I find it hard to believe but today is the 1st Anniversary of my blog! A good moment to look back on my first year of creating outfits for my characters in the Lord of the Rings Online.
When I started getting seriously interested in the possibilities of outfitting, the Wardrobe function had just been introduced by Turbine a few months prior. Even though the Wardrobe was more restricted than it is today, it opened up a whole new world of playing around with my characters. Looking for outfits and information on the internet, I stumbled upon Devonna’s blog Lotro Stylist, and decided that blogging about outfits would be a great way for myself to express my creativity in this area. Rather than posting guest outfits on her blog, I started my own. One thing led to the next and before I knew it I found myself creating new outfits all the time.
I’d like to look back through my archives and highlight some personal favorites of the past 12 months, sharing some comments and insights as I progressed through this outfitting adventure.
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This early outfit attracted the attention of Goldenstar from Casual Stroll to Mordor, who is also an avid cosmetics fan, and she shared a link to this post on Twitter. This link brought a huge amount of traffic to this blog which hasn’t stopped since. Thank you Goldenstar for putting my blog in the spotlight!
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My main character Hymne was to be the prominent dress-up girl for this blog, so I made her picture my blog’s icon, wearing a rare piece of medium armour that I am still very fond of and she still wears in one of her outfit slots.
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I had worked hard to accumulate all the Annuminas set pieces (light, medium) and they are still among my most treasured outfit pieces. Back then you could only acquire them through running the actual Annuminas instances; nowadays they can be bartered with regular medallions. In the days before Rise of Isengard, these shoulders and boots were popular choices for ranger-type outfits.
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After months of grinding the Volume I Epic repeatable instances through the reflection pools, I finally accumulated enough Marks of Triumph to purchase the Helegrod robe for my minstrel. This was truly a personal achievement as it took a lot of time. Nowadays all Helegrod armour can be purchased as cosmetics with regular medallions; definitely a much easier route!
In July the outfibloggers Devonna of Lotro Stylist, Freyjuska of Lotro Fashion and Kiarane of CSTM were invited for a roundtable discussion about cosmetics and outfits at Casual Stroll to Mordor. This was great fun!
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Of all the horse outfits that I created, this one still stands out to me. For some reason everything came together here, especially the shoulders and the harness on the horse’s neck.
As my experience with taking screenshots progressed I learned to tweak my settings for better pictures, and started using more than just three pictures per blogpost of front, back and close up.
This post became the most popular outfit of the first year, received the most page views and the highest rating.
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September was a month filled with anticipation for the launch of Rise of Isengard. I was one of the lucky players to acquire a Beta key so I was able to do some previews of things to come. When RoI finally launched I felt like walking around in cosmetic heaven. The armour designs were so much more polished and realistic than anything we had before. I cannot imagine my wardrobe without these fantastic pieces anymore!
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In the weeks before launch of RoI I finally finished my World Renowned deed. The new RoI pieces were a great complement to the Eriador horse and I was eager to ride around Dunland and explore all the new areas.
I also started to use larger pictures on my blog and focus more on the screenshots themselves rather than just the outfit. Not merely creating beautiful outfits, but creating beautiful screenshots as well became more and more my focus.
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In November I was given five PAX mount codes by Turbine to distribute among the readers of my blog. I decided to host a PAX outfit contest for this purpose. It was my first experience with an outfit contest and I learned a lot from it. What I realized most of all is that we all have different ways of appreciating an outfit. To some, only the latest and greatest raiding armour makes the best outfit, to others, a tunic obtained from a reputation grind is the way to go and then there are those like me, who think that origin doesn’t matter, but how you combine and work with the pieces and colours is what makes a great outfit.
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December was a very busy month in many ways. I started out changing the layout of my blog, providing more space for even more pictures and better functionality. As we were approaching the Yule Festival most of my outfits represented a winter theme.
I decided it would be a great idea to do a Yule Outfit contest, but didn’t really want to do a contest all by myself again, so I asked my fellow bloggers Devonna and Freyjuska to join in. We hosted a very succesful outfit contest with many wonderful entries, and even Turbine sponsored us with some prizes!
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At the start of 2012 I took a slight step back from outfitting, focussing more on playing the game itself and levelling my alts. I don’t produce as many outfits as I used to anymore, as this way it remains a fun hobby rather than an addictive obsession!
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In February Turbine invited the outfit bloggers to be the judges for the Fashionista’s Choice Award of the Fashion Week Contest. Devonna, Frey and myself got another chance to join forces and we were honoured to be part of the panel of judges. As Turbine did the pre-selection for this contest, our job wasn’t nearly as hard as it was for the Yule Contest. Nevertheless we had a great time.
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A year later (and wiser!) I suddenly find my efforts at creating beautiful screenshots and outfits rewarded with an actual prize in a contest myself! Being the winning entry for the Wearin’ the Green category of the Bullroarer Took Screenshot Contest was a delightful surprise. Obviously, I must be doing something right!
S T A T I S T I C S
Since launch, this blog was visited 493,588 times. Most visitors come from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, but the rest of Europe, South America and Asia are well represented too.
I have made 255 posts over the past year and those posts received a total of 1,427 comments from people who were so kind to share their opinion with me! I love all those comments and I want to thank each one of you who took the time to write one. On top of that I regularly receive personal comments by email that are highly appreciated.
My most viewed posts are the preview posts and updates, but the most popular outfit this year is Guarding the Free Peoples both in number of page views as well as rating.
T H E F U T U R E
When I started this blog I had no clue what I was getting into. I had no idea it would last this long and become such an integral part of my enjoyment of playing Lotro. It has been a wonderful experience and a relaxed learning curve for me. I have made some hits and some terrible misses, I have created outfits that I’m still very much in love with and some that I don’t ever want to see again!
I am still full of inspiration as there are so many different armour and cosmetic pieces in the game and so many different ways to combine them, that I still have plenty to aspire to and grind for. Even today after knowing all that I know about drops and pieces, I still occasionally stumble upon a unique item, hidden away as a reward at the end of a long forgotten quest line.
I hope to continue this blog for as long as I’m still enjoying it. I’m looking forward to all the festivals that are coming up and to this fall, when the new expansion Riders of Rohan will be released. There is still plenty of stuff to look forward to!
Thank you all who have been reading and following my blog and thank you Turbine for creating and maintaining this wonderful game with such a unique cosmetic system!