I suppose it had to happen.
I’d played Star Wars Galaxies in order to write the guide for it, but didn’t stick with it after it launched. I avoided Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, City of Heroes (surprisingly, given my eternal love of comic books that borders on obsession), and even stayed away from World of Warcraft despite it’s black-hole pull on most of my gaming friends. MMO’s were not on my radar. Mainly due to my exceedingly frugal nature.
I just couldn’t see any point to paying $15 a month ($180 a year!) to play a video game. Sure, I’d spent much more than that in one session of Smash TV, the weight of the quarters nearly taking my pants down to my knees, but I couldn’t justify the expense. Actually, truth be told, I was using the expense as a cover for my true fear. The worry that if I should ever dip into an MMO for pleasure I would be consumed. I would not surface for years.
Luckily, none of them actually grabbed my attention. Until, that is, I logged into the LotRO beta. The lush environments, the highly detailed clothing, the weaponry with scroll work etched into every surface. But most of all the familiar locations from the novels.
In the first week I met Aragorn and entered Tom Bombadiel’s house. I ran through the fields of the Shire, jumped fences in the Bree-fields, and met Butterbar, the proprietor of the Prancing Pony.
Even now, so many game-play hours later, I still marvel at the water effects and the trees. I can be engaged just watching a river or staring at grass…grass!
This is not obsession. I am still able to pay attention to my wife and friends. I can appreciate the play of real wind through the trees. But the sheer joy of being a Hunter, bow taut and arrows flying, in the lands of Middle-earth have made me realize…
I’m a damn geek.