Originally, I wanted to post this in the Officer section, but considering how few people read this forum, it will matter only to those who come and read.
*Disclaimer* You know English is not may native language, so there are instances where you might not follow the thread. And when I write ''you'', I don't mean ''you'' personally, but a general, unidentified ''you''.
This kinship is dying. There is no way to beat about the bush. As of today, January 19th 2017, we have reached an all-time low with 18 distinct players logging on one or several characters over the past 7 days. That's 4 pages' worth of names. 8 of those players I would consider as active players, 4 as willing to run grouped instances, 2 as actually organising/leading stuff.
Some people only log on because there is something scheduled at that time. Some players, and I know it because I'm on fairly often, log on, play an hour or two and then log off, not even having said hi in kin chat.
I have always said that RL took priority, and it always will. But think of it this way: when you log on, you want to have fun, right? You want your game time, which is more often than not limited, to be good, correct? As we all.
If your thing is to level alts, quest or craft, this is perfectly fine, whatever floats your boat. Some like to run grouped content. Some like to deed, or run endgame challenges. To each their own.
But what irks me to no end are the people who complain that not enough instances are run when I'm putting a lot of time and effort trying to run stuff, and have people gear for the instances they yearn to run. Because -- and I'm not going to apologise for this fact -- many are nowhere near ready to run even an SS T2 run when they want to run Throne. There is a huge discrepancy between what you think you can do and what you'll be required to do once in the instance. Many of us have not realised the requirements to run the raid (and to those who will reply: "Well, how can we know if no one runs it?" I will say: "What prevents you from actually organising a run, uh? What have you lead recently? Not your job, eh? Well, read a bit more) . I recently pointed out one thing I do after each run, which is to ask myself one question: "If everyone had played the way you just did, would you have made it through to the end?" If the answer is yes, then I'm happy enough. If it's no, then I open my character panel and something about it. I ask for guidance, mats sometimes, but under no circumstance do I not do anything.
And where are the Officers? I mean, I can't run the kin all by myself. I have repeatedly asked for help, ideas and support, both in and out of game. You should have seen the turn up at the Officer meeting. I know you're going to say ''RL this and that''. Fair enough, but on one hand you want to be serious in this game and on the other you don't deliver. Nobody wants to recruit. Nobody wants to plan stuff. If I stopped doing whatever I'm doing, people would surely notice but not budge an inch. Ask yourself one simple question: what have you done in the past few weeks for the kin? And I mean the kin in general. And I'm not speaking only about recruiting someone, but helped a kinnie, answered a question, crafted something, run an instance? If so, how many kinnies have you thusly helped? I fear the Officer status is even less than a shiny shirt for some of us. Don't get me wrong: I have myself been ''guilty'' of this in the past, but look at me: I'm now doing the things nobody wanted to do in the position nobody wanted to take. I'm not complaining, it's just a fact.
And even then, when we do advertise for something as simple as SS T1 just to have an opportunity to get gear at very minor costs, we have to beg people to come -- or being retorted that not all of us want to run this kind of things.
Some people in the Rangers are waiting to be fed, geared, pulled through. I and others have done, and are doing just that. But this is wrong, this is not a collective effort towards one goal. It's just a handful of people compensating for the lack of stats of other players. You want to run stuff but you don't want the challenge? You don't want to gear? Not even Throne -- and just for one second put aside T2 -- but many wouldn't pull through ANY Osgiliath or Pelennor instance if they were with similarly geared and skilled players. Some of us have just lost the perspective there, that these instances are still freaking demanding. It's not like running Sammy or Thadur, for Pete's sake. I don't consider myself a hardcore player, far from it, but I think here I'm drawing a line between casuals who think they're regular, and actual regular players.
So I'm going to be straightforward here, as I have always been: if you don't want to put some effort towards a common goal, i.e. put this kin back on tracks, then I'm going to step down and leave. I'll not even consider a merger of any kind, I'll leave whoever gets the helm deal with this. I have done enough, some have said more than I ought, to keep the boat afloat. But as I see it now, it's sinking, slowly but surely. This is not an ultimatum, but a critical warning...if the situation endures, you will have been warned of the dire consequences for this kinship which deserves better.
Ruudy this is so sad. I have to agree with you however. I am not an officer any longer due to circumstances in my own real life but I love this kin and lotro. I miss the camaraderie that this kin had in the past and I know others have made the same comment to me. So few people log on any more and I just find it sad. I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep this kin in business. Please Rangers, don't allow this kin to die!!! You will never find another kin like this on any server anywhere. People in this kin do care! I desperately miss my friends who have not logged in in a long time and I even miss the newer kinnies who don't log in often. Meneldor and now Arkenstone are my second home. I don't ever want to be homeless again. Jynxie
Thanks for posting this Ruudy. I know from our chats that this is something that’s been weighing on you, and I agree that it’s better to post it where we all can see it.
