[Gaming] Why LotRO Hits the Spot

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.

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[Gaming] LotRO 10-Year Retrospective [170+ Images]

Hi there, my name is Jean Prior, and I occasionally go by Druidsfire on the forums and social media, or Phoenix or Kyriana in-game if you’re on one of the North American servers. As Lord of the Rings Online has surpassed its 10th anniversary, I felt like I should write some kind of retrospective on my experiences with the game over the past decade. This interest was magnified when I discovered to my own surprise that I have an uninterrupted screenshot archive from the past decade despite hard drive crashes and new PCs. While I have written about the game as a member of gaming press, I am also one of the players granted permission to stream on the game’s official Twitch channel. This may sound familiar to those who watched my anniversary stream on the official, as I used the following document as my script, but the stream occasionally went off into the tide pools.  I wrote this not only for the players who remember what the game was like back in the day, but also newer players who may never have seen some of these things before.

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[Gaming] LotRO 10-Year Retrospective

As Lord of the Rings Online approached its 10th anniversary, I went and wrote a rather lengthy retrospective after digging up my screenshot archive and finding an uninterrupted stream of pictures from the entire past decade.  Sort of like a Buzzfeed article for an actual writer, I would like to share the 15k-word article and the 170+ screenies.  However, given that some folks have a data cap or are reading on mobile, I chose to post this teaser article before linking you the actual full article with the embedded screenshots.

Click here if you’re entirely sure your connection and data usage can handle this.

[Opinion] Women and Mothers in Star Wars

I have a problem with the depiction of women in Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong, I love Star Wars, and I love what it’s done for the advancement of women’s roles as lead heroines and character roles in media of all kinds, but I still have a problem with how women and motherhood are portrayed in it. For 40 years now, women and girls have been taught about the awesomeness that is Princess Leia, how she kicked ass, took names, and is a rolemodel to all of us about the power of women, rawr. However, for those same 40 years, women and the notion of motherhood have gotten some treatment that I’m not even going to call ‘problematical’, because that’s far too polite for what’s happened. I’m gonna just outright call it some serious bullshit. Let’s run down the list of the various women in Star Wars and how they’ve been treated, how moms in the stories have been written or portrayed, and we’ll go from there. I’m going to go in RL chronological publication/release, because that’s easiest for me to wrap my brain around.

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[Artwork] Leia

Hope.

I actually call this piece ‘Leia’, because I created it after the unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher, and also I think some folks will assume that the white sleeve is more like Luke’s Tatooine gear (and the fact that Leia never touched the old Anakin lightsaber – as far as we know, what with Episode 8 still in post production).

That being said, I want to talk about the creation of this piece and why I did what I did, what techniques I used, and what the end result is.

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Writing – Excerpt from an Old A-Z Guide

This is an excerpt from a 20-page A-Z reference guide I once wrote over a decade ago about seaQuest DSV… yes, that TV show from the 90s that had the dolphin.  This excerpt is used to illustrate the results of painstaking… and sometimes painful… research.  You remember their use of the internet, yeah?  The names in parentheses at various points refer to shorthand names for the various episodes, although these days, I would have been better using a numeric shorthand such as S01E04 to refer to the fourth episode of the first season.

[ Begin excerpt ]

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Chronology: seaQuest DSV and 2032

Just for grins, I excavated this from my archives.  It’s part of a 141-page document I have with a number of cool quotes from the early 90s TV show seaQuest DSV and the rebranded seaQuest 2032.  The first 20 pages of the document represent an A-Z glossary of people, places, things in the series and their relationships to one another, such as Robert Bridger being the son of Nathan Bridger who was killed in action before the series started, that sort of thing.  This is one of the earliest fun non-gaming chronologies I ever researched.  Do enjoy!

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Official Incarnations of Immortality Chronology

This page represents a reprint of my chronology of Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series that was hosted on http://www.spundreams.net/~phoenix/IoIChron.html which I ported here to my site.  The original page remains on Spundreams as an archive with a redirect here so I can keep all the good stuff in one location. Please note, this is considered by his own words as his official chronology of the first 7 books of the series.  It is listed by URL and me by name (although Mr. Anthony thought I was a bloke) in the Author’s Note of the 8th book in the series, which takes place in the past of an alternate reality very much divorced from the first 7 books, so I never revisited the history.  That being said, do enjoy the chronology as much as I enjoyed doing the research, because I’m a lore nerd.

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[Gaming] Vol’jin

WoW has a leadership problem. I’m not talking about the executive team at Blizzard Entertainment, but rather how Blizzard writes the leaders of their MMO. The history of the Warcraft universe has never been one of much peace because peace is boring and hello, it’s not called Peacecraft. However, as players who focus on one of the two primary factions to the exclusion of all else, we can see how each faction is treated by Blizzard, how their leaders are written, and we tend to get riled up when we see our faction losing out to the other. Myself, I’m primarily Alliance-leaning, although I play Horde almost as much. I can see both sides of the argument as a proper moderate should.  The rest of this article will contain massive spoilers for the upcoming expansion Legion, including the Broken Shores instances currently live in-game.

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[Spoilers] Star Wars: the Force Awakens Belated Post-Mortem

Note: This article contains SPOILERS for the movie. If you haven’t seen it and miraculously haven’t seen spoilers on your social media, you might want to give this a miss until you’ve had a chance to see it or just don’t care anymore if you’re spoiled as to most/all the major plot points.

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