[Gaming] The Magnificent LotRO Community

On July 1st, 2017, I embarked on a journey. I had arranged to stream for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, intending on playing through Lord of the Rings Online‘s 10-year anniversary scavenger hunt from beginning to end. The event featured ten weeks of 3 quests each, but you could do them back to back after the 10th week launched. The trio of quests per week were named Tales (centered around a single character’s story), Travels (go to places and collect Remembrances or go on pub crawls in various zones), and Trifles (often instanced content). For the sake of brevity and sanity, I chose to complete the ten Tales quests back to back. For the charity fundraising, I set a modest goal of $500, but honestly, I felt nervous and decided I’d be happy if we even got half of that. As I said during the actual stream, repeating a lesson taught to me by a dear friend, when it comes to charity work, any donation is helpful and needed.

To prepare, I spent the money to boost a level 8 minstrel to 95 and then spent the week before the event leveling her the rest of the way to 105 and got her some decent questing gear and a Second Age legendary weapon. I also went and unlocked all the stuff you’d need to complete the Tales quests, such as skirmishes, Meduseld, Ost Galadh, so I wouldn’t have to take the time during the stream to do them. This is Kyraine, a woman of Rohan, a minstrel who focused on the red-line (DPS) trait tree.

For the stream, she wore the Eastemnet cosmetic gear and rode a black warsteed named Singularity that wore a combination of the Citadel and Rivendell gear. Surprisingly, the free Forest Green dye on the Citadel pieces worked perfectly with the Rivendell butt-gear’s regular color. It’s still vaguely annoying to me that we can’t recolor the gear that rests on the croup. However, back to the issues at hand.

Some time before the stream started, I contacted LotRO‘s community manager Jerry ‘Cordovan’ Snook and requested some LotRO Points codes to give away after each year’s quest was completed. He was also kind enough to include mention of the stream in both the weekly LotRO Beacon two days before the stream and in a couple of scheduled tweets from the LotRO Twitter feed the day before and just as the stream was starting. I did my best to promote it as well in my social media, and I’m very grateful to all of my friends and acquaintances who signal boosted as well.

I had planned on getting to bed early the night before, expecting to stream starting at 9am sharp. Thing is, I didn’t get to bed early. Also, 9am is an hour before I normally get up for work cos I work 2nd shift. I wasn’t very awake, but I chose my snacks wisely. I knew the stream would last for hours, expecting maybe until 9 or 10pm. However, I knew I could manage the lengthy stream as long as I took breaks and made sure I had a little bit of downtime.

I wanted to share some screenshots of the adventure. I didn’t take too many because I was busy streaming and I figured I could make some cool highlights later. However, there are some interesting things to show off. Of course, one must always sit on the throne of Gondor and surprisingly, the guards didn’t mind. Oh, and you see that timer? That’s the same basic timer that my friend Rick ‘Sapience’ Heaton used to time the infamous Hobbit Runs to Isengard and the SHIELD Runs through Moria that he used to conduct during his time as the LotRO community manager.  The timer is pretty simplistic and of course, with the recent client crash issues due to too much zoning in too quick a succession, it was never going to work in terms of timing the entire event, so I rolled with it and said it was officially the timer for how long it had been since the game crashed.

And of course, this scene amused me. The player in the background must have been very confused to see me fishing with the Angmarim in Annúminas. And to amuse myself further, once I was done fishing, I hit my AOE and killed them all.

At my dear friend Eldalleth‘s urging, I took screenshots during this glitched arrival in South Bree. We don’t often see this sort of thing in live, but it’s quite interesting to see how the game world is constructed. Kinda reminds me of the Holodeck in Star Trek.

During one adventure in Meduseld, I of course have to stop by this tapestry of Aldor the Old fighting the Dunlendings. It’s now officially my thing to stop by in-game because those who follow my social media or previous posts here will remember that I had the extreme fortune to visit Standing Stone Games and get my picture taken with a real-life version that hangs in the studio.

At the end of my stream, I invited some friends and stream regulars to join me on my kinship island with the final reward for the 10-year deed, a Standing Stone housing item. The hovering stones slowly rotate around, and yes, it’s really neat.  Featured in this shot are Twitch regulars Sam_Burke as Skjalden Strummer, KatrianaND as Mornriel, SouthernBelle927 as Bellaeraen, and Hologro as (shockingly) Hologro Silverbrook.  It pleased me greatly that three of them were wearing the Hero of the Small Folk title Sapience used to give out for Extra Life (still suitable considering I was fundraising for St. Jude), and Mornriel had Protector of the Shire, still a suitable title.  I wore the new Versed in Yesteryear title that was a reward of the 10-year meta for completing one of each year’s three quests.

The thing is, the stream ended in 17.5 hours… around 2.30am, so I was starting to get loopy and emotional with how awesome the community had been all day long. This image above pretty much sums up how I felt. Just completely wiped out, but so so grateful and humbled by my community.

In homage to fellow LotRO streamer BigEdMustafa (you should follow him for scintillating and exciting gameplay), we ended the stream fishing off the dock on my island in the Cape of Belfalas. It was a fitting end.

Now, the most important bits of the stream. I was happy to be able to help fellow Mythgard kinmate Phil Boswell get through a couple of the year quests, but sadly, we didn’t have enough people on hand in-game to keep his level 40 toon alive in high-end places. However, the main reason that we were all there all day long, the charity fundraising, is what humbled me and made me cry at least a couple of times. Remember I said at the beginning how I set a goal of $500 but decided that I’d be okay if we raised just half of that? Well, this happened:

We crushed the $500 goal thanks to a most generous donation from Twitch viewer Daemonborn. So, I set a new goal of $750, again assuming we wouldn’t beat it because it was so deep into the stream. After all, we’d already had the EU folks in early in the stream, then the NA folks turned up later in the day, and we were heading toward the EU folks trickling back in during their morning, so I figured that we were pretty much done for the evening. However, a generous donation from fellow Mythgardian Rosiebug kicked that goal to the curb with extra to spare.

At the end of the stream, I had gotten a ton of follows throughout the entire stream, something like 27 of them, my biggest single-day follow train ever.  In terms of viewership, it was pretty much between 20 and 40 viewers for the majority of the time according to my Twitch stats page, many of them LotROStream regulars, but some new folks as well.  I’m happy to say I only had to ban one jackass from the stream all day long.  I was also shattered and overcome with emotion. You see, I had long known that the LotRO community is awesome and generous. After all, am I not friends with Sapience and had chipped into his Extra Life fundraising efforts and still am handing out the LotRO codes for steeds, cloaks, titles, and other stuff he gave to donators? When new players roll into our official Twitch channel these days, curious about the game, we don’t give them the ‘lol, n00b’ treatment. We answer their questions helpfully and without trolling for the most part.

Now that the campaign has concluded and I personally contributed the amount generated by the Twitch bits I received, the one subscription (thanks, Gussymoose!), and a sneaky last-second donation while the link was still active, our final total is…

… wait for it…

$900!!!

I have no words beyond… thank you. And this.