Hello. My name is Laurel, and I'm a gamer.
One of the interesting things about my life that I don't mention very often is that I married a gamer. Jonathan loved the arcade as a kid, and thoroughly enjoyed console (think Atari, Nintendo, etc) and computer games as they emerged. He's always particularly enjoyed role-playing games, where you build characters and develop their skills. In college, he discovered a role-playing game that you could play online with people all over the globe. It was completely text-based (i.e. you typed S to go south, etc, with no pictures to guide you), and even to watch him play was beyond my spatial skills. I tried to play with him a couple times, but he had to tell me every step to make!
As time has gone by, technology has made great advances in this area as it has in so many others, and the games available online today have incredible graphics and flexibility. But I get ahead of myself...
In the summer of 2003, in the interest of sharing my man's hobby, I decided to give his current game a shot. Notice it took me almost 8 years of marriage to be willing! Asheron's Call 2 was an MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game) based in an imaginary world called Dereth. Jonathan's character was involved in a large and social "allegiance," a group of people who played together and helped each other, aided by an ingame chat system that allowed chat amongst large groups of people. The people aspect of it was what I enjoyed the most and what drew me in. I got to "meet" people from all over the country and world, even getting to hear their voices with a special voice chat program called Ventrilo. Many evenings after the children were in bed would find Jonathan and I (aka Beren and Luthien) in Dereth, helping our friends and fighting bad guys. Somewhere along the line, I realized... I had become a gamer. I think it might have been the night I dreamed about being in Dereth.
Sadly, the folks at Turbine eventually reached a point where they had to close down Asheron's Call 2 (Dec 2005). We were very dissapointed and spent months trying out different MMORPGs. We knew then that Turbine was going to come out with an MMORPG based on Tolkien's works, which we love, so we really just found something to play while we waited for Lord of the Rings Online.
In the spring of 2007, the world of Tolkien opened up to us in a whole new way. Turbine has done a terrific job of bringing Middle Earth to life, and we have thoroughly enjoyed playing Lord of the Rings Online. Since we moved last November, our internet connection has not been very good, and we find ourselves playing less than we once did. Maybe someday we'll have a good ISP again...
So, where did this post come from? I took some great "pictures" in game the other night and decided to use one of them in my photo blog. I started explaining the picture, and wound up moving that portion of the post over here to Grace and Glory.
A few misc. thoughts on gaming...
~ I'll just say straight up that lots of people neglect their real lives and responsibilities because they get so into online gaming. I'll not say we've never been there. More than once we've had to back up and re-establish boundaries for ourselves. The people in our physical world (especially our precious children) are so much more important than a game. Online gaming can be a lot of fun. It's like many other hobbies, I suppose. All things in moderation.
~ Real people play online games. People who have the ability to hurt me with their actions and words. Just like the people I see face to face on a regular basis.
~ Real people play online games. People whose lives I have an opportunity to touch for the Lord. Just like the people I see face to face on a regular basis. It has been a blessing to be a witness for Him and an encouragement to others. In one very special friendship I've made in LoTRO, I believe the Lord has used me to help give another Christian mom the lift she needed to start home schooling her kids, and to encourage her in her daily walk. Any praise for that goes to the Lord, not to me. It's just neat to see this outlet as an opportunity to encourage and bless others in a lasting way.
Hope you've found this little peek into our hobby interesting!