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Standing Stone Games | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/24/07)  | Pub:Daybreak Games
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Developer Diary: Morale System

Posted by Jon Wood on Oct 28, 2005  | Comments

Developer Diary: Morale System - Lord of the Rings Online -

Lord of the Rings Online has released a brand new developer diary. This time out, it is  Chris "Hakai" Clay's turn to talk as we learn all about the morale system in this much-anticipate MMORPG. 

Did Aragorn have hit points? How much damage did Boromir take before he fell on Amon Hen? Did Gimli have to wait around to heal up after the battle at Helm's Deep? How much mana did Gandalf have, how much did using his powers drain him, and how long did it take him to recover from his exertions?

Most RPGs use fairly traditional means to indicate a character's status – health, hit points, vitality; mana, energy, spell points. Despite the different names given to these stats, the bones of the system remains the same: a character has a certain quantity of hit points to represent physical damage and spell points to power spell casts, with the occasional stamina or other stat thrown in for good measure. The max stat quantities are increased as the character gains experience. It's a tried and true way to let the player know how they're doing and help them manage their character's physical resources on the fly.

During LOTRO's development, we've seen several potential vital systems come and go as we searched for the proper balance between adhering to the lore of Middle-earth and the need for fun, functional, recognizable gameplay. These systems have changed and evolved into the current incarnation: the Morale system, which we believe satisfies the needs of both gameplay and lore without unacceptable compromise.

This wonderful harmony came from a central theme that runs throughout The Lord of the Rings: Hope. Hope is a powerful force that can carry those who have it through the darkest of times, and it was this theme that led to the creation of the Morale system.

Pondering the nature of Hope in desperate times brought us to the idea of heroic perseverance, which is the ability to keep going where others might fail. It is the knack of a determined hero to defend against an incoming attack and, at the very last instant, turn it before it strikes true. This courage manifests itself repeatedly in the books, be it when Sam fights Shelob at Cirith Ungol or as the Fellowship continues its quest after Gandalf's fall at Durin's Bridge in Khazad-Dûm.

To read the rest of this diary entry, click here.