DC Universe Online (DCUO, of course) recently announced its line-up of voice talent for the key NPCs in the setting, and by pretty much any fan’s standards, it’s impressive.
Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman are both probably the most well-known and best-loved voices for those character’s in the current modern Batman animated productions; both have a strong fan following. Other members of the cast make us wonder if someone working for DCUO is a big Joss Whedon fan; the list includes Adam Baldwin (Chuck, Firefly) as Superman, Gina Torres (Firefly) as Wonder Woman, and James Marsters (Buffy, Angel) as Lex Luthor.
MMOs tend to be feast or famine when it comes to voice acting — some use almost none (City of Heroes comes to mind), while others voice every single bit of dialog and accompany it with matching text (such Wizard 101, a fact that has helped my daughter’s reading advancement immensely).
Everyone has their favorite voices in their favorite games, be they MMO or single-player. Most Blizzard fans quickly recognize the voice behind “stay awhile and listen” (I’ll always be partial to the way one of the Ogrimmar vendors said “blood and thunder”), and Bioware’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect megahits have lead many to wonder which character class or race will be voiced by Jennifer Hale (known to many as ‘female Shepherd’) in the upcoming Star Wars: the Old Republic. (As a Buffy fan, I’m glad Robin Sachs will be getting more work — Bioware uses him for so many characters that he ought to simply be put on the payroll.)
What voice actor or particular character in your favorite MMO helps you enjoy the game that much more? I’m partial to LotRO’s Gandalf (Harry Chase), as well as the more recent yet equally sonorous Second Watcher Heathstraw.
What about you? Share your favorites (and the game they’re from) in the comments!
The land of Middle-earth has been brought to life by Turbine in the form of Lord of the Rings Online. The community surrounding the game is one of the most passionate and creative communities I have seen in a long time. A little while ago, I sat down with some of the talented ladies who used World of Warcraft as their medium. Today, I sit down with a few ladies from LotRO to talk about what they do. I had a chance to talk to Lunna the Burg, a LotRO machinima artist and comic creator, Goldenstar and Kiarane from A Casual Stroll to Mordor and our very own Celeste who wrote class guides on LotRO Reporter and now writes for MMO Reporter.
Candace: Were you a fan of Tolkien before you started to play Lord of the Rings Online? What caused you to look at this game and play it?
Goldenstar: Yes, I was a Tolkien fan and had read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I was also a big MMO player. Seeing the Tolkien story in a gaming genre I also loved was too much to resist!
Kiarane: I played Wow for a couple of years before getting tired of the game. I was seeking a change of scenery so I went online to make some research about which Mmo or Pc game I could try. I was looking for a medieval fantasy game with European aesthetic (as opposed to asian/anime inspired worlds) and good reputation. When I first stumbled across articles on LotRO, I decided to give it a shot, why not? After all I’ve been a fan of Tolkien since I was little. I tried the 10 days trial and never looked back since!
Celeste: I wasn’t a huge fan of Tolkien in particular but I’ve always loved stories that explore the journeys we take in life that don’t go as planned. I was drawn into LOTRO by the stunning graphics and rich lore.
Lunna: I was a fan of the movies but had never read the books. My husband is a huge fan of Tolkien and he was the one who got me interested in the game. Once I started playing I fell even more in love with Tolkien’s world and am working my way through the books. My favorite so far has been The Hobbit.
Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online has popped to the top of MMO news many times, most recently due to its switch to a Free to Play model similar to the one that revitalized Dungeons and Dragons Online. That switch has been extremely profitable for Turbine, and the fans of the game (both newcomers as well as the game’s “lifers” and VIP account holders) have adopted a warily cautious attitude about the necessary changes that came with Free to Play.
“Money is nice,” say the masses, “but show us what you’re going to do with it. Are we going to see any of that new income going back into the game?”
