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Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online 

General Discussion  » Potential problems LOTR lore vs. play balancing issues about elves and other races

10 posts found
  me262a

Novice Member

Joined: 5/28/04
Posts: 22

 
OP  6/02/04 7:40:50 AM#1

If any of you are well-versed with LOTR lore, especially in the Silmarillion, you will know that Elves awoke in the moonlight of the world in a wooded area in the farthest Eastern extremes of Middle Earth.  Their love of the starlight comes from this genesis.  Their beginnings pre-date the creation of the Sun and Moon in the universe Tolkien created.  They also predated humans awaking by eons. 

Now, my question involves the fact that Elves became splintered and sundered from one another.  Some followed the Vala Orome to the Undying Lands in Aman across the sea to live amongst the Valar and Maiar (the angelic hosts who, with power from Eru Iluvatar, created Middle Earth according to the melodies of the Creation song they heard from Eru in the beginning).  Other Elves were fearful of the great figure of Orome and decided to stay in the great forest in the far East.  These were referred to as the Moriquendi, meaning basically 'dark Elves', but more accurately, Elves who have not gone to Aman to see the light of the 2 great Trees, which lit the Western Undying lands.  There were other splinters as well, but I will concentrate on these 2 main groups.  Other Elves who decided to go along with Orome became fearful along the way to the West and fell out of the great march to Aman.  I believe these are known as the Avari Elves (feel free to correct me, anyone). 

Even before this great trek, some Elves wandered off from their forest origins and were captured by Melkor, the greatest of the Vala and most seduced by the darkness of the void.  He always sought to usurp Eru's creation and bring out his own melody, and thereby seduced himself into evil.  Melkor's elvish prisoners were corrupted, distorted, and transformed into hideous new beings intended to copy Eru's Firstborn race of elves; this is the origin of Orcs.  Orcs are basically perferted elves.  They may not qualify as dark elves for the sake of this discussion.  They become a radically different race effectively. 

Now, the Avari elves, those who 'fell out' of the long march to the shores of Middle Earth and settled in the wide lands of Middle Earth are known to have had greater 'art' than those Moriquendi that refused the trip to Aman with Orome, but neither are they known to have the development of those elves that went on to see the light of the 2 trees, with the possible exception of Thingol who became enchanted and married a Maia who was growing gardens and forests in Middle Earth.  All will recognize these details if they have ever read the Silmarillion. 

Basically, the most highly developed, powerful, or 'evolved' (if you will) of the elves were those that agreed to go with Orome to the Undying lands in the beginning of the Elder days.  The Avari who stayed in Middle Earth were less powerful and less artful in their creations.  Lastly were those 'dark elves' known as the Moriquendi (which was an umbrella term that included the Avari) who refused the trip in the first place.  It was not that these Moriquendi and Avari were not powerful, it was simply that compared to those who saw the light of the Trees, they were as a lower form of creation.  They did not fullfill their potentials, whereas the others did. 

Now, all of the elves in the LOTR are of the group of elves who 'saw the light of the Trees.'  None include the Avari or Moriquendi who were long destroyed or perverted in the service of Melkor/Morgoth.  In point of fact, even some of the elves who 'saw the light of the Trees' were also seduced by darkness of both Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron later.  The difference is the firstborn remaining in the LOTR had remained true to the side of goodness and light (ex. Galadriel, Elrond, Legolas). 

My final point: How will the game MEO manage the fact that elves who are dark in nature be compared to those of the 'light'?  They are not equal in power and strength according to Tolkien lore, the side of light will always be a higher form and more powerful.  Some have stated they believe elves will not be able to be evil, but the new subclass known as assassin would strongly indicate otherwise.  Also, the roleplaying possibilities would be greatly reduced.  Perhaps in power and accuracy 'dark elves' WOULD (hopefully) BE REDUCED compared to elves of light, but they would have other abilities that would bring some balance (for example, an increased ability for thievery or lockpicking, etc).  In military power, they SHOULD NOT be equal to elves of light.  They may have lower forms of magic, etc. 

