There’s a lot of hoohaa about LotRO at the moment. People are investigating the charms of Middle Earth, and I’m finding it delightful to read. I loved LotRO for 2 years for a lot of reasons. I learned a lot from it. I met some wonderful people. And some people who taught me how I should deal with the not so wonderful ones.
And it’s due to LotRO that I’m here now. And that Enthusiasm is here now. So, pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable and I’ll begin…
I’d been playing LotRO for a while. It was my first foray into MMOs. I had a newly dinged 50th level loremaster, who I loved playing. I was also levelling a champion. The two were like chalk and cheese, Alq the LM being sociable, refined and ladylike and Dael the champion being a scarred and distrusting loner. I’d confuse people by the way I played them, they’d often forget it was the one person behind the two. Oddly I’d always get lost on Alq, and never on Dael….
So one day Dael teamed up with a female hunter. Her background baggage involved a short and painful love affair that ended up with her horse dead. (Rohirric characters don’t start with horses, and that bugged me.) Hence she wasn’t good with men. Couple of days later, she bumped into the hunter again, but this time the hunter had company, a champion. Male. So…Dael was sort of suspicious of him, but gave him the benefit of the doubt and they all ended up adventuring together. Dael decided he wasn’t too bad.
Cue a decent time into the future…..Alq was killing Corcur in the Misty Mountains in order to impress the elves in Rivendell. She wanted a pretty elvish dress. Vanity strikes again. But she wasn’t the only one killing things…. The guy looked familiar. Was the champion that Dael had met. So she decided to say a polite hello – using the old classic Dael having told her about him and the hunter. I had actually used the background of Alq taking Dael in and looking after her for a while. It was a way of tidying things up the links between my two main characters there.
So the two chatted for a while, with the conversation regularly punctuated by the dying throes of Corcur. Somewhere there was a throwaway comment that LMs and champions don’t work well together. Now, as she’d worked together well with several champions, I was slightly affronted and decided to prove a point. And I did. Overall, it was a pleasant evening, the friendly company made grinding for rep far more fun. So we said our farewells, and that it’ll be great to catch up again. As you do. And then chances are you never see that person again. It happens all too often.
Except that in this case that didn’t happen.
We bumped into each other outside the AH in Bree shortly after that. And again. It sort of became an accidental habit. But it was beautiful. All in character and a perfectly natural way of growing into a friendship. At some point I invited Rem to a Carn Dum run, and that was it. We’d regularly run instances and quests together after that. He reciprocated by getting me into raiding. We worked exceptionally well, our playing styles gelled beautifully, and our skills complemented each other’s pretty much perfectly. We had a great deal of fun together in LotRO. And we were part of a 6 man on-level team that took down the big bad Balrog, normally a 12 man raid. (Yes, I am still proud of that. No achievement pings, no big prizes, we were all geared up anyway, just that it was there to be done.)
Rem’s side of this is filled with far more coincidence. But thanks to that initial meeting in the Misty Mountains we found a friendship that’s made it through three years of gaming, support for each other through bad times, support for each other’s mad, idealistic plans (see Enthusiasm), and a small and dark back street chocolate shop that sells probably some of the best chocolate in the world*. Hence we’ll always have a soft spot for LotRO and the Misty Mountains.
So for those who are taking their own first steps into LotRO, I hope that it is as fun, and as wonderful for them as my own experience was. And that perhaps a little Middle Earth magic will work its way as solidly into their lives as it did mine.
* Rem, Colt and I spent time hunting down said chocolate one afternoon. It is probably the only chocolate that has lasted me forever because it is So Damned Good. I need to go back there one day. Soon. Before it runs out.