Well, almost. At the time of my writing, it's past midnight, which means that for me, there's less than 24 hours left in this year.
It's also the end of another year of the Plaza, the eleventh of its time. It seems so long ago that many of us discovered this place, perhaps wide-eyed, wondering what to expect. For others it is more recent, perhaps as recent as this week or this day; everyone comes together in their love for LotR, the Hobbit and Tolkien. And all will be unendingly grateful to find a community as great as ours. A community that respects each other, even when they differ in opinion. A community that can fight each other in RPGs and laugh over it in the OOC thread. A community that can quibble amiably over the finer points of lore without losing sight of the person behind the username and picture. In short, a community of kindness, of friendship, and of love.
Many things have happened in this decade plus one. Eleven years ago, the much-anticipated Fellowship of the Ring had just hit the cinemas. Many people were raving about it; it enjoyed an until then unprecedented popularity, for a film in the fantasy genre. Just like the novel did in 1954, the films paved the way for many more films of its kind; Hollywood had discovered epic fantasy as a worthwhile endeavour.
Now, the first of the Hobbit-trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, has just hit the the theatres. Just as anticipated, though perhaps not as popular; it might be the novelty wore of. However, the discussions on its merits and defects are lively and manifold in our Movies forum! And the arrival of LotR's 'prequel' has caused many new members to discover the plaza to play and quibble with us. It also brought back quite a few of our older members, who are of course always welcomed back; for there will always be some who remember old friends, and everyone enjoys making new ones.
The plaza has gone through many changes in eleven years. Who amongst us can remember the first few months, when everything was crazy, when there were only a few kingdoms and when Foo reigned supreme? By the time I joined, in September 2002, the plaza had settled down somewhat. The kingdoms were established, Fangorn had just been added as the eighth kingdom, the community had formed but was growing larger and larger by the day. It was not long after that Lothlórien completed the Kingdom set, a set up that lasted for another six years to the enjoyment of many.
Then what was probably plaza's biggest change happened. The Kingdoms disappeared, merging into the Regions we have now, where expected and unexpected friends met in play. For three years we have played within the setting of TA 3014, and with the occasional bump it has been a wild and pleasant ride.
At the start of December, another big change happened for the Plaza. After nearly eleven years of being a WebWiz-based forum, it was time for something fresh and new. After lots of work on part of the admins and after many hours of coding by Faldras, the Plaza was switched over to vBulletin. The migration took a bit longer than anticipated, but after a few days we had our beloved Plaza back again! It will still take quite a few hours to fix every little corner of the Plaza to perfection, but slowly, we're getting there. And the new Plaza looks quite snazzy, if I may say so myself! We hope you're enjoying it as much as we are!
Ah, this has become a little longer than I had previously anticipated, having lost myself in reminiscence. The Plaza has been such a pillar in my life for over ten years, and I'm sure some of you will recognize the feeling. =) Please forgive me my lapse, but I got a little nostalgic over Plaza's past and very excited about Plaza's future! I hope to share it with all of you.
The only thing that is left me is to wish you all, from the RAM team, a very happy new year! Whether you're going to watch the ball drop, or attending a rad party, or enjoying the company of your loved ones and friends in the privacy of your own home, we hope you will have a blast saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new one! Thank you for being with us on this wonderful forum, and we'll see you in the new year!