As I mentioned in the February month in review post, which I am sure you all read from start to finish, long time gaming friend Gaff (with whom I was playing Toril MUD back in 1994), was talking about a return to Middle-earth.
This is, of course, an easy option for me to digest.
I am enchanted with Middle-earth and have been for something like 35 years.
I have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO (now, five years in, truly an investment that has paid off).
I have all the expansions, which includes two whose content I have yet to reach, having last peaked in Moria. (But hey, I made it to Moria!)
And I have clusters of character with complementary trade skills and such on three different servers, Windfola, Nimrodel, and Firefoot. Gaff does as well, as I think he rolled up with various groups over the last five or so years as well.
So with all this, the choice was obvious!
We rolled up new characters on the Silverlode server!
New characters on a new server. Again.
You may ask, “Why?” to that one, and rightly so.
New characters are always fun, at least for me. I rolled up a dwarf rune keeper, a class I had tried before, but only halfheartedly, never really learning anything beyond how many clicks I had to do to use that great lightning spell. I love that lightning spell, it lights up the whole area and can be a shock when other people use it close by, as the flash can be similar to what you get before the dread of the enemy hits you.
And it is a chance to see the starting areas again and how they have changed. The initial starter zone has had its quests trimmed back quite a bit, though you level up so quickly it is easy to see why.
I was kind of annoyed that there was a quest in that segment that was not available to me, a lifetime subscriber, unless I three down some Turbine Points.
But a lot of it brought back memories. I hit the “Avert a War” quest in the epic prolog quest line and could remember back to launch when that was the first group-only quest in the chain. People were standing around that cabin and trying to find groups. Now, of course, the quest is solo. And while I saw one or two people in the area, the crowds are long gone.
But I could have started a new character on any one of three servers and had that experience plus had a network of trade skill support to fill in the gaps in equipment, since the auction house is pretty much a bust at levels below 50. Why the new server?
Gaff’s plan was to go somewhere that we could join a kinship (guild) that was active so that we would have people to talk to and play with. The solo journey isn’t bad. And as a duo it would be okay. But having the flexibility of more people can enhance the experience greatly.
Which sounded fine to me. And maybe I could, this time, make just one character rather than feel the need to roll up my own little crafting commune.
And that is how we came to be in The Nazgun, the Goon kinship in Middle-earth.
After playing in null sec in EVE Online with the Goons, a new and eye opening experience at least for me, and I mean that in a good way, Gaff went looking for what other games they play in. And they have guilds and such in nearly every MMO. The Something Awful forums have threads for every one I could think of. Gaff had already looked into their SWTOR guild, Starfleet Dental (which came over from STO), during the short time he played that game.
So with that, and thinking about LOTRO, he went and found the Something Awful kinship in Middle-earth and asked to join. And they let him in.
Getting into the Goonswarm in EVE Online is difficult and you have to meet some very select criteria. For LOTRO, it was more a matter of wanting in and demonstrating the ability to post in the right thread without crapping all over yourself.
And I didn’t even have to do that, thus maintaining my streak of one post in four years on the forums there. They just let me in because I was with Gaff.
Which, honestly, is how I have ended up in a lot of guilds over the years.
And so, there we were.
A couple of other people in the kinship, including one of the officers who let us in, rolled up new characters with the idea of having something of a regular group to do some of the lower level content. So we were on the team immediately. Most of the kinship that I have seen online is at the upper end of the level range, but alts are legion I am sure.
I went and read through the LOTRO thread on the forums and, being a Goon organization, it has done things that have attracted the notice and ire of the GMs from time to time. There are a couple of posts on how to troll the public channels, which generally amounts to saying on channel that the movies were better than the books and waiting for somebody to explode. (Something I have seen on every server I’ve been on at one time or another.)
One incident that sticks in my head, because it made me laugh, was a group of them putting up the title “Watcher of Roads,” which you get from doing quests around Bree, and then standing around town telling people to “stop running” as though the title endowed them with traffic enforcement responsibilities. That sounds almost like role play… though I gather that the GM didn’t seem to see it that way.
But the kinship has been around for a long time (the membership roll is huge) and the current regulars seem mostly interested in enjoying the game, doing group content, and being helpful. What more can you ask?
And so there we are, back in Middle-earth at the dawn of a new adventure.