A couple of days ago I was yet again amazed and impressed by the level of participation in and commitment to LOTRO .... I was going to say LOTRO roleplaying, but it's not that, really. Commitment, rather, to the artistic life of LOTRO.
Firstly, it was the performance by Mer Vanya Tyalieva (I think I got that right!) of the story of the creation, from the Silmarillion. This was a show, about two and a half hours long, that required the preparation of enormous amounts of music, help from around 20 people, hours and hours of rehearsal, and then a committed audience, willing to sit through the entire show.
Just like putting on a show in real life, it required a huge level of dedication from a lot of people. And they did it. They turned up to rehearse. Mostly on time, even. They learned their parts. They practised their emotes. They behaved (even in their private raid chatting behind the scenes) exactly like any other group of musicians and actors dedicated to putting on the best performance they could. The nervous banter you could have heard in any Green Room in the world, the bad jokes, the worries, the fretting.
So why is this impressive? After all, when it comes to raiding, this kind of thing happens every hour of every day in a game like WoW, and probably almost as often in LOTRO.
Well, it's difficult for me to articulate why dedication of many hours to an artistic performance is somehow more impressive than dedication of many hours to raiding. The level of commitment, of organisation, is the same, if not more so. But the artistic performance doesn't advance a character in any way recognised by the game. It doesn't get you any new gear, any new skills, any tangible in-game rewards at all. To many people, there is no reward at all, tangible or otherwise, for participating in an artistic performance.
So why do people do it? I suppose for the love of the music, the love of the lore, the love of the artistic life of LOTRO. There are so many people dedicated to these things that such performances become possible. And, in my opinion, this is a truly impressive statement about the LOTRO community. It is a community where joint artistic endeavour ranks as highly as killing the latest nastiest boss. Not for everybody of course, that is hardly to be expected, but for many, and for enough.
Mind you, I guess I only admire this because I couldn't give a rat's arse for killing a boss in a dungeon, or for having the latest, shiniest, gear. And my children would say that I don't give a rat's arse because I couldn't do it anyway. Too old, too slow, bad reflexes, small brain, they would say. Stick to your geriatric stuff, leave us cool kids alone. Pfft.
I also was sorry to have missed the fireworks display in honour of Bilbo's birthday, put on by the Sons of Numenor. It was, by all accounts, a fantastic display and a great time was had by all.
Secondly, BBB did the filming of large parts of their latest music video, for the song Harperella's Grace, and the Lonely Mountain Band did themselves proud. Between 20 and 30 people turned up to help, to dance, to stand around, to dance again, to stop, to start, to cheer, to jump, to dance, to dance, to dance. And they stayed for hours to get the job done. Nothing in it for them. Their names don't even appear in the video. They helped because they are kin, and that's what kin does. Some of them weren't even kin, but came to help because ... well, that's just who they are.
You just can't beat that kind of community. I don't know how to say thank you adequately.