#LOTRO #Mooc Week 1

After a long leave of absence this blog is back from hiatus this summer with Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative by Jay Clayton, offered on the #Coursera platform alongside Vanderbilt University.

This #Mooc is exceptional for those seeking to further their knowledge on remediation, video games and game narrative in particular as well as those who seek to have fun while studying. The “Welcome” Page states the following details:

This course is a university-level English literature class—a multi-genre, multimedia tour of how literature, film, and games engage in the basic human activity of storytelling. We have three different kinds of videos planned for the coming weeks: short lectures, student seminars, and in-game films. You will read some great literature by Tolkien, Spenser, Keats, Browning, and others, and watch Peter Jackson’s movie of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Apart from the usual readings, videos, quizzes and initial (optional) survey, you will also have to actively participate as a gamer within the LOTRO universe; should you not, you can still finish the course, minus the so-called  “distinction track“.

Week 1 of the course was truly rich in suggested bibliography. Notes on the lectures can be found in Louise’s blog; she’s doing an excellent job keeping MOOC records, by the way!

As part of the first week’s quiz and course requirements, I needed to create a fictional character in the MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online. After downloading and installing the game via Steam, I selected the Meneldor server. There are numerous servers to host your gameplay, yet four are suggested by the TAs due to their already well established course communities therein.

quiz 1 LOTRO Mooc

The quiz asks the students to justify their choice of character creation:

Briefly describe the choices you made in creating your character. Why did you pick certain features (name, race, appearance, etc.)? Do you feel any investment in the character you created? Please explain why or why not. (Answer must be at least 25 words.)

To begin with, I chose to create an Elven character, since their image and external appearance is what one would characterize as “ethereal”. My avatar is a female and her name is “Uiril” which according to an online name generator I found, is composed of the words “Eternity” and “female“, in Sindarin, Tolkien’s Elven dialect. Staying true to the lore, was one of my prerogatives.

elf name

Uiril is a female hunter, who hails from the lands of Rivendell or Imladris in Sindarin. King Elrond’s safe haven for Elves sounded familiar from the motion picture, hence I chose this starting area. The Hunter is a DPS ( = damage per second) class and relatively easy to master in MMOPRGs. As for my character’s appearance, the options provided  resemble the elvish archetypes we all have in mind and / or enjoyed in the Tolkien books, movies and fan art. Here’s what she looks like:


I do feel eager to participate in the game and the course on the whole, but growing attached to a character can only come after hours of gameplay and strong immersive experience. Thus, the fate of Uiril remains to be seen.


rgMOOC Week one – #Gaming #MMORPG vocabulary / terminology

What are your favourite abbreviations / terms from the gaming jargon? Any stories on how you ‘ve learned their meaning? Are you using any of them in your spoken /written English?

 So, back when I used to be a real noob, and MMO RPGs had only recently appeared, I decide to roll a druid (my very first char) in Vanilla World of Warcraft (vanilla stands for the game’s first instalment). Basically I recall joining a group of players during a dungeon run – no dungeon finder tool back then – and we proceeded to slaughter some naga (serpent-like villain figures).

I don’t remember much (the year was 2006), only that at some point they were all screaming the word “TANK” (caps lock is used for screaming). I was looking back and forth in agony. I knew I had joined a medieval fantasy game. I knew I had spells and armour to fight off meanies. But a tank? G.I. Joe was there somewhere? Military forces from Stormwind? I didn’t have the slightest idea.

Of course, the group was disbanded. I went on with my questing  – solo – and it was only at level 50 when I joined a decent guild explaining me the terms “dps“, “tank“, “healer“.  My shame was unbearable, still I learned a valuable lesson: always help a confused poor noob.

Jargon explained:

noob – > a newbie player, someone just entering a game, clueless.

roll a char -> creating an avatar

dungeon run -> also known as dungeon crawling. Entering an instance shaped like a dungeon/cave, containing lots of mobs with augmented difficulty level and scarcely a resting point.

tank -> player capable of receiving “aggro” (threat), usually being the one who “pulls” mobs (enemy creatures within the game)

healer -> self-explanatory. Responsible for healing group  / raid members – also able to decurse / dispel.

dps -> player who is usually able to inflict large amounts of damage either melee (via weaponry, from a close distance) or magic (via spells from a ranged distance).

Check out the following R-Rated infamous video, showing what it’s like during a raid chat 🙂