Updated with 2020 dates! The Daylight Saving Time switch is near, and nobody knows just what the time is in LOTRO anymore!
A recurring problem in LOTRO is to give a specific, widely understood start time for events in the game. The problem has many causes:
- LOTRO players are located in different time zones across the world.
- Time abbreviations like GMT, EST, BST etc. etc. are somewhat mysterious for most.
- Daylight Saving Time is not a universal practice and may be in effect at different dates in different time zones.
This uncertainty can wreak havoc on event planning in Lotro, with people showing up at wildly different times for the same event.
So how can you make sure that everyone understands just when to show up for your event? Here’s how!
Servertime is your friend
The most important thing to remember is this: All servers in LOTRO use the same time!
This is also true for the former EU servers that used to be run by Codemasters (like Laurelin), they all use the same servertime as the former US ones. And this makes it easier to state a universally understood time for LOTRO events.
Finding the servertime is easy when you are logged into the game. You just type the command “/servertime” in the chat window, and the current servertime will show. The time shown will be true for all servers.
Should you not be in the game, just remember that servertime is the same as the local time in Boston, US, where the LOTRO servers are located. Boston time is in the US Eastern Time Zone. So servertime is the same as the current US Eastern Time, shown when you click the previous link.
How do I convert from my own time zone to servertime?
Simple. Use one of the many time zone converters out there. Here is one at timeanddate.com.
In the fields of “Select time and place to convert from”, just add the desired date/time for your event in the upper field. Search for your home city in “Location”. Then head down to the “Select places to convert to” fields and search for Boston in “Location 1”. Press “Convert”.
The shown time for Boston in your search result is the servertime for your event.
Why do time related issues crop up anyway?
Even though it might sound simple to use servertime as “the LOTRO time”, there are still several challenges in making it universally understood for LOTRO players. Besides the fact that many players simply do not know about the concept of servertime, two sticky issues are:
- Many think that the time difference between their local time zone and servertime is fixed through the year. It is not necessarily so, because countries move to or off Daylight Saving Time at different dates.
- Some use GMT instead of servertime, thinking it is the same as current UK/London time all through the year. This is only true in the winter, once again due to Daylight Saving Time
Here is some information about the latter two bullet points.
The Daylight Saving Time issue
Many countries follow the practice of Daylight Saving Time (DST). This involves advancing clocks during summer months so that people can experience more daylight in the evenings. Typically, users of DST adjust clocks forward one hour near the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn.
However, the tricky part is that countries do not adjust their clocks at the same dates.
I’ll use the difference between servertime and UK/London Time as an example here, since most events on Laurelin are given in UK time. The difference between UK time and US Eastern Time (servertime) is usually five hours. 8PM UK is the same as 3PM servertime.
Then DST comes in and messes up things a bit.
The EU, and thus also the UK, adopts DST according to the following schedule:
- DST starts: Last Sunday in March, early morning
- DST ends: Last Sunday in October, early morning
The schedule for the states of the United States that adopt DST are:
- DST starts: Second Sunday in March, early morning
- DST ends: First Sunday of November, early morning
This means that for one week in the autumn and for 2-3 weeks in the spring, the time difference between UK/London time and servertime is just four hours. These weeks, 8PM UK is the same as 4PM servertime. Naturally, this leads to a few confuzzlements for event planning these weeks, so it is good to be aware of the issue.
The DST changes for 2020 are:
- Sunday March 8: US starts DST, clocks turn forward one hour, from 2AM to 3AM
- Sunday March 29: UK starts DST, clocks turn forward one hour, from 1AM to 2AM
- Sunday October 25: UK ends DST, clocks turn back one hour, from 2AM to 1AM
- Sunday November 1: US ends DST, clocks turn back one hour, from 2AM to 1AM
The DST changes for 2021 are:
- Sunday March 14: US starts DST, clocks turn forward one hour, from 2AM to 3AM
- Sunday March 28: UK starts DST, clocks turn forward one hour, from 1AM to 2AM
- Sunday October 31: UK ends DST, clocks turn back one hour, from 2AM to 1AM
- Sunday November 7: US ends DST, clocks turn back one hour, from 2AM to 1AM
GMT is not necessarily UK time
Another misconception related to international time keeping is that UK time is the same as Greenwich Mean Time, GMT.
It isn’t! This is only true in the winter. When Daylight Saving Time is in effect, the UK follows GMT+1, British Summer Time.
Some time zones and acronyms
- GMT = Greenwich Mean Time. The time in the UK during the winter.
