Second Anniversary Reflections

by Manwe-(Valar)
Recruiter of many; Council head for a time; Council member, Vala
October 6, 1999
Valar Guild > Histories > Manwe-(Valar)
Heya heya heya,
<>  Wow! I cant belive it was 2 years ago that the Valar guild was formed. I can tell you that it has been a pleasure getting to know you guys and I hope that the Valar group continues on for another 2 years (atleast=). Two years ago I would have never imagined that I would have online friends or penpals from across the globe, but you all in the guild have made me change my thinking. Tahanks Valar guild for the laughs, for giving me a glimpse of life beyond my own circle, and for being good people.

  Some history...

  In mid October 1997 I went onto for my first time. I had just made a move from California to the state of Virginia. I didnt know many people beyond my family so the computer was my form of recreation. I played as Sauron on being a Tolkien fan already for 10 years. Like our founder Eru I saw many Tolkien names on and began to chat with them about the books. I was from that time on addicted to chat. It was late October when I was accidentally messaged by a user named Melkor-(Valar).

  Melkor's accidental message to me was kinda funny looking back. He was recruiting for the new Valar guild and meant to whisper someone else in the public channel we were in. I remember I complimented him on his choice of names and he invited me to the Valar channel. In the channel were some of the Original Valar members and I began a Tolkien chat with them. Eru (then Manwe) began telling me the history of Sauron and we started finishing each other's sentences. It was funny, because until that time I had not met anyone who knew the books as well as I did. The others in the channel, I think, were kinda blown away by this and they began asking us questions, qeustions that proved that they were not big Tolkien fans. Eru proposed to me that I should join the guild and I would be allowed to have the name Sauron. I left the channel to ponder it and I came back after having a ciggarette and joined up as Sauron-(Valar) and the first Maiar to join theranks of the new guild.

  During those times the structure of the guild was very different from what we have today. Eru recruited the Valar characters first and he gave them sub-guilds. The sub-guilds were run by the individual Valar players and the Valar themselves were in Eru's sub-guild. Myself playing as Sauron-(Valar) was in Melkor's sub-guild. Melkor's sub-guild grew the fastest and he quickly gathered up a handfull of members and I learned from him some ways to recruit. However I will admit I was not happy being in Melkor's group. Melkor wasn't online much and the people he was recruiting had little or no knowledge of the books. Melkor also seemed to have something against Eru and he saught to get the guild for himself (weird I know). The conflict between Melkor eventually led to a one on one talk between them in which Eru nearlybooted Melkor.

  It was during this time also that I began recruiting. I would mostly try to recruit for Melkor's subguild but I also worked with Eru on one particular occasion and he and I recruited Ingwe. The recruitment of Ingwe sparked a few things. One being that we employed an early version of quizzing, though we did not intentionally quiz just our chat with Ingwe revovled around Tolkien and Eru and I wanted more Tolkien fans such as ourselves to chat with. Secondly the recruitment of Ingwe kinda broke down the barriers of the sub-guilds in that I as Sauron did not try to make him play as an evil char but worked with Eru to find a suitable place for him in the guild since Ingwe wanted to be an Elf. Thirdly I think that I earned Eru's trust with the recruitment of Ingwe since we were both thinking of theguild as whole and not just to our own particular subguilds.

  All things said above took place within about a 3-4 week period of time. Those beginning weeks were hard, since there were no real guidelines for anything, no web page, and a general lack of Tolkien knowledge or activity throughout the guild. I began to take some thought to help the guild, but Melkor as cool of a person as he was wasnt much help. So I began writing to Eru, mostly our mails were long winded Tolkien chat but I did express some of the things I thought could be improved on in the guild. I must admit I was becoming very attached to the guild at that time. In early-mid November I wrote Eru a letter in which I attacked some of the problems the guild was having and proposed some solutions. To my shock the next day Eru disbanned the original members of the guild, except me. He wrote me a seperate letter which explained that he agreed that the original concept of the Valar guild just wasnt working and he invited me to help him with rebuilding a new Valar guild in which the Tolkien theme would be emphasised.

  Now with the invitaion of Eru I began to take some thought to the problems of the orginal guild. One being the lack of Tolkien knowledge and the lack of activity within the guild. I submitted to Eru a guidline for recruiting in which a Tolkien quiz would be included thus assuring only Tolkien readers could become members. Also in the guidlines I made an attempt to make sure potential recruits were somewhat frequent users of We both agreed that recruiting the right people was important to the "second theme" of the guild. Eru began work on the first Valar home page in which he put up the first connections page complete with times of availabilty and e-mail addresses of members. We aslo agreed that members should have freedom to choose any names from the books. In the original concept of the guild, members filled up the high ranking names first, but we saw it best to let members play as characters they liked, ranked or not, as a matter of fact a ranking system still wasnt discussed or even reallyneeded.

  From mid Nov-Dec '97 Eru and I began a heavy regimine of recruiting. To our luck one of our first members during those times was Orome (then Turin). My first impression was, "boy this guy knows his Tolkien" but as our conversation revovled around the stories it became apparent that Turin/Orome was just the type of member the guild needed. In closing our first conversation with me Turin/Orome told me he had to pick up his kids, I thought it was cool to have a family man join up. Well versed in Tolkien, could joke around or hold a mature conversation Turin/Orome became the first member to become a Valar in the "new" guild after just a short stint as Turin, and became Orome-(Valar). It was in these early recruiting days thatIngwe was let back in the guild.

