Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
Vaneeesa asked me to join her challenge called Gimme Six: show us your favorite ‘must see’ places and tell us where to find them. Most authors of iRez walk around in Second Life, but my virtual worlds are a bit different, in the sense that they are designed as games. So here’s my mixed selection, covering the three games I play: Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect. Here we go!
This small Rohirric town near the border of Rohan is the current ‘place to be’ in Lord of the Rings Online (together with the Dunlending village Galtrev) for level capped players. It is filled with authentic looking Rohirric wooden buildings with many horse-themed decorations, as well as with sexy Rohirrim men with long, waving blond hair. Can you imagine a better place to hang out? The game developers did something right here that they failed to do in other towns (such as Bree, the major old town for low level players): you can open each door and take a glance at what’s behind it – even if this has no direct purpose in the game. This makes Stangard in my opinion the most realistic town so far in this game.
Location: To the Southeast of Lothlórien, in the Great River region. The area offers quests for players of level 70-75.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
IKEA has evolved into true design in the age of the old Republic! Almost every household in this game looks absolutely gorgeous and stylish. If someone would offer to make my own, real-life house look like this: please, go ahead! The thing I love the most about the Star Wars interiors are the Roman-looking flasks. So beautiful! If only these were in fashion in real life… I would fill my house with them!
Location: nice interiors with the distinct SWTOR-style are found in almost every building you enter. The picture above was taken in the cantina of Anchorhead on Tatooine.
Lord of the Rings Online
Evendim is a beautiful area where the sun (almost) always shines. This is a favorite place for me to take screenshots, because it has a brilliant blue sky. Even during the night it’s great to look at the stars above the big lake of Evendim. This lake used to have the nickname “Everswim” until the developers had an eureka moment after four years and invented boats that port players to the other side. Before that, it took over five minutes to swim to the other side, perhaps even longer. I don’t really remember exactly how long, but long enough to leave your character on autorun, walk away from the computer and start the dishes. Evendim also shows many ancient remains of the Numenóreans, now guarded by the Dúnedain rangers. A must for Tolkien lore addicts.
Location: West of the North Downs, South of Forochel. In general in the Northwest of Middle-earth. The region contains quests for players between the levels 30 – 40.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Famous for all Star Wars fans from both the movies and several games, Tatooine is a place you cannot skip. In SWTOR, Tatooine has it all: far reaching deserts with nothing in it, the Jawas, Sandpeople, old deserted sand crawlers, the countless times recolonized town of Anchorhead… The only thing I miss are the swoop races. I’m not sure why they are not there, perhaps they don’t fit in the timeline (I’m not much of a Star Wars lore expert). Either way, I still enjoy the famous two suns of this planet and its well designed quest chains.
Location: Desert planet in the Outer Rim, the first of three planets orbiting the suns of a binary star system. Contains quests for players between the levels 24 – 28.
It struck me that I couldn’t think of a nice landscape in Mass Effect, even though I’ve visited hundreds of planets in the course of the three games. The stories, actions, the characters of this game are all much more important than the surroundings. That, plus, as you play a soldier, many landscapes you encounter are scarred by warfare and devastation. Not my favorite type of places to walk around and enjoy the weather. Thus my favorite place to be in Mass Effect is the planet Rannoch. To get there, you need to end a war between two peoples that has been going on for centuries. It is not only the end of a war, it is a victory over racism and prejudice, a story about accepting and reconciliation. When you stand here, on this barren planet, inhabited for several hundred years, you gave the Quarians their homeworld back. Your good friend Tali, member of that species, stands besides you, both of you are filled with happiness. You are looking at a barren, empty landscape, yet you see so much more. A beautiful moment in the game.
Location: A planet orbiting an old star in the Tikkun system, behind the Perseus Veil. Accessible near the end of Mass Effect 3.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Voss is a lovely autumn planet that already inspired me to write a post about its beauty before. It has a special storyline: the planet is inhabited by the mysterious Voss people, of whom some master the force and use it to create visions. The Voss believe blindly in the visions of their so called Mystics, and would blindly leap from a mountain if they would be told it was for a greater good. I’m always fascinated (and a little terrified) by such faith. The Voss don’t choose for the light or dark side of the force, but find their answers in the grey middle, that may sometimes be more harsh than the light sided jedi hippies (‘peace!’) would prefer. This was a beautiful nature planet to explore, accompanied with an interesting storyline.
Location: Planet in the Outer Rim, the third one of the so called Voss system. Contains quests for players between the levels 44 – 47.
Is that all?
Well, these are the six I came up with. It was a hard choice and I’m already regretting not having included some places (LotRO’s Lothlórien comes to mind…), but it was “gimme six” and not “gimme hundred”. Nevertheless: did I do it all wrong or did I miss your favorite place to hang out? Write your own post about it, or leave a message below in the comments!