Saturday 20 October 2012

LOTRO: A tourist guide to the East Wall

It's been five days since Rohan was launched, and I haven't been able to write a single post. Shame on me! I've been so busy with my studies (and I don't expect it to get any less busy the coming two years, to be honest) that I barely had time to let alone play the game, and I'm level 77 as we speak (while many of my kinmates are already level capped). Nevertheless, it's time to get rid of some screenshots I have been capturing!

In fact, I thought it would be cool to guide you through the different regions of Rohan while I quest through it. Today will be all about the East Wall area, where I started off with the new epic book quests.

And what better than to start with the Argonath, the giant statues of Isildur and Anárion that mark the passage into the large lake Nen Hithoel, and more symbolic, that into the reign of Gondor at that time. If you follow it more to the south, you will end up at the Falls of Rauros and Amon Hen, where the Fellowship fell apart.

The landscape of the East Wall region is rough, with many wild weeds, pine trees,

rocks and clear water creeks,

and warped trees. Not warped as like those crazy trees in the Old Forest, but warped in form. Even though capricious, I really like what these look like. I would love to walk through the landscape on the picture above in real life, if only there weren't Uruks hiding behind the trunks.

Sadly enough, these lands near the river banks of the Anduin are infiltrated by orcs of all sorts. Some even got the guts to settle themselves in fortifications such as on the picture above. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I encountered these. The forts strongly resemble the Iron age and early medieval hill forts as found in northwestern Europe (including England, France, the Netherlands and Germany). It is no secret that Tolkien was inspired by archaeological remains as there are still many to see in Great Britain. 

Often, these forts, by rule situated on hills,  had ditches around them, and circular earthen walls brought up with the earth that was collected through digging them. In this case, the rocks already figure as walls, so ditches are unnecessary. Professionally, I've spend a lot of time studying the early medieval forts, and have recently attended two lectures about Iron age hillforts in France and Germany, so I thought it was pretty cool when I ran into this. For me it brought a bit more realism to the landscape.

As a first impression, I'm glad to discover there has been as much effort put into the landscape of the East Wall (and probably the rest of Rohan as well) as we are used to. It's no punishment to run around here and slaughter some orcs.

More in a Tourist guide to Rohan


  1. Very beautiful. Awesome that you tied it into your schooling. That makes playing lotro almost like a side study. lol!

    1. Thank you! I once did a presentation at the university about how archaeology is used in Tolkien's world, and indeed this has added an extra layer for me when I play LotRO. If Tolkien based something on a particular aspect or culture in the past, this of course doesn't mean the game makers know this and aim to reflect this in their virtual recreation of his world. However, I found they've done their homework in most cases. I think this is partly why LotRO's landscape still looks so good, even though the game is quite some years old (for an MMO).

  2. wow, the East Wall is incredible. I get a magazine/newspaper/tabloid called "The Last Magazine" -- it has huge pages -- and I've been thinking the last few days how something like the East Wall IS incredible in VR space, but that if you were near something like that IRL it'd be Incredible**10 or something. I guess it's because IRL is multisensory including visceral sense, etc, and also that the visual would just dwarf you in a way that even a huge monitor / TV doesn't quite do today... but we're getting there! :D

    1. Thank you! What you say is so true. It's funny how I can walk around in a VR place and think "if only I could experience this in RL", but at the same time this place will of course never really exist. Even if you would recreate a similar looking place in real life, it would not be the same. It wouldn't have the same history.

      Heh, this makes me think about Star Trek and holodecks. Star Trek has beaten us to it by exploring things like "Is programmed virtual world as real as the world outside of the holodeck?", even including relationships with virtual people. :O

      Yay for (one of) my favorite TV series. :D

  3. Presuming you have already done this, but the vista from up on Amon Hen is absolutely stunning as well. It gave me the same sort of "wow" factor as viewing Rivendell for the first time, or standing atop Weathertop as a newbie.

    1. I loved Amon Hen too, but I haven't included it in this article for various reasons. I think the "wow"-factor of Amon Hen is mostly due to the great sense of history you get when standing on top of it: you know that it's a very old place, you've read about it, you know what happened to the Fellowship here etc. This all gets strengthened by the session play you do here (I thought that was awesome), which felt 'epic'.

      I felt the same when I stumbled upon the place where Boromir died. Perhaps I will write a post about 'historical' places in the East Wall as well, I was sort of half thinking about that already.


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