Hello Meneldor Community,
The following post has been on my mind for some time, but I wanted to post it when I felt resolved to do so and in the most fair minded fashion.
To begin with, The Inklings will be passing its 6th Anniversary on the 28th of this month. We have spent the week prior to the expansion doing our week of celebration events. In these six years I am proud to say that we have maintained our core members, founders, and culture. We have always been a kinship that has been about enjoying all content whether that be festivals, raids, pvp, questing, progression, crafting, and lore. We have never stopped our culture short of those in our kinship, but have extended that spirit to associates, the server and even beyond. Over the years we have ran several events across the server and supplied many guides on the forums. We have also tried to be very present in Turbine's social forums and out of game activities. I hope many have enjoyed our existence and contributions as much as we have enjoyed being part of them.
The core of this kinship was established on members of a collective whole. Helping each other and setting goals that we could accomplish together while we helped each with individual goals. This has grown and we have bloomed over the six years to truly have established real friendships with folks we would have never met in any other way than through the culture we created here while doing group content especially content that requires collaboration and collective play. The game, however, over the last couple years has really made that more and more challenging.
I do not mean to accomplish anything with this post other than awareness to our community that we have been supported by and hopefully supported in true form. The Inklings will be sticking around for Helms Deep, but we want to explain what we mean by that.
First, we have seen our membership drop from 110 active player to 51 in the last 6-7 months. The players we lost, we lost for a number of reasons, but were largely lost as they have left the game. The 51 remaining are beginning to dwindle in activity, and we are seeing an even smaller subset online in the last 4 months. With that, we were unable to support the kin in many ways that we have before, therefore, about 3 mos ago we went into "hibernation." We are going to come out of hibernation after the release, but only under some conditions that we will strive to meet, and that will be determined by its player's activity meaning their ability to support kin functions that help make it exist.
Second, many of us were honored to be invited to the BR tests, and I can say with sincerity that we have participated for the most part I believe in constructive ways with predominate focus on class feedback and Epic Battles. We have been polling our teams for months now on what they want to do going forward, and openly only about 25% had planned on buying the expansion, with another 25% on the fence, and another 30% willing to purchase with TP they had earned. Some will not buy it, some will buy in the future is ever on sale. As a kin leader, therefore, i have had to really make several honest assessments. It's a lot of work to lead a kinship, but outside of that, this is a place where our friends exist and where those friendships have grown and only persist/grow if the medium allows for it. In summary, many of us have decided to spend our money in a better place, and for many that has been Extra Life. We are still in the process of pulling together one more pool for EL. This has put me in a predicament as the kin leader and for my part, I have been very conflicted with whether to purchase the expansion. I do not believe it is the game I once loved nor the game the kinship developed such strong bonds in and now am skeptical whether it can maintain them. While the friendships/relationships will last, the medium will always remain relevant to keeping them strong and lasting and establishing new and fun memories.
This brings me to the final point I wanted to express. I have decided to purchase HD as have several others for the sake of each other, but we are doing that in honest conflict bc we are not in favor of what it will deliver for us as a team. I am sure many will like HD and perhaps many will find new friends and new memories. In the pursuit of making the most of who we are and what we can do, we will do what we have been doing the last several months. One of those things was to level a new character to 50 and to run non-scaled content on level. we have been running the Rift for that time and enjoying challenges once again. This, however, will change in many ways with the class changes and certainly will alter our memories and the interactive feeling being connected to something that once was.
All to say, since all the EBs can be solo'd, and there remains few new ways to collaborate together, we will make the most of what still exists and plan, push for, and expect better tidings. Our expectation is that there will be better PvP, better/newer and bug free Raid Content, the kinship revamp, and certainly expect more changes to the class TT system, which I can say has been fairly consistent with the vast testing community (we are not against TT/ST, merely choices that were made about specific layouts or base functionality of classes. I expect us to see what comes of those by Q2 next year and assess from there our direction.
While The Inklings as a kin will move on into West Rohan losing many players again, and I will purchase the xpac to support them despite what has been many moments of conflict and questions of integrity, we do it in a different light than we have with any previous releases. I have pursued to express our perspective not to be contrary to Turbine or its developers, we understand and believe lots of time has been put into it, and I am not in place to dispute that it does not favor the vast majority (only Turbine can do that honestly), but I can express that it does not align or match our hopes or expectations largely. We are proud of this community for its support for Boston Children's hospital, happy to be alongside you all in that, and should our time come to sail into the West, it won't be an easy departure as ME will always be the medium that brought us together.
I wish Meneldor and the rest of the communities sincerely well. You will continue to see me do whatever I can to help the game, the people in it, and the culture we bring to be one of giving and thoughtfulness until we are resolved that it is no longer right for us. I wish what was coming was different than it is, and believe it could be in a better place with more collaboration, but I also am humble to accept that it does not have to and may not serve my kinship or those whom it attracts.