Friday, 15 September 2017

LOTRO's Dulgabeth teaser: one trailer to save it all

Remember that truly awful Mordor trailer? You know, the one that made Lord of the Rings Online the laughingstock of the MMO scape and that everybody, including Standing Stone Games, is trying really hard to forget about? (Right, I'm not helping, eh? Sorry about that.) Back then I wrote that the only thing SSG could do to fix it would be to make a better one. Turns out they have! Scroll down and watch LOTRO's latest trailer with me.

Mordor: After the Fall - Dulgabeth (Source)

It's more a teaser than a full trailer, really. It also isn't mind blowing: rather, it's the style we are used from LOTRO (not counting the Mordor trailer). Somehow watching it gives off some oldschool Angmar vibes - it must be the dark setting. That same setting doesn't do the overall look of the trailer any favours. Unsurprisingly, LOTRO's graphics are outdated: the game is ten years old. The strength of its landscapes that still hold up, lies in its skies, weather system, trees and foliage; in Mordor you just see that ugly brown-blackish stone texture. It also looks like the in-game footage is recorded on low resolution - which is puzzling. On high graphics settings, the game looks much better! But - age notwithstanding - the Dulgabeth trailer does its job and provides some background to people who aren't familiar with the Mordor expansion. The tone is set by Chance Thomas' soundtrack that subtlely weaves LOTRO's hope filled login theme through the despairing dissonances of Mordor. Most of all, I feel extremely relieved that the developers still know what a trailer is.

Of interest is the choice of narrator. It is one of the bad guys: Dulgabeth, second in command to Sauron. This brings me to one of my favourite things about the expansion: the creative way the developers have solved the problem that there isn't all that much to Mordor after the One Ring is destroyed - at least, according to the book. In The Return of the King, the story focuses on the heroes: Frodo and Sam get saved by the Eagles, Aragorn becomes king in Minas Tirith, the Elves leave Middle-earth, the hobbits return to the Shire etc. Not much attention is given to what happens in Mordor after Sauron's defeat. Yet the place is filled with orcs that don't just magically drop dead. This is the point at which LOTRO players enter the region.

In LOTRO's Mordor expansion, players get to 'clean up' Mordor, and that isn't as easy as it may sound. After all, the orcs are no stranger to power play, and new candidates for the throne are rapidly emerging. Questing in Mordor gives you a unique look into the social structure of the forces of evil, one that is surprisingly convincing. I will save further thoughts on this for a Mordor review (I really should write one!), but this trailer does a decent job of giving players a peek behind the Black Gate.

What do you think of the Dulgabeth trailer?


  1. This trailer is way better than the previous one. Feels more suitably epic too.

    Also, until I read this post I never thought about what happened to Mordor after Lord of the Rings ended. I agree that the developers were pretty clever by setting this expansion after the books and having the players clean up the mess left in there. May not be glorious but it is either that or someone else unites what is left of Sauron's forces and threatens Middle Earth all over again.

    1. Yeah, exactly! It is really the most logical point in time to introduce players to Mordor. I also quite like that LOTRO in a sense adds to the existing lore. You get to experience life in Middle-earth beyond what we already know from the narrative and that's pretty cool.

  2. This trailer is definitely better. It actually makes think Mordor is worth picking up. I like having an idea of what to expect story wise too. Especially since we're not the main heroes in the game.


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