Fionnuala is another wonderful community member who leads and is active in player-run events. She has hosted such events as the Hearts and Tarts Night of Romance, the Birth of Flowers, and on the 20th of June she will be hosting the Gates of Summer. She also writes the blog, Minstrel in the Gallery.
So here’s Fionnuala on…
There are a few things to think about when planning an event. The location is a big factor. If you want to host a server event you have to make your event accessible to all players. The low level areas are always the best. We hosted an event at Tinnudir in Evendim once and offered hunter ports from Bree, but it was still the lowest turnout of all of our events. It’s just best to stick to areas that any level player can get to.
Timing is another big issue. We have so far always held our events on the weekends, and that seems to work for us. But timing is an issue for both the audience and the hosts. People tend to plan things on weekends and all too often I’ve found myself shorthanded because of kinmates who are busy in RL or I’ve been told by friends that they would come if only they didn’t have such and such going on. So timing is one of those things I’m still experimenting with. Our next event is on a Sunday so we’ll see how well that works.
Music is a fantastic way to make any event feel more festive, but because we have to stand in one place and play, it can limit the scope of the event. I would give just about anything to be able to sit/walk/ride and play music. Finding ways to engage people in the event is always a challenge. It’s too easy for people to just stand back silently to see what’s going on and never get involved. I try to learn as I go along from what people enjoyed the last time and always look for ideas for activities that will engage people, the the game of Riddles we did at our last event.
At our larger scale monthly events we have yet to experience any griefers. There was an incident where a guy was sitting on his horse on the stage we were playing at when we got there and wouldn’t budge for the longest time. But the Bounders of the Shire were there and they turned it into a hilarious role playing opportunity. Eventually the guy must have logged out but the Bounders claimed it as a victory.
We also perform concerts outside the Prancy Pony on any Saturday evening that we don’t have something else going on. Because of the nature of Bree we have experienced some griefing there. Usually our band leader (Ingolemo) will make some wise cracks at the griefers in character and they’ll fade away when they realize no one in the crowd appreciates their rudeness. If someone persists I will contact them via PM and politely ask them to stop. If they still act up, I will inform them that I will be reporting them to both Turbine and their Kinship (if they have one). I’ve only had to go to that length once so far, but it worked.
Getting a Turn-Out
I have a number of strategies. The first step is posting a thread about the event both on the Landroval server forum and the in game player events forum. I also make a post or a few about the event on my.lotro. Goldenstar of A Casual Stroll to Mordor has also graciously allowed me to submit a graphic with a link to the event thread to her to be place on the Casual Stroll website and she and Merric are always good about keeping an eye out for events like ours to mention on their podcasts. On the day of the event we advertise in /regional of every zone in the game. It helps that we have been establishing a name for ourselves as hosts of fine events and performers of quality music since December.
The Hardest Part
The part where you go from “You know what would be fun?” to actually having a detailed schedule of how the event will play out in game. It’s easy to say “Let’s have an Elven Spring Festival”. It’s not as easy to work out exactly how the event will progress, exactly what you’re going to do during it, how you are going to make sure your guest are having fun, etc.
After that I’d say pulling together enough people from the kinship to be able to put on the event. Saying “No, really, I completely understand why you can’t come to this event I’ve been planning for the last month” while inside I’m panicking. It pays to have friends you can call on for help when it comes to that.