Do You Remember LotR: War In The North?

It's definitely The North. There's snow and everything.

In anticipation of its release at the beginning of November (though apparently the end of November for us UK folk), Snowblind have released three new trailers for action RPG Lord of the Rings: War In The North. Each trailer focuses on a different hero: a dwarf champion, an elf lore-master and a human ranger. I always think of elves as ranging, so I was a little confused for a moment, but then I remembered that human rangers are quite the notables in Middle Earth. So, videos of ranged combat, close combat, lots of dodge-rolling and horrid hairy spiders below.

That would be a lore-master. Lore-mastery allows the firing of deadly light from a stick, making it very much like laser-mastery.

That’s a champion, identified by his beard and axe.

And that is a ranger, identified by a preference for archery and hoods.

The release date, which has shifted about a lot over the months, is November 1st in Northern America, November 2nd in Australia and November 4th in Europe. Except the UK. The 25th in the UK. No idea why.


  1. arienette says:

    A friend and I tried to play this at Eurogamer Expo but bugs meant we kept spawning with no armour and dying instantly (when we could get multiplayer working). One assumes they’ve fixed it for release but I’m just saddened I didn’t get to see how it plays.

  2. razgon says:

    I know who that Ranger is – It’s Rambo with the explosive ammo!

  3. Boozebeard says:

    Dwarves inspect things like all men should; with a hammer.

  4. Jesse L says:

    Has anyone ever dodge-rolled in real life while wearing armor and holding weapons? I’ve begun to dislike the dodge roll. Feels like a crutch. Sort of the ‘crate’ of the action game moveset.

    • Danarchist says:

      I can tell you as a guy that has worn armor…neither dodging nor rolling is easy. You could do it maybe twice before you pass out and you would have numerous cuts and bruises to show for it…actually getting hit would probably hurt less.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’d really like to see a game with proper foot-work to dodge, rather than another circus tumbling act.

    • Hammurabi says:

      I can’t speak for attempting it in armor, but in Aikido class we did practice forward rolls with a kitana. Its not so hard, and it is unlikely to lose your sword or cut yourself. However, that is with a relatively light-weight single edge sword, I am not sure that success would be as simple with something heavier or blade-ier.

  5. Ian says:

    This game apparently also features alot of the three of them dramatically jumping down from things.

  6. BloatedGuppy says:

    The screenshots for this game make me crazy. What the hell is going on with the right arm of the guy in the hood?

  7. Blackcompany says:

    I too am sick to death of the “dodge-roll.” How about a simple ‘side step’ for side to side dodging and a backward dash/hop for dodging backward? Pity when free games like Vindictus have more realistic dodging (at least for the duel wielder) than these highly polished single player games utilize.
    Dodge rolling has become the “cover” of the melee action RPG. Cover was used to slow games down in order to put more on screen. Cover in shooters does, however, happen to at least have some basis in reality and therefore an immersive quality. While the use of cover in an FPS adds to the immersion overall, dodge rolling every 3-5 seconds simply detracts from it, even when characters weather leather spotted with chain.
    When characters wear iron/steel dodge rolling should be prohibited. Oblivion (and likely Skyrim) I am looking at you on this one. Allowing characters wearing 100 pounds of armor to do anything other than stand in combat, block/bash and swing a weapon is utterly ridiculous.
    Knights in heavy armor could not mount a horse on their own, more less roll all over the ground and get up from it before next week.

    • sneetch says:

      Those are common misconceptions about heavy armour perpetuated by TV and movies, knights certainly could mount horses and get up from the ground quite easily.

      link to

      (Constant dodge rolling is daft for many reasons but not because of the weight of your armour)

    • hilltop says:

      That was quite enlightening sneetch. I had always thought movement would be more limited. The more I know…

    • sneetch says:

      Yeah so did I up until about a year or so ago. The thing is a full suit of good, steel, plate armour weighed closer to 20 kg (about 45 lbs or the same as a 20 litre water cooler bottle) with the weight spread about your body.

      That said, specialist jousting armour was very heavy and very restrictive some of those guys needed to be winched onto their horses but no-one would go into battle in that stuff (you couldn’t lift your arms in it :) ).

    • OtioseNexus says:

      Your very right there, good to see someone about that knows this. Though I’m not sure you counted the fact that plate armour often had mail underneath (chain mail as the Victorians renamed it) and padding. Plate stopped you being cut, but the chain and padding spread the blow out, reducing blunt force damage and/or trauma.

      The reason knights didn’t roll about everywhere, other then being pointless as a way of dodging most any time, was not the lack of mobility, which wasn’t too badly effected, but exhaustion. That much equipment, no matter how well distributed the weight, tires you out faster, like being a skinny man made fat over night.


    • alinos says:

      Except that none of it is true as sneetch pointed out.

      Rolling is pointless in real life because you can’t magically find a gap to roll through to avoid every enemy attack. Coupled with the fact that most of the time if you were to roll you don’t gain the sort of distance used in video games. And the effort involved in re-orientating yourself to your opponent is probably more than your opponent is going to have in turning to face you or closing what little gap you just opened up.

