At this end of our second trip through the Choose my Adventure series, it's time to say goodbye to Lord of the Rings Online, reflect on what we've accomplished and of course, vote for the next game.
With last week's vote, I had you comment on what my final step should be, instead of leaving it up to a poll of choices by me. After reading a comment by Gamer52, I decided that was a wonderfully fitting end, and proceeded to plan Gibbi's retirement. On our last day together, the Massive Hobbits did plow through Dol Dinen (mostly), but for consistency's sake, I decided that going back to Dol Dinen from Rivendell wouldn't make much sense. Read along after the jump for Gibbi's closing story, a gallery of my favorite screenshots from this adventure, my final thoughts and the poll for our next game
After turning in for the night, Gibbi found himself unable to close his eyes and drift into any sort of respectable sleep. There were still many issues on his mind, and the events of the day didn't help matters. He thought of the fact that he actually led a group of hobbits, men, elves and dwarves this far away from their homes, and how terribly exciting it had all been. He thought of the creatures he had fought and the townspeople he had saved. But to top it all off, he actually met the very people he was set to aid: the Fellowship of the One Ring. The legacy of the Baggins family, and the dedication established by the Rangers of the North to help get this ring to Mordor was almost overwhelming to Gibbi. He was a part of this new legacy now, and he can stop dreaming of fame, as it was here now.
Yet, even knowing that the Baggins fellowship had much more ground to cover before they reached Mordor, Gibbi couldn't help but feel as though his part had been done. Here he is, sitting in the great elven capital city of Rivendell, being tended to by some of the most delicate beings he had ever known, and he couldn't help but block it all out with thoughts of the Shire. Oh how he missed his friends and family back home. He had fought that feeling for this entire journey, but now that he had reached Rivendell, he felt that his purpose had come to a close.
So he called a meeting among the Massive Hobbits and Gandalf. He told him his feelings on the matter, although Gandalf seemed to nod knowingly throughout the meeting. He could read the weight on Gibbi's heart and he knew of his intentions before a word left his mouth, but Gandalf understood and accepted what Gibbi had to say. He was proud of the once-lazy hobbit for leading this group of common farmers and merchants to their new legendary status.
The next morning, Gibbi said goodbye to the Rivendell Elves and his cherished traveling companions and hired a pony to take him back to Michel Delving. While the journey last several days, it was not as eventful as the trip to Rivendell. He stopped in the major cities and outposts along the way to say farewell to the friends and townsfolk that he had met, promising to come this way again one day. He was also taking down the names of the people he had met, with every intention of including them in his retirement memoirs. This is an idea he got from that fine hobbit, Mister Frodo Baggins, when discussing the adventures of his uncle Bilbo.
Once Gibbi had arrived in Michel Delving, he jumped from his pony and sat directly in the soil of a nearby farm. He scooped the earth in his hands and took a big sniff. Ah, Shire soil -- there was nothing else like it! Even the insects wriggling in his hand just looked happier here -- and they weren't trying to attack him!
"You there! Get off my farm!" And old hobbit farmer yelled from the window of his hobbit hole. "Why, if you've disturbed this season's seedlings, I'll --"
"My apologies Farmer Greenhand, I'm just so glad to be back in the Shire!" Gibbi explained.
The farmer narrowed his eyes at Gibbi and vanished from the window. Re-emerging at his front door, his curious peer turned to a smile as he just realized who was swimming in his rhubarb soil. "Gibbi! Is that you? Have you come back?"
News quickly spread as neighbors and passersby heard that Gibbi had returned. It really was just as Gibbi had imagined it, with a spontaneous party being thrown in Gibbi's honor right in Michel Delving's town square. Not that hobbits needed a reason to throw a spontaneous party, but it made the young hobbit feel loved more than he ever had before. He just wished his new friends were here to share in the glory and help along some of the stickier points of his tales.
The next morning, Gibbi set off to do something he'd always meant to do if he ever came into some real money: he bought a scenic home high atop a Shire hill, overlooking the Southfarthings. The tops of hills were always where the wealthiest hobbits lived, and Gibbi's adventures had earned him some generous coin to spend on exactly what he wanted. His new home, while still bare, was where Gibbi decided he would spend the rest of his days. With some new furniture (his neighbors seemed keen to take Gibbi's old furniture once they were certain he would not make it back), his new home could certainly be a cozy spot to retire from adventuring altogether.
Would he return to adventuring one day? This was a question he stewed over daily, but he had promised the good people of Bree-land, the Lone-lands, the North Downs and Rivendell that he would be back one day. Plus, there was still so much more to see. Word had spread that the faraway Elves of Mirkwood were facing new trouble, and were in search of fresh adventurers. While Gibbi wouldn't exactly call himself fresh anymore, the thought of once again helping the elves intrigued him.
For now, the young hobbit would be content writing his memoirs, fishing in the Brandywine and admiring his backyard view.
And there we have it: the end of a Choose my Adventure that has redefined the standard for how these will be done in the future. I really had a lot of fun with this one (it only being my second game in the series, mind you), and I look forward to carrying on this tradition throughout the rest of the games' adventures.
I want to take a moment to thank those readers in the Massive Hobbits kinship who really added so much to the adventure. The story practically wrote itself with these fine people at my side. It is rare that you can find a decent group of random people to game with in an MMO, but the fact that we assembled through this website shows that this is really something that can grow. A few of the members said they will continue keeping in touch with the people they've met through this adventure, and that means more than anything else to me.
Sappy stuff aside, my last two months in Lord of the Rings Online were truly fun. Not only for the company, but also the changes that have been made to the beginning areas. Sure, they make things a bit easier, but I understand that streamlining the first 20-40 levels is essential to the game's success if they plan to bring in new people who want to eventually get to the expansions and high-level content through the next few years.
So I hope this Choose my Adventure: LotRO series has been entertaining and informative for you, as I look beyond to our next game.
Throw your vote into the hat to pick which game I'll venture through next. With a few releases since last game vote, and some others that I've overlooked before, it should make for some exciting new options. Then, as I've already done with Guild Wars and LotRO, you will vote on my character creation and progress through this new game. This poll will close on Monday, October 12th, at which time I'll post again to get the character creation poll going before next Wednesday's proper intro to that game. Vote away!%Poll-35246%