Sunday, 29 November 2015

Friendship France gathering in LOTRO: a photo report

Sunday November the 22nd, I attended an event called Friendship France on the Lord of the Rings Online server Sirannon [FR]. It was the first in-game concert I attended and a very special occasion: a gathering of LOTRO players to support their French fellow players as a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Due to immediate success, the event got relocated last-minute from the Prancing Pony to the Bree-land festival grounds - the population in Bree got divided into multiple layers with so many people logging in.

Here's a photo account of the evening.

I was impressed with the amount of people that had gathered. The organizers estimated about 200 people, 1 squirrel, 1 rabbit and 1 legendary chicken (I'm not making the last stuff up, I saw them with my own eyes!). An impressive amount for Lord of the Rings Online. To illustrate: on pre-server merge Gilrain I counted about 30 people at prime time online on the whole server.

Also, a virtual hobbit pie if you manage to find the rabbit, squirrel and legendary chicken on the pictures!

This screenshot won't win any screenshot contest, but I put it in so you can see where people came from: Withywhindle, Crickhollow, Landroval, Gilrain, Riddermark, Estel... Also a lot of Weatherstock bards. All these people rolled new characters on Sirannon and played through the intro in order to be here.

Click on the picture to zoom in and check the tags yourself. Maybe you'll find some I've missed.

The evening kicked off with the band Notenzauber. I had never seen so many players perform at once, but the result was amazing. Where music in LOTRO easily gets slightly out of beat, the band even played music with continuous off-beats with no sweat. Their arrangements were simply amazing.

The concert lasted for half an hour and was a huge success. My thanks go out to Floradine StrongfootZedrock and whoever else I'm missing for organizing everything.

After that it was open stage time. I must admit that I didn't keep track of all the band's names because I was enjoying the music and outfits of everyone too much to pay attention. *hides behind pillar*

If you recognize yourself or others on the pictures, feel free to mention the names in the comments of this post and I'll gladly add them underneath the pictures.

Edit: you can find more pictures of this event here (by Suzawen - Source).

Several bands had put a lot of work into their outfits, such as these cute hobbit lasses that performed in the colours of the French flag.

It may sound strange to say this about a digital environment, but there was an amazing atmosphere. Everyone was respectful, solemn, but happy to be there. The bands had picked their songs themed for the occasion. One had even written their own song text. 

The band above made me smile with their charming lyrics.

Every tune ended with bows, applause and rosebuds being thrown around.

I was really impressed with the amount of effort that people had put into this event. The majority of the spectators had dressed in the colours of the French flag. I've gathered some favourites in the collage above.

Meanwhile, the music went on as nighttime passed and morning dawned.

Some people had decided to attend to the event together and had clearly put thought into their outfit beforehand. Some of them were bands that were going to perform later in the evening, but many were also spectators that had planned for the trip together. My favourites were the three hobbit lasses in identical outfits at the back that /danced, /cheered and /clapped the whole event long.

I even accidentally bumped into (literally, in front of the Prancing Pony) LOTRO player and fellow blogger Pasduil, who plays on a different server. It was a pleasant surprise to group up and listen to the concert together with him and my boyfriend.

When the morning dawned and the concert had been going on for about two hours, I left the scene. I have no idea how long they went on after that, but one thing is certain: Friendship France was a one-of-a-kind event that will always be warmly remembered by me.


  1. Great post! So glad someone got all these fine pics and did a proper write-up!

    It was really nice to bump into you in front of The Prancing Pony like that! And thanks for the outfit. I don't know how people were able to put together such wonderful outfits for a newly rolled character on a server they've never been on before. On my home server I have the shared wardrobe, a selection of outfits, various dyes in my storage, and plenty of gold to buy stuff off the auction house if need be. On Sirannon I had one level 7 with maybe 200 silver to his name!

    I can spot myself in a couple of pics, but I think we need some numbering on the pics so people can tell you which one's they're in.

    Altogether a wonderful event, and surprisingly joyful.

    1. Thank you so much! I was surprised I got so many different pictures from the event: I was half expecting them to all look sort of the same.

      People on Sirannon have been crafting dyes especially for the event (I got some dyes from Zedrock, for instance). I bought the robe I gave you from a light armour vendor. I think it only cost a little bit of silver, nothing fancy, but it had both red and blue (with a red dye added to it), so it was pretty much perfect with a white cloak added to it.

      I can recognize you on the pictures! In hindsight, it's probably too much work to track down individual names within the post because it will be hard to describe who is who on the picture. But I think people in general like discovering themselves on pictures (at least, I always do!). Would love to add the band names, though, but I'll have to settle for less than perfect for this one. ^^

  2. Sounds like a lovely event.

    Some of the screenshots look like you must have climbed the stage and crouched behind the musicians to take them, very nice though!

    And somewhat off-topic, but... 30 concurrent players on an entire server? Ouch, those server merges were really needed then...

    1. Haha, luckily I could just zoom out and change the camera angle, so I didn't need to crouch behind the musicians and ruin everyone's immersion. One of the things I like about taking in-game screenshots over analogue photographs: I always feel so awkward when taking pictures when people see it!

      And yes, the population on Gilrain was incredibly sad. I didn't quite expect it either when looking it up in-game. One of the reasons everyone was so happy with the merges!

  3. Seems like the event was a success!

    And don't feel bad about not paying attention to the band's names. If those screenshots are just a glimpse of all the cool outfits and the music was that great then I think it is just natural to be very distracted! :)

    1. Agreed, definitely a success. I was a bit concerned beforehand because the community in LOTRO is very casual and a lot of gamers have left the game by now, and there's no central place for LOTRO news anymore with A Casual Stroll to Mordor having changed their focus. Luckily it seems Massively picked up the news from my blog post (which is pretty cool in itself), so that may have helped to spread the word.

  4. Awesome post!

    The mini-Reds didn't have toons on the server, otherwise I'm sure they'd have tried to come. (If they were awake during the time the party happened, that is.)

    1. Sorry to hear about the mini-Reds, but it sounds like they'll have plenty of concerts to look forwards to on their new server! :)

  5. Simply beautiful. They can beat, hurt and scare us, but they will never break us.


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