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Delving into the MMORPG world

by Frances Moritz

On Super Bowl Sunday, we held a Lord of the Rings marathon. Nobody at our house is particularly interested in professional football, but our usually Sunday role-playing was cancelled because a local team was in the game. We didn't actually finish the trilogy - trying to watch extended versions of all three movies with two toddlers running around, getting into arguments, getting injured, or generally making noise, was likely an impossible goal.

I didn't decide on a Lord of the Rings marathon until half a week before Super Bowl Sunday. Until then, we were undecided as to our plans for that day. (As it turns out, the temperature dropped below zero in Chicagoland, so going out would have been unpleasant.) But the weekend before, my husband had been invited to join the beta stress test of a new MMORPG - Lord of the Rings Online.

I have avoided other online commitments, with the exception of Neopets, where I can pop on and off at whim, and occassionally even remember to feed my pets. I am the only person who can read at my house that doesn't have at least one World of Warcraft character. I have resisted friends and family's attempts over several years to lure me into Ultima Online, EverQuest or Star Wars Galaxies.

But I caved for Lord of the Rings Online and played for a couple hours. I ran around as a Guardian, doing assorted quests, fumbling with the keys and mouse options as I learned them. I didn't mean to kill that sheep... is it my fault that you can't talk to it, and that talking to people uses the same mouse button as attacking creatures?

As a Guardian, I had a massive number of hit points ("you're a brick"), so I didn't manage to get myself killed. I saw people resurrecting, so I guess they had fewer hit points, were less cautious, or were actually doing something more difficult than I was. Of the assorted beginning quests I completed, only one had enemies that attacked me unprovoked; I suspect that helped. The wolves and giant spiders didn't care if I ran by... though it was a bit crowded trying to find one that wasn't already being killed by someone else!

My brief incursion into an MMORPG reminded me that I do miss extended play computer games. It's been a long time since I could sit down for an hour or two playing Moria, Civilization or Warlords. Usually, I pop onto e-mail, or do quick web updates, play a game or two on Neopets... I'm rarely on my home computer for more than 20 minutes at a time.

While I enjoyed my time on the game, I am forced to admit that for at least the next few years of parenting, I won't be able to sit still long enough to make it worth paying to play. But the side effect of the attempt was a lovely Super Bowl Sunday spent looking at the "Pretty Elf Boy" and his companions while planning my Live Action Munchkin game for Friday night.

That and our Cafe Press store has a new item as the result of our movie marathon, though I'm wavering a bit on the wording. Which sounds better, Saruman's orcs are to blame for global warming or Global warming was caused by Saruman's orcs?

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