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.