What the Shire Means to Me
Maybe I'm just feeling a bit sentimental tonight (or maybe it's just the wine), but I was just looking through some old Shire screenshots, forum posts, and other bits of history, and oh boy...
I just felt like externalizing how much this server and this community means to me. In my mind, the Shire and Minecraft are the same entity -- I do not launch Minecraft and putter about in a singleplayer world, nor do I join other servers (unless it's to do what I respect the server too much to inflict upon it). When I launch Minecraft, I launch Shirecraft. Simple as.
When I look back, I really did grow up on this server. I joined when I was 12 years old (masquerading as a 14 year old, as if it made that much of a difference). I had just started middle school, and had really only been playing Minecraft for a year prior. I remember one of my first moments was Andy, as Andy does, showing me around the server in a desperate attempt to have me join -- so, basically, Fulfwotz is his fault -- and I finally submitted an application.
I headed to Tyronak, so jittered up on my own creative fumes, and ready to build. What, might you ask, did I build when confronted with the capacity to build anything I could possibly dream of?
I built my own house. I built my own fucking house. That's how inspired I was!
Andy spoiled me with nearly every building material I needed, which I'm pretty sure was against the rules, @nebbers. He then moved my finished build to a spot not far from Venice after I got promoted. I love Andy. He was like my Shire guardian angel. Or like an abusive but well-intentioned father.
Back then, I was silly, vain, and thought I was far more sophisticated than I actually was. Fast forward eight years later, I am silly, vain, and think I am far more sophisticated than I actually am. Like I said, I started playing when I was in middle school, and now I'm in my second year of university. This server has tolerated me through my most unbearable phases. This is the server that survived a Sammichian puberty. I both thank and commend you all for that.
Through playing on the Shire, I was able to build things I would never have otherwise conceived of. Fulfwotz, Caffa, Castle Mugg, the Villa se Vespania, Schloss Sammlutz, Niflheim Palace, the Verdenes, the list goes on and on... and to make no mention of the lore I had such an amazing time writing and developing. The Shire allowed me to create an entire world of my own, bound by nothing except what I was capable of building. It allowed me to create a fleshed-out yet entirely fictitious nation and interact with the other nations of the Shire... for better or worse.
However, at the end of the day, all of that pales in comparison to the relationships I've taken away from this server. No matter what I was going through, who my friends at the time were, I knew that the Shire was always there, familiar and comfortable.
@CoffeeAndChill would always be there to alternate between tormenting me and spoiling me. @Hay would always be there to be my eternal blood sister and to receive the brunt of my diplomatic abuse. @EnderKilla would always be there as my partner-in-crime and closest ally. @nebbers would always be there after I typed his name three times in the chat to prove to someone that it indeed summons him. @Jimmy would always be there to piss me off, make me laugh, and be the Tom to my Jerry. @0031benjy would always be there to match my crassness to a disturbing degree.
As I sit here, I had nearly a dozen more people to pick out and witty remarks to type about them, but I realized that the list just kept growing and growing. I'd be here all night if I called out every person I wanted to, because I seriously love you all so much -- and, on a sadder note, many of the people I'd want to thank are no longer active, and would not see this post anyway. If you feel slighted because I didn't mention you, please rest easy with the knowledge that I most certainly have thought about you. I think about you all, and the server, all the time.
I know the server isn't as active as it used to be, and maybe one day that might change. It's sad to see at first, but now I can't help but look back on it like a giant scrapbook of everything me and my friends did. Every block, every build, every region and STA station and ancient glob of glowstone is a memory we all share. It's usually empty, but sometimes we'll all come creeping out of the woodwork on some random special day, and I rest easy with the knowledge that it's just like old times, or as if no time had passed at all.
The server might be slow, but I am content in knowing it looms large in all of our hearts, and it'll always be there for us to visit. I know I will when I'm finally home again.
Maybe I'll see you guys there... and if not, I'll still have a blast revisiting all those old memories of when we used to play.