Been a busy few days in the Real World, but over the weekend I ran through the Rift of Nurz Ghashu with the kin in what we’re calling the Rift Race. Two full raid teams competing to see who can beat the balrog first. Winning team members get a gold each. I hadn’t originally planned on attending, but I’m really glad I did. The friendly competition added a whole new layer of fun to the whole thing, and, as it tends to happen, I learned a little something about myself in the process.
The Rift is really the only 12 man raid I’ve ever completed in LotRO; I never finished Helegrod, and I haven’t yet gotten to the Vile Maw or any of the Mirkwood content. When I originally (finally) finished it, it was either right before or right after the release of Moria (can’t honestly remember). But I wasn’t even yet level 55. Running it at level 65, with a group almost entirely of level 65 players made it a whole different experience. No less challenging, really, but far less harrowing and stressful. In short, far more fun.
What I learned about myself is how my playstyle has changed in the short time since I joined a kinship. Normally, I’m pretty driven to achieve something in the time I’m online. I don’t have a lot of time to play, so I have to make the time I do have count. It’s almost a compulsion – see as much as I can and consume as much content as possible. Mostly I’m trying to get through as much solo content as I can while keeping one eye and two ears open for the chance to group up when necessary.
Not so now. Since joining up with Friends of Frodo, I’ve run through several of the older instances for deeds, had a full group formed just for me to finish an epic quest, and now run the Rift. The manic nature of my playtime has diminished, significantly. The Rift run was purely for fun, six hours of fun. It’s been a long time since I spent that amount of time in game just to enjoy myself, and the company of others.
Coincidentally, Zubon at Kill Ten Rats has a post up on the, shall we say, flawed perceptions that come along with PUGs (pick up groups). It struck me as particularly relevant, considering the stress-free experience of running with a kin.