- BST = British Summer Time. The time in the UK during the summer, when Daylight Savings Time is in effect. GMT+1, one hour ahead of GMT
- EST = Eastern Standard Time. The time in the US Eastern zone during the winter. GMT-5, five hours behind GMT
- EDT = Eastern Daylight Time. The time in the US Eastern zone during the summer, when Daylight Savings Time is in effect. GMT-4, four hours behind GMT.
LinaWillowwood Eastern Daylight Time (GMT-4)
inge_loots That was quick! Have a biscuit! *hands over a honey oat one*
LinaWillowwood Ah, that’s useful! Cheers!
wiberic Thanks! *cheers*
and of course things get even worse for us at the bottom of the world…thank god for the little time tool or you need to be a mathmetician to work out the time differences…currently its daylight savings for us in Aussie but thats changing shortly..in a nutshell youll probably see even less of me soon as events that happen for me at 6am like GFD will now start at 4am…and as much as i love you all 4am is a bit harsh in anyones book *grins*
DinkumTangle 4AM? Eek! That’s just horrible! *shivers*
linawillow DinkumTangle especially because it will also be winter..hmm i dont think the wife will let me use the laptop in bed at that time …id end up wearing it *grins*
Great! Thanks fer this. I’ll be early to rehearsals next time * chuckles* Sure is a grand burrow yer got ere miss Lina! Lots a interesting books and wonderful pictures!
VedocDiggins Welcome to the burrow, master Vedoc! Enjoy yer visits here!
Dear me! So confusing, all this! Thanks for explaining, Miss Lina! Luckily it is always now and now is the bestest time there is!
Lulufere Tee hee. True! And welcome to the burrow!
What I did was put a second clock in my Windows clock window (http://tinyurl.com/hhlpbc6), for offline use (one local time, one EST). Ingame I use CTime and Predict In-Game Time (plugins), one for my local time, and one for gametime.
Works like the proverbial charm :)
This is the “official” writeup on time zone messaging I did for our community employee wiki:
A NOTE ABOUT TIME ZONES: We have historically had some difficulty in syncing our downtime messaging to be accurate with GMT as it relates to Daylight Saving Time. This is what you need to know:
GMT never moves. It is not the same as English time.
Eastern Standard Time NEVER moves, and is always GMT -5.
Eastern Daylight Time NEVER moves, and is always GMT -4.
EASTERN TIME, which Standing Stone Games’ headquarters actually operates in, moves, corresponding with EST in the winter, and EDT in the summer.
Don’t cause confusion! Whenever we “fall back”, we are now on Eastern Standard Time, which means that downtime messaging should be GMT-5. After we “spring forward”, we are now on GMT-4.
Additional note for LOTRO:
LOTRO has opted to localize downtime messaging to include the downtime time in whatever the actual time would be for France and Germany, which adds some additional layers of error possibility. Some things to note:
Typically, both France and Germany are six hours ahead of us. Except for when they are not.
During the gap between when the U.S. “springs forward” to observe Daylight Saving Time and the time that Germany and France move their clocks forward, these countries will be five hours ahead of us. During the gap between when Europe falls back (before the U.S. does) and the time the U.S. “falls back” to no longer observe Daylight Saving Time (and switch to Daylight Standard Time) they will again be five hours ahead of us.
This gap can change every year, for 2013 for example:
U.S. – Daylight Saving runs from Sunday, March 10 Sunday, November 3
France/Germany – Sunday, March 31 to Sunday, October 27
SO: For 2013, between March 10 and March 31st, France and Germany would be five hours ahead of us, but still on MEZ (Germany) or MET (Middle European Time)/CET (Central European Time). Once France and Germany begin observing “summer time”, they will once again be six hours ahead of us and the abbreviation becomes MESZ (summer added) and CEST (Central European Summer Time.)
Between October 27th and November 3rd, France and Germany will once again be five hours ahead of us, and on MEZ/CET while we remain on DST (Eastern Daylight Time, EDT.)
Thanks! Interesting to see how these time changes impact on the developer’s plans and messaging too.
Every spring/autumn, these weeks are a bit bothersome for in-game event attendees. I guess the problem is increasing too. Laurelin these days has a (seemingly) growing US player base, in addition to the traditional EU contingent, so time mix-ups are common during the DST transitions.
At least in the hobbit community, we try to get the message out. There is usually an article posted about it in the “in-game hobbit newspaper too, the Bramblebury Gazette, and I suspect one might show up there soon: