As one one of the initial testers, I can truly say that I have played LOTRO since before its first release. And, since then, I've spent more hours in Middle-Earth than I'd like to admit. When the company changed hands, I was the one who organised a massive group photograph of the players on my server saying "Thank you", which we then presented to the members of the departing team of developers, so they had a keepsake to remind them how much their work was valued and appreciated.

Well, I've just released a new book. A LitRPG novel that I am serialising for free, online. Unsurprisingly, its portrayal of MMORPG game mechanics and of how players and developers can interact, has been massively influenced by my experience here. So, on the off chance you might be interested in reading a story about people playing a game, I thought I'd post a link to it here.

Who'd want to be a hero?

Technology advances like juggernaut. Hard to steer, impossible to stop, and heedless of those it crushes. At least that's what it felt like to Nadine when competition from expert systems destroyed her career as a singer. It is 2045 and, like everyone else in her remote village, she does her best to forget things were ever better and concentrate on surviving year by year, month by month.

So when a group of pranksters that Nadine made friends with during her university days contact her out of the blue, and persuade her to start playing an online game which makes use of newly released immersive virtual reality technology, all she wants is to have a fun time together as they explore an alternative version of 17th century Venice full of stylish assassins and androgynous poets, noble vampires and venal nobles, socialist necromancers and prophetic nomads. If there's one thing she doesn't want, it's to put a big glowing target over her head by trying to be a hero. But...

Sometimes you don't get a choice.