Come with me, if you will, on a tale of such giddy joy that only the bleakest of Elven propaganda could end up a tragedy to make the blackest of hearts weep.
Oh I know. I can already see you young ones rolling your eyes at yet another old veteran who should have been put out to pasture long ago. This is not one of those tales.
There was a time when battle was rife and raging all across the Ettenmoors. A time when no matter what hour of the day you found yourself called upon by our Royal Eyeness you could always throw your corpse at the enemy with glee.
Now we live in an age where 90% of the Ettenmoors map is empty. If it don't have a backdoor attached to it then folks don't wanna be there. My goblin scribe Maude has compiled so much data on the Backdoor Hugging Phenomenon in recent years that she has worn out the beads on her abacus more than once.
I do wonder back to my early days. To explain, I am one of those who might once have proudly declared I was a Lifer. From day one. In with the bricks, as they say. Eight years and change down the line you can't help but notice that some Lifers are almost embarrassed to admit it. Instead of what was once a proud declaration and commitment to follow the Fellowship until the bitter end, the term "Lifer" now feels like more of a sentence.
I know! I'm practically a psychiatrist after all. I'm astonished and sometimes disappointed with myself for coming back for more. Us Lifers are the worst, blood sucking parasites who probably would have kept up a subscription for all these years and spent Sauron only knows how much in the Evil Store.
I suppose I'm pondering on old days and reminiscing of limbs flying on the field of battle 24/7(ish) on even the quietest of servers. When enough folks fought 'til they dropped to make any skirmish of any makeup worthwhile. I would always be the first to admit my views simply must be influenced in a Creep-centric manner. I retired from questland at 65 and Mirkwood, since then I've been a fulltime Thingo in Ettenmoors. Them who reckon those who have been trapped on the one section of map with the same ol' content for so many years ain't wrong in imagining we must be a tad mad.
From the perspective of one of the aforementioned blood sucking parasites: I will be here until the War is over. I believe in the power of Sauron to bring peace and stability to Middle-earth. Granted I may now be a fulltime Creep but I refuse to believe rumours that some portly hobbit can destroy the power the One Ring! It's not as if our future is already laid out in front of us like in some book!
One could go on at great length about the whys and whatfors many of us, old and new visitors to Middle-earth alike, insist on raising our voices time and again. Stop rolling your eyes young ones, forgive an old orc his memories. Used to be these here pages were alive with hundreds of views on each topic a day. You couldn't say "boo" without having a detailed analysis of your possible gear and trait setup blamed for your sins. It's heartening to still see a few voices, who have spoken in their own unique ways, still contributing now and then. They know who they are, and Sauron permits them to pat themselves on the back.
Before demanding an eye from each as penance who fell for such nurturing tricks!
I used to love Middle-earth, at 65 or so my minstrel alter ego was corrupted, I have been confined in one section of a map for some years now. I have found myself, at many times over the years, desperate for even the slightest sign of improvement. I have cursed our Blue Named Gods. I have cursed both sides of our Ettenmoors community for their inability to make the best of a bad situation.
Despite being a sophisticated orc of letters I have made the simplest mistake of all. If the phrase "Online Experience May Change" sounds familiar, some of us might care to read "We May Destroy That Which You Once Loved".
Alas, it's all okay. After a short break, I myself have found much amusement in bring the joy of Sauron's Fireworks to all. As others have noted, if you can't find fun anymore then you shouldn't be in the 'Moors.
I'll believe the talk of a new map when my scaly toes are clenching up the sand of the riverbanks. Until then I'll still be shaking my stick in defiance of the Free Peoples! Let us make the most of whatever neglected and broken systems we are left with.
The Shake A Stick Foundation thanks the agents of C.O.I.N and the contributors to the Life of a Warg thread for supplying the necessary amounts of silliness inspiration that led to the above.
In conclusion, the title of this page says it all.