I thought a few times on what to do for CSTM as they’re retiring from podcasting, although luckily they’ll still be gaming and on twitter so not completely gone.  I won’t be available to join the live show tonight, so I wanted to put up a post instead.  I thought about recording something, but I just have too many thoughts in my head and it is much easier to organize in writing, then worry about trying to do it in writing and THEN make it through a recording.

I have enormous respect for what they’ve been able to do in growing their community and the quality of the material they’ve been able to put out.  I know many point to their festival guides, which I’m not sure folks completely realize how much work goes into those especially now that so much of those are gated behind daily achievements.  It takes dedication on their end as well as a contagious excitement that brings in others to help offset that enormous load.  That kind of time and effort certainly can take a toll and with a family, I’m can totally see how that would become quite the challenge.

The other huge resource they’ve provided to the community are all the round-tables they’ve done.  I joined in for the Warden and Captain ones and I know that I came away smarter about those classes so I’m sure many listeners learned from those as well.  I’ve heard many reference those as must listen for new players of whatever the respective class they’re playing.  Not only were they smart enough to do those episodes, but wise (and humble) enough to realize they needed to bring on others to help collaborate.  Its that spirit of collaboration that’s been a constant in the LOTRO community and I really think CSTM has done an amazing job of expanding and fostering that mentality.

One of the other things they’ve helped not only myself, but I know many others is the courage and support they’ve given to the entire gaming community, not just LOTRO.  They’ve done an amazing job of not only being approachable but also open enough such that folks realize that they too can blog and/or podcast.  They’ve done a very good job of welcoming and encouraging people to contribute to their site, and many of those have branched out either on their own or contributing in multiple locations.  In looking at the community, I’m sure there are quite a few who owe their start to CSTM and while it wasn’t where I started they certainly had a big impact on my progress.  Those lessons certainly will continue on, and although their leaving will be a huge blow to the community, because of all the work they’ve already put in, the community is in a much better position to carry their banner.

Both of our sites actually started up around the same time period and they were definitely one of the sites that really influenced and allowed me to do the things I wanted to do.  It was very comforting and nice to know that there was a resource out there that covered the news and special events (festivals) to such an extent that I could focus my energy on other aspects of the game.  It allowed me to write about the things I enjoy doing in game, and not have to spend time on things I didn’t enjoy.  I’ve had enough trouble trying to balance everything, and I know that if they weren’t around I would’ve struggled even more!

I want to thank them for all their hard work and passion they’ve showed over the years and wish them the best in the personal, professional, and gaming lives.  I’m not sure where the LOTRO community would be without their efforts, but it definitely would’ve been much worse off.  I know they won’t be totally gone, but they will still be missed.

And finally, they are leaving a significant void in the community and I’ll have more coming here soon as to what I’m planning based on a few factors, one of which being their retirement.

For all those of appropriate drinking age, I suggest raising a glass to their future and appreciation of their work that will continue to benefit the community until LOTRO retires.