Well, a project that has been on and off again for years is now on again, with a different developer. In the latest issue of Computers Games Magazine (CGM) it was announced that Turbine Entertainment, creators of Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2 are now developing a Middle Earth: MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game). If it's even half as good and revolutionary as the first Asheron's Call, it will be an amazing game.

Finally, Asheron's Call's own Turbine Entertainment is working on the genre that almost seems to be an old standby at this point--another massively multiplayer online game. Middle-Earth Online sets itself during the fellowship's conflict with Sauron, and will entail Men, Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits working together in small and large groups, where they will explore the world, build homes and craft Mithril Swords, or just get drunk and sing. A large number of resources will enable you to create more powerful weapons and armors, and even food or decorative items. High-end crafters can create the most interesting items in the game.

You'll undergo the usual activity of creating and developing a character and choosing its specialties, but, as in Asheron's Call 2, nothing is ironclad. You'll be able to reevaluate your decisions as the game progresses. For short-term adventures you may have up to nine characters in your party or "fellowship," and their will be Kinships (think "guilds"), and online marriages and adooption. Turbines track record indicates that you can probably expect a solid product, but at this writting, it looks like there's nothing perticularly new. But since this, too, is a 2004 product, don't count on finding out anytime soon."


Jar Jar Binks