LOTRO: High Elf Preview
I was more than a little surprised when Standing Stone Games announced the addition of a new race coming to LOTRO. As Elves are already a popular option in the game, I really didn’t see any merit in adding a subtle variation of them, with High Elves. However, as I had time this weekend, I thought I’d take a look at the new introduction for this race, that is currently available for preview on the Bullroarer test server. Like all races in LOTRO, there is a bespoke opening quest line, that orientates players and provides a degree of lore and backstory. Although aspects of the High Elf race are yet to be completed such as the character visualisation, the introduction is in place and has a rather unique narrative compared to the rest of LOTRO.
After creating your High Elf character and choosing a suitable name, the action moves to The Battle of Dagorlad, during the end of the Second Age. As part of the Last Alliance and in true LOTRO fashion, you find yourself running errands for none other than Gil-galad himself. This presents an opportunity to name check a lot of iconic characters from Tolkien’s work and certainly provides an interesting story line. High Elves have at present some curious parkour style animations when running and jumping. It actually seems quite fitting, considering the physical and tactical abilities of the race. It should also be noted that your character is at level 110 at this point in the proceedings.
Now this is where things get curious. SSG have had to find a suitable plot device to bring your character from SA 3434, to a TA 3001. A passage of time of about three thousand plus years. I must admit, I did laugh out loud at the temerity of their solution. Effectively, your character is stabbed with a Morgul blade with the intent of turning them into a minor wraith. However, you’re rescued and brought to Imladris and healed by Elrond. Due to the severity of your wound, you’ve been convalescing in an Elven coma all this time. Overall, it works and does have a degree of plausibility but it’s all somewhat hokey and somewhat “Buck Rogers”. Furthermore, because your strength has been weakened by this experience, you’ve been reduced to an appropriate level for the starting zones of LOTRO.
Much to my surprise, I did enjoy this opening gambit for the High Elf race. Although it is unpolished in its current state, it is clear that some thought has been put into it. However, like the Beorning class that was introduced into the game in late 2014, once the initial excitement of the introduction has passed, you once again find yourself in the Ered Luin starter zone, forging through familiar territory. It’s a shame that SSG cannot maintain a slightly more customised story play through for each race, as Cryptic do with Star Trek Online. At present High Elves may only appeal to Elven enthusiasts and altoholic completists. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the next preview build to see the new facial options and ongoing refinements of the class.