I’m surprised that anyone’s saying that there aren’t enough instances being run. The calendar is overflowing with options – including casual grouping and more serious content. You in particular, but also Jade and Karl, have put together a lot of runs since you took over. Our MOTD is full to the point that we don’t have enough space to advertise all of our events. There’s certainly more getting planned than through most of my tenure, and through some of Aes’s as well. A lack of events is not our problem.
As you said, our problem is a lack of people. We have a rich history; we have players for all sorts of content. What we don’t have is a regular, reliable group to be online – the kind where, a year or two years ago, we’d be able to fill a Skraid ourselves, to the chagrin of our friends who X’d too late but wanted to come along.
This isn’t any one person’s fault – certainly not yours – but it is a problem. No one person can fix it, but I agree with your call to arms that as individual Rangers we have to do something to keep our community going.
I’ve added the Thurskraids to the calendar. Once a week is the most I can guarantee at this point, but it’s content I like doing, and I want to get back into the swing of things again. Jade and Silita were very helpful last night and we did a couple of T2s together. Nothing earth-shattering, but it was nice to be with people again.
I’ll offer these thoughts, from my favourite poem, as I think they’re fitting for the boat we’re in:
We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
_________________ Massan, Captain Nutter of Withywindle
Neddor, Untrustworthy Guardian of Meneldor
As of the time stamp of this post, this thread has been viewed by 37 different people. Two replied.
In retrospect, I may have expected a tremor of some kind, and some heartfelt pledges. All of this has vanished now. Today, I have been chastised by three different Rangers for choices I have made, regarding the kin and as a player. This would be totally fine if these players had been, at any point, in my shoes as a Kin leader and as the class I played at the time. I certainly am not the best player around, but I'm trying my best. If this is not good enough and/or if I have no right to err, then skip the next paragraph.
I know my sense of humour doesn't go through. I know I am cantankerous, and easily irritable. Yet I reaffirm what I wrote before: I judge myself by setting my expectation to the level of my capacities. Many in this kinship simply do not do this, and judge me by setting the level of their expectations where the capacities of other, better (at least in their books) players and leaders are. But believe me when I say that I usually become irritable when I cannot compensate for the lack of skills and stats of some players -- kinfolk, tebbers and randoms alike -- despite them having received intense, focused and selfless help. In other words: when the help I have given is still not enough to pull players through the harder content that they feel entitled to run (many just wait for stuff to be run, the old proactive argument runs dry), well then yes, I become irritable. And boy I know this will in turn irritate a lot of people.
If you think I'm not doing a good job, then I will step down and pass the reins to whoever thinks is apter than I am/was (the fact that Ned is second in the chain of command is purely cosmetic, I will not impose this to him, again). We could also have a real vote, where people would actually voice the concerns they did not when they were asked if my lead posed any problem. Or perhaps at long last give the ideas I have been asking for for so long. Some may be disappointed by how I'm leading, or what I'm doing, or what I'm saying. I'm not asking people to say that I'm doing a great job, I have little care for this. I'm just asking for constructive criticism, for sensible ideas that would help, for help in many respects -- because for now I have mainly silence or undue reproaches.
The only two things I will allow myself to say are these: first, I'm certainly the only one right now taking my responsibilities. Second, upon discussing with two kin leaders, they advised me to demote the Officers who didn't do their job, and boot the members (Officers and kinfolk) who didn't uphold the ethos of the kin (to then start afresh by recruiting actively). Just be honest: how many of us do you think would be left?
One last thing, for Ned: I love this poem too, yet I usually quote this passage by adding the line above "Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' / We are not now..." I think it adds to the evocative power of the whole, perhaps even this passé melancholy, and strengthens the sense of direction, the will to go forward. Again, just my two cents :P
Ruudy, I replied to your second post in a private in-game email but will do so again here and now. You are a wonderful kin leader. There are a number of things that you have initiated within the kin for us to attend. You even revamped the website which I like since it is easy to navigate and see what is available for any particular day. In case others haven't noticed the calendar is full! I stated above and in the email that I would be available to do whatever it takes to keep this kin on track and I intend to keep that promise. However, I will state that I am not a leader, but very much a follower. My self confidence has suffered greatly by real life in the last year so I probably won't instigate runs but I am available to help in other capacities. I love this game and this kin. It has become my family. Each one of you means a great deal to me. If it folds, then, well...so will a lot of things for me. Please know I am forever grateful for your friendship and help over the years. My prayer is that it will continue. Just my thoughts, Jynxie
Wow. Sad surprise. I love Ruudy. He has forgotten more about this game than I will ever learn. I had typed out a longer message addressing this a few minutes ago, but I lost it somehow. I hate typing so I will keep this one short. Anyway I think Ruudy should stay on, because I think that many of the agendas he has put in place are great, and the inclusion of more people/events has been impressive. I think the program needs more time.
