Top Guild Leader Contest — A Call to Arms

November 24, 2012

General, Opinions

A Challenge Accepted

I am Harperella, leader of the Lonely Mountain Band, and longtime LOTRO Event planner and Community builder. Many of you know me from Weatherstock, some from Ales and Tales, and a few even remember me from Harperella’s Harrowing Tales or Welby’s brilliant machinima based on the tale.

Recently, I received an invitation from Guildlaunch to participate in the “Top Guild Leader”contest as part of a promotion for the latest expansion for Rift. While I don’t know much about Rift and have no use for a meaningless internet title, I was quite intrigued about the first prize of an Alienware gaming laptop. The day before, I had to explain to my daughter why asking for a laptop that could run LOTRO for her birthday was not something we could realistically get her. This contest seemed to be an answer to my silent prayer—a way to fulfill my little ones wish, and a chance to raise the profile of the LOTRO community.

The Call of Community

One of the things I have always cherished about LOTRO is its sense of community and diversity. We are not the largest MMO, but we have a passionate playerbase that actively builds connections. This community makes things happen! There is a rich lore associated with our MMO and I am constantly finding manifestations of that lore both in the game world that Turbine has created, and in the many events, tales, songs, and pageantry put on by players. Casual Stroll to Mordor has served as a focal point for all things LOTRO for many years. Bringing both in-game news and information as well as whimsical articles on cooking, beer, or even knitting! The community response to the Childs Play Fellowship Walk is nothing short of phenomenal!  This site at Casual Stroll to Mordor is hosted by the My Middle Earth network—a greater Tolkien Community that LOTRO is a part of. This community is a very special thing, made up of lore-nerds, casual players, raiders, freeps and creeps, musicians, socialites, artists and bloggers.

It has been my pleasure to serve this community over the past five years. So I am calling in some favors—I need your help to make this contest happen. I know that the community here in LOTRO can organize and accomplish things that no other online community can. So if you value community and what we have done for it at LMB, give me a vote at ! It requires a guildlaunch account, and each account can vote up to once a day from now until December 21st.

The Call of Music

When LOTRO launched, it had a feature never seen before or since in an MMO—an interactive music system. This system has spawned so much creativity and collaboration that I hardly know where to begin. I was first drawn to the Lonely Mountain Band after seeing Galenhir’s Music Video, Whisky in the Jar.

That video sparked a friendship that lasts to this day and has resulted in musical collaborations through the Lonely Mountain Band music project. That’s right—the music in LOTRO inspired us to go and make some music in real life as well! Two CDs to date and another on the way!

In-game music forms the core of nearly every social interaction in LOTRO. Whether it is stopping to listen and talk to a musician playing by the stables, hiring a band for a kin party, or attending an in-game concert, music makes connections happen in our game. Perhaps the best example of this is Weatherstock, the incredible music festival that the Lonely Mountain Band puts on each year on Landroval. Ten bands from across the servers come to play for an audience of over 500 players!  Each year I am struck by how much creativity and talent is displayed by these incredible bands.

In many ways, the Lonely Mountain Band carries the banner for the music system in LOTRO. We have three distinct bands within the kinship: Old Winyards, Bards, Beers, and Longbeards (BBB), and the Andune Ensemble. Our events have come to be associated with good music and emergent forms of gameplay. In the name of music, give a vote at!

The Call of Creativity

One of the amazing things about LOTRO is the sheer amount of creativity on display. Most games reward players for being efficient video game jockeys. But in LOTRO, there’s this other force at work drawing peoples creativity out. I’ve seen that creativity time and time again at Ales and Tales, where stories and original music are on display each week.

I’ve seen that creativity in the incredible videos put out by BBB.

I’ve seen that creativity in the style and artistry that so many put into their fashionable cosmetic outfits in-game.

CSTM has guides on hairstyles, cosmetics, and housing decor! So much creativity and art being created around a video game is simply astonishing to me. And I have done my best to create a kinship as part of a greater community that values and fosters this creativity. And so I ask you again—In the name of creativity, give a vote at!

The Call of Cuteness

My final appeal is a personal one. My daughter Harpermouse is an up and coming musician. This little lady has taken after me in real life by learning the harp, and in game by learning to freestyle live. In the past few months, she’s gotten over her initial shyness and learned to interact with the community in a playful and positive way. There isn’t another online community I would trust my daughter to. She has gotten so much positive feedback from her own expressions of creativity in music, riddles, and stories. We are currently working together on a theme song for our two twin elves, Silf and Sylf. The tune is her original work, and I present it to you here today for its first public viewing.

Silf and Sylf

This opportunity to teach music theory and lyrical composition would not have happened if not for the community and and support of friends and kin in this wonderful game of LOTRO. So if you believe in supporting sheer cuteness, vote at and make a little girl super happy on her birthday!

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Avatar of Harperella

52 Responses to “Top Guild Leader Contest — A Call to Arms”

  1. Floradine Says:

    Go Harperella!


  2. Cosmetic Lotro Says:

    Woohoo,you’re going to win this. The community is going to make it happen. Not a single doubt about it! /cheer


  3. Avatar of anthemisa
    anthemisa Says:

    :) Go Harper! I vote daily, for fun, but you already know, irregardless of the vote result, you are the best, LMB is the best!


  4. Avatar of Ranna Dylin
    Ranna Dylin Says:

    Three cheers for Harperella! She’s gaining on second place already – soon to be contending for first!


  5. susan Says:

    Your daughter has a pure voice, so sweet to listen to her songs. thanks for sharing


  6. Elinnea Says:

    That really is a lovely song. I will answer the Call of Cuteness!


  7. Lhinnthel Says:

    What a beautiful song! /cheers for Harperella!


  8. lorgelas Says:

    Go go Harperella!!


  9. Atair Says:

    Voted! Will make this a daily thing together with the Hytbold grind and will ask my kinnies to do the same.
    Also vouched to finally come and watch you live at next years Weatherstock!

    Atair, Riddermark


  10. Shutz Says:

    Even us Orcs are voting for Harperella!


  11. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Thank you,Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and even Orcs and men! We passed the 500 mark today!


  12. MIthrad Says:

    I’ve voted for your twice so far Harperella. I hope you can catch that guild leader from DC Universe, who has more than double the votes of anyone else. Please vote every day!


  13. Hobbitmeister Says:

    Signed up and voted! Will vote daily until the contest ends.

    Harperella is easily one of the shining stars of the LOTRO community. I hope she wins but that DCU leader might be hard to catch :(


  14. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    My kids woke up early and found me at the computer. They wanted to know the scores, so we had a look and they were ecstatic (as was I!). We took a little time and recorded this little thank you message:
    Sadly, when we checked the scores just 15 minutes later, it seems that Phoenix Crisis had accrued 48 votes! Still, we are gaining slowly but surely!


  15. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    In second place and feeling good!


  16. Tomrica Says:

    Vote once, vote often! On as many unique IPs as I can find! Go Harper!


  17. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    If you care to see some projections, I’ve got charts for you! Your aid is greatly appreciated!
    Daily Tallies:


  18. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Vote just once per player please! I want to win this fair and square, one vote per account.


    • Avatar of
      knowfere Says:

      The rules specifically state to have your friends, family, ect vote for you daily. So it IS fair and square for your fans and admirers to vote for you more than once. :)


  19. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Well, I just don’t want to sink to this level:
    Our chief competitor has a “ghost army” of fake accounts. I don’t want to sink to that level. I am currently in communication with the organizers about the subject with that graph as the smoking gun. Sometime last night Phoenix Crisis racked up 141 votes, up 700% from the night before. It may be that the ghost army was all facebook clones, because this morning the contest site was rebooted and will no longer accept facebook logins which are not directly associated with a guildlaunch account. In addition, they posted the following on Facebook this morning:

    We are in the second week of the Top Guild Leader contest brought to you by RIFT and here are the current standings. Will anyone step up and take the computer from Phoenix Crisis?

    Is this a hidden message that the Ghost Army is gone?


    • Avatar of Goldenstar
      Goldenstar Says:

      Does that mean I can’t use my facebook any longer? I wasn’t able to vote this morning but i thought it was just like a temporary error thing and i planned on trying again later.


  20. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    That’s right. I am still not sure if this is a bug or a feature. I can’t use Facebook to login to a legitimate account today. We will see if this change kills the ghost army or not when I get voting numbers overnight. Phoenix Crisis appears to have about 40-50 legitimate votes each day, and a ghost army of anywhere from 50 to 150, depending on the day. I think there are 2-5 players there that control 90% of their vote.


  21. Avatar of
    knowfere Says:

    I never used Facebook for my guild launch account, and I was able to log in and vote today after the last post I made here


  22. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Updates for the night… Phoenix Crisis really pulled out all the stops. They more than doubled yesterday’s vote count for a high of 183. Team Harp trailed with just 97, down 20% from yesterday.

    Things are not looking good at the moment if Phoenix Crisis can keep up that level of voting. I’m considering how best to tactfully widen the call, or if I should just throw in the towel and take the sunglasses. Here’s the day’s projections:

    Oh, and I was contacted by Fattalys today to defend his votes. He says he has 586 active players in his league. He challenged me on the 700% gain number (I provided numbers) and the ghost army reference (I said I can’t find any sign of him advertising on the web compared to all other contestants–he’s a ghost and has an army. I wish I had a ghost army!)

    Anyhow that’s it for the night. Vote, vote, vote! And here’s a little harping from today:

    I’ll try and provide a little tune each day to keep you interested! I hope comments on the blog are a good enough way to communicate!



  23. Floradine Says:

    I vote everyday and I hope a lot of your friends do the same.


  24. Hobbitmeister Says:

    Can we/should we put out a call in the LOTRO forums?
    Maybe a general call to all fans of the Weatherstock event?
    All that’s needed is a plea and links to here and the contest site.
    Surely the many fans of the single greatest event of it’s kind in MMOs
    would come to Harperella’s aid. It would be a small sacrafice to help
    her given consideration to all her efforts in organizing Weastherstock.

    Just a thought.


  25. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    I’m thinking about posting to LOTRO general forums. The main issue is that any thread sinks to the bottom unless it is buoyed by friends or trolls.


  26. Avatar of anthemisa
    anthemisa Says:

    voting early voting often…we need ‘the bounders’(ghostbusters) to kill ghost army!


  27. Bathor Says:

    I made an account just to vote for you, as I was really moved by your daughter’s song :)


  28. Kyle Says:

    I played Lord of the Rings Online when it first came out and haven’t played it in years but I must say, after reading this and listening to the music, it’s certainly tempting to come back. After a rough day at work, I just happened to be scrolling and happened upon this via Facebook and I’m glad I did. The harp music and your daughter’s lovely singing voice certainly brightened my evening. Also, I gave you a vote just for the good spirits. Best of luck!


  29. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Update 11/28: In the morning it looked like Phoenix Crisis might have decided to be more careful with giant bumps. There was only on bump in the nigh. We spent much of the day outpacing them in voting.

    At around 4:00 servertime, the servers went down and Turbine linked to the CSTM article in FB and Twitter. That resulted in a bump of about 80 votes! Twitter exploded with retweets. Thank you Twitterers!

    Shortly later by FATTALYS again with an upbeat and somewhat cryptic message. 5 minutes later, Phoenix got a big bump, followed by two smaller ones. This was all after midnight in French time. In all, they wracked up 120 votes over three short spikes, totalling 20-25 minutes.

    I am in contact with Guildlaunch about tightening security around using multiple accounts, and I do encourage everyone to observe the 1/1/1 rule:
    1 email address
    1 player
    1 account
    If you have a family member or friend who doesn’t mind you voting proxy, that is fine, but keep it 1/1/1. In this contest, a vote should equal a unit of social influence, not just the ability to churn out cheap email addresses and unique IPs.


  30. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Ok, I’ve fully stepped into General Discussion forum for my updates. Hopefully I don’t get beat up to badly…!&p=6547243&sp_login=1

    I’ll be posting the rest of my updates there.