The same is true for SOME type of humans according to Tolkien's lore.  Some humans that are dark are strengthened in sheer power when operating from evil motives, but some humans are debased and become relatively weaker and of less pure blood.  How to incorporate these elements of Tolkien lore into a MMORPG?  Some of the humans who fought for good in the Silmarillion had combat abilities and weapons specializations that outclassed even some of the Firstborn elves (ex. Beren One-Handed) and dared to challenge Morgoth himself, the greatest of the Vala. 

How is MEO to incorporate the UNIQUENESSES of Tolkien's fantasy so that it will NOT become just another fantasy-based MMORPG?  Tolkien's story is unique and is VASTLY deeper and more complex than anything other D&D-based RPGs have come up with.  I don't wish to flame the developers because their job has GOT to be inconceivably difficult because of Tolkien's scope and complexity. 

I'm NOT saying that goodness should be more powerful than evil EVERY time.  If you read Tolkien for long you will know that evil characters are often more powerful than their opposite numbers on the side of light.  Which races of the 4 playable ones (humans, dwarves, elves, and hobbits) need to have a purposeful IMBALANCE in sheer military strength?  According to my reading of Tolkien, I would respectfully submit that in sheer military power elves should have such an IMBALANCE in military strength/power/accuracy in favor of elves of light, but with elvish assassins having other skills non-military in nature that help shore up these inequities, though perhaps not completely.  I don't see that dwarves, humans, or hobbits deserve such an imbalance according to Tolkien lore.  There certainly could be some randomization of imbalances in each of these, but it would have to be without a design/purpose and random.  Elves are simply different in their evolution than other races. 

The only thing I can think of that would enable a play balance would be if 'elves of light' would be seduced by a powerful talisman toward evil (such as the One Ring in Galadriel's temptation or Feanor with the Silmarills he created for the Valar).  If elves would be seduced to darkness, they would NOT act out of a desire FOR evil, but for a desire to do GOOD.  This form of dark elven power might in fact be just as strong as elven goodness or even GREATER.  One cannot conceive of a purposely demonic elven group to be on par with elves of light in sheer military power and even art; it's simply not Tolkien-esque, it is play balance not congruent with Tolkien's world.  If, however, dark elvish assassin types were operating out of a DESIRE to do GOOD, but being perverted by some talisman-like quality towards evil, then I can conceive of how there should be a BALANCE in military power with the elves of light and (possibly) occasional superiority. 

Responses and thoughts.  This thread is for discussion purposes.  Thoughtful responses encouraged.  Other topics involving potential problems with LOTR lore vs. play balance issues in a MMORPG, in general? 

Respectfully yours,

Avarii

Me262 (in ww2ol)

  hqarmstrong

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/03
Posts: 5

6/27/04 8:26:33 AM#2

One point to remember is that Elrond, Galadriel, and their ilk are among the eldest and most powerful Elves in Middle-Earth at the end of the Third Age. Also, the High Elves had been in a state of decline throughout this period, and had far faded from their prior grandeur. Elven player characters will be of similar (or less) ability to Legolas, for example, who himself was among Lothlorien's most capable fighters. Even still, he was not of significantly greater ability in combat than Gimli or Boromir, only clearly more agile and proficient with his bow.

The same applies to Aragorn and any other remaining of Numenorean descent. Human player characters will be of the Edain, men of the western lands. An good example is Boromir, who, like Gimli and Legolas, was one of Gondor's greatest heroes by the time he journeyed to Rivendell.

  Gambino

Novice Member

Joined: 6/30/04
Posts: 31

7/01/04 2:35:09 AM#3


Originally posted by me262a
Basically, the most highly developed, powerful, or 'evolved' (if you will) of the elves were those that agreed to go with Orome to the Undying lands in the beginning of the Elder days.  The Avari who stayed in Middle Earth were less powerful and less artful in their creations.  Lastly were those 'dark elves' known as the Moriquendi (which was an umbrella term that included the Avari) who refused the trip in the first place.  It was not that these Moriquendi and Avari were not powerful, it was simply that compared to those who saw the light of the Trees, they were as a lower form of creation.  They did not fullfill their potentials, whereas the others did.
They were all the same creation, but had different attributes. The only reason the outnumbered but victorious Noldor were able to win the Battle Under the Stars was because "the light had not yet left their eyes." They were superior to all Eldar who did NOT complete the journey. The Trees instilled advanced power that others did not have.

