When I first created this blog, it was not meant to be for any one hobby. It was meant to be a place to point friends and family to when they were interested in knowing what was up with me. I have too many interests and hobbies, and I frequently have to put things aside so I can focus on others. There is one thing I’ve been doing for over a year that I have not really talked about. And it is still quite new for me, especially.
See, I am very clumsy with video games so I really have never played them and do not consider myself to be a “gamer.”
The non-gamer gamer-to-be
Oh sure, I grew up in the days of arcade games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and while I had played them a little… well, not as much as most kids my age did (not counting the really cool mini-arcade Pac-Man game I had — still, I’d hardly call my frequent play of that thing very good). We had one of the first TI computers (I can’t think off-hand which one it was, but if my memory is clear, it was essentially a keyboard with a slot for a cartridge), but again although I would play some of those games, I never considered myself any good at them.
I guess at most, Solitaire and a few similar games on handheld devices like my iPad were what I assumed would be my main game focus. When my husband bought a few game consoles, they only reminded me how horrible I was at them. If you think I’m embellishing, take my attempt at playing one of the Star Wars Episode I games (I think it was for the first Playstation). I was a huge Darth Maul fan, and desperately wanted to get to the level where you fought him. Ha! The very opening of the game had you on Naboo, starting off by walking across some fallen tree serving as a bridge. Yeah. I fell off and couldn’t cross it.
I handed the game controller to my husband and just watched him play. When he got to the part with Darth Maul, he saved it so I could play. With all of our friends being video game fans, my part was to sit and watch (still fun to watch, I admit!). But oh so sad for clumsy little me.
Fandoms introduce you to new hobbies…
And then came my fandom with The Hobbit, which sparked my interest in Middle Earth (that’s a story for another time). I had heard about these MMO games before, but just assumed it would be even worse for my clumsy self to attempt just walking around. I kept seeing bits and pieces of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), and my curiousity couldn’t be quieted. So I chatted with a friend and asked her to “tell me all about it!”
… and so do friends
After a lot of talking back and forth, and flat-out asking her if I had any hope of making it to any level of comfort and figuring things out, she finally convinced me to at least give it a try. So I held my breath, downloaded the game, finally got it working (there were a few quirks my old laptop struggled with), and built my first character. Then, not really knowing if I would be capable of hanging in there long enough to see if I would like it, I took my first step into the game…
I mentioned I was using a laptop, and it did not have a mouse. I had a touchpad. Big error there, but fortunately this was the early intro level. Chatting with another couple who play the game, I quickly took their advice and borrowed a mouse from my husband. MUCH better. I didn’t look like a drunk directionally challenged idiot anymore. I was however, absolutely terrified of the heights though.
Apparently in Middle Earth, they don’t know what handrails are.
Fear of heights, even in games
There is a section in Ered Luin, near Thorin’s Hall, with a winding staircase. I had such terrors of navigating up and down (and of course the quests insisted I needed to go up and down them multiple times), that I would have to stop, turn, and position the character properly before continuing. I wondered if I would ever get over that fear or learn to navigate more smoothly, with a bit more confidence.
Making it through the intro levels, into the real world of the game itself went rather quickly. After a little time (and reading online — thank goodness for LOTRO wiki sites), I acquired a pony and wondered how I had ever been patient enough with simply running on foot. Despite some confusion here and there, and learning things, I was quickly addicted to the game and enjoyed myself. I can’t actually remember when it happened, but I even convinced my husband to create a character and he sometimes plays with me when he has time. Mostly, I play solo, and of course I also play with the friend who convinced me to go ahead and give it a try. In fact, our two main characters try to quest together — I created two more characters so I could play with my husband, as well as quest alone without waiting for schedules to match up — and I consider the interaction between our characters to be just as much part of the story of Middle Earth as the game and quests themselves.
When did that happen?
I’m not sure when it happened, or when I first noticed it, but there was a point I returned to that winding staircase in Ered Luin and realized… I was zipping up and down without stopping or worrying I would fall off. I did have to stop and have a laugh about it.
Because even though I do tend to play the game a lot (skipping many aspects, while focusing more on others, and still learning new things about it), I still don’t consider myself a gamer. If something ever happened to LOTRO, I’m honestly not sure what I would do. I would hate having to start all over, building things up from scratch, learning how that particular game works, and of course there is my friend and my husband — it wouldn’t be the same without them.
I’ve always been an introvert (and I mean to the extreme), but I’ve enjoyed socializing online. IRC, forums, messaging, and email… and now I’ve found a new home online.
With that, I think I will be blogging here and there about LOTRO and gaming from the point-of-view of a non-gamer. I am sure it won’t be often, because I tend to keep blog entries limited so they do not bury my actual project posts. So if you’re not into that, don’t worry (and again costuming friends remember, I’m not finished sewing either, but there is more to me than just one hobby of course). 🙂
“PRIVACY SETTINGS” 😉
I also will be keeping some identifying details to a minimum. Characters will probably be referred to by initials, and I won’t be saying which server I’m on — this isn’t to say I’m anti-social (I do interact with strangers in-game when I can), but as I mentioned before the three of us and our characters are working through a story together, and I don’t want to accidentally get off track from that. I am saving the quests to run with them, and I don’t want to level up too quickly (yes, I have an XP disabler). That’s not why I’m blogging about it though — I simply want to write down things in case there is a day we can no longer log on. Since I have enjoyed my stay in Middle Earth so much, it has become a fun and important thing for me. Something to write about.
So I guess the next post will be to introduce you to my characters. Here is a quick glimpse of them saying “hello” until then:
Of course, while I do try to get quality screencaps when I can, that won’t be my focus (and sometimes you just don’t have time to go turn things off or pose properly)… and my computer is only so powerful, so settings are lower than I’d like.
Thanks for reading!