This kinship is important to me and a lot of others. I primarily play in the early morning, and spend a lot of time with Ruudy. I feel like I've let him down and will strive to make this kinship better than ever.
It's a minor difference, but I'm fairly certain the viewcounter isn't unique users - e.g., I'm at least half a dozen of the views on the thread. Though I think the point stands, if folks are reading, please share your thoughts. It's hard to be in Ruudy's position and decide what direction to steer the ship in if he's only hearing from the same group of people.
In terms of what the other leaders suggested - removing officers who aren't taking an active role in the kin and whatnot - I think that's fair game. If we aren't able to take an active role, but there are other Rangers who will or would, then those are the people who should be the officers. Same goes for the heir. If there's a person in a better position to support, that's who should have the "shiny hat."
To be clear: happy to serve, happy to step down if I'm not meeting the norm. But perfectly reasonable in either case to expect officers to contribute to the life of the kin, because asking only 1 or 2 people to do it is going to cause burnout and resentment.
_________________ Massan, Captain Nutter of Withywindle
Neddor, Untrustworthy Guardian of Meneldor
#1 the game really changed in the last few years, not as easy to just wear your DA armor and get essences from BB's, which turned some people off and became less fun for them.
#2 don't beat up, pressure, overcorrect or chastise the few people left supporting this kin, fight or flight will kick in eventually.
#3 old officers who haven't even logged on in 6 months should be demoted.
#4 officers who can't realistically serve any function of the kin should be demoted
#5 kin functions are: updating message of the day, freebie of the week mailer, updating events calendar on this site, server recruiting, event organizing/planning, crafting, house management/decoration.
#6 rome wasn't built in a day. rebuilding a kin is not easy and will not happen overnight or even in a month.
#7 discord is generally good and becoming more popular among other kins too and should be embraced for it's sound quality if nothing else
#8 remember that people are human, with feelings and being constantly corrected or pressured to do more, more, more will not always achieve the desired result.
#9 also remember that what you may want and what someone else may want can differ greatly, referring to challenging content, gear, stats, raiding.
#10 the rangers have endured several leadership changes, a server change, bouts of drama and the like, they will endure.
ruudy, you are clearly stressed out, burnt out, snapping over big things and little alike on a daily basis, that's not healthy, so my constructive criticism is this: relax, breathe and try to remember that we care, and want your happiness as much as our own.
in closing, if you feel any kinship is not meeting your expectations of it, you or anyone else is so very free to leave it.
Ruudy, I haven't been on for months due to RL and personal issues and I haven't heard from you in an even longer amount of time, so I can't speak of how you are feeling or why. I have been in your position though (not with this Kin) so I can honestly say I can understand how you may feel.
I miss LoTRO, the Kin and everyone. I want to apologize for not being there for you, but why should I apologize for prioritizing RL? I shouldn't have to. That being said, I do feel bad about it and if you feel the need to demote me I would completely understand. I haven't been there for the Kin, I haven't been there for you, and I haven't been in game and seen the changes or learned the new content. Of course, I love being an Officer, and I love helping people even more. But again, I'm not there, and even if I was, I don't need a title or a 'shiny hat' to be able to help people or feel good about myself.
Everyone's response in this thread has been good, in my humble opinion. I have only viewed this once, so I can't speak of the numbers of views. It is sad that there hasn't been more of a response though. While I rarely respond to posts because of my own lack of self confidence and the drama and hateful words/actions directed toward me in other forums and Kins after I have posted, I do feel it is important to contribute. I'm working on this part of my self.
I don't know what the future holds for me, personally. I want to say I'll be in game again very soon and very active again, and I do hope that is the case, but the truth is I just don't know.
I wish the best for everyone, and the Rangers! I miss you all so much!
A quick note: the number of views doesn't necessarily translate to unique viewers, as I don't believe it's tracked by IP address. I also need time to think over something before I respond so that I can choose how to say what I want to say and minimize the risk of being misunderstood. I saw this last night but I was on my laptop and without the password to this site so it had to wait till today.
It has long been my custom to take a small break after festivals--I am big into them and have a lot of alts so it's a lot of work lol. So once they are over, especially Yule Fest, as it runs so long, I tend to take a few days off before jumping back in. It may be the case for others as well, that after the intensity of the holidays they are taking a little break before jumping back in game.
