As a member of a Lord of the Rings Online static group, who meet but once per week to continue their epic struggle against overwhelming odds with the most evil creatures the land has to offer, as well as convene in the halls of the Last Homely House to discuss affairs of state vital to the free people of Middle Earth, such as whether the interior of our kinship house would look better painted pea-green or pumpkin-orange, I am fully aware of how far we are behind the current story arc of the game. We have yet to venture into Moria proper, and are on number ten out of some huge number, at least five thousand I’m sure, of the book based content in volume one.
Even with the Mirkwood expansion soon to be released I, for one, am still in no hurry to get into the Moria content of volume two; I’m looking forward to it undoubtedly, but it is evident that there is still an abundance of things for us to see and do in volume one of the game.
However, one thought that germinated in my brain and sent its tender roots tickling their way through the field of my mind was thus: with the inevitable progression of the story and with its forgone conclusion, are we going to be late to the party? Are we going to be like the embarrassingly late couple who turn up and leap through the door shouting “Surprise!” just as everyone else is heading home? I picture a fellowship of heroes – two elves, two dwarves, a man and a hobbit – huffing and puffing their way across the fields of the Pelennor, clattering up the streets of Gondor under the gaze of astonished and puzzled eyes, shouting “Sorry!” *huff* “Sorry we’re late!” *puff* “Have we missed much of the battle?”, tumbling over each other into the hall of the king shouting “Surprise!”; “We’ll save you Mr Frodo!”; “Down with this Sauron thing!” and “Careful now!”, only to be faced with Eldarion son of Aragorn, Second High King of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor, who can only ponder the purpose of these curiously mannered folk are who cluttering up his throne room, and who then has to put a comforting arm around their collective shoulders and quietly explain that there has been peace in the land for the last hundred years.
A world story is a wonderful thing in an MMO, unless you’re late to the party.