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Of Fading Journeys

Friday, October 30, 2009

If I hunted as much as my character hunts in LOTRO, I'd either be the world's best hunter or spending my life in prison for single-handedly killing off the world's food supply. Or both. You've all probably heard the gripe before - why do we kill so much wildlife? It's not just predators. We're slaughtering flies, deer, elk, neekers...

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!"

13 Responses to "Of Fading Journeys"

iamstillwater Says:

*hugs*

We'll always have twitter. Keep in touch, alright? :)

*gives you a shotgun as a parting gift for the zombies*

Goldenstar Says:

Thank you for giving us the Adventurer and we'll be seeing (and maybe hearing) you soon!

Alcasm Says:

Sorry to hear about your recent apathy for blogging but I can certainly sympathize. I haven't blogged in almost a month now and like you it's not because I don't have anything to write about. Unlike yourself however, I have been spending a great deal more time in game just having fun with my new kinship so maybe that's part of it. I do know I've been experiencing a general malaise however and have been needing something to kickstart my engines.

You mention wanting to write fiction and that is also something I've been pondering for many years, always leaving by the wayside. I decided to do something about it this month however as I found out about National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo wherein you must write a 50k+ word novel within the month of November. No prizes, just the satisfaction of finally putting pen to paper and maybe connecting with some fellow writers.

If you're really interested in writing some fiction I would defintely suggest you visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and sign up. It's definitely got me excited. Do it quick though, it starts November 1st! And don't worry about not having some great idea prepared in advance (I know I don't and despite that bothering me a bit it's actually quite refreshing), just let loose and have fun!

unwize Says:

I just blog when I feel inspired about something, and when I have the time. Those that care about what you have to say will keep you on their RSS reader!

Azz Says:

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. It has given me much inspiration into mine and it will be missed. Thanks for all the goodies!

wicked Says:

Thank you for the Blog. I rather agree with you when you say that the game is every patch less a Middle-earth representation and more a MMO with a LOTR skin...

foolsage Says:

I definitely sympathize with your feelings about the game. Blogging should be a fun hobby and an expression of your personal interest in saying something meaningful to you. If it's a burden, put it down and take a rest.

NaNoWriMo is definitely a good idea if you've any interest in writing a novel.

Green Armadillo Says:

Your break is well-earned, and I hope it recharges your batteries for your next project, whatever that may be. :)

Sean Says:

Jaxom,

I have enjoyed following your blog for about a year now, and I was of course saddened to see you've decided to move on from the Blogosphere...I've always considered your blogs one of the first stops to make when I'm trolling for topics for LOTROCast.

That said, I understand your reasons...even Tolkien knew that all good things must come to an end. If you're ever on Silverlode, don't hesitate to look me up. There will always be room in our fellowship for you.

See you in Middle-Earth,

Moormur

The Road Goes Ever On Says:

I think all us bloggers can certainly understand where you're coming from.

Best wishes in your future projects Jaxom!

- Ivy

Slurms Says:

Damn! I just recently came across this to hehe.

Good luck to you, maybe you can use this space to update on your writing?

Slurms

Jaxom92 Says:

Thank you all for your wonderful well-wishes! I'm glad the community has gotten value out of my time and I hope you all will in the future for whatever project I might undertake.

Thallian Says:

Your welcome you did a great job with this one so I look forward to whatever new project you might offer.