Spoilers after the cut.
Okay, time to write another blog about gaming/streaming culture. It’s a sidebar to the massive number of people (mostly men, but yes, also women) being accused of harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other such life-ruining actions. One thing I’ve noticed through reading these stories – and I have chosen to read so many in order to inform myself of whom to watch out for and what sort of behaviors to be on guard against – is the fact that almost every. single. story. included overindulgence in alcohol at industry events or the accused having used alcohol as a coping mechanism. A few mentioned controlled substances, but I imagine this is going on far more than is reported simply because you can’t actually publicly advertise your convention party having cocaine at it.
I have some hard thinking to do. If you’re not following @JessyQuil’s thread of women courageously speaking their truth about predatory men in the gaming industry (and streamers), you should.
Fair warning, there are spoilers for content up to and including 8.2.5 in this blog.
In just two weeks from today, the latest expansion of World of Warcraft will be unleashed upon the world… assuming the servers don’t catch on fire or angry gamers don’t DDoS Blizzard. Battle for Azeroth returns the game back to the main story of the Warcraft franchise, the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.
Legion is by many accounts the most successful WoW expansion, although there is still much strong nostalgia for both vanilla and Wrath of the Lich King. However, when I comb through my social media to see how players rate Legion, on the whole it seems more positive than negative when compared to expansions other than Wrath. Unlike previous expansions, Blizzard spaced out its content and added new facets to the story along the way, so players didn’t have to spend half of its two-year life cycle complaining about content drought as happened with Warlords of Draenor.
This blog serves to both discuss the amazing thing the LotRO community and others did for me recently, and also to serve as a means of accountability. As a sometime game journalist, ethics and transparency and disclosure are all important to me, and I believe it fair and just to report to those who contributed to the kindness especially financially to know exactly how their money was spent.
Before I get into the actual story, I should provide full disclosure of bias here. I’m on the official LotRO stream team and am privileged to be friends with a couple of the devs at Standing Stone Games. That being said…
I’ve been a Lord of the Rings fan since I was in single digits *mumblemumble* years ago. I was ‘forced’ to read The Hobbit when I was in school, and the teacher of course mentioned LotR, saying it was a bit more mature reading (not as happy/playful as The Hobbit). I remember the school library having two versions of the trilogy on hand: a large hardcover edition featuring nifty fold-out maps and the paperbacks featuring the amazing realistic art by the sadly late Darrell K. Sweet. Fun fact: Darrell K. Sweet’s art was also on the cover of the edition of Elfstones of Shannara where I originally derived my nom de plume of Druidsfire. I also went back years later and found used copies of that original paperback edition of LotR but never found reasonably-priced versions of the hardcover edition.
BlizzCon 2017 has to have been perhaps the most legendary and satisfying convention I’ve attended in recent years, if not ever. The highs were stratospheric but the lows were relatively minor.
There is a banner hanging in the Standing Stone Games studio, a gift from the LotRO Stream Team to the developers for the launch of Lord of the Rings Online‘s Mordor expansion. This is a blog detailing its creation for those who might be curious.
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.