I know I haven't been on as much as I wanted or intended lately, as you all know I was intensely searching for work and didn't feel I could spend lots of time "playing" when I was still without a job. Now that the job concern has been alleviated, I hope to be able to spend more time in game on my days off (and get this apartment under control before I start lol).
We have lost a LOT of players in the last year. Good players, daily players, who were regulars in chat and in runs (this includes Tebbers, too). What happened to them? Was it lag? Were they driven off? Why are people leaving the game in general? I think the game population in total has suffered as a result of the fallout from transfers, and our beloved kinship is just another casualty of that.
Anyone complaining that there are not enough runs either doesn't log on at the right times or thinks everyone in kin should drop everything to run the content they want run, right then and there. I wouldn't even consider that a valid complaint because it's ridiculous. I'd love to run more stuff but I'm not going to complain about not getting to because I know my gear isn't up to snuff. I'll get there eventually but it will take time and I understand that--and I am never going to be able to spend 6+ hours in game on a daily basis so it will take me longer than others (there's also the fact of the matter that I play for the story as much as anything and it's important for me that Fridwyn, as my first and official main, gets to experience the stories first--which also slows me down).
I'll be honest, I don't volunteer to lead things because there are mechanics I still don't remember and/or understand, and there's a lot of stuff I've never run (see: my gear issue). I might could run something simple like a Turtle but it can be hard to plan for something like that when I can't predict when (time-wise) I'll be on. It should be easier once I have my car again and don't have to depend on my husband to take me places when he's free, but it's not guaranteed. Some of you guys have forgotten more than I've ever known about lotro and it can feel a little intimidating knowing I don't remember enough of a given instance to lead it well the way others do. I also hesitate to change the MotD or send out mails without discussing it with someone else first; I've never been a 'take-charge' sort of person and prefer to remain in the background, partly because I don't wish to do something and find out later I shouldn't have done it or have it upset someone. I value peace in my relationships with others.
Was the officer's meeting ever re-scheduled? I wasn't able to make it but wanted to and had hoped to make it to the next one but didn't hear if it was. I know I've recruited a couple of people over Yule Fest who were looking for a kin, but recruitment in general is not something I excel at (I was in a sorority in college and hated, I mean HATED, recruitment season and was never good at it. I also inherited leadership of Frid's first kin and was never able to recruit more than a handful of people so I know well how hard it can be--and that was a time when I had far less knowledge of the game). Other than that, I haven't done much else lately other than maybe answering questions, as I am wont to do. If you feel the need to demote me for not doing enough, so be it, but I'd hate that as much of the recruiting I have done over the years has been at times when no other officers were on (thanks to me keeping very weird hours!) and I appreciate the opportunity to offer ideas when I have them.
Regarding those demanding gear--I think they are still stuck in the mindset of those couple of years when content was close to faceroll easy and didn't require any kind of decent gear for success; it may take time for them to get their heads out of their collective rear ends and realize that is not the case; just because leveling is straightforward and fairly easy doesn't mean that instances will be too!
Lastly, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you feel so keenly the stress of trying to boost a kinship that has slowed down significantly (and suffered significant losses) from what it was a year ago and that people are taking their tantrums and frustrations to you (remember when Aes had to spend all of his play time answering mails and tells from other people, so that he didn't even get to play? I hope that isn't becoming the case for you). I wonder if the combination of stress from this and stress from your RL situations hasn't caused you to take things differently than they are intended; I know when I am upset I do not always hear clearly from others or comprehend the intent behind their words correctly. You have been a mainstay of this kinship for as long as I've been a part (I remember you were the one who told me to fix my note when I was still quite new to the kin, something I always remember to tell my new recruits now). I think I speak for the majority of us when I echo Jade's words--we do, truly, want you to be happy and not so stressed all the time. I remember Aes telling how the kin had gotten down to just a couple of members and he and the others did a lot of hard work to build the kin back up, but it took time; it will take time to build the kin back up to what it was, and it may never be quite what it once was thanks to the loss of players in-game overall, but this does not mean it cannot still be a great, amazing kinship of wonderful people who care about one another like family. The things you've implemented (Discord, the calendar on here, etc.) are improvements that I think will benefit us in the long run with that goal as well. We care about you, and I, for one, look on you as a friend. This kinship would not be the same without you and your unique perspective on things (and life, as the stories you tell are very interesting!). I hope you can take a step back and look at the long range goal, rather than doing anything rashly that you might regret later (the long goal being, restore the Rangers to a healthy kinship, preferably with you as a major part of it).
tl:dr: you are a major part of this kinship and you have done so much for it. I and many others would be be deeply saddened if you chose to leave.