      As for why rolling exist’s in video games it’s because their is no other option. The combat isn’t complex enough that you could play block the blows because you don’t have 1:1 sword control.

      Coupled with the fact the by having a roll-dodge mechanic the game can pit more enemies against the player because they have a simple way to regroup. Which is why something like a sidestep doesn’t work. Since if your surrounded side stepping doesn’t really get you anywhere.(not to mention if something like an Ogre is swinging a club at you that has a 180 degree arc radius side stepping isn’t very helpful.

      Also your viewing armor as if modern day people were wearing it sometime’s.

      they would be virtually living in the thing, the body would adjust and muscle would build. Most people these days would have trouble at first but this would be more because the muscle groups simply aren’t needed in modern day society

    • vecordae says:

      As an actual blade and armor smith I can vouch for the veracity of Sneetch’s comments. Fully-armored knights weren’t hopping all over the place like bunnies, but neither where they immobile and clumsy. Comparing a knight in plate to an athletic man who suddenly gained sixty pounds isn’t too far off the mark if you keep in mind that none of that fat is clogging up his arteries.

    • Danarchist says:

      After swinging a sword for even 5 minutes and taking a few good arm shakers to the shield youd be lucky to stand up if you fell much less roll around on the ground and leap to your feet. Hell try doing that out of armor.
      Most important thing you learn is to conserve energy wherever you can. The guy on the line you just leveled with that flashy flourish? Well the guy that’s been standing behind him just stepped up and guess what…

    • OtioseNexus says:

      I’m just going to sit here and envy your job for a little while…

      Also, unlike the sudden gaining of weight, with armour you can lose in in moments. The feeling after getting out of it, after running around in it for an hour, is one of lives small pleasures for me :3

    • Blackcompany says:

      Thanks for posting the information about armor weight. That is interesting information. I never realized steel plate was so relatively light.
      Still too heavy for rolling around in, however, but thanks for an informative reply.

    • vecordae says:

      The big, cumbersome steel plate was either specialized for jousting or was designed as guns were becoming more common in the field. So, yeah, there were certainly folks running around in amazingly heavy armor that you could barely move in. There were also guys in lighter plate-style armors that could probably manage a action-game roll every now and then. Why they would do so beyond proving that they could is beyond me, however.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Speaking of armor, it makes me very happy that the female protagonist doesn’t have exposed cleavage / limbs or any of the other classic female armor tropes.

  8. Eric says:

    And then I remembered that LotR is the reason that every goddamn fantasy game has to have you fight hordes of fucking giant spiders.

    Thanks a lot for that, Tolkien. Really.

    • Rinion says:

      Don’t worry, if it makes you feel better, Tolkien is probably spinning in his grave after watching that Loremaster trailer.

    • Betamax says:

      It could have been even worse. At one point the lore master was going to be a Wizard. Despite the fact that in LotR lore the Wizard’s are clearly stated to be limited to 5 in number, are some of the most powerful beings in the land, and all of them are accounted for.

      At least the existance of lore masters in the games is explained away somewhat well in LotRO. Still amuses me how we can’t possibly have a fantasy game without a mage-like thesedays.

  9. aircool says:

    I do remember… I also remember that I’m not even through Moria yet. By the time I make it through Mirkwood, the War of the Ring will be already over.

  10. Roshin says:

    Ever notice how in trailers like these all enemies die after one or two hits? In the actual game, you can keep hacking at them for a lot longer than that. Obviously, this is done to make the game appear fun and exciting, but what does that then say about the actual gameplay?

    Also, dwarf flexes, fire everywhere.

    • vecordae says:

      To be be fair, ‘Khaz Mor’Hathadrum” or “the strength that burns’ is completely cannon. In the Silmarillion, Hourin the King of Dwarfs uses it to defeat the zombie hordes of The Witch-king of Ninja Planet X.

  11. bill says:

    I never knew LotR had lazers.

    It must be an endless source of frustration for game developers that, while Tolkien essentially created all the fantasy archtypes we use in every fantasy game, he made his “magic” so totally un-gamelike and un combat like.

    • AgamemnonV2 says:

      LotR is grown-up material but they have to find a way to market it to children. What better way than flashy lights and boom-boom ka-crash woosh explosions?

      In other words, grown men have no dignity for the very thing that gives them a livelihood in the first place.

      Cue Steefel’s famous (last) words about the Rune-keeper in LotRO: “This is an MMO, so it must exist.”

      That turned out real well for you, didn’t it? Oh, that’s right. You don’t even work there any more.

  12. bill says:

    Ahem, incase any game developers are reading this, all we really want is to be able to explore middle earth. Make Oblivion in Middle Earth and you’ve got yourself a sale. Keep making MMOs or action-rpgs and you’re not going to get much money.

  13. bilharzia says:

    Unfortunately no local co-op (two player) on the PC. On the consoles there’s split-screen two player locally, with a possibility for a third across a network. On the PC it’s network only.

  14. One Pigeon says:

    It appears that the Human Ranger’s UNIQUE RACE ABILITIY is the medium paced jog.

  15. Felixader says:

    Please let the gameplay of this be good and impactfull.