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The LOTR Movie Site
February 14, 2000

New LOTR Game in the Works
Matthew Bass

For some time now, Gurthaur and some friends have been working on a total modification to the Blizzard game Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness. What they are attempting to do is transform it into a LOTR-type game, with familiar characters and specific quests for each of the characters to fulfill.

Recently, Gurthaur was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Here they are, in no particular order. If you want more info on WotR, click here.

1. What exactly is the WotR game and how is it being created?

We are using "WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness" and the expansion pack "Beyond the Dark Portal" as a base for our conversion. Using various "hacking" programs and editing programs we can replace unit graphics, sounds and icons. We can also change in-game text, as mission briefings and unit names. Visually, the only thing we can't change is the buttons. We have also found some unused slots for 4 units in the datafiles, and the ships have been converted into land units as well, So expect a much bigger land army than you are used to.

2. Are you going to follow the original plot of Tolkien in the game?

Mainly. I have done some research and picked out as many battles I can from LotR and the following appendixes, everything from a small fight in Ithilien, to defending Gondor in the battle of the Pellenor fields. The perspective will be completely different, not showing the War of the Ring from a little hobbit's point of view, but from the armies doing the fighting. It could somehow feel like you are Sauron or Manw hovering over the battlefield, directing the little people to and fro in battle.

3. Are the modifications you're making to Warcraft II legal?

Yes, Blizzard has acknowledged and allowed the making of total conversions of the games WarCraft and StarCraft, as long as we don't attempt to make profit on it and keep it free for download.

4. When is WotR due to be released?

The release date is very close, it will probably be finished after Diablo II, but before WarCraft III. Hopefully we will release a beta very soon, only containing new units. This is so people can help us finding errors in the game, so they won't appear in the final version. Ther will not be any new Single Player missions in the beta, but you will be able to open a costum scenario, and play with other people who has the beta. The final release date is relying on how fast the graphics will be done, and as we try to make them as good-looking as possible, this may take a while. Especially those we have to make from scratch.

5. Are you going to charge anything for WotR?

No, the War of the Ring is completely free of charge and will be downloadable as a patch once it is finished.

6. How many people do you have working on the WotR team?

At the present we are seven, with ages going from about fourteen to around thirty. The whole project started off with only me, but lately on more and more people have joined in mostly from the WarClan, a group of WarCraft editors. The first one to join was Fronzel Neekburn from Austria, he had never read LotR before, but is now reading LotR for the n'th time just to find out what color Legolas' hair was. He and I do most of the unit graphics in addition to testing the beta versions. He is also a member of the WarClan along with Vickhan, Ratt and Ringwraith, another beta tester.  The one who makes the units move properly is Vickhan Qaranoyan, also known as Melkor, he is the one who found out how to make buldings animate. RAtt is the one who digs out the unused units and makes them trainable. Two newcomers are Riven, who just finished the new human Castle, and Tom Scorsch, a voice actor. He will be the name behind the new unit sounds.

7. What types of units and buildings will be available to the player?

There will mainly be land and air units. The only water based unit will be a transport. We have included almost all the units described in LotR, except from Orcish archers. Most buildings will mostly stay the same, but Orthanc, Dol Guldur and Orodruin will appear.