Sunday, October 17, 2021

A Fond Farewell

(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, well, 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 a close. 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've 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 LOTROWandering Around ArdaLaurel'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,



  1. sad to read this, but also I completely understand. You need to do what you feel right, and what makes you feel better. Thank you for 9 years of great fashion and dedication :) You're awsome Nathrien!!!!!! *big big hug* -gloredh-

    1. I'm really going to miss the LOTRO gang, but it's time I set my sights elsewhere. It's highly likely FFXIV will be my new home in the coming months, but who knows where the road will take me!

      If there's anything to feel bad about, it's leaving the cosmetic community. There are so few of us left, especially so in recent years, and I feel like it'll mainly be you and Hymne representing the best of the group going forward. I wish I had the drive and energy to stick around longer.

  2. Nath I can hardly believe that I am reading this and that this farewell from outfitting is definite. I understand that outfitting hasn't called to you and that Lotro in general is going through difficult transitions, but leaving our little community seems so radical! However I accept your decision with a heavy heart and bid you a very fond farewell with a big hug. Your outfits still are an inspiration, always colourful and bright with that special "Nathrien" touch, I trust your blog will remain here for a while longer so we can browse whenever the mood strikes. In Gandalf's words: "May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks."

    1. There's been growing discontentment since last year, some of it I can't discuss for legal reasons. I purposely left that part out if my farewell. But I've been slowly watching LOTRO transform into something I have great trouble enjoying. Middle-earth will always be near and dear to my heart. Fourteen years playing and ten years blogging? It was time well spent. I'd much rather leave with a fondness for what was than watch that fondness turn bitter.

      That being said, Material Middle-earth will remain up indefinitely, at least until Google shuts down Blogspot. I'd hate for the community to lose a valuable resource! I will eventually close comments here to avoid a bot takeover, like what happened to Freyjuska's blog, LOTRO Fashion. Last I need is someone accidentally getting a virus or scammed!

      I will miss everybody very much. Although I may no longer make outfits for LOTRO, I'll be doing so elsewhere and sharing those on Twitter. My love of outfitting will never fade!

  3. Thanks for sticking around so long! Yeah when I returned back to the game, I shut down Plate Metal Jacket because I found the idea of blogging so tiresome. And I made a bunch of outfits for the 130 cap, but not enough to reliably update a blog. I think without the pressure to deliver, you'll get your spark back!

    1. Actually, I've retired not only from blogging, but from LOTRO as well. I have my reasons, some of which I can't discuss here, but given my feeling regarding the game itself, I thought it best to gracefully bow out. I can't envision myself returning either, as this is a much different situation that in 2014.

      Anyway, since you've stopped blogging as well, you should share those outfits on the official forums!


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