I'm not really bothered by this. I just bring it up to illustrate a larger point about LOTRO being very much a game. I think now that I've been playing for a few years the magic has worn off and the virtual world skin has faded to reveal the true game beneath. There's very few MMOs, if any, that can truely be called a virtual world. That's because when we say MMO, or more correctly, MMORPG, we're stressing the G. The loss of the G is probably a side-effect of taking out RP. Very few of us actually role-play and there's hardly any structured support for that type of activity in the game anyway.
Back to game vs virtual world. Beyond any other reason, I picked up LOTRO because I wanted a virtual Middle-Earth. With Shadows of Angmar, I got that, in so much as what was in at release. Now we're moving away, and while we see more of Middle-Earth, it's simply because that's where the fellowship is going and where we can introduce fun and cool and engaging content. The space serves the game rather than the game serves the space. I'm not arguing that this is not the way it should be. Indeed, LOTRO is a game and should be developed towards a game. Furthermore, the recent and future content is and will be engaging. But it's not what I came to LOTRO for. I found fun, but not quite the fun I wanted. Only now that I've nearly exhausted that fun, have I seen this.
To that end, the very gamey nature of LOTRO stands out for me more and more with each passing moment (boars, boars, and more boars). There will come a time, and quite quickly I'm afraid, where I'll cease to see it as a virtual representation of Middle-Earth at all, but rather a MMO with a Lord of the Rings skin. This saddens me in a way. First, because I really do love this game. And second, because despite such love, I cannot be sustained by it.
All this, I think, is at the core of my recent apathy towards logging in and keeping current with this blog. It is with deep regret that I make what might seem like an abrupt about-face with The Adventurer, and say good-bye to blogging. It is not that I do not have anything to say, or that I'm quitting LOTRO, or the community. This blog cannot be maintained at the level of my current interest and investment. One should not feel forced to write, or pressured to keep up with the news enough to post every time a new bit of information is released. It might be said I've lost the passion that started the Adventurer. I don't think that's the case - rather that passion has been redirected. Strike that, the passion has continued on its course, the Adventurer and LOTRO simply didn't follow.
Insert a lamentful sigh. I started writing this post with a completely different end-point in sight. I honestly did not start with the intent to make this a good-bye. But that's where it naturally flowed.
What does that mean for my future as a LOTRO player? As I said, I will not stop playing, but I won't feel compelled to play for blogging, or to keep up with what's going on in the game. I will not disappear from the community - I still read the fellow LOTRO blogs, and will comment more often now that I'm not posting here. What this does offer me is an opportunity to pursue other forms of writing. I've aspired to be a professional fiction writer since high-school and yet have done little to further that goal. Perhaps now is the time to revisit this.
Take care my fellow adventurers. May your journeys be forever blessed. I leave you last with a blessing from Elrond to the Fellowship as they departed:
"Ála tira acca haiya! Mal si a vanya as márë órelyar! Namárië, ar nai aistalë Eldar ar Atani ar ilyë Léralieron hilya le! Eleni sílar antalyannar!"