRO was the sense of story that I got. I stand by the fact that LotRO has some of the best written quests and story arcs in MMOs today (I’m not saying they’re all to my taste, but for the most part, they get a thumbs up). Unfortuantely, I had forgotten what my elf was up to in my time away (memory like a goldfish, I swear) and decided, along with my News Manager, to roll up a new Dwarf. Well, let me say congrats to whichever Turbine employees are responsible for the Dwarves and their early quests. I’ve been having a blast with Abrawlin (get it… a’brawlin… it’s hilarious to me).

I know I’m not your average MMO player. I know that most people don’t really pay a lot of attention to the quests and the quality of writing and dialogue, but for me, it’s a make or break. If a game doesn’t have these things, I can still look at it objectively and talk about its features, but it’s not going to be a personal favorite. When I first heard that Turbine was developing LotRO, I assumed that there was no way they would be able to both capture the feeling of Middle Earth and write engaging storylines and dialogue, but in the end they surprised me and I just wanted to take a minute to say that. Well done Turbine story team!

Ok, that’s enough of my babble for today, but I’m hoping to get this going weekly again so I can offer commentary on and maybe even the occasional insight about the week’s news.



Terranah writes:

I haven't tried life as a Dwarf yet in LOTRO, but if you like well written quests and story lines I think life as a hobbit in the Shire is pretty grand. 

I agree though, I think the writing, quests and the story aspect is very well done in LOTRO.

Fri Apr 11 2008 10:53AM Report
Stradden writes:

I wasn't a fan of the hobbit stuff, but to be honest, I think that's because I'm just not a fan of Hobbits. I think I wrote in a review or something somewhere that I didn't enjoy the Hobbit area, but I can see how people who enjoy Hobbits would like it... If that makes sense.

Fri Apr 11 2008 10:54AM Report
daylight01 writes:

I haver been looking to TCoS for sometime and slightly dissapointed in another delay,Though I think the game was no where ready for release as the devs lead us to believe in q1,Now with the US publisher they may have a nice little cheque and dont have to release in europe till the fall.

Although just how many players will try it at that time is up for question,There could be AoC,WAR,AION and wotlk,If these games are anything players are hopping for then TCoS release may go un-noticed for the large part.

Fri Apr 11 2008 12:10PM Report
Hexxeity writes:

Shire quests are well-written, but tedious to actually participate in.

Fri Apr 11 2008 3:30PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

Jon, you have any plans on trying Age of Conan?

Fri Apr 11 2008 4:27PM Report
Krogg writes:

I'm a dwarf... but I live in the Shire

Fri Apr 11 2008 9:35PM Report
daelnor writes:

I might give it a whirl, just to see how different it really is.


Sat Apr 12 2008 2:19AM Report
iflost writes:

I'm in complete agreement with Hexxeity - well written quests that were boring. Delivering a pie across the map 5 times doesn't = good times. And the way you gain xp is very heavily weighted towards quests so running across the map for 2 min with a pie will earn me 5x the amount of xp killing mobs for 2 mins. So my choice is either not pie running and slow grinding or quick lvling through boring quests. Geee some choice.

Sat Apr 12 2008 10:17AM Report
Wrymstrum writes:


There's so many quests in lotro.  No need to deliver all those pies if you don't want to.  There are tons of great quests that have interesting stories.  Pie/Mail delivery quests are a small and avoidable part of the quest experience in the shire. 

Sat Apr 12 2008 5:06PM Report
brostyn writes:

Funny, I was a drawven Champion in LOTRO. I enjoyed the starting area a lot. It was way better than the human area, Of course, I only got to lvl 15, so maybe that's still considered newbie.


I'm very excited about TCOS!!

Sat Apr 12 2008 7:02PM Report writes:
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