When Bad Mechanics Do Good: Lord of the Rings Online, Session Play, and Empathy

So, for once, I do not think I need to reassure you, dear readers, that I don’t really mean that something is 100% very bad no good but rather that, if you understood every word I wrote in the title, I a) am absolutely serious b) definitely do understand the … fraught feelings us LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) players have towards session play quests.

I have kicked the leeches. I have kicked the leechesĀ more than once and am sure I will again. And yet – I do also have a certain fondness for session play and a desire for it to stick around as an occasional mechanic. And I also, as this article will show, think it can be used to really great purpose and effect.

Unsurprisingly, I also like epic battles. Quite a bit. But, that masochism aside (I kid, I kid, but kidding is more fun than serious answers šŸ˜› ), it’s time to head below the “read more” cut for a discussion of consent, choice, Isildur (and his descendants) kind of being a big time jerk, point of view, empathy, and how LOTRO chooses to engage with the Paths of the Dead section of its source material.

There's also a stealthed burglar somewhere in this screencap.

Shrew’s eye view heading north in the Dead Marshes.

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