How to Immerse Yourself

This is Daniel. Daniel loves his dog, Yeller.

Why hello there, friends and neighbors, I’m happy to see that you’ve stopped by again. Today, I’d like to talk to you about immersion. First, you’ll want to find yourself a public swimming pool and target someone who really doesn’t want to get wet. Then, you stalk them a little bit until they get close to the edge and… well, you know what to do. Push them and run like the blue hell.

I’m a fan of immersion in games too. I like to sink in, so to speak. That’s actually one of the reasons why I came to LotRO, it’s built with immersion in

Shake Yeller, shake!

mind. Still, it’s easy to miss the forest for all of the trees at times. Namely, when you’re in the throes of a grinding session or find youself doing a particularly boring quest. More than that, we tend to take things for granted once the newness wears off in a game.

That’s where I found myself this evening. Bored killing those same old spiders, birds, and wargs. That’s when I caught myself, what the hell was wrong? Yeah, it’s the same old thing but… was I having fun? So I stopped and decided to change my perspective on things. Literally.

I zoomed my camera all the way in. Let me tell you, playing the game through a first person perspective changes things up a bit. All of the sudden, killing those bland mobs became more exciting. Instead of staring at my Guardians back and idly changing outfits, I was looking at the skittering mandibles and flailing legs of a viscious arachnid. Even apart from combat, somehow, the whole landscape seemed more interesting.

I’m not going to tell you that I played like this the whole time nor would I ever. The game wasn’t designed that way, so it does get confusing at times, especially if you get turned around at all. I found myself zooming back out for a second here and there to get reoriented before returning back to first person. Still, it’s worth a shot if for nothing else to see things how your CHARACTER sees them. To this end, hiding your UI can also help a ton — if you can function without it.

Save me, Yeller!

Save me, Yeller!

Another thing that I’ve found myself doing to immerse myself are to RP by myself. I know, I know. Lame, right? Some people would probably think so, since RP is a very social activity. Yet, all solo-rp really is is a way to use your imagination and enliven your game

experience on your own. We were all kids sometime, so I don’t seem much problem in taking the act of pretending that extra little step when I’m lacking that extra little “umph” in my play time.

Maybe a little more realistically for you is to download the Lord of the Rings trilogy audiobook onto your MP3 player. Seriously, this is one of the best things I’ve done to bring the game to life for me. There’s nothing like getting the lore on two fronts to suck you into the world. Context provides understanding, understanding provides depth. Alternatively, you can pop on one of the movies while you play. The experience isn’t quite as long-term (the audio trilogy is over 70 hours long, I believe) but it can certainly help.

Damn it.

Beau Turkey over at MMOCam (a great blog from a very down to earth gamer) has this little thing he calls the Immersion Project going on. It’s a set of rules for how to play the game. Realistically, I don’t think I’ll find myself playing a makeshift cartographer before logging on, but the essence of this ruleset is to step into the world,  give it more depth, and to actually see that forest you’ve feel you’ve missed.

So, try out the above. See how it works for you. Hopefully you find yourself sinking a little bit deeper into the world we all love.