LOTR:Online - playing music in an MMO

So, I’ve been playing the LOTR:O open beta today (the pre-order, keep your character after launch thing started).

Anyhow, I got a skill to play a lute, and then bought a lute. I thought it was going to be some sort of health regeneration item or something. It turns out, it’s a fully playable instrument. You can actually jam on a lute in realtime in the game!

There is a bit of lag, but I can pull off some pretty awesome riffs. Best of all, everyone in earshot can hear you playing. I was sitting on the corner of this crossroads in Bree, just jamming away on my lute. I actually attracted a crowd of people who were running by. They stopped to listen, and some of them started dancing.

You use the 1-8 keys to play, and use ctrl and shift to switch octaves. It even recognizes chords. I was playing some pretty fast picking stuff, and the game kept up.

What an awesome addition to the game. It’s so fun to just pass the time by playing a lute.

Sounds like AC2.

I wonder how long till someone hacks together a Windows driver for the 360 Guitar Hero controller…

Yep. AC2 had the same thing. Not that it isn’t cool, it just isn’t new.

how soon til we have a video of Duelling Lutes?

Somebody posted a link to an audio clip if you’re interested:


If i remember correctly, AC2 music system was only for playing predefined stuff (you select instrument a, and play song b). In lotro, you can actually play that instrument.

Man, that would rock. It’d be almost enough to make me forget my concerns about doing justice to the theme…

Right. But different bits played by different players jived together somewhat acceptably. Once Turbine got the LOTR license, it was clear they would do something like this. And pipeweed smoke shaping I would expect.

Yeah, this is completely free-form. No predefined melodies. You actually play it.

I hope you can turn it off. Things like that in multiplayer games get old for me very quickly, especially in a game you plan on playing for hundreds (or thousands) of hours.

turn it off? if you don’t like it, don’t stand around people doing it.

As fun as that sounds, I’d get pretty aggravated trying to make my way through a lag-laden hell of the most horrid blaring noise I’d ever heard – coming from a gathering of fifty hobbits.

So, ummmm… “I hope you can turn it off”.

Any idea whats the range you hear someone playing?

Are there any stealth characters? Because fifty hobbits is nothing compared to fifty rogues ninja luteing you.

I don’t expect the game to allow you to lute while stealthed, game balance and all that.

Sounds neat. Last time I remember seeing a playable instrument in a videogame (not counting Guitar Hero etc.) was the harpsichord in Ultima V. Never played AC2 much though.

Man, I’d so play a rogue tuba player sneaking up on folks and…

Sorry but this feature sucks right now. It mostly ends up being a ridiculous cacophony of jumbled notes. Playing sharps and flats is virtually impossible. (You just can’t do it easily enough to make them usable.)

They need to add an interface to this where you can define a melody (like in Animal crossing) and then play it over and over. They also need to make it so you can turn the sheet music into an item that you can hand to people to play so you can have quartets and whatnot. Then they need to be able to synchronize the music start time.

Right now it’s basically a way to annoy passers by.

Yes and no… AC2 had multiple instruments with multiple song portions and intros/outros. So while you weren’t hitting e sharp or anything explicitly, you most definitely could construct music out of small looping parts. If it’s good enough for techno to be considered real music…