I need to start this little entry saying that I am not a big fan of any franchise. I do like the Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings books and movies, and I even play LotRO, but I am not the kind of person who’ll buy T-shirts and themed mugs. Still, franchises made it to annoy me this past week when I decided to think about it a bit, and how it is present in a game that I like very much, and how it basically creates other games where the game company won’t hold all the power over its tittle, and it could just vanish if contracts are not renewed. The good part of franchises is that it allows us to live a world that became limited by the lack of new books and movies about such fantasy worlds. It is much easier to imagine further adventures in such worlds by playing a game then by making fanfics, comics and pieces of art, since those require some skills that not all of us have. Playing MMOs is simple enough and a good medium to experience these worlds again. All of this also made me wonder how many MMO players out there actually hold no interest at all about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and how they might experience the games from these franchises. I thought often about this when I played World of Warcraft. I had played the strategy games and was quite happy to find all the lore spread around a seamless world full of quests and story. And then I’d find players who never played the strategy games and would simply shrug that they had just been in a very important place within the story of Azeroth. I see myself doing that about SWTOR, though I have not played it yet. All I’ve ever seem about the old republic lore is what they’ve shown in the movies, and yet, their website is full of lore to read that I can’t get myself to go and experience. So now it is me shrugging about the story elements that are not appealing to me right now, and given what I’ve read on the game system so far, I am just plain not interested in SWTOR at the moment. My point here is: how many franchise based games end up out of a gamer’s list because of the franchise part of it? Or even the opposite, how many games out there get players because of the franchise, even if the gameplay part of it is not the one the player really enjoys? I have been playing LotRO a lot lately, and I recognize a game system that is not different at all. It is repetitive, with a lot of grindy quests and repeatable actions in order to gain reputation. The very same things I complained about WoW when I left it. But I read the quests and follow the story, and that franchise part of it is keeping me hooked, it seems. I know it might be very difficult to find such person, but I like to wonder how LotRO feels to a person who never read the books or seen the movies. Is the game world enough? Are the movies and books required to make everything bind together? I recall back in WoW visiting Stratholme with a kid who had made up a story of the place. It was very cute, he was a young teen who said that it was a monster city and it was our mission to clear the place. I knew the lore of the place and so I told it to him, but recalling that event makes me wonder if some franchise based games might be leaving a lot of gaps that only those who follow the franchises are able to fill in. Or even if the worlds are more interesting to those who don’t know exactly why a burning city filled with undead is there in the first place. What about you guys? How is your relationship with franchise based MMOs? I am still confused, seeing myself liking a game for the story, even though I am not a big franchise fan.