This winter, LotRO’s developers are providing what might be the first real answer to that question, and it’s coming from a strange direction: the annual in-game Yule Festival will feature fairly predictable (if enjoyable) new seasonal content (snowball fights, new quests, eating contests, et cetera), and something that sounds altogether different: a one-act play in which the players can participate both as actors and audience. The play features flexible outcomes and a new rating system that meant the developers had to entirely abandon the standard MMO quest mechanics with which we are all so painfully familiar.
The Festival Theatre was built outside of the quest system in order to get past some of the limitations that would have restricted the event. While overall it was the right decision, it was most definitely a double-edged sword. The upside of going rogue was the freedom of choice and varied responses that make this event so unique; [...] the downside being that all of the feedback the quest system provides had to be recreated.
To that end, players entering the Theatre will find helpful announcers and ushers willing to explain how the event operates. [They also] carry a full stock of Rotten Fruit and Flower Petals — two very important items for an audience member to keep on their person at all times.
The event is (mostly) controlled by a single, all-powerful NPC called “The Audience.” [Any readers with acting experience may have just cringed.] The Audience picks actors for the event, records what emotes have been chosen, tells NPC actors what lines to perform, and hands out rewards. It was a challenging project that took a significant time commitment from many members of Turbine’s staff, and that may be the first place where some of the new free-to-play revenue has been visibly reinvested in the game.
Behind the scenes, all of his logic is controlled through a script system. Because of its complex logic (and the fact that some of the features had never been attempted in LOTRO before) designers from across the company [...] helped review, debug, and offer suggestions on its implementation.
The rating system for the play is noteworthy for rewarding both actors and audience members as well. Aside from the NPC “Audience”, the players who don’t get picked to play a part still have jobs to do — they’re the actual, critical audience, able to throw rotten fruit at bad actors (or a kinmate who needs a good tomato-to-the-face) and rose petals at the good ones. Turbine’s developers boast that the play will be highly repeatable content, thanks to the ‘choose your adventure’ style of the choices the actors get on stage that’s meant to ensure that no performance is ever exactly the same. True or not, this certainly sounds like a fresh new step in MMO content design, and we’re excited to see what Turbine (and others) are able to do with it in the future.
Lord of the Rings Online is offering a store exclusive mount to players now until 3AM December 1, 2010. The Steed of Night will be available in the LotRO store soon, but this is a preview offer tonight only. The Steed of Night has more health than a normal ground mount and runs at 168% speed. It does not fly.
Some players are complaining this store exclusive horse is the beginning of LotRO becoming “Pay to win”. I will have to respectfully disagree with that.The Steed of Night does not give players any advantage in combat or leveling. The only advantage players have is saving some gold for mount training and receiving a mount at low levels.
Considering the large amount of free and Premium subscribers LotRO now has, a store exclusive mount is a logical move for Turbine. Not to mention that Blizzard had a massive success with the “Sparkle Pony” when it was released. Many players like to have something that looks flashy on their screen. Players also seem to enjoy convenience for a small price.
Though I agree that The Steed of Night is a logical move for Turbine, I can not agree with the price of the mount. Like the aforementioned Sparkle Pony, I can not personally justify spending $20.00 on The Steed of Night. As a Premium subscriber, I already pay for my content. Because of that, I don’t care to spend even more money on a virtual skin for a horse.
Though some players will agree with me and some won’t, we can be sure of one thing – we will see quite a few of these ponies in-game very soon. If Turbine decided to come out with a Shadowfax or perhaps a Mearas then I may have to spend a few dollars. That would only be because the Tolkien dork in me would not be quiet until I did.
Lord of the Rings Online has released the trailer to their latest expansion: The Rise of Isengard. Finally, one of the places the players have been begging for and LotRO delivers. Creep players and high levels can rejoice. In Fall of 2011, we’ll be taking the Hobbits to Isengard with a new level cap, new zone and “enhances to Monster play” which means more PVMP action. As we find out more about the upcoming expansion to LotRO, MMO Reporter will keep you updated.