 
Now, all of the elves in the LOTR are of the group of elves who 'saw the light of the Trees.'  None include the Avari or Moriquendi who were long destroyed or perverted in the service of Melkor/Morgoth.  In point of fact, even some of the elves who 'saw the light of the Trees' were also seduced by darkness of both Melkor/Morgoth and Sauron later.  The difference is the firstborn remaining in the LOTR had remained true to the side of goodness and light (ex. Galadriel, Elrond, Legolas).

Actually, out of those three Elves, only Galadriel had seen the Light. By the Third Age had begun there were VERY few Elves left in Middle-earth who had seen the Light of Aman. Most have left back for it, and even some who have never seen it are leaving. The only large group of these Elves left are those of Ossiriand, or Lindon. But even their numbers dwindled when the War of the Last Alliance was over. You must realize this.

My final point: How will the game MEO manage the fact that elves who are dark in nature be compared to those of the 'light'?  They are not equal in power and strength according to Tolkien lore, the side of light will always be a higher form and more powerful.
We will only be able to play as young Silvan Elves who never completed the journey. 

Some have stated they believe elves will not be able to be evil, but the new subclass known as assassin would strongly indicate otherwise.
You see, assassin is not an Elf class at all. There were never really any evil Elves, just Dark Elves, and they weren't even evil. You could play as a corrupted Elf, but there really were very few. Most actually were of the light alignment. 

Also, the roleplaying possibilities would be greatly reduced.  Perhaps in power and accuracy 'dark elves' WOULD (hopefully) BE REDUCED compared to elves of light, but they would have other abilities that would bring some balance (for example, an increased ability for thievery or lockpicking, etc).  In military power, they SHOULD NOT be equal to elves of light.  They may have lower forms of magic, etc.

Once again, we cannot even play as the Elves of Light. That would indeed be too much of an advantage. The Noldor of Aman were considered the most powerful of Iluvatar's children. They were the strongest in body and mind, which is why were are ONLY able to play as some young Silvan Elves who didn't even exist then. That doesn't mean we can't roleplay them though! 

The same is true for SOME type of humans according to Tolkien's lore.  Some humans that are dark are strengthened in sheer power when operating from evil motives, but some humans are debased and become relatively weaker and of less pure blood.  How to incorporate these elements of Tolkien lore into a MMORPG?  Some of the humans who fought for good in the Silmarillion had combat abilities and weapons specializations that outclassed even some of the Firstborn elves (ex. Beren One-Handed) and dared to challenge Morgoth himself, the greatest of the Vala.

I assure you that the Light Numenoreans were just as powerful as the Black Numenoreans. We won't even be able to play as Black Numenoreans. The humans are weaker now due to years of wars, degradation, and decomposing. Their cities are falling into ruin, and they aren't building new ones. They live shorter lives because they are forgetting the values and traditions they learned from the Elves while they were in Numenor. And it was High King Fingolfin of the Elves who challenged Melkor to a duel and wounded him SEVEN TIMES, including hewing his foot.

How is MEO to incorporate the UNIQUENESSES of Tolkien's fantasy so that it will NOT become just another fantasy-based MMORPG?  Tolkien's story is unique and is VASTLY deeper and more complex than anything other D&D-based RPGs have come up with.  I don't wish to flame the developers because their job has GOT to be inconceivably difficult because of Tolkien's scope and complexity. 

Turbine is rated #1 amongst the MMORPG developers. If anyone can do it, it's them. 85,000 registered members at their official forums seem to think so.

Which races of the 4 playable ones (humans, dwarves, elves, and hobbits) need to have a purposeful IMBALANCE in sheer military strength?  According to my reading of Tolkien, I would respectfully submit that in sheer military power elves should have such an IMBALANCE in military strength/power/accuracy in favor of elves of light, but with elvish assassins having other skills non-military in nature that help shore up these inequities, though perhaps not completely.
The young Silvan Elves will probably be weaker but faster than the average human, which is common in most games.  I don't see that dwarves, humans, or hobbits deserve such an imbalance according to Tolkien lore. 

Elves are simply different in their evolution than other races. 

Elves and humans are actually more similar than you think.

