Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Summer Fest

This being my very first few months out of Gondor all these quaint northern customs still come somewhat as a surprise to me. Now they're celebrating Summer, or at least the Men are. The pointy-ears, the dorfs and the bobbits would never celebrate the same thing as what the Men do, so they call it something else, but this is only a transparent attempt at a pathetic kind of semi-independence.

And, by the way, one has to write Men with a capital M, just in case anybody thinks you're only talking about men, as opposed to Men, if you see what I mean. The Race of Women has a much better ring to it if you ask me, but then nobody did.

Anyway, Summer. I have discovered in myself a great aptitude for riding horses along little rickety wooden bridges, mostly falling off, but sometimes not. It is, of course, hardly a surprise that I should have aptitude for things, as I am, at base, such a highly accomplished and talented person, but I imagine that a little pretended  surprise is not a bad thing. Based on my horse-riding skills I have now bought myself a brand new horse, and a very pretty one she is, too. Called Manuka. Or she could be a he. I have no intention of looking for myself.

The best thing about my new horse is not the fact that she is a pretty wee thing (much like myself) but that she comes with padding. For some weeks I've been riding a very nice horse indeed I'm sure, but with no saddle. I don't care how nice the horse is, a sore arse is a sore arse. It cramps my performance style. How can I catch the roses which all the beautiful girls are throwing if I am suffering from piles and blisters in my nether regions? Good question. What about Madame Celestine's girls? I know they have greatly enjoyed massaging these same nether regions, but enough is enough. They deserve a break.

So now I can ride around in comfort, securely protected from burns, bruises and rashes in unmentionable places.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Community Notes, by the Fool

Before playing LOTRO I had heard it said, in a number of different places, that LOTRO was known for its community. WoW was the game you played because everybody else was playing it (and the only decent MMORPG available for the Mac), you played Eve if you wanted a blood-soaked sandbox and little else, and you played LOTRO for the community.

I was sceptical, as is my nature.

But I have to admit, I have never seen the like of the community I've experienced (so far) in LOTRO. It is extraordinary. I have healed a small number of PUGs, and had never a single complaint or unkind word. When you realise that I am a terrible healer, and a terrible game player in general, you will begin to understand how unusual this is. I healed in WoW, and garnered nothing but abuse and derision. I heal in LOTRO and people are patient, helpful, mature. Every time. Not just once. Every time.

So I join a guild. Woops, sorry. A kinship. The Lonely Mountain Band. And the same thing happens. Kinship chat is mature. People use punctuation and proper grammar. My kin are friendly, helpful, polite. Not just to me, but to everybody. There is very little argument (although plenty of robust discussion, which is a good thing of course). Minor annoyances get rapidly smoothed over, not blown out of proportion. Members of the kin who are clearly quite young and immature are treated with forbearance and tact by the older members, and gently coached to a more appropriate way of interaction.

There is enormous involvement in events such as Weatherstock, which serve, not to glamourise individuals in the kinship, but to promote music across the entire server, and others too. Everybody knuckles down to help. They put in their time and effort, they spend their (in-game) money to assist, they donate items, and they work together to provide a wonderful event for all to enjoy.

I say it again. It is extraordinary.

Of course, problems will appear. One can be quite sure that things are not entirely rosy, and that tempers will fray on occasion. Not everybody is as perfect as Aegthil thinks he is, and this will out.

But my introduction to LOTRO has been an experience I never thought to have in an online game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Frodo is clearly a teenager

Frodo is clearly a teenager; he's a self-obsessed, selfish, annoying little whiner. What more to say? Not that my Fool doesn't love his own teenagers (even I don't really mind them), but that doesn't stop them being all of those things at times. Sometimes all at once.