Edit: Sorry, we are having issues embedding YouTube videos. You can watch the Rise of Isengard teaser here.
With the North American launch of Free-to-Play for Lord of the Rings Online well under way, European players are still waiting to hear from Codemaster when their transition will be. For those of you who don’t know, Codemaster announced 2 days before the planned September 10th launch that they would be delaying their transition, and they have yet to stated a date for when it will occur.
European players have started to chat on the forums about putting together a march on the Prancing Pony in the hope of trying to get some more information from Codemaster/Turbine about this.
I’ve stated in the past that I through it was a really bad move for Codemaster to announce 2 days before the planned launch that they where delaying it indefinitely. Information has definitely not been forthcoming from the company.
That being said, I wonder how much of this is Codemaster’s fault. When I asked for an email interview with one of the CMs from Codemaster, I know that they had to vet all of their answers through Turbine before they could send them back to me. Could this lack of information be coming from Turbine, not just Codemasters?
All that aside, I think that this march is a great idea, and I whole heatedly support it! If you’re interested in participating, the march is going to take place at 8:00PM CET on Saturday September 25th , on the Laurelin server. If you can’t make it to the Laurelin server, march on any server that you’re able to.
You can find the original forum post here.
LotRO’s transition to free to play scared me. I was concerned about the server communities and what it would do to the game. Even after participating in the beta, I was reserved. Yesterday, my fears were put to rest. Landroval and Brandywine both were getting along great. New players were welcomed and questions were answered without a ton of trolling or rudeness. Things seemed wonderful until I went to Landroval. Something went wrong there.
I stayed in Michel Delving with a couple of Hobbit kinships who were welcoming new players. I was also crafting some items before I went to Celondim to make sure the new Elves were getting some freebies too. Suddenly, a cry of horror sounded across The Shire.
It was the Chief of the Bounders. I heard it, but it echoed. Then an image of Gandalf at the Brandywine river showed up. Once it disappeared, Michel Delving was a ghost town. The Hobbits were gone save a few. The Chief and his strange scream had stopped. Clearly, Sauron had made his way to The Shire.
The enemy had also made his way into Bree. The city that was normally bustling with musicians and players was a ghost town. Actually, it was the dynamic layering system that separated me from everyone I know. In order to get to the same layer they were in, I had to group with a friend and “port” to their layer.
Hi, and welcome to this wonderful game we call Lord of the Rings Online. I think you’ll like it here. The people are really friendly, the scenery is beautiful, and the adventure is second to none! Since you’re new to the neighbourhood, I thought that I could give you a few tips to help you get the most of your time here.
1) Don’t spend any money right away!
- Unless you’re sure that you’re going to be playing the game for a while, hold off on spending any Turbine Points until you get a handle for the game. That way, it will reduce the change of you buying something that you’ll regret later.
2) Explore your first zone completely.
- You’re going to start in one of three zone: Bree, Ered Luin, or The Shire. Each of these is broken down into small areas (for example, the Dwarves start at Thorin’s Gate in Ered Luin, while the Elves start in Celendim, also in Ered Luin) and you should try to finish all of the quests and the deeds before you move on. Not only will this allow you to get the most out of the game before you decide whether or not you want to spend any money, but you’ll also most likely earn enough Turbine Points to purchase the Lone Lands quest pack.
MMO Reporter is headed to PAX! This is our first time going to any major convention, so we’re very excited to be able to go, and to get some great information for you on all the different games that you care about. As we are a limited team here at MMO Reporter, we won’t be able to cover everything, but we’re going to try to hit a few games that interest us, and pass along all of the amazing information that we get from the conference.
The games that we will be focusing on at the conference are Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Lord of the Rings Online. There are many other games that we will try to see, such as Lego Universe, and Candace will continue to cover all of the Free to Play announcement that happen during PAX.
Now, lets take a look at what we hope to see from some of these games!