Middle-Earth Online Forum Answers

On the official Middle-Earth Online forums Aradiel inquires about the size of the MEO world and travel times. Vivendi Universal Games MEO Producer, Chris Taylor, gives this response:

Aradiel posts:

I really don’t want to see that I it only takes about 5 Minutes to get from Bree to Rivendell or whereever. I would really like to see long journeys and long, dusty streets. Journeys should take several days to weeks (ingame of course) and even months. No 30-seconds-from-one-end-to-the-other-camelot-horses-please!

That way I would even after realtime months of playing be able to see and explore areas I’ve never been to before… just because it takes preparation and planning and of course time.

Chris Taylor responds:

Travel times is one of those really interesting issues with a Middle-earth online game.

The world of Middle-earth is not small. The act of travel is in and of itself a major epic story. There are no shortcuts (well, there are a couple, but they are not common). If Gandalf could Teleport, the Ring Quest probably would have been two pages. Fast travel in the book is limited to: horses, boats, eagles (incredibly rare), and a shortcut through the Halls of the Dead (way incredibly rare).

Bottom line, it takes a while to get around the world.

Now, on the other hand, you have a game. Especially a game that is built around community. It’s about interacting with other people. Doing things together. That means you need to be able to meet each other within a smaller amount of time. The amount of time it takes to meet each other is directly related to how likely you are to do so. In other words, long travel time is a barrier to community as it develops (ie, your group of friends) in these types of games.

So, we have a conflict. World wants long travel times, Game wants short travel times. Conflict is interesting.

We’re still working on the solution, but at this time, we think we have some of the solutions. Some bits of faster time for areas that you have previously explored. That means that you can get around a little faster once you have made the great journey. The first part of exploration is still up to you, but the repetition of travel doesn’t get tedious. The faster bits would be represented in game in a consistent manner with Tolkien.

We will have to fudge some bits of the World for the sake of the Game, the same way we will have to bend some Game for the sake of the World. Our jobs as designers, developers, producers and artists is to make the bits of fudge as tasty and consistent as possible.

As for the size of the world itself: we do plan on starting with a smaller world to begin with, filling it with as much content as possible, and then expanding the world instead of building a large world with the same amount of content (which would feel like less content since it would be more spread out) and then filling in the content. But when I say “smaller” world that is only in comparison with the size of the whole of Middle-earth. It will still be large, just smaller than it will eventually be. That makes the most sense.

Chris Taylor
Producer, Middle-earth Online
Vivendi-Universal Games

Share this article:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments