O.K Enedwaith, but where and how big?
O.K now as far as I’m concerned this is just me having a bit of fun. I did this when the Mirkwood map was revealed though kept it private, but it turned out surprisingly accurate size wise. I am an archaeologist in RL, and work primarily in an office with graphics, aligning and drawing maps, looking at historic maps amongst a host of other things, so this kinda stuff just fascinates me.
Firstly I’ll state that most maps relating to, or drawn by Tolkein are vague, much like the medieval tithe maps I often deal with, so everything is approximate and rough in terms of accuracy. In addition an area like Enedwaith is relatively bare, and Turbine may have decided to add in additional roads, and tributary rivers which it makes sense for there to have been in some form. So I’ll first show you my core alignment map to attempt some comparative scale between my core base maps and the LOTRO game map (the rivers, coast and major town in red). The core base maps are from this superb site here and an amazing source for Tolkien information, especially mapping. You can see there are some deviations, and some distortions from screen scaling and other considerations, but generally, the major towns and rivers are in the right place, though they may meander slightly differently. The Hoarwell is a little displaces, but it is only the coast, and the lower reaches of the Baranduin (or Brandywine for you hobbitses) which really suffer, yet again screen distortion and the variation in certain maps are probably most to blame with this so we’ll proceed on the understanding that this prone to inaccuracy and is JUST A BIT OF FUN! 😀
So I’ll now align a detailed map of Enedwaith from my core mapping site , with the above core map, and zoom in on Eregion and Enedwaith a little more, again the main game map rivers are in red for clarity. I think this is pretty interesting, it shows just what a huge expanse this area is. However be warned; Mirkwood is also very big, and if it is anything to go by we are very, very unlikely to get more than a small percentage, and let’s be honest; it would be very huge and probably really not deliver bang for buck, and be rather dull for many people. (I however could explore all day).
So moving on, lets add in the smaller region to the south of Eregion which has appeared, look at the rivers and possible routes out of Eregion. Last night I explored the southern most reaches and can confirm you cannot cross the bottom most of the three tributaries on the right. However, on the game map it looks as though there is not only land, but a town there, close to the source of the southern most branch of the Glanduin on the right hand side. (its highlighted on map further on as a black dot) (Update: as the internet has consumed the information from Massively and TTH another great map appeared on the US forums here, and also this appeared from Sapience on the US forums: “I just want to jump in and point out that the Enedwaith Google map from the Lorebook is not only incorrect (and thus not good for any kind of accurate comparison), but has actually been completely replaced by the correct Enedwaith region in the Beta. So, to be clear, that map you see when you visit the Lorebook has no relation to what’s actually going into the game and will ship with V3B2.”
So now we have seen the new map, where is this going to fit into all this, and why was the areas south of Eregion added? I’ll run through three potential locations, you could go on all day with different ideas and suggestions, but I’m going to use a few things to attempt align and scale my maps.
- It will be south of Eregion, but the two ‘to Dunland’ exits suggest in the northern part
- It will be of a comparable size to Lothlorien or Mirkwood
- The major rivers and roads may be alignable to the larger ones from the game
- It may or may not join directly to Eregion
So bearing these in mind lets take a look at possibility number one. This scaling is a guess, in reality I feel I made it a little large and should probably drop the scale so the map is contained within the Glanduin on the left. What does ‘sort of’ work here, is Thrors Coomb lining up with the area added ‘secretly’ although there appears to be no river on the secret addition, but that may come later. It also lines up with the river you currently cannot cross in southern Eregion, however south of that river the Enedwaith map shows a narrow pass, whereas on the map currently you can see a reasonable expanse to the right, including what appears to be a town (where the black dot is placed). The two south roads out lead very nicely to Dunland, though the major road that leads north-south through the region appears not to be the great north road though Tharbad and Sarn Ford as I had initially assumed. So given the error factors involved, it is a possibility.
Secondly, I’ll attempt to use the north-south road and assume for this map that there will be an Ered Luin style port to get to Enedwaith, or a thin valley channel as between northern Eregion and the Trollshaws/Rivendell. So on this one, we have a vague lining up of the kink in the part of the north-south road close to Tharbad, and interestingly the NNE part of the game Enedwaith map has a river with a small island shown on is, which lines up nicely with the core base map river which also has some tributaries or islands clustered around that area. The two roads out to Dunland are still approximately right, though the alignment with Eregion as I mentioned would have to be via another means. This and the apparent pointlessness of the ‘secret’ addition of land to the south of Eregion makes me a bit skeptical of this, but hell I’m enjoying myself!
So finally I went for a: ‘plonk it on there by eye and see’ approach, which, actually doesn’t look as dumb as it could. The road and rivers don’t line up with anything much, apart from the NNE river on the game map lining up reasonably well with where the Gladuin is on the Core base map. The part of the Southern Eregion map we cannot access, could well just be a travelling area, and the ‘secret’ addition could just be what we can see in the ‘background’ from our new travel route and from the North East corner of the Enedwaith map. The route into Dunland here look good again.
I’d finally just like to point out to you the lower half of this map; isn’t it great? Can’t you just imagine (assuming we get the region and not just a port door to Rohan) heading into Dunland knowing that at the south will be the Isen and Fords, and across those the Westmarch, and the Gap of Rohan! Awesome stuff, I’m in no great rush, but I’m looking forward to it all the same.
So we are no closer to having any idea of where it is after this little article, but in fairness I did warn you! I think some variant of the first and last suggestion is most likely, I don’t think we are looking at the main north-south road here. However regardless as just a fun activity, I certainly enjoy looking at the maps, and seeing how the terrain may work. Yes we’ll have to wait and see, but I’m always happy to mess around hypothersising about my favourite game. Lastly I’m pretty excited to see two town/fortress looking icons on there, one of which looks very much like its gonna be some sort of Dunlending fortress, probably where the next group content area will be. If any of you have any other suggestion please feel free to comment and I can probably try to knock up another map and see what other options we may have, or if there is something key you think I have missed please just say, then we can refine it a bit!
*update 26/7/2010 * se we have seen a good deal more info on this zone, one of which is this: “The North-South Road, which becomes the Greenway in Bree-land, passes through this land, leading north and west into the bluffs” from here. This is pretty interesting as either the latter map option above seems to be the closest in terms of scale and location, maybe just nestled into eregion a little closer. This means that the North-South road from Tolkiens maps is a little closer to the mountains than I thought, and than many Tolkien maps seem to portray, but this road generally is based on very little information, and if indeed Turbine have squeezed it in a bit, it matters little at all. All in all, it wil be intersting to see the new zone, and I’m still very excited to get in there!