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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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It's all about insecurities, Coss.  I don't know how many freeps I saw complain about the Reavers and their 'OP' skill 'impale'. They'd die and say they wished that took some 'skill'...as if using your most potent skill somehow meant you were not skilled.  Go figure.

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I have never understood why using all the skills your class has is seen as bad.

 

When I played Champ, they'd kick off the minute I used a bubble... yet Wargs were apparently fine to use their continuous bubble without issue. It's all about double-standards. If they know they can't win against a class if they use X, Y and Z, they'll demand that those skills aren't used.

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When I played Champ, they'd kick off the minute I used a bubble... yet Wargs were apparently fine to use their continuous bubble without issue. It's all about double-standards. If they know they can't win against a class if they use X, Y and Z, they'll demand that those skills aren't used.

This is why when I did an "organized" 1v1 I would insist on a best out of 3, then if the Freep used their oh shit skills they would be on cool down in the next round. Not that I did many of these, I loathe "oragnized" 1v1's, I prefer impromptu 1v1's. Someone catches me all by myself, game on, same if I catch someone alone. How you deal with a surprise attack is the heart of PvP for me.

 

Speaking of "organized" 1v1's. I once had one with a big mouthed Burg. As soon as he stealthed I went into my short burrow which caused the Burg to de-stealth and start doing laugh emotes. I could never understand why a Burg or Warg should be able to start off in stealth in an organized 1v1 if I can't start from my burrow, why should I concede 1/3 of my morale at the start of a fight?

 

@Bohemond I agree with every word you wrote, well said. Same goes with Dal and LV, don't go into a PvP zone and then QQ about dying.

 

All in all, I say if your class has a skill, use it! That's what I loved about LOTRO PvP the most, non-mirrored classes.

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...

 

Very interesting post, thank you for sharing this information.

 

If some sorts of NDA or other legal barriers (even if you're not with Turbine anymore) don't obstruct you, what else could you tell us "from the kitchen"?

PvMP put aside --because you already shared a lot about it, thanks again-- is there something else that you totally liked or disliked during your work on the game?

How was the 'atmosphere' in the studio, did people cooperate efficiently and in a friendly manner with each other?

What do you think was the biggest change after WB took over?

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 We tried to do too much with too little, attempting the LOTRO console game, building a proprietary downloader (Propel), mock ups of a Harry Potter MMO to woo WB...all of which soaked up bodies and millions and came to nothing. To me IC was classic Turbine, even in the WB era.

 

Wait, what? Are you saying that Turbine™ actually tried to make a console version of LotR:O™?

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Aylwen, your posts are very interesting read, thank you for answering with so many details. I haven't been on the inside of any game --although I've played many-- so it is natural to be curious, to an extent, about how the meal is cooked in the kitchen.

Not to speak on behalf of the entire forum, but I'd speculate this would be the case for most of us, and I'm sure I'm not the only one curious about the insides of Turbine and LOTRO, because certainly many people became very disappointed by the game's direction and would like to know why and how it ended into a pathetic abomination of its former self.

Several points in your posts, as expected, generated even more questions on my side. Please feel free to ignore those that are uncomfortable to answer, for whatever reason.

I'll quote short parts of your posts and then ask some questions. This is not to pull your sentences out of context, but just to put the question in the right perspective. So here it goes:
 

And many of the remaining comrades I had at Turbine were culled in the last round of layoffs (thanks to Infinite Crisis...)

I'm sorry for your friends. But what you say is something many of us suspected is happening since the beginning of the IC development - that it drains the blood from LOTRO, in one way or another. Could you somehow 'quantify' that damage? How much did IC hinder LOTRO? Did IC finally turn out to be an epic fail as a game, and why?
 

...there were a lot of people who I didn't think brought much to the table even if they were perfectly decent folks. Zombie Columbus was one of them.

Not to point fingers at people, just asking: What does it mean 'to bring something to the table'? Didn't these folks just do their regular jobs properly, or was it an absence of creativity and new ideas for the game's development?
 

We were hurting bad after SoM-subs were declining hard-and F2P was inevitable. But I knew it was never going to be the same. But if you ask me things took a wrong turn with MoM if not sooner.