  The recruiting went well into December '97. That was a great month for recruiting. It was during that month that most of the core members of the council, as we know it, were recruited. Ulmo(then Earendil), Makar(then Turgon), Namo(then SamWise), Osse(then Ar-Pharazon) Varda (then Faramir, "Far buddy"), Beren (then Beren and later Tulkas), Osse brought in later Aule (then Aragorn) and Orome later brought in our Melkor (then Eomer). It is interesting to me that most of the council was recruited during this time and that they would eventually become the care-takers of the guild. There were many people recruited during that month and the guild began to grow and Eru and I had to put more time into it, but to our pleasure =). I found myself enjoying not only the recruiting aspect of my role but also helping new members along, gaining levels in games, sharing equiptment/gold, and also introducing everyone to each other. These members mentioned above though not yet "ranking members" were already forming ideas and helping. Earendil (Ulmo) and SamWise (Namo) helped me a tonwith the recruits that were steadily coming in.

  In late Dec '97- Jan '98, though the council was not formed, some of the traditions and rules began to take shape. Orome it was who thought up the idea to have multiple/secondary names so as diablo players could play with all the classes. Eru (still playing as Manwe) began the 1st Valar quiz, which went very well. Also Earendil (Ulmo) proposed the idea of a tournament and began working how and what games would be fun. Beren the young man from south America added his touch to the guild by teaching us some of the languages of Tolkien. Also late night chats became more common =).

1998 for the Valar guild started out a little rough. I myself had taken a few weeks away from the computer which was lovingly called the "Sauronless days", the endless hours I spent recruiting Caught up with me finally and Eru's computer crashed and the first Tolkien quiz was cut short.

  While Eru and I were temporarily M.I.A. I think the members began to rally and became a tight bunch. In hindsight maybe it was better that way. Upon one of my visits during my mini vacation from the guild Earendil (Ulmo) told me that Eru was no longer answering his mails. I said to Earendil (Ulmo) that we should form a council to help keep things going until the hopeful return of Eru. Earendil (Ulmo) gathered up those he saw fit and Aragorn (Aule) sent out a mass mail to the guild, which was around 30+members at that time explaining the events and of the council's formation. Also Aragorn (Aule) and Beren picked up the slack and remade the guild homepage with some new additions, Beren's book of the high elven tongue and the first discussionboard.

  In Aragorn's(Aule) letter he named me as "second in command". To tell the truth I had never thought of my rank in the guild. Up until that point I was only interested in recruiting and helping to keep a fun theme to the guild and to meet people. With this perception from the guild as to the rank I held I knew that I had to help in Eru's abscence. I saw that I could not do things alone and knew that the people in the council liked the guild as much as I did. I called a meeting of the guild on a Sunday in Feb '98. To my relief Eru got his comp running in the days just before that first official meeting. Eru thanked me and the council for picking up the load while he was gone. At this time we all thought that the council would be disbanned and in fact that was our idea when we formed it, it was supposed to be temporary until Eru returned. Eru decided that the council would stay in place. I'm glad he did. Eru gave out duties to each council member and promoted them to Valar characters. In fact all members who attended the meeting that day were promoted to Maiar, and I myself was promoted to the title of Manwe, and Eru became Eru. It was at this first Sunday meeting that we had a "scroll" =).

  This system was the first official ranking system that the guild had since the "first theme" and the meeting time became official. I was promoted to chairman of the council. I was a little overwhelmed by this descision at first. Firstly no matter what people said I never wanted to be "second in command" and secondly we didnt have such a position up till that point. I made it a point to stay in touch with the general mood of guild members. I would send out weekly mails to the council in which I would include old letters myself and Eru wrote on the rough guidelines that we had already established (remember those?). The council was willing and helped out tons. They helped make rules on trainers for diablo, ironed out tourney games, beefed up the webpages, and began to help out with recruiting.

  From March-May 1998 the council helped shape the team oriented theme we have today. I must say it was fun to watch the council in action in those first few months. During these months the guild became very close knit, and many family members and friends joined up. I thought (and still think) it was cool to have parent/children combos in the guild. It was something unlooked for but definitly a plus for the group. Also during this time Felagund (Irmo) joined the guild and added his expertise on Tolkien's books and he and Beren began the organised Tolkien chats.

  In April of '98 I made plans to move back to my home in California. I knew with this move that I would be out of touch with the guild for quite a while. Though the guild was in the good hands of the council and Eru, I felt that I could not just drop out. In late April I posted the "Changing of Days" letter on the discussion board. I did this because of the time I put into the guild and also because I wanted to say goodbye to the friends I had made. On the first of May 1998 I left the guild and moved back home to California.

  From May 1998 through May 1999 I became very good pen-pals with the council. I kept in touch as best I could since I did not have my own computer. I would often visit from several different computers. In May 1999 I finally got my own computer and returned back to the Valarguild.


  I must say here that I am  happy with the role I played in the early days of the guild. It was fun helping Eru and I'm glad he invited me on such an adventure as the Valar guild. As I said in the beginning of this letter I never imagined that I would have pen-pals or online friends. The Valar guild over the past two years has become for me, as Ulmo often says"a great escape from reality", but Im glad to have met you guys. I must give you all tahanks again for putting this thing together.

Namarie Valar buddies
Manwe Sulimo

...but before I go I will leave you all with some words of wisdom, words that go along with the history I included in this letter:
"Remember, today's mighty oak was once yesterday's nut which held its ground".

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