|Shoulders: Gwir-Palvais (White, Isen 3-man drop) Chest: Wintry-Yule Robe (Forest Green, Yule Fest 2012) Feet: Delduin (Forest Green, BG 85 remote caster drop)|
This has been an absolutely wonderful holiday season on LOTRO. So wonderful, in fact, that I have a special story to share with you.
It's because of this that I wanted to throw this party. It was my turn to give back to the kin in ways that they'd never expect. I wanted everyone to come back together, even if it was for one night, and enjoy themselves. That was the only thing I wanted in return.
Believe it or not, this party had originally been a simple Secret Santa event. I had a sign up list going from the 22nd of November to the 18th of December for anybody who wished to give a gift and a receive one in return. Naturally, they'd be giving a gift to one person and getting one gift back from someone different. I only told those who signed up who the recipient will be, and not who was getting them something. I thought it would be easiest having everybody send their presents by mail on the 22nd, but then I had the idea of a party...and these would be exchanged in person. I exempted myself from this because of what was coming next.
I had another idea. Instead of just having a gift exchange, I decided to have kinship lotteries and those prizes would be distributed at the party on the 22nd of December. I spent the majority of my playing time for two weeks farming materials, burning large guild symbols, and crafting items for class-specific lotteries. By the time I was done, I had enough left over to make a Tailor's Lottery with full stacks of the tier 1-7 materials and cooked. The same night that I had announced them on our kinship forums, kinnies scrounged the depths of their vaults and combined their resources to provide full sets of tier 1-7 craft materials for the other professions. With their unexpected generosity, six more lotteries were introduced and some of my own had the pots sweetened by them.
There had been a lot of respect for these packages and for fellow players. Those who entered them only entered the lotteries that they could use. It's when you see this happening that you start to get that warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside.
Time passed quickly and the night of the 22nd came. Kinnies entered the Bree Homesteads in their favorite outfits and approached my personal kin house. I had spent time redecorating the entire house for those attending with holiday themed decorations from the Yule Festival and the wonderful Rohan housing items. It didn't take long for this house to be packed with over twenty players enjoying the festivities. I passed out various ales and pipe-weed to enhance this fun night, and many of players here graciously humored me and took them. A few kinsmen hopped up on the stage and played a wide variety of music, ranging from Christmas songs to birthday songs to video game music and back to modern music. While they were having fun, I passed out the first half of the lotteries, announcing the winners one by one. I even had a few special unannounced prize packages for those who attended. All the while, I listed to many stories being told and the hearty laughing of my companions.
Just after the Secret Santa exchange happened, I was asked to come on stage. Everybody surrounded me in a circle, started cheering and setting off a variety of fireworks. At this point, I was left speechless. Tells were coming in with messages of gratitude and support combined with those coming from Teamspeak. I started tearing up, never fully realizing until now how much of an impact this would have on me and how much of an impact we've all had on each other. It took me a few minutes to collect myself. What I had been feeling can't be described. Words could never do it justice. This gaming family was together again for the first time in months, and I've never seen a group of people so strongly knit together. Those who played in time zones outside of North America made the effort to attend. I've been blessed to know such fantastic people!
After the lotteries were finished, and after I had my chance to play a few songs, it was late and some people had to leave. But, before we did, I wanted to take a kinship picture. Sadly, it was too wide to post on this blog and I had to divide it into two smaller ones. Everybody donned their favorite outfits, lined up on the stage, and posed. This was a moment to savor, one of those moments that you're not sure will ever come again.
Treasure the people you socialize with, here, on LOTRO. Help each other when you can. Bring a smile to each other's faces. You never know when someone you care about will stop playing. Enjoy the time you spend with them and make every moment special.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!