P.S. I am having major issues trying to post so maybe that is the reason for so few responses lol.
Quick update 1: Thanks for responding, sharing your concerns, opinion. Been a bit busy, but will take the time to reply, either here or in-game.
Quick update 2: Discord is great, but we need to use only one medium and forgo the in-game chat whenever we can in order to avoid confusion. It is possible to generate a temporary invitation, which will last until the invited person logs off, by using the "Invite People" button on the top left-hand corner of the app. It does make things easier, especially since people can run Discord from their browser (faster, no need to install anything).
Quick update 3: Nels has taken the initiative to send a regional recruitment message, going in every region and sending the same message. I agreed with him that World isn't the best place to recruit. My stance differs only in that I think we need to consolidate the existing player base first, but it's always good to have new blood. On that note: the Rangers' philosophy of "Paying forward" applies, but don't go too far. Help by guiding, showing and explaining, rather than by giving automatically (been guilty recently of doing that on one occasion, not the right way).
Quick update 4: Jynx is taking care of sending the freebie coupon code mail (every Friday I believe), but it's also good to remind Rangers/Tebbers every once in a while.
Quick update 5: Attendance is picking up some. Let's see if this movement amplifies and, more importantly, lasts.
Quick update 6: Yes, Real Life impacts me more than I'd like, and will even more so in the coming 2-3 weeks. I won't be in for some of the events scheduled due to an early rise the next morning, for medical reasons. So if an Officer or somebody brave enough could lead these events, or just run whatever they feel like doing if the mechanics are forgotten/too difficult. The important thing is to allow people to have fun together, break the routine, improve the quotidian/grind.
Thanks to everyone who's posted and shared their thoughts. It was great running skraids with several of you yesterday - for those who couldn't make it, we picked up 8 crystals in 3 runs, so there were "nice and shinies" for a few different reasons. Looking forward to getting on for some more things this week and maybe learning what these damned "flowers" are next week. >_>
Ruudy - I agree about discord. We won't be able to get everyone into it when we do runs - there will always be the people with no Ears and people who's computers can barely handle the game as it is - but we can type for them as we have in the past. Discord works great for those who are wary of it - I started using the voice options yesterday, and the change between that and in-game audio was staggering. Ruudy's about 30 years younger on Discord for all the static that in-game puts in the way.
Thanks Nels for the recruitment piece. I'll see if I can sit by a mailbox in a low zone and keep my eye on the regional channels. Curious to see which ones new players watch once 19.3 takes out some of the redundant ones.
_________________ Massan, Captain Nutter of Withywindle
Neddor, Untrustworthy Guardian of Meneldor
The title says it all: I'm stepping down, effective tonight. I have given too much of my time, effort, patience for so little results/rewards to sustain this any longer. I have given it my best shot, though I wasn't admittedly the best at all times.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: this kinship is dying, and even though some long-term Officers and veteran players vowed to help me put it back on tracks, there were little to no efforts on their part. I'll give you a few examples: Jade, who has only one character in the kin but a strong attachment to it attended almost ALL the events scheduled. He didn't have to, yet he did. Olmir, freshly arrived, did more in the little time he served as regular Ranger, not even Officer, than many, many others. Karl did his very best and Sil was here to counsel and help run stuff and was diligent in her role. I thank them all for their help and patience, their suggestions and their time.
This kinship is composed of a lot of individual people who do their own stuff, and don't group. Which is fine, up to a point. We've run social events, lvl 65 raids and instance, T1 and T2 raids and instances, games. Somehow many didn't participate in those. RL takes precedence, sure, but don't say this kin is like family if you play outside of it and then complain it's dying. Everything happens for a reason.
Last, but not least, I am leaving the kinship, as I need to take a break. This is my first and only kin, so it's a pretty big step for me, but it's a necessary one as the Rangers have gradually stopped running the group content I enjoy doing, and can't do anymore because I am tied here. I hope you understand where this comes from.
I wish you all a very fond farewell, and thank one last time all those who have taught me what I know and helped me get better over all these years.
Over the past week or so now whenever I log in, there has only been two or three others online as well. Also during that time I have seen a few people leave the kin. I am just wondering if it is time to consider a kin merge where we would join another kinship so that we could all still be together, but have more people to chat and group with? We could try recruiting many new players but there's a good chance most of them will be very low level and it will probably change the dynamic in the kinship so it may not be like it use to be. :(
I am curious what everyone's opinion on the matter is?
Also I apologise if i'm stepping on anyone's toes with this post.