The Alone-Together Hobbit

Because of his adventurous "Tookish side" Bilbo Baggins was considered rather restless and "strange" for a Hobbit and was the cause of much gossip and even resentment in the Shire. After his return from Erebor, he was regarded by more conservative and respectable folks, much less fondly than before , but he paid them no mind, for this he was often labelled as a bit of a loner and antisocial. Once back from his travels,  though considering himself happily retired from adventures, he often left his home for many days to meet with  old friends , causing the Shire hobbits to engage in much gossip.

Imagine if Bilbo had decided not to go on adventures after all, if he had told Gandalf that his decision to stay in the Shire was final, then we never had the great adventures narrated in The Hobbit, and of course the whole fate of Middle-earth would have been different as Bilbo would have never found his magic ring.  It is indisputable that Bilbo was often very content in his own company, that he would prefer peace, quiet and solitude to pursue his passions , like reading, writing, and of course, cooking. His tendency to be less social than others do not make him less 'hobbity', in fact I would argue  Bilbo's ways make him even more 'hobbity' than many other less adventurous Shire folk.


My choice of subject for this post is, as always, not just random.  For a long time I wanted to write about my choice and style of playing LOTRO , and also other games. First of all I want to say I do really really enjoy talking and interacting with people, both in real life and in game, even though I am  a very shy person . My shyness  has in the past been mistaken for snobbery or even arrogance, when ,for example, I would feel overwhelm by a big  event or gathering. The lack of clear communication ,especially among Role Players , can be a real problem. How to explain to others how we feel by remaining 'in character' all the time. I was once told by an other role player ,during a rare out of character chat,  that people in game are often too busy with their own things to observe what is going on around them - unless you are very direct and tell them you are not feeling great, they would simply do not grasp the situation. 

This is of course a typical problem in online games, especially on role playing servers, where people are following their own paths and stories. In  a  real life situation we would be aware of other people's feelings by looking  or talking to them - every sensitive person will understand a friend at a party is not happy, or a colleague at work has an issue.By empathising with them using verbal communication and body language we can make a person or a friend feel better about themselves and about the situation. In games this is much more challenging and hard to do for both verbal and visual are not there , or very limited to an in-game voice chat, a tool that many role players do not like to use.

Some gamers love the great virtual interaction with others all the time. These gamers are often very comfortable in a group situation, can deal with multiple interactions at the same time - in brief they enjoy the 'being part' of the game, the community, they 'go with the crowd'. Then there are some, like me, that despite enjoying the social part of the game, chose the 'solo' path where I would join  an specific event once in a while, but not ALL of them, because as I leaned over the years, there is nothing worst than 'consume' yourself and your enjoyment by feeling you have a  'duty' to take part , by feeling people will judge you and see you in a bad way if you decide to go fishing one evening instead of attending a party or concert, or even a raid.


Have you ever felt a sense of 'duty' about your favourite game?  Felt you HAVE to log in every day despite not having  much to do, just in fear your absence could be interpreted as 'snobbery ?  When a game become just  a 'duty' it stop been fun, at least for me. Of course, as a Moderator, I would say...everything is good in moderation, so don't feel bad if one evening you want to watch a bit of television or maybe play a new game , or just go out for a walk.  Of course, like  in Bilbo's case, some people will struggle to understand your actions, they will read you in the wrong way, but this should not stop you because, after all games are meant to be fun and relaxing, but if they become just a chore you have to perform because 'I am so used to it ' what is the point ?  I admit LOTRO  is a bit like my security blanket, I need the game on a personal level to  get inspiration for my stories and art. I did struggle in the past to stay away from it, felt like  I had to be there all the time and burned myself out.

Bilbo never regained the full respect and admiration from his fellow hobbits once he came back from his adventures, but this did not stop him in enjoying his life and doing what he wanted to do. Not every hobbit is the same, and not every gamer is the same.

1 comment:

janitor said...

It's the same with emotions as with physical pain - you can observe them.
When you have something you dislike happen, you can watch - observe - your own reaction, in order to not fight it.

The world gets more crazy, and more intense, and eventually all safespots end up being unsafe. And that's to push people out of needing the world and into self awareness.

So if you have an emotion of i.e. saddness/feeling alone/misunderstood, you can observe that emotion to not be attached to a specific situation.

I know it can be tricky, because it's overwhelming, the emotion is so strong. But I think everyone will be pushed into that eventually.

So if you need a video game, that will be challenged, if you need a person/life-situation that will be challenged too, until the world is not needed, just enjoyed and observed.

Not that there is anything wrong with video games, or the world for that matter.