The other day I was in a turtle raid with my new kinship. As a level 65 burglar, it’s still nice to go in and help out other folks in getting their first radiance armor set. It’s still a fun fight too. In an unusual confluence of events, the rare turtle pet dropped and I actually rolled decently this go-around. When it came my time to select what I wanted, I got the turtle pet. My new kinnies met my decision with some teasing and good-natured humor. As the “useful” loot got handed out to the rest of the raid, it got me to thinking about my motivations for playing vs those around me vs why Turbine seems to think I play.

Ysharros over at Stylish Corpse has a great post about game play in MMOs which compels us to get that next bauble, gizmo, sword of more-epicness-than-you-have-currently-but-not-as-much-as-the-next-sword-to-grind-for. In LotRO, I currently have a max-level toon and the pressure to conform to the drive of the need more loot crowd is rising. Players are gearing up for the big Dol Guldur raid so they can … um … do things … to bad guys … and get … stuff. Ok, I’m not sure why they’re going blind on Sword Halls runs, and I’m not sure most of them know either, but that’s what everyone in my kinship is doing these days.

Just to be clear, I like getting new gear in a game. I like new swords, helmets, what-have-you – it’s like a reward for playing through content and it makes my character more powerful and all that good stuff. But I try to get my loot as part of the way I play the game, not the reason I play. I won’t alter my play style to get things. I like exploring places, questing and having adventures with my friends. I have no intention of standing alone on some random hill in Middle-earth (or any game) waiting on the off-chance I can tap a rare mob spawn so I can get a drop that gets me two points of {whatever} to add to my {other thing that I don’t care about}. I like seeing instances but I refuse to grind them repeatedly. I’ve seen this content already, why am I back here again? A couple of times through the same stuff can be fun; twenty times through the same stuff makes me wonder what’s on TV.

Like Ysh says: Play the game; don’t let the game play you. And that includes playing on your expectations.

After the turtle raid, I put my new turtle pet in the bank so I could save it. When one of my in-game friends got her first kin hall, I got my turtle and gave it to her (I actually had to set it up in her yard for her because it’s bound to me). She loved it. She called her young daughter over to the computer to look at the turtle too (she approved). The joy and wonder at getting something in the game she didn’t know existed (she’s not into raiding at all) along with the surprise gift made her day.

Some folks play for loot in the never-ending quest for more virtual stuff. I play to see new and amazing things and to spread a little of that amazement around when I can. Keeping up with the Joneses is all well and good … just make sure what the Joneses are getting is something you actually like.

The Amazing Yard Turtle

The Amazing Yard Turtle

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