Friday, February 22, 2019

Sad News

It is with a heavy heart that I am making this post.

I just found out this evening that Shindurza was apparently in a car accident about a week ago and did not survive. I have no idea if any of his family was with him; I hope and pray they are OK.

Some of you may not know who I'm talking about, but Shindurza was the founder and guild leader of "Destiny", a guild on the Cannith server of DDO.

When I first started playing DDO, I was happy to just be a solo player and never gave a second thought (or even a first one, for that matter) about joining a guild.  This is back in the day when DDO also had individual blog pages for each of their player-base.  I was a relatively prolific blogger on the old "MyDDO" website, as were several others I 'met' there, such as Geoff Hanna, Mizzaroo, Evennote, LrdSlvrhnd, Micki, Bonnie Bew, and a few others.

One day, another relatively prolific blogger by the handle "Shindurza" sends me a message saying he was going to start a guild made up of MyDDO bloggers, who seemed to have similar styles of writing, if not play styles (as best as one can tell from only reading posts), and asked if I wanted to join.

I was taken aback.  In many ways, I am a stereotypical nerd who is not very outgoing and introverted until I "warm up" to you.  So I had to think about it - did I want to join a guild with a bunch of people I only knew through their postings on MyDDO?  After a couple of days, I decided "why not?"  And the rest, as they say, is history. The early days of the guild found me quite hesitant to speak in voice chat, but eventually, I got over it.

Back then, Shin ran DDO almost every night and while he lived in the Eastern time zone and I live in the Pacific time zone (a 3-hour difference, with him being later than me), we ran together nearly every night (not just "guild night").  We'd start around 10PM Eastern (7PM Pacific) and run until about midnight, or so (Eastern).  We did this for a couple of years, taking only the occasional small break when he would go on vacation with his family or something came up on specific nights that would prevent one of us from playing.  Most of the time, it was just he and I, except for guild night.

I am still a fairly private person and not one who revels in social media, so we were never Facebook friends, but we did e-mail fairly regularly and of course met up inside various games we both played (and enjoyed) - DDO, LotRO, NWO, and even a bit of ESO.  He would burn out on DDO and then switch to another game and run that nearly exclusively for a while, but would usually return to DDO after taking a break from it.  That's how we got involved in NWO.

He had a magazine subscription or something that allowed him access during some of the closed beta sessions.  He had a couple of extra beta-keys and sent me one.  PerfectWorld, the creators of NWO and what I still consider to be a weird mechanic for starting a guild - you have to have (5) separate account holders (all of at least level 15, I think) simultaneous in the party in oder to form a guild.  The stupid thing is - once the guild is formed, the leader can kick everyone else out and have a "guild of one", should they so choose (so why even bother with the 'five player' rule?).  I think it was something like one or two days after NWO announced they were going to have guilds (while still in beta) that Shin signed up for a total of five (free) accounts so he could form a guild.  It took him a couple of days to run up a toon in all five accounts to the required minimum level, but he did.  Prior to forming the guild, he asked my what I thought a good guild name would be.

Well, I had it in my head for some time by then that if I were going to start a guild, I was going to call it "Stalwart Adventurers, Inc." (which is the name of my guild on Argonnessen server of DDO) - so I told him that name and that's the name he used for our guild in NWO.  (It is "my" guild name, and the one I use in other games, as well, but I was fine with him using it - it was "our" guild, after all.)

He invited a group of three other players (making a total of five of us) to join the guild and come play NWO once a week.  We had a good turn out for several months, but then, Shin got burned out on NWO and stopped playing, and without him, the guild soft of fell apart.  Not entirely, though - two of us still play on a weekly basis, which actually makes us one of the oldest, continuously active guilds in NWO (though possibly the smallest, too).  Shin did try and get back into NWO, but he ran into some technical issue which caused his computer to crash whenever he tried starting NWO, so he just gave up on it, after awhile.

Recently, he had been spending most of his time playing LotRO.  And we were once again running quite regularly on a weekly basis, with a couple of other guildies.  I had just noticed that he had not logged in for about a week and was about to e-mail him to see if everything was alright when we received the news of his passing.  Needless to say, we were all shocked.  I had always assumed he was older than I, but recently I discovered he was actually a few years younger, him having turned 50 not that long ago (yes, I am "that" old).  I am still in shock, as the reality of his passing is slowly starting to fully sink in.

I will miss my gaming buddy.

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