Massively Uplifting: LOTRO community events, appreciative FFXIV fans, and making gaming accessible

    
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Just because it’s the hottest month of the year doesn’t mean we don’t want to bury ourselves in warm fuzzies! Positivity is always welcome — and needed. August was a scorcher in many places, but that wasn’t going to prevent positive, heartwarming, and uplifting things from happening throughout our gaming world. And those are all things we can enjoy regardless of the weather.

Partake in our final Massively Uplifting picnic of the summer, filled with instances of what’s right in our MMOverse. For starters, enjoy highlights like Final Fantasy XIV fans showing how us how to treat those who make our favorite games. Sample some reminders of how our MMO worlds touch us and affect our lives so deeply. Take a serving of celebration for 10 years of weekly community run music events in Lord of the Rings Online, then add a scoop of both advancements for gaming accessibility and charity. And finish it all off with some touching tributes as communities and individuals work through public grief in Wurm Online and private grief in LOTRO.

FFXIV fans know how to treat devs

It is so sad that we can readily see many instances of members of a community acting inappropriately toward game developers. It seems we can’t go any direction without stepping in some of it. But the crowd packed in at PAX West 2019 panel for FFXIV show how it should be done: When Natsuko Ishikawa was introduced as the creator of all of the Shadowbringers’ 5.0 main scenario quests and the level 80 Dark Knight quest, she was given a standing ovation. The applause roared, and she was very visibly overwhelmed by the appreciation she was shown. This, my friends, should be the norm.

Will all things a studio does for a game make everyone happy? No, but appreciating folks for their contributions to making your favorite world possible and showing respect will never be wrong! Watch and soak in all that gamer goodness.

How have MMOs helped you?

We hear from seemingly everywhere how MMOs and games are bad and how they are detrimental to people and society. Poppycock! We know that is not true! Many of us have tons of examples of the good that they do in our own lives and in the lives of friends. One Final Fantasy XIV fan is speaking out loud and clear about what games have done in their personal life, sharing those in a Blaugust post. Rakuno shares how MMOs helped increase confidence in English skills, helped to deal with social anxiety, and gave an avenue to meet incredible people from all over the world. How many of us can related to these same things? I know I sure can!

Ten years of merry music

A number of our games have made it past the big 1-0, but it is also completely awesome when fan-made and supported organizations hit a 10-year anniversary mark. And how many games can boast weekly content?! Ales & Tales from Lord of the Rings Online has been going strong almost every single week for a decade now! Meeting on Monday nights near 8:30 p.m. eastern time on the Landroval RP server, the Lonely Mountain Band kinship (which yes, is a real band!) can be found at a various locales throughout Middle-earth putting on a concert and encouraging the community to come and mingle together to soak up the ambiance and lore of LOTRO. That’s 500+ opportunities for roleplayers and gather, share stories, have adventures, and immerse themselves in a world they love.

Thank you Ales & Tales for your dedication to the community, and here’s to 10 more years and over 1000 shows!

DragonCon does the heart good (for charity)

While the mega celebration that is DragonCon does not focus solely on gaming (it’s about all the fandoms in TV, literature, and so much more), it has whole gaming tracks — including video gaming. This year even included esport tournaments sponsored by Hi-Rez’s Skillshot Media. And DragonCon is just wrapping up today. For 2019, the Atlanta-based convention not only attracted a record 85,000 people from 50 states, Canada, Mexico, several European countries, and Australia for its five-day celebration, it raised more than $110,000 for its official 2019 charity, American Heart Association’s Georgia affiliate. Way to go DragonCon and attendees!

Partnering for better gaming accessibility

Early in the month MTN DEW AMP GAME FUEL partnered with The AbleGamers Charity to increase awareness and raise funds to improve gaming accessibility. A 12-hour livestream on August 10th, 2019, included a number of Twitch’s more well-known Apex Legends streamers, and there was a guest appearance from NBA player Myles Turner. The event raised over $64,000 to help gamers with disabilities; the total collected includes an outpouring of support by viewers and a contribution of $50,000 from MTN DEW AMP GAME FUEL.

Games and grief

The nature of MMOs is that they are filled with people. Lots of people. And these people make communities. That means when there is a loss in the community, it can affect many. It doesn’t matter if you know someone in person or not; a loss is a loss. And a public loss is felt on a broad scale.

This past month the Wurm Online community suffered the loss of a long-time GM and player, Janice, also known as Eir. When notified, the community came together to grieve and share memories, noting how much she had touched others’ lives and offering their condolences. Our hearts go out to the family and friends who cherished her and to all the lives she touched.

Loss can also be very personal. While MMOs really have made the world smaller, allowing us to meet and get close to many people from all over the world that we’d never have the chance to see face-to-face, the fact that they can also keep us close to our real-life connections is often overlooked. Friends and family that we’ve had to move far from can still chat and share in activities together in game. That is precisely me story on how I first came to log into The Sims Online and then Star Wars Galaxies: I moved across the US from all those I loved and the games helped me stay connected. That’s why this next story really hits me in the feels.

Quin shared on his blog how a group of childhood friends delved into LOTRO in 2008 to adventure together. One friend was a huge Tolkien buff and enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm for the world of Middle-earth with his friends. While the group eventually lost interest in the game, Quin learned that his Tolkien-loving friend passed away unexpectedly before turning 30. As a way to remember his life and celebrate him, Quin returns to LOTRO each year to continue the quest to Mordor and beyond. He shared,

“I return to LOTRO because I want to take a character all the way to Mordor and beyond, because I know my friend the Tolkien buff would have loved to do just that. He never got the chance, and though I’m making slow progress, I think this time I will get there. And if not, there’ll always be next year. “

Yes, games are a vehicle to work through grief and honor and celebrate the lives of those we’ve lost. May your travels bring you peace and fond memories, Quin.

My pilgrimage to Mordor: remembering a friend of Middle Earth

For dessert, have some more warm fuzzies!

You can never get too full from warm fuzzies, so enjoy a few more heart-warning community stories we covered in even more detail last month. And don’t forget to share any other uplifting tales you come across with us!

From happy stories to good deeds within our virtual worlds and the real world around us, there’s so much good in the gaming community. That’s why Massively OP’s MJ Guthrie pens Massively Uplifting: to highlight those generous, inspiring, heart-warming, and uplifting tales that exist throughout the MMOverse. Send your suggested stories along to warmfuzzies@massivelyop.com for our next entry!
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Danny Smith

“This my friends should be the norm”

Maybe if other mmo’s had the same quality of writing, respect is earned not given freely like the saying goes. She wrote the best Final Fantasy Story in over 18 years. That is a significant thing not just a touchly feely politeness for politeness sake. This is a beloved 3 decade old series and counting that during its disastrous “decade of lightning” was written off by many as “used to be good”. There are things in Shadowbringers that easily stand shoulder to shoulder with things in the most lauded games in the series. People haven’t been able to say that about a Final Fantasy game since 2002 at the most recent.

She earned that applause because her output was far beyond the norm and was deservedly recognised.

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Utakata

This should be designated as MassivelyOP’s official brain bleach column. So thanks for this! /bows

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Nathan Aldana

seriously. she deserves the applause. not only has the dark knight story always been amazing, but the shadowbringers main scenario is probably some of the best written mmorpg outside the secret world to ever exist.