20,000 Viewers Celebration! How LoTRO Changed My Life
Her schedule was much tighter than mine and family responsibilities didn't allow her the chance to play very often. With time on my hands, I decided to level an alt while I waited for her to be available. I made a human guardian named "Batcher" from Gondor.
Before I knew it, I had reached level 50 (the cap at the time). I had joined a kinship called "Warlords of Eriador" run by two cousins called Bartuc and Thornwig. I made a lot of great friends in that kinship. I still think of them from time to time.
I had spent the year leveling my guardian and my girlfriend had all but abandoned playing with me. Our relationship was starting to strain due to issues that I don't feel appropriate mentioning here so I spent a lot of time in game to get my mind off of it.
In 2008, Turbine released the Forochel Update. This was the first major landmass update in LoTRO. I remember the announcement that the new reputation would include a awesome looking horse. I had made it my mission to be the very first person to reach Kindred with the Lossoth.
To accomplish this, I spent every morning before classes and every afternoon and evening in that frozen tundra. The zone was very curious and the first of it's kind. It contained various camps that would flip from player controlled to monster controlled and served as a great source of reputation.
I remember the day that would change my life forever very clearly. The morning had been a rather stormy one and I was rather hesitant to drive. I was farming Gauredan in Talvi-Muri when I noticed that the Gauredan weren't spawning when they should be. I looked around and found the reason. There had been a little hobbit guardian farming in the same area. Wishing to not compete, I asked her if she would want to group up and farm together. We spoke for some time while we ran around flipping camps. I told her that I wanted to be the first person to reach kindred with the Lossoth and she told me she was trying to reach Kindred too. I remember laughing because she had a very funny kinship name called "Drama Queens." She told me it was so that people wouldn't take them so seriously.
I had already missed my first class. I was really enjoying myself and had lost track of time. But I was so close to Kindred! I exclaimed to her how close I was when I saw my trade window open. She quickly placed all the rep items she had farmed with me into the window and clicked confirm. I asked her why she was doing this and she told me she farmed a lot and she wanted to help me be the first. I was the first, for what it's worth and this is still my most treasured horse.
I said goodbye to this hobbit and told her I hoped that I could talk to her later. But I wouldn't see her again for over a year. That same day, my girlfriend broke up with me. When I said earlier that I would never forget this day, there were two reasons for that. The relationship had gone on for 4 years and I think the two of us knew it was over, but I just didn't want to hear it. I fell into quite a depression and stopped playing all Online Video Games and instead turned to music to help me get through it.
It would be a year before I would decide to log back into Lord of the Rings Online. My kinship had disbanded and I had no one to talk to. My mind, however, turned to the hobbit guardian. I did a search of "Drama Queens" and didn't see her name in the list so I chose a person at random and asked them if they knew a Lisiantha. Shortly after, a tell popped into my window. Lisiantha had been on her character Amarantha, a minstrel, and was excited to hear from me after all this time.
I asked her if I could join her kinship, that she now was the leader of, and she promptly invited me. In almost no time at all we became very close friends. She was married to one of the other leaders and I became very close friends with him as well.
For years, we raided together and spoke outside of game and I can honestly say it was my most valued and important friendships. But even then, I was alone. I knew I liked her but I knew it could never be. Over the years, I began to learn of her difficulties with her marriage. She had been very unhappy for some time and while always trying to be a shoulder for her to cry on, I did everything in my power to suppress my own selfish wants.
Eventually, it came to a head and they divorced. It was 2012 now and I was 26. Life had changed so much for me but still I clinged to my life in LoTRO. I was heart broken for Amarantha but I knew it was for the best. I knew, for some time, that she must have loved me too, but I did not want to start a relationship based on the pieces of another one.
She had moved back to Georgia with her family and had gotten a job and was starting her life again. About a year later, our relationship began in earnest, albeit long distance. It had taken 5 years for us to finally be together, and I don't think I wanted to wait a single second more. We pooled our finances and she moved down to Florida and we bought our first apartment...
On the morning of March 1st, 2015, my entire household was bustling. The tents had been raised and the silverware had been prepped. I remember my mother settling this signpost right at the tables
On March 1st, 2015, I married my best friend. It had taken 8 years to go from strangers in completely different states to being best friends online to being boyfriend and girlfriend and finally to being newly weds.
That would not be our final titles, however. On April 27th, 2016, we also became Mother and Father.
(Get it? He's a green dragon.)
LoTRO is more than just a video game for me. It was my salvation. It brought me joy, and it allowed me to meet the most wonderful person in my life and also to set in motion the birth of one of the most beautiful little baby boys ever.
Thank you Standing Stone Games. Thank you for everything you did for me.
And thank you, loyal readers, for being a part of this journey with me.
Gonzalo, The Bearded Minstrel