Last night I logged in to see one of our kinship members delivering his farewell speech to us, saying that he’d tired of the game and was quitting the kin for good. That’s always a bit of a morale bummer, but for a kin as large as ours, it happens now and then.
Everyone was gracious about his departure and afterward there was an interesting discussion about what has kept us in LOTRO. One guy said that when he previously quit the game, it was after marinating in the toxic atmosphere of forums (both official and fan). I’m not surprised by this — as I’ve long said, going on the official forums is the quickest path to hating the game you love. But this guy said that ultimately it was the community that encouraged him to return, and he’s glad he did because it reunited him with a game that he genuinely loved.
I don’t often see people in guild chat just stop to gush about their love for the game, but that’s what happened last night and it was such an uplifting experience. Kind of a group therapy where we all shyly admit to the obvious — that no matter what anyone might say, this game is fun for us and we enjoy it a lot. What we enjoy about it differed from person to person — some said the lore, some love the epic story, but others just enjoy the social aspect of the kin and our fun player events (such as a murder mystery party we’re throwing on Saturday).
For me it’s a mixture of all of those reasons plus a little bit more when I think about why I’ve stuck with LOTRO for so very long. The community there has always felt special and helped me to bond with the game, because there’s something magical about being around folks who are enthusiastic about the game world and its IP.
I have been very fortunate to have been part of three welcoming, enthusiastic kinships over the course of my career in the game and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon, probably thanks to those bonds.