I learned something yesterday that isn’t getting the attention that it deserves, so I thought I’d write a blog post about it. Are you sitting down? This is really amazing, so make sure you’re sitting down.
You can now change the quest text font size in Lord of the Rings Online.
I searched my MMO News feeds to find the all-caps headlines shouting this from the rooftops, but I didn’t find any. I didn’t see any mention of it whatsoever. I was stunned.
This is without question the single best improvement to Lord of the Rings Online since the game’s launch in 2007.
It changes everything.
I’ve always wished I could play more LotRO but it’s just such a hassle to run it in 1280×720, and still I have to squint at the text. I mentioned it on Twitter and was quickly informed that they added a quest text font size a few months ago.
I couldn’t believe it. How is it possible that they slipped that in without a stampede of publicity and approval from the entire MMORPG community? I know at least a couple of bloggers who regularly play LotRO and I didn’t see anything about this.
But it’s true. There’s a font size setting at the bottom of the quest text dialog now. And in the quest log.
It’s certainly not a perfect solution, but it’s a thousand times better than it was before. This makes Lord of the Rings Online … playable! The quest text and the stories they tell is by far the best part of LotRO, and not being able to see them has been a criminal oversight.
It actually gives me some hope that the folks working on this game actually care about bringing it out of the dark ages and into the modern era. Perhaps they’re not just running out the clock, hoping just to scrape by with what they can get from loyal players before the inevitable end of the software lifecycle. They might actually care about capturing some returning or even new players.
One of the best things about World of Warcraft is that with each expansion, they made subtle changes to the UI to modernize it. They improved the graphics. They improved the models. They improved the animations. They supported more and more modern display resolutions. They did it so subtley that nobody really noticed (unless you had an older computer), but it must have been a tremendous effort under the hood. WoW Classic looks a lot better than Vanilla WoW did, and it’s all because of those incremental changes to the engine that went into each expansion. It’s a development model that every MMORPG should follow, because it’s why WoW still looks and feels like a modern game in 2019. (Final Fantasy XIV, in particular, really needs to get on the ball, because XIV is showing its age in the UI department.)
Lord of the Rings Online hasn’t done anything to the underlying engine since 2007, and it’s been suffering because of it. This new font size setting is the first evidence I’ve seen that they might be looking into improving the engine. It’s probably far too late for them, but at least it’s something. At least they tackled the worst problem first.
Now if only they could do something about those inventory icons…