Preparing For A Race
No one can run a successful race alone. You will need dedicated volunteers to help you host the event. Here are the jobs that you may want to assign to your volunteers.
- Checkpoint Judge – Stands at a race course checkpoint, takes screenshots of the lead riders when they pass, and keeps an eye on the Raid to make sure no riders activate buffs.
- Layer Wrangler – Pulls players into the correct layer.
- Town Crier – Advertises for the event in various Regional and user channels (alesandtales, shire-moot, etc.)
- Band Leader – Provides musical entertainment at the pre-race party.
- Booze Master – Distributes drink and pipeweed to the cheering crowd.
- Social Reporter – Takes screenshots. Keeps the advertising forum posts bumped to page one. Records video if possible.
- Bookie – Takes bets on the jockeys.
First-time judges may want to read this helpful how-to article.
Carefully design your race course. Make sure that you will have enough judges to properly monitor the course. Tips are available if you need help designing a race course. This article will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that make a course easy to cheat. If possible, publish a map and screenshots of the course ahead of time. Clever riders will want to practice before race day.
Decide on the rules of your race. This list of Windy Acres Ranch racing rules may serve as a good starting point.
Advertising Your Race
It is important to advertise the upcoming event. Participants will need to know the following:
- The date and time of the race. Most times are given in EST, otherwise known as Shire time.
- The specific location of the race. For example, “Duillond, Ered Luin, near the stables.”
- How to sign up. This includes who to contact, how to register (email, in-game mail, /tell etc), when sign-ups start and when they end.
- How many riders will be allowed to sign up.
- Which mounts are allowed. Can they ride goats? Are 168% speed mounts accepted?
- Whether or not perks and speed buffs can be used during the race.
- Any special rules or restrictions. For example, are previous winners allowed to compete?
- The entry fee, if any.
- The prizes that will be awarded after the race.
There are several good places to advertise your event.
- Here on the Windy Acres site. (Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with details.)
- The my.lotro.com forums.
- The Landroval Times web page.
- Your kinship’s web site.
- Any other LotrO blogs that advertise events.
- In the Regional or OOC channels of all major cities in the game. You may want to create a text file with a standard advertisement, so that you can easily copy and paste the ad into chat channels. To save time and travel expenses, ask your kin-mates to advertise in their local channels.
- On the player-created channel “shire-moot”.
Race Day – Before The Race
Here is a description of the race master’s duties on the day of the event, roughly in chronological order.
- Do everything that you can to minimize lag. You can shut down programs other than LotRO, unload plugins that you don’t need, reduce graphics settings, and so forth.
- Set up your chat window and tabs. Make sure that your chat window is big enough to prevent messages from scrolling away too quickly. Use tabs and filters to sort the text in your chat window. For example, reserve one tab for /tells and another for a private channel where you can speak with your judges.
- Accept sign-ups. It is helpful to ask that all riders register by sending a /tell.
- Organize your judges by inviting them into a raid group. Make sure they know which checkpoint they are assigned to and how it should be passed. Ask them to help answer questions.
- Stop taking questions and sign-ups from the public. Concentrate your attention on the judges and riders. This will minimize pre-race chaos.
- Confirm that all riders are at the race location. If they are, invite them into the raid group. Remind them to use /ra instead of /f to communicate.
- If a band is playing at your event, ask them to stop. Let the crowd know that the race is about to begin.
- Explain the rules of the race. You can do this in raid chat, or if you wish the audience to hear, use /shout. Avoid using /say, as a game bug will prevent everyone from hearing you. You may wish to prepare the rules in a text file ahead of time, so that you can quickly copy and paste them into chat.
- Work with the judges to make sure the riders have turned off all buffs. To make the job easier for your judges, have riders turn off all buffs, even those not related to speed. It is much harder to cheat if there are no icons beneath names.
- Send the judges to their checkpoints. Make sure that they don’t have any questions and are ready to take screenshots. They should have floating character names turned on.
- Take the riders on a pace lap of the course. Use the raid interface to place a star marker over your head. This will make it easier for the riders to follow you. Stop at each checkpoint in case someone has a question.
- Play the “Call To Post”. This is optional but adds flavor to your event.
- Make sure everyone lines up properly at the start line. This should be based on character position, not the nose of each mount.
- Turn off your UI (user interface) and take a few screenshots. These will come in handy later when you post the race results.
Once in a while, a rider will cause problems before the race begins. Perhaps they can’t follow directions. Maybe they are acting in an unsportsmanlike fashion or creating spam. Do not hesitate to disqualify these players. Also beware of players who try to run the race without signing up. Make sure that they don’t win, even if they cross the finish line first.
Race Day – During And After
- Use /charge to begin the race. Call everyone back if there is a false start (this is rare). The /charge emote allows riders to see the start of the race by reading text, hearing a sound, or seeing an animation. This is more effective than using /say since it is rare that a rider will miss all three indicators.
- Move to the finish line and position yourself to take screenshots as the lead riders arrive. Make sure that you are standing in a different location than your finish line judge, so that you will have two different points of view.
- Take screenshots of the lead riders. You will need to take several in rapid succession. Make sure that you get screenshots of at least the first five riders to cross the finish line.
- Ask the riders and audience to wait while the judges confer to determine the winners.
- Privately, ask the other finish line judge for confirmation of the top five riders. Remember to judge based on the position of the rider, not the mount’s nose, so that ponies are not at a disadvantage.
- Check with each judge to confirm that those five riders passed their checkpoint correctly. If a rider missed a checkpoint, drop them from the list of potential winners.
- If any riders report cheating, ask them to immediately email you a screenshot with evidence. Investigate and make a decision.
- Announce the three winners with /shout and on the local OOC or RP channel. To be more dramatic, start with third place and work your way to first. Hand out prizes as you go.
- Ask the winners to step aside and mount up for screenshots. Set your graphics settings as high as you can, hide your UI, and snap! Let people know where to send their screenshots if you would like additional artistic contributions to your event.
- Send your race results and your best screenshot to email@example.com if you would like them published on this site.
This may seem like quite a lot, but it gets easier with practice. Take each task one at a time. Be patient with yourself. Let your friends help. Ignore the trolls. As long as you and most of the riders have fun, your event is a success!