LOTRO: More Community Nostalgia
A few days ago, I wrote about some aspects of the wider LOTRO community that were no longer with us. These included the podcast A Casual Stroll to Mordor, the rivalry between the official and unofficial LOTRO forums and that curious experiment, the player council. I was quite surprised by the response to this post, which was very positive, and was also interested by some of the comments that followed on social media. Hence, I decided to follow it up with some further examples, based upon reader feedback and further reflection upon the matter. LOTRO has been around for eleven years which is a considerable period of time. To put this into some sort of perspective, it has been part of my leisure time for one fifth of my life. During that time a lot of things have come and gone.
Let us begin with My LOTRO, which Turbine launched in late 2008. Designed as a social hub the site (which was a subset of the official LOTRO website), tracked characters, kinship and tribe information. It also displayed item information, stats, deed accomplishment and levelling dates. It also included an extensive Lorebook. There was calendar for kinship events, a journal option for keeping notes on your character's progress and even an RSS feed for each journal. It was the latter that made My LOTRO so invaluable as it became the centre of many player blogs, fan fiction and poetry It was quite a unique platform and somewhat ahead of its times. Furthermore, the public data.lotro.com API could be used to power external sites with LOTRO related information. Players tracked server status and could share character data. If fully developed it could have extended much of LOTROs social activities outside of the game and forums.
Sadly, like anything of this nature, there was scope for abuse. As I mentioned in the previous post the onset of the LOTRO culture wars lead to a lot of acrimony on both forums. My LOTRO provided a means for the unscrupulous to identify a player’s alts which lead to trolling. However, despite side issues such as this, My LOTRO remained an important facet of the player community. But like other aspects of the game, it was not developed further. Overtime, Turbine like any other business, saw staff come and go and My LOTRO suffered as a result of lost expertise. 2010 saw the game convert to a hybrid F2P model and then the following year Turbine took back control of the EU service. The forums where subsequently overhauled a year or so later and My LOTRO was deemed unrepairable. It was subsequently closed in 2013, and all the information therein was lost, although players were given time to attempt to back up their data.
Another service provided by My LOTRO, were the lotteries, in which players could sign up to win in-game loot. This varied from minor trinkets and baubles such as silver, gold or skirmish marks to special mounts, rare armaments, relics, unique class quest items. It was all level appropriate and surprisingly, quite a lot of prizes were unbound. Towards the end of the lottery systems lifespan it became far more LOTRO store-centric, but it was overall a generous and popular service. It required little effort on the players behalf and if you were lucky enough to win, then the item arrived via in-game mail. Sadly, this is something else that has bitten the dust and at present there is no equivalent service. Prizes of the same nature are now given out via live stream on Twitch but it’s a lot less equitable.
I would also like to quickly reference several LOTRO podcasts that have “sailed into the west”. My apologies for any that I’ve missed out, but I can remember a time when all of the following would be required listening. LOTRO Reporter, Beneath your Feet, Through the Palantir, Lotrocast, and Secrets of Middle Earth. And of course, it would be most remiss of me not to mention Mordor or Bust which was my personal stepping stone into the world of podcasting. As a blogger, I would also like to touch upon the various LOTRO fan sites from the last decade. Some still endure to this day which is gratifying to see, but many more have either stopped posting or have vanished from the internet once their domain has expired. Here are a few of those that have gone and are sorely missed. All were of a high quality and reflected the passion that still remains a key aspect of the LOTRO community.
Cosmetic Lotro – http://cosmeticlotro.wordpress.com
Fluff and Stuff – http://fluffandstufflotro.wordpress.com
Lotro Fashion – http://lotrofashion.blogspot.de
Darzil’s Crafting Guide – http://www.northshield.co.uk/LOTRO/
Tales of Arda – http://toarda.com
The Elven Tailor – http://theelventailor.blogspot.nl
The Lotro Stylist – https://lotrostylist.wordpress.com
The Starry Mantle – http://starrymantle.wordpress.com