Recently I returned to Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) after quite a bit of time away. It was the release of the Mac client for the game that brought me back—I’ve been hoping LOTRO would come to the Mac for a long time. Now that it’s here, I’m finding it fun and easy to dip back into the game now and again. (I’m not even high-enough level for the new Rohan content, yet, but I’m getting there.)
Back when I was last diligently playing LOTRO, or perhaps the time before that, I founded a kinship (like a guild) as a means of getting a private chat channel for me and my friends. I stewed and fretted over what to call the damn thing, though. I went back through quite a bit of Tolkien’s lore for Middle-earth, the expanded lore of the game, and thought about all the joke names for kinships that I’d seen come and go on my server. I ultimately decided that I wanted to be able to play with the lore a bit while also paying playful homage to LOTRO’s writing and quest design. I chose to call us the Boars of Evendim. (If you get the reference, please don’t spoil it here.)
I founded the Boars kinship years ago and many of its members have since scattered to the four winds of gaming. Even I tend to return to LOTRO in bursts, playing for weeks or months at a time, devouring content new and old, and then drifting away for a time. LOTRO doesn’t feel like homework or a time sink to me — I play it when I want to, taking to it like I might binge on a television series. Works for me.
When friends of mine came to the game, at least for a while now that the Mac client exists, I immediately invited them to join the Boars of Evendim. I wanted us to have a common chat channel. I also wanted a chance to experiment with more in-game roleplaying and try putting my backstory for the kinship into words. A few of these friends of mine are role-players with experience from both tabletop play and WoW. I wanted to get a better sense of how RP worked in the MMORPG environment… and I wanted to write a bit about Middle-earth. Instead of telling some of my friends the out-of-character reason for the Boars name, I promised to tell them the in-character reason for the name.
Then I promised again. And again. Then it felt like I’d need to actually tell a tale to live up to the promises I had made in-character in Middle-earth.