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The Lord of the Rings: A New Hero would be an open-world, actiony RPG for all the major gaming systems, including the Wii U.

This one's been going over and over in my mind for a while now.  Since Element Chronicles was so popular, I've thought about doing more RPG work around the wiki, mainly for my favorite universes.

I've also been a fan of The Lord of the Rings for my entire life, especially the video games.  Aside from that, I just think that The Lord of the Rings is really one of those universes that should have a refined RPG, but doesn't have the kind that we'd all really like: one where you can create your own hero.

This, therefore, is why I decided to put up a page for just such an RPG, where you can create a character destined to play his (or her) own part in the War of the Ring.  More importantly, it would be open-world in format, so that the player can have the freedom to explore Middle Earth at their own pace, very much in Elder Scrolls style.

Story

The player has the initial option to start the game in one of a number of different circumstances.  This has no impact on the player's class or skills; it only affects story elements, starting region, and the quests available at the beginning of the game.  Here are a few examples; you could start as...

...a ranger soldier at Osgiliath

...a denizen of a village of Rohan

...a knight of Gondor

...a traveler wandering through the Shire

...an adventurer braving Fangorn Forest

...a scholar visiting Rivendell

These wouldn't be the only options available, but this gives you an idea of what the game is like.  It would encourage approaching the game from different angles and designing different characters to play through with.

Ultimately, the main quest would place the player at the battle of Black Gate, which was the climax of Return of the King and by extension, the series itself.  Finishing this quest would open up further quests as part of the aftermath.

Gameplay and inspirations

The gameplay for this game will be largely based on The Elder Scrolls series, except for a few differences.  Combat would be deeper, and would be more focused on weaponry than magic.  This isn't to say a player couldn't become a mage and use him effectively, but the game would be more focused on fast-paced, fleshed out fighting, in keeping with what you see in the movies.

You may be wondering why exactly I made this decision; I used to have The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. It was a gorgeous game, good story, great characters, etc. However, I hated the round-based battle system. The characters and the enemies stood two feet away from each other in menacing poses, and even when one opponent shot an arrow through the spine of another, they would react as though nothing had happened.

My favorite experiences with the LOTR games were ones where you could charge in and take out about 20 orcs within 30 seconds, as opposed to this bizarre setup where you have to go through about 5 minutes just to take out two little enemies.  However, I think it would be best to strike a balance between the elements of strategy and skill to make combat interesting.

As you might expect, if this game were real, it would be highly focused on exploration.  It would work off of an accurate map of Middle Earth, and would accordingly lend an accurate sense of scale to it.  Players would be able to visit places like Minas Tirith, Rohan, and the Shire, among many others.  Players would receive various quests, but contrary to some other open-world RPGs, players would not be directly led to their goal, but instead given the information to find it themselves.

Customization

The customization for this game would partly follow the pattern of that in other games. Courtesy of CrazieDave, I would include the option to use templates for your characters if you can't decide on an art direction, or if you just want to play as your favorite characters from the saga!

Of course, you will be able to name your character. This name will allow up to 20 characters, and feature the standard options (you know, caps, numbers, punctuation...standard).

Race

This game would allow the player to choose from a number of different playable races, including...

  • Mirkwood Elves
  • Rivendell Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Gondorians
  • Rohirrim
  • Hobbits
  • Easterlings

...each of which would get automatic buffs to certain skills. For example, Mirkwood Elves would have higher skill in archery and acrobatics than Rivendell Elves, which would be stronger in melee combat and intelligence. These skills, however, like in Elder Scrolls, would particularly limit the player, but would simply give them immediate strengths in certain areas.

The player could also become different types of orc depending on what race they were before being converted. It would in a sense be like becoming a vampire in The Elder Scrolls; it would become much more difficult to do any quests in the civilized world, but the player would be open to other dark-side quests as an orc that could potentially change the world and make it much more evil. The player would be able to follow through with a questline to become good again, and even right major wrongs they did as an orc.

Choices

The player would have full reign over what directions he or she takes in the game; there would be no measurement of good or evil as in some games; instead, the player's individual actions are good or evil, and this is reflected in the rest of the game. They can be as good or evil as they want, essentially, but there might be consequences for evil.

Combat

Once you decide on a character's species, height, and looks, you can decide what skills and weapons you'd like to start out with. Of course, you'll be able to get more as you go along, but you'll have one weapon for each of three categories:

Primary Melee

Things like swords, dual blades, axes, staves, etc.  It would also include close-range magical attacks.

Secondary Melee

This will include mainly the same type of options as Primary, but without the larger weapons, more like daggers for sneak attacks, short-swords for larger characters, etc.

Ranged Weaponry

You can pretty easily imagine what type of stuff this will be; things like bows and arrows, throwing knives, magic projectiles, throwing axes and maces, and anything that fits the universe.  This would be one of the major areas that would determine a player's inclination to pursue magic.

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