At a couple points now Turbine has done a send-up of itself, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I will admit to being very sad and disappointed to discover that, after the launch of Free to Play and some content updates, Old Bloodtusk was never to be found in his tree trunk again. Those of you who played before this time know, Bloodtusk was the temperamental boar who lived in a dead tree trunk outside Archet. Little level 7's would have to take him on, with varying amounts of success. It was not uncommon to have to stand there waiting in line to get him with other newbies (we were apparently either too ignorant to group up at that point in order to save time for one mob kill, or just stubbornly resistant to doing so). Inevitably some noob rock star would come in from nowhere and immediately tag him ahead of everyone else waiting to do so. Ahhh, the old days. I was lucky enough to take several toons through that area, and Bloodtusk was a regular part of it. But since Free to Play, he's apparently moved on. His trunk is still there, though.
So imagine my pleasure when the Frostbluff Theatre first advertised its new play, an Ode to Old Bloodtusk, in 2010! I sat excitedly in the theatre, waiting to see what would happen. Only to be surprised by a change of plans and a play instead about that Mad Baggins. I wanted to see Old Bloodtusk! But I really enjoyed how cleverly they added that tiny nod to a popular part of their own game. I still have high hopes that some day we really might see a Bloodtusk play.
Naturally I was even more excited when I arrived in Dunland a year later, and just outside Galtrev wandered into an area titled Bloodtusk's Den! My heart raced as I imagined seeing Old Bloodtusk again after all this time and distance! I eventually picked up the quest to go back to the Den, only to discover this was actually a descendant of Old Bloodtusk, that "old, grisled boar" who had wandered down from the north. This youngster was called Big Bloodtusk. How Big Bloodtusk came about so quickly, and grew so large in such a brief amount of time, I'm not quite sure. But he certainly is a big boy and Old Bloodtusk must have been very proud.
I like how Turbine nested this little joke within a joke about one of their own characters. He may have been a relatively small and insignificant mob, but for new baby toons, he was definitely a memorable one. And it has been nice to cross paths with at least his reputation, and a descendant, on my journey south. It also gives me hope that the now unemployed rep barter NPC's may have found jobs elsewhere in Middle Earth, and that we'll encounter them somewhere as well.