by: Tony "RadarX" Jones
What do you think of when you hear the word fluff in a Massive Multiplayer Online game? Is it something like housing where you can place personal belongings? Perhaps you are more interested in titles, revealing your numerous and difficult accomplishments. To some it could even be pixilated cleavage (I dont judge because Im probably among you). The point is, fluff is subjective to be sure but rarely gets the spotlight usually just becoming a footnote to major mechanics. Turbine made it a point last week to discuss this type of content in detail. They refer to them as Leisure Activities (which is fair) and I think it's important to look at what they covered.
This is truly one of the most unique things Ive seen in an MMO. Ive seen this discussed in the forums of at least two other games recently and I wouldnt be surprised if it were added other places.
Ill admit at first it did remind me of playing the little piano in Lord Britishs room trying to get the Sandalwood Box from Ultima 5. Essentially the number keys play a certain note and you have an 8 note octave to work with. Want to expand? The shift and control keys will actually raise or drop the notes by an octave.
This provides players with the ability to write their own music which I have to admit is a little cool. I havent looked around really hard but I would be absolutely shocked if there wasnt a guide to playing the Legend of Zelda theme song.
Ok now Im going to be honest about this one. Im surprised Turbine hasnt gotten some bad press over smoking. Yes its dumb, but in a game rated T you are encouraging characters to smoke? Ill even leave the weed references to Cheech and Chong, but things like this have a way of getting negative attention.
Essentially Farmers, which is a crafting profession, go out in the field and grow pipe-weed for harvesting. Ive personally done it, and Ill admit I enjoy farming (my dad would be so proud) so there is a fun factor to it. Also, there are different varieties of pipe-weed you can grow which Im assuming provides different types of smoke. Can you see the first Guide to Smoking by one of the community sites?
This one made me chuckle a little. Id have preferred capture the flag or kickball but ok, Ill play along. In the ruins near the Bree festival grounds you can join a game of tag which will have you running around wildly. Get bored with that, and youll find a game of Freeze Tag nearby.
Its an interesting diversion Ill admit but a little bit of experienced advice from me to you? If you try and play Extreme Tag in the Auction House by screaming TAG
Armor Dyes!? Shhhh the EverQuest 2 fans are going to hear you. There are actual dyes in game? The Scholar crafting profession makes these Armor Dyes and you can dye pretty much anything youd like. This will differentiate you from all your friends and not just in the normal hygienic way.
In their article they only show one example which is the color Olive. Hopefully Turbine has limited the color palette to things youd find commonly in Middle-Earth. I dont think any of us want to relive the pink armor days of EverQuest 1. *shudder*
Im not sure why, but I absolutely love they put this in game. There is something intriguing about eating contests and since we cant have buffalo wings why not pies? You simply head to the Bree festival grounds, talk to Humbert at a certain time (Ive heard afternoon) and you are in! I went after those pies like a kid who was given chocolate for dinner and if you win? You get a title.
Id like to see them expand the contest idea a little more. Why dont the dwarves/elves do anything fun over in Thorins gate? Sure they are a more serious race but come on! Dwarves are known drinkers! Where is our contest?
The Leisure Activity article was interesting to me because Ive rarely seen a game compile their fluff like that. Turbine seems to be really trying to reach in a direction separating them from other fantasy MMOs. Little touches like this may only have limited return but show how much care has gone into the games creation. I expect well see more interesting content like this in future content releases and Ill be waiting for my Dwarven Drinking contest.
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