This post is the third in a series this month for International Picture Posting Month, see this post for more details.
Although I enjoy a variety of biomes in my online gaming, mountains have always inspired me for some reason. In MMOs mountains often represent a border between regions or a barrier to progress. They can also hide some interesting secrets; caves, ominous fortresses or long-abandoned ruins. Despite their imposing slopes or potential dead-ends and confusing switchback paths, mountains also should represent a way to climb and look down on a world – this post is about mountains that you can climb, not distant peaks that are simply high fidelity wallpaper.
1. Lord of the Rings – Misty Mountains
The Misty Mountains in Lord of the Rings Online does a wonderful job of evoking the majesty and tempestuous nature of mountains – the sudden blizzard that can sweep in, obscuring vision and monstrous foes, was so very atmospheric.
2. Lord of the Rings – Minas Tirith, Gondor
Gondor is another mountainous region in LOTRO, plenty of peaks to climb and valleys to cross as you journey southwards. The highlight of the region, for me at least, is the great city of Minas Tirith. It’s a sight to behold when you first come across it, it’s literally built on the slope of and into a mountain. It’s such a grand city in scale that you feel like you are scaling a mountain as you adventure within its concentric arcs.
3. Rift – Iron Pine Peak
One of my earlier MMO gaming memories is that of the first playthrough of Iron Pine Peaks in Rift. It’s a beautiful zone, full of ice and snow. It also has plenty of secrets to divulge – caverns hidden under slopes and distant sights, such as solitary towers, that entice you ever onwards.
4. World of Warcraft – Highmountain
Although World of Warcraft has many mountain areas I have actually plumped for Highmountain in the most recent Legion expansion as my example for the game. Since Mists of Pandaria the game engine is capable of a lot more verticality in its mountains, they have greater height and scale to them compared with earlier zones. Highmountain illustrates this perfectly, when you get near the summits of the zone you are so very high up compared to neighbouring zones.
5. World of Warcraft – Highmountain (2)
A design decision taken by the Blizzard dev team in Legion was to give mobility other than flying mounts a real role. Here you see my Moonkin (Balance druid) using his flap ability to float down from a great height. There are plenty of options – engineering items, goblin-made handgliders, the usual spells like levitate or slow fall – all allow characters to navigate this zone in fun and interesting ways.
6. Neverwinter – Icespire Peak
Neverwinter’s mountains are mostly backdrop, but the Icespire Peak zone is an exceptio. It’s very atmospheric and grand in scale, particularly this bridge between peaks that is made from a gigantic fallen sword.
7. Everquest 2 – Lavastorm
Most MMORPGs that have mountains have snowy, wind-blown zones. Occasionally there’s something a bit more varied out there – take Lavastorm from Everquest 2. It’s a giant volcano full of lava pits, magma tunnels and fiery monsters galore.
8. Wildstar – Scourwind Peak, Malgrave
Wildstar also has a great sense of scale to its mountainous areas and offers possibly the greatest opportunities to climb higher and higher for that great vista or elusive achievement.
9. Tera – Mount Tyrannas
Mount Tyrannus in Tera is a classic snowy mountain area but one that is particularly beautiful with the game’s high-definition graphics.
10. SWTOR – crashed starships of Taris
SWTOR doesn’t feature many explorable mountain ranges, planets like Alderaan have mountains in the distance but you never reach them. However Taris gives an example of a rather unusual take on mountain vistas. The debris of the planet-wide city in the explorable zones towers above you as you travel – on occasion you can actually travel up sheer sloping planes of metal to a great height – urban mountaineering, perhaps?
IntPiPoMo 2016 picture count: 26/50