The only thing I can think of that would enable a play balance would be if 'elves of light' would be seduced by a powerful talisman toward evil (such as the One Ring in Galadriel's temptation or Feanor with the Silmarills he created for the Valar).  If elves would be seduced to darkness, they would NOT act out of a desire FOR evil, but for a desire to do GOOD.  This form of dark elven power might in fact be just as strong as elven goodness or even GREATER.
That is not Tolkien-esque. He would never approve of that. Denying superiority like that. That's why they are playing as the somewhat watered-down Silvans. 

Elven player characters will be of similar (or less) ability to Legolas, for example, who himself was among Lothlorien's most capable fighters.
Legolas was a prince, nothing more. There were many Elves with the same skills as he.

Even still, he was not of significantly greater ability in combat than Gimli or Boromir, only clearly more agile and proficient with his bow.
Very true!

The same applies to Aragorn and any other remaining of Numenorean descent. Human player characters will be of the Edain, men of the western lands. An good example is Boromir, who, like Gimli and Legolas, was one of Gondor's greatest heroes by the time he journeyed to Rivendell.
Excuse me, but the noble Edain have long been extinct. Boromir was an heir to the steward throne, but just a normal human. The Edain were not men of the western lands, they were the first humans that awoke, and they fought in the First Age. I also know many more heros than just Boromir. Although not portrayed so in the movies, Faramir was just as great. There were better fighters than Gimli and Legolas, but they were the volunteers that happened to join the Fellowship.

  hqarmstrong

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/03
Posts: 5

7/01/04 4:50:01 AM#4

[quote]Originally posted by Gambino


Excuse me, but the noble Edain have long been extinct. Boromir was an heir to the steward throne, but just a normal human. The Edain were not men of the western lands, they were the first humans that awoke, and they fought in the First Age. I also know many more heros than just Boromir. Although not portrayed so in the movies, Faramir was just as great. There were better fighters than Gimli and Legolas, but they were the volunteers that happened to join the Fellowship.

I just had a very long, and time-comsuming post eaten by the forum. My attempt to "Post Message" brought me to the thread, but my post was missing, and when I backed to the prior page, my post was cleared, so you'll have to excuse me if I provide the abbreviated response here.

The Edain were ancestors of both the Numenoreans (not all Edain accepted the rewards for their aid in defeating Morgoth) and various groups of men who inhabited Northern Middle-Earth, namely Men of Gondor, the Eorlings, the Beornings, and Men of the Long Lake and The Dale.

To say that playable human characters will be "of the Edain" is certainly not overly-specific, but I do think it's roughly accurate, and the Edain can be attributed to all of the above groups of men which exist during the 3rd and 4th ages, and make acceptable groups for player characters to hail from.

  Ribuld

Novice Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 2

7/01/04 5:04:12 AM#5

Turbine rated #1 dev?   You've got to be kidding.  

One failed mmorpg and one old ass hack fest mmorp that has seen better days does not equal #1.

  Gambino

Novice Member

Joined: 6/30/04
Posts: 31

7/01/04 4:27:27 PM#6


Originally posted by Ribuld
Turbine rated #1 dev?   You've got to be kidding.  
One failed mmorpg and one old ass hack fest mmorp that has seen better days does not equal #1.



Oh, that's why two of the top five MMO's rated on this very site are from Turbine. That's why they won half the awards at E3 2003? That's why they are one of the most successful development companies for MMO's in the world? That's why they have had record profits compared to others?

Anyways hqarmstrong, it seemed that you were trying to say that we will be playing as the Edain in the earlier post. That is just not true. Once they went to Numenor or stayed in Middle-earth, they were no longer considered Edain. These decendants did not include the Rohirrim, for they derived from the Northmen. You first said that playable humans would be of the Edain but then went on to say that they were the ancestors. These two references are different. The ladder statement was more accurate, but I realize what you were trying to say the first time now. It's just that no human is considered "Edain" anymore.

Aragorn and Elrond (House of Beor) are actually some of the only known decendants of the three houses, so how can people declare that their family derived from them? It's just not possible.

