Alright, in all honesty this post isn't totally about flowers. But it is about a region in LOTRO that relies like crazy on flowers, and some scary things that came out of that beautiful, flower filled region.

Truth be told I hated North Ithilien for the longest time after the update was released with the region. It came out just before I hit level cap in August of last year, and North Ithilien intimidated me. Dailies terrified me. I think it had something to do with all of these experiened players that roamed the region day after day picking the extracts to give to the herbalists. There's something about being level cap and not really knowing my class that scared me. I got asked questions about my class that I had no idea how to answer. I was terrified of featured instances, and using my headset when I ran an instance of any sort.

See, up until this point I hadn't had the opportunity to run 90% of the instances in game. I had never been VIP and also never had the patience to grind for LOTRO points. Because of that I had access to a very limited amount of instances and quests. And so every new instance I ran I was scared of. I was scared of messing up, of making the smallest mistake, and ruining the instance. I was afraid of looking silly in front of experienced players, and more than anything I was scared of using my headset to converse like they were. I'm a girl, and a young one at that, trying to raid. And from what I could tell at that point in time, not all that many girls are super serious about raiding in this game.

I finally had to decide why I was playing this game. Was I playing it to make friends? Not originally, but I had made fantastic friendships via the game. Was I playing for completion and success and glory? No. Never had. I started playing for the story and the beauty of the game. What was I playing for? I was playing for the fun. It's a video game, and it is meant to be fun. Yes, obviously it can be competitive and frustrating at times, but at the end of the day, remember why you play this game. Remember why you started playing this game.

Whether it has been 10 years of exploring Middle-earth, or just a few months, we all start playing for the story and the experience. Remember that.