  31. Avatar of Bandoras
    Bandoras Says:

    I’d like to take a second to speak on my first encounter with Harperella. You see, I’d just come to the Lonely Mountain Band. I was overwhelmed and after all this time and even being given the honor of being an Officer in this magnificent fellowship friends, the compassion of this organization still amazes me.

    Harperella is a busy, busy kinleader both in and out of game and leading the most well-known kinship in LOTRO is no small feat, not to say the least of Harp’s busy out-of-game life. Yet still, Harp found the time to set aside time for a new kinmate – a stranger, if you will – and connect. Harperella spent a solid hour with this new kinmate, Bandoras, and guided me in the creation of music. Not just the use of ABC files and the music system of LOTRO, but how to use that system to truly craft original songs. Now, truth be told, I’ve got the musical ability of a mushroom. The fact that Harperella took valuable time out of a busy schedule to help this strange new kinmate has stayed with me since I joined the Band.

    Harperella embodies all the virtues of the Lonely Mountain Band and all that the word “kinship” can mean. Here’s to you, Harp!

    Far Apart, Never Alone!


  32. Pasduil Says:

    Side note: Your kin site doesn’t seem to mention anywhere what server you are on.


  33. Wrena Says:

    Greetings from Omerta officer, Gilrain!

    Voted and will keep on voting. Far Apart, Never Alone! Good luck <3



  34. Menstan Says:

    Don’t give in, keep the Lotro fires burning


  35. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    Your diligence has paid off! Harperella is now in the lead!
    All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king.

    Keep up the voting, we want a blow out finale!


    • Avatar of anthemisa
    • Zyngor Says:

      Just noticed the retallying of votes – very nice work, Harperella – you deserve it for all the work you have put into strengthening the LOTRO community!

      I will do my best to keep placing my daily vote, and I’m sure we all wish you the best of luck in the homestretch!


  36. Dejoule Says:

    Having been involved in a previous contest that PC came late to and… ‘won’ using the same methods Harperella has detailed above, I’m pleased to see that the truth has been uncovered and that the winner of this contest will be decided fairly rather than by illegal means. The amount of effort Harperella has put into proving that illegal votes were being cast is impressive, and all throughout she has maintained a very professional and upbeat demeanour.

    She is absolutely a credit to the LORTO community and if there were more people out there like her then the MMO world would be a better place for it. I hope you win this contest and can give your daughter the laptop she wants so badly.



    • Harperella Says:

      Dejoule and I had an eerily similar experience with the ghost army. And I probably would have done the same thing (wait and see) if I hadn’t seen what happened to him in the previous contest. When I saw that history was repeating itself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Though I can’t go back in time to repair the previous contest, I can share some of what this current contest has to offer. If I win this thing, I am sending all the Rift codes to Dejoule and his friends. They are actively playing that game and have a number of old guildies who haven’t yet joined them due to lack of funding for yet another MMO. Its no replacement for a lost laptop, but it is something.



  37. Ainslee Says:

    Hey Harper,

    I’m Dejoule’s wife and he’s been telling all about your efforts with the competition. I had lost all hope about that laptop and am glad to hear that this one you will win is going to a good home. :)
    I’ve included Asylum’s roleplay website for you if you wish to pop your head in and say hi. :) You’re welcome to create an account and wave ^^

    I’m glad to hear all this is going to have a happy ending. ^^ And I hope Dejoule’s surprised me with a laptop for Xmas.. :P


  38. aphie Says:

    Harper Harper Harper – I am sending you BOXES AND BOXES of awesomeness gold stars and cookies!!

    THANK YOU for all the hard work you put in, to make that contest *fair*!

    *standing ovation*



  39. Avatar of Harperella
    Harperella Says:

    The contest at last is concluded, and Harperella is voted Top Guild Leader! Thank you all for the continual support through thick and thin! This is truly a great community, and I intend to give back in every way I can!



  40. Dejoule Says:

    Congratulations! And well done for being so determined to prove just how the contest was being manipulated :)

    You’ve made GuildLaunch contests fairer for everyone in future, and that can only be a good thing!



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