Image credit: Screenshot by Darmok at LOTRO.com
The Lord of the Rings Online
The Lord of the Rings Online’s Landroval server is a role-playing encouraged server, which means people are encouraged to pretend they are really in Middle-earth and they are really their character. When I joined, I could immediately tell the difference in atmosphere. In Bree, people walk around instead of run around. The Prancing Pony is always crowded, like it would be in Middle-earth.
The game has a unique music system which allows your character to play an instrument. Every race and class has specific ‘native’ skills, but you can ask a friendly minstrel to teach you how to play any other instrument. You can play in a band by forming a fellowship and sync your parts up. Because of this unique feature, Middle-earth’s version of Woodstock, Weatherstock, was born. This year is the 4th year and everything is player driven. My kinship, The Lonely Mountain Band, spends lots of time organising this massive event.
Weatherstock IV was held yesterday, 16 June 2012. It’s a very neat experience if you like music, lore and company. It was also the first time ever I saw the ‘decreased awareness’ icon, the server’s panic reaction to heavy load (and lag). It’s the biggest LOTRO event of the year. At one point 600 players gathered at the top of Weathertop to listen to music and dance. Some of the music is transcribed popular music with new Middle-earth inspired lyrics, other music is entirely self-written. To get an impression of how it looks, I’ll embed a video:
For Weatherstock, it may sound dull to sit there for an hour and listen to players playing midi files, but it’s actually great fun. I put the sound over the speakers so I could hear what the bands were playing.
I really like the Songburrow Strollers. They are from another server, Laurelin, and their lyrics are so funny! Their music is very hobbity. I love the creativity where people compose multi-part songs and write Middle-earth appropriate lyrics.
I can’t wait for the next big event and I may even stay up late to be able to attend an episode of Ales and Tales, which is like standup-comedy Middle-earth style, songs, music and generally a ton of fun on the Landroval server.