(Blog comments and the Contact Me page have been disabled as of 10/31/21 to prevent bot, spam, and phishing abuse.)
It's with a heavy heart that, tonight, I've decided to announce the closing of Material Middle-earth. It's been a wonderful nine and a half years creating content for the LOTRO community, at least in the form of outfits. The journey, despite all of the ups and downs, has been remarkable. I wish I could find the proper words to express my regret for leaving and my gratitude for the near decade of kindness and motivation. As the saying goes, "All good things must come to an end." I was hoping it wouldn't be so after six months away from LOTRO, but that wasn't the case. Given the choice to go back in time knowing how and when it would end, I would do it all over again.
Although I don't need to, I would like to tell you why.
My feelings, largely, haven't changed since my previous blog entry. The drive to remain cosmetically creative has disappeared entirely. I completely skipped collecting the Anniversary Festival, Summer Festival, and Farmers Faire rewards and feel neither shame nor remorse. Those were major signs that my time blogging and outfitting were likely coming to an end. Just last week, I started bartering for and crafting as many old legendary items as I possibly could, since U30.3 was essentially removing them from the game. I figured they'd come in handy for future outfits, on the chance that I'd continue here. However, when I tried to create something using them, I would instead stare at the screen unmotivated while shuffling through several dozen of them. That was the moment I realized it was time.
That being said, I've been actively playing LOTRO lately. I just finished prepping my new Legendary Items. I also used the very generous LOTROQUESTS2021, which is still good through November 30, 2021, a few weeks ago to collect my missing quest packs for The Mists of Wilderland, The Wildwood, and The Blood of Azog. To be honest, I've had great difficulty enjoying the content, particularly the new Dwarven storyline. It feels, at least to me, very much a stretch of the lore that SSG can legally access. I also felt that LOTRO's story, having played since the game's open beta in 2007, came full circle with Minas Morgul's conclusion. Loose ends with Mordor, Isildur and the One Ring, and Mordirith were tied up after all these years. The closure was both satisfying and profound. It's for these reasons that I'm incredibly hesitant to purchase Fate of Gundabad, the upcoming expansion.
I'm also questioning if it's my time to depart from LOTRO as well, to set foot, like my many elven characters, on one of the remaining ships leaving for Valinor from Mithlond. As much as I've loved my time in Middle-earth and as much as I'd love to stay, that voice beckoning me away from those shores grows stronger by the day. I've told myself to wait until December, when there's a much better look into Gundabad's story and content, but I don't know if I'll even need that much time to decide.
Whatever happens, my time here has been well spent. I wish the cosmetic community a fond farewell. And, as a heads up, I'll be giving everyone a two week grace period to make their final comments or send their last messages before I disable those as well.
If you're still looking for fresh cosmetic inspiration, please turn your gaze towards the last remaining bastions of Cosmetic LOTRO, Wandering Around Arda, Laurel's LOTRO Den, Valkyrique's LOTRO à la Mode and the cosmetics thread on the official LOTRO Forums. And if you're a Twitter user, follow the #LOTROCosmetics hashtag too!
With all my heart,