  Corsair52

Novice Member

Joined: 7/02/04
Posts: 65

When you fight monsters, beware becoming one For if you gaze long into abyss, abyss ll gaze into you

7/02/04 1:43:24 AM#7

Originally posted by me262a

How is MEO to incorporate the UNIQUENESSES of Tolkien's fantasy so that it will NOT become just another fantasy-based MMORPG?  Tolkien's story is unique and is VASTLY deeper and more complex than anything other D&D-based RPGs have come up with.  I don't wish to flame the developers because their job has GOT to be inconceivably difficult because of Tolkien's scope and complexity. 


Compromise, trade-offs, choices. Obviously devs can not "imbue" the game with intricacy and sheer scope of details for historical background of whole series of writings. Exactly right, it ll be hard for them to balance game enough to incorporate most basic lore into game features and game "knowledge base" while not commiting blunders towards sacrificing accuracy of original works , or "purist" way of it if you will, for game balance/mechanics sake. Just like I'm sure most agree that P. Jackson did "good job" on his movie trilogy balancing  to appease both "purists"/readers and "casual pop-corn devouring movie-goes". I imagine hard part for them was to cut chunks out of the movies to keep em around classic 2.5-3 hrs each max. It becomes apparent how they sacrificed the accuracy of story or tried to balance it when one watches the Extended version of movies Part I and II. I don't mention inaccuracies/customisations of certain parts and providing bare minimum of historic perspective and background on the ME's history in this trilogy, such impossibility 's taken for granted.

Also agree that Turbine can do it if no other. Personally I d be happy to play just young sylvan elves as sum1 put it above, just to parttake in a ME world visual experience, as you can well roleplay the rest if you wish.


 

  hqarmstrong

Novice Member

Joined: 5/31/03
Posts: 5

7/03/04 2:50:13 AM#8


Originally posted by Gambino

Originally posted by Ribuld
Turbine rated #1 dev? You've got to be kidding.
One failed mmorpg and one old ass hack fest mmorp that has seen better days does not equal #1.



Oh, that's why two of the top five MMO's rated on this very site are from Turbine. That's why they won half the awards at E3 2003? That's why they are one of the most successful development companies for MMO's in the world? That's why they have had record profits compared to others?

Anyways hqarmstrong, it seemed that you were trying to say that we will be playing as the Edain in the earlier post. That is just not true. Once they went to Numenor or stayed in Middle-earth, they were no longer considered Edain. These decendants did not include the Rohirrim, for they derived from the Northmen. You first said that playable humans would be of the Edain but then went on to say that they were the ancestors. These two references are different. The ladder statement was more accurate, but I realize what you were trying to say the first time now. It's just that no human is considered "Edain" anymore.

Aragorn and Elrond (House of Beor) are actually some of the only known decendants of the three houses, so how can people declare that their family derived from them? It's just not possible.


First, I agree that I didn't make myself very clear in my initial post.

Regarding the Rohirrim, they are descendent of the Edain who remained behind. This is specified in Appendix F (of Men) of LOTR (I believe, working on memory).

In addition, the great three houses of men which were among the Elf-friends aren't the only Edain, only the 3 largest houses. There were many more Edain which did not belong to one of the 3 houses, but those groups who descended from the 3 houses took great pride in the fact.

  Gambino

Novice Member

Joined: 6/30/04
Posts: 31

7/05/04 2:12:11 PM#9

Of the Hildor there still exists the secretive, yet dwindling Drúedain, Hobbits, Wild Men (Easterlings and Haradrim), Edain, and Middle Peoples. They are all established as belonging to the race of Men, and must therefore have descended from the first people to have awoken in Hildórien, but the precise details of Hobbit descent remain unknown. One of the branches of the chart is titled "Middle Peoples" but has no direct source of the name. Under Edain we have Numenoreans and Dunedain, but the Rohirrim remain under Northmen of the Middle Peoples.

"Whereas Edain is strictly Elvish for all Men, it is normally only applied to those of the Three Houses who remained faithful to the Elves and were given the island of Elenna (Númenor) as a reward." I was pretty close, wasn't I??

  BeornTheBear

Novice Member

Joined: 7/02/04
Posts: 7

7/12/04 6:49:55 PM#10

Honestly I don't see this happening. But I must stay its refreshing to find other Silmarillion lovers around here. :)

 

Anyway, I don't see the developers of MEO doing this. Maybe I don't have enough faith in them, but they are being way too tight lipped if you ask me.

 

Anyway, just my two cents.