Gimme Six! – Rav’s tour of three worlds

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —

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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!

1. Stangard

Lord of the Rings Online

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.

2. Households

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.

3. Evendim

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.

4. Tatooine

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.

5. Rannoch

Mass Effect

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.

6. Voss

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!

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9 Responses to “Gimme Six! – Rav’s tour of three worlds”

  1. ironyca
    2012/07/05 at 21:50 #

    I really enjoyed this post. I think you brought out some good stories and descriptions of these places.
    If there was one thing I remember from my brief time in LotRO, it was the sky. The sky there is the best I’ve ever seen in a virtual world, and I think your pictures reminded me of that. Especially Evendim, which is a place that I would love to explore.

    • Ravanel Griffon
      2012/07/06 at 18:09 #

      Thank you both, and it’s my pleasure to be here! 😀

      You both are so right about the LotRO skies: there’s certainly a lot of effort put in those, and I love them as well! The ones above remind me of skies as old Dutch artists (e.g. Paulus Potter) used to paint them. I’m of course supposed to say instead that they remind of the real sky – gah, I do have a real life outside of the virtual world, honestly!

      Random fact: did you know that they actually made the sun, moon and stars in LotRO move like they should? The only difference is that the time in-game goes a bit faster than real life time, to prevent people from having to run around in the night all the time while it’s day in real life (since it’s a globally played game). They even created the constellations as Tolkien must’ve seen them from where he lived in England. Each time I look up to the nighttime sky in LotRO I think of how lovely crazy they were in designing that.

      • Vaneeesa Blaylock
        2012/07/06 at 20:53 #

        Oh that’s interesting about the LotRO clock… in SL the “day” (24 hours) is 4 hours long… so it’s noon every 4 hours. And also as you describe, the night is shortened so there’s more daylight and afternoon and you don’t spend half your time in the dark. You can also override the “region default settings” and make it any time of day you like.

        I forget what Ironyca told me about WoW… was it… that 24 hours = 24 hours? And that it’s based on your location? So that the time “out your RL window” is the same as the time in-world?

      • Yordie Sands
        2012/07/20 at 23:52 #

        Thought I mentioned this before, the photos are amazing!!

        • Vaneeesa Blaylock
          2012/07/21 at 04:20 #

          thanks for reminding me to look at these again Yordie – SO amazing!!

          All great, and with no dis to LotRO or MassEffect, the SW:TOR pix 2 & 6 are just so incredible.

          Maybe it comes from all those childhood hours in movie theaters trying to figure out whether or not these were the droids I was looking for…

          • Ravanel Griffon
            2012/08/04 at 22:26 #

            Thank you, both, and sorry for my late reply ^^.

            Funny how to see how one world appeals more to one person than the other. I think Mass Effect is more about the story than the surroundings, and LotRO is originally from 2007… a lot has happened in between then and now.

            Cool to hear you’re a Star Wars fan, Vaneeesa! I guess SWTOR does look pretty awesome.

  2. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/07/06 at 02:28 #

    WELCOME TO iREZ, RAVANEL!! Yay!!

    I’m with Ironyca, beautiful choices, and yes, great skies.

    It’s so great to get to see all these worlds I’ve never visited and hear your thoughts about them.

    hahaha, the game companies should be paying us to heap so much praise their way!
    (or maybe this is all atonement for the nasty stuff *I*hear* *some*people* have said in the past! O_o

    Thanks for joining us and thanks so much for sharing all these remarkable worlds and places within them!

  3. Yordie
    2012/09/05 at 21:16 #

    Just found this on Stumble! Yay!

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