I finally made it to Rivendell. I thought that Lord Elrond would have been delighted to see me, and I'm sure he was, even though he didn't show it. I had a wee look around the Last Haunted House, or whatever pretentious name he calls it, and found this little hobbit person thing, called Frodo. Never heard of him before, but he seemed to be important, with his own rooms and all. How does he get a fancy suite and I don't? Something is not right in the state of Rivendell, that much is clear.

At any rate, Hi I say brightly. hi says Frodo, with a very definite lower case h. Gawd, I thought, what's got into you? I was just about to get the hell out of there (I can't stand whiners) when he asks me to go for a walk with him. Well, I'm a handsome guy, why wouldn't he? I was a bit weirded out by this, but I thought, the guy's a midget, he can't hurt me, so why not. And off we go.

Foolish mistake. Whine whine, moan, moan, I'm so unhappy, oh I don't know what to do (like I give a horse's turd, you little runt), I am so alone (I wonder why), life is so full of indecision and uncertainty and I don't want to hurt my friends and they are in danger and I'm in danger and I'm so afraid, on and on and on and on and on, and all the while he's walking REALLY SLOWLY! I'm supposed to walk with him, but that's hardly possible the speed he's going. Never going to end, this little walk, I think to myself. Never going to end. Never. Going. To. End. Why don't I just kill him myself, put him out of his misery. The world deserves that.

The way he's going on you'd think the fate of the world rests on his shoulders. What a lot of pretentious twaddle.

Look, Froddles, I just met you. I don't know you. I don't even like you. You're short, you're ugly, you're stupid. I'm handsome, successful, rich, talented. Tell me again, why should I keep listening to your pathetic whining? Oh, no reason? Can't think of one? Goodness, neither can I. Toodles, buster, jump off a bridge.

So I got out of there soon as I could. Back to sanity. Yeah right. With all those pointy-eared elves around? I don't think so. But back to the Dancing Goat and ol' Butterface, where I am now immured, unable to leave, and forced to listen to the bar-room screeching. My Fool has a lot to answer for. He says he's "travelling" again. Pfft. I suspect he is merely lazy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ales and Tales; the first great appearance

As you will have guessed from the title, the land of Eriador has been blessed by my presence once more upon the musical stage. This appearance has been a long time coming, and I'm sure that many people have been waiting impatiently for the happy event. But they need wait no longer for I have stepped back into the limelight that is my due.

The crowd was ecstatic. The cheering was deafening. The dancing was inspired (by me, of course). My genius resounded to the heavens, and reverberated around the hills. People went away with tears in their eyes, clearly thinking of how poor and miserable would be their existence without that sight of the divinity granted by my musical genius.

Not that anybody actually said this to me, but I am adept at reading between the lines.

There were some minor annoyances. I was not allowed to play my own music, only allowed to reproduce the music of others, a decision I just cannot understand. Why would anyone wish to hear music written by my Fool when they can hear music written by me? Who would choose the overblown melodies and vulgar rhythms of my Fool when they could listen to the pure clarity and inspiration that is my own composition? And I'm sure this Astleigh person is very nice and very worthy in her own way, but really. There is just no comparison.

And the venue! For my debut performance in Eriador I was expecting something a little more appropriate than a dank and dirty marsh. What about an enormous stadium? A King's Palace. Well, that might be difficult, as there is no King, but at least a Steward's Palace. A wizard's rotunda? None of the above.

Instead we got to sniff neekerbreeker crap and fight off the goblins. Shocking.

In other matters (although still about me, fortunately) I am struggling to reach the 40th level. Not that this is an accurate numerical description of my talent, but I have no immediate remedy for this. Mostly I struggle as my Fool wastes too much of his time writing what he fondly calls "music". It isn't music, of course, it's socially and artistically retarded horse turd, but that's a whole other discussion. Anyway, I struggle to kill baddies, they struggle to kill me. I am presently wandering around some place called Eredim. I think. There is some large statue there, over some river or other, and I have been assigned some menial jobs there. I get around to them when I can. I cannot see the hurry to do someone else's dirty work.