Very interesting. Officially, Turbine have always been very secretive (on their forums) about game population numbers, although Rick mentioned intentionally some info on the subject, and then slipped some more unintentionally :) The period with no new expansion after SoM was quite long. Do you think that was the problem? Also, many people remember MoM as the high peak for the game, but here you mention it was the turning point downwards, and maybe even sooner than that? If you have to point your finger at one or two specific things and say 'Here is the wrong turn', what would those be? WB shouldn't have been involved at that point, or am I wrong?

The entire MMO industry would probably like to know how to remain sub-only. Blizzard/WoW did it, but OK - they are exceptional and off the charts in many ways. But EVE also did it, for example. Some other games undergo the struggle down to the B2P point, but not F2P. Apparently LOTRO couldn't do it, so... why?
 

...attempting the LOTRO console game, building a proprietary downloader (Propel), mock ups of a Harry Potter MMO to woo WB...

Wow, wow, wow. What are all these tings? Never heard of any of them :)
'...to woo WB'? Really? :)
 

The Content devs on the other hand...I'll just say it: apart from Maki, Dan Oulette, and a few others, were a bunch of bums. If you were a LOTRO player, you'd have felt the same. Some weren't fit to log player bugs, much less design.

How interesting. It means incompetency within the ranks, not that I'm surprised. And that was also during the old Turbine, before WB? Did you work with Made of Lions (MoL) and what is your opinion about her content (she is in Content, right?)? Her work is generally praised on the official forums.
If it's not going too far, would you give examples about stupid decisions in Content (perhaps without mentioning names)?
 

Apart from perhaps Kate, nobody was happy about the move to f2p.

Ah, the devil herself :)) You know, many disgruntled people would blame her first for the downfall of LOTRO, or at least for aggravating the process if not starting it. And why was she happy about the move to F2P? Why only she?
 

...Live events ala Amarthiel (apart from some of the Content devs acting like asshats during that event)...

LOL, OK I have to ask - what do you mean by that? What acting exactly?

 

Again, thanks a lot for you time to answer the previous questions. It was a very nice sneak peek behind the scenes. Much appreciated.

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Him mentioning MoM as the beginning of the slide doesn't surprise me.  Yes most US remember MoM as a high water mark but keep in mind lead/lag time in development particularly mmo's.  MoM development probably didn't start all that long after SoA launched.  2nd SoM didn't happen in a vacuum; to miss the mark so wide from the bar SoA and MoM set, that had to be caused by something/things.(EDIT: and logically most/all those things happened during MoM, not the day before SoM launched)  And just like SoA>Mom SoM development probably didn't start all that long after MoM launch.  There is always  lag from when things start happening to when we see it as players.

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Very interesting to read your stories, Aylwen, thank you for taking the time to write them here.

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Very interesting to read your stories, Aylwen, thank you for taking the time to write them here.

No problem, and sorry for the walls of text. I guess after six months off the game after it bring such a central part of my life for so long, it's kind of cathartic to talk about it from a distance.

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No problem, and sorry for the walls of text. I guess after six months off the game after it bring such a central part of my life for so long, it's kind of cathartic to talk about it from a distance.

no need to apologize to me.  as someone who has been poking at tidbits of information, with sub par google-fu i might add, pretty much since joining this board...  i found it very satisfying to read.

 

a perspective from the inside is appreciated & i suspect i am not part of a minority there.

 

Infinite Crisis continues to this day because of the larger franchise arch of Warner in that area & as i suspected, and you confirmed...  the initial sunken costs (mostly on marketing the game) were exorbitant.  like Dawngate, it should have had its plug pulled, but those who simply DO NOT UNDERSTAND the current MOBA scene, or where it is headed, will never see their product isn't going to compete in that market.  Turbine have simply made too many critical errors to correct from.  & argueably, the concept from inception (unique superhero identities and powers & good/evil alignments... shoehorned into battle arena mechanics, where much of that is canceled out and nullified) was NEVER a good pairing.

 

it has fixated this companies resources and shrunken talent in completely the wrong direction.

 

There was no way IC could have succeeded. The necessary experience, expertise, and tech wasn't there.

oh soo much this, (especially my highlighted part.)  Turbine so needs to stop patching it's 18 year old software to keep up appearances with the modern market.  they always fall short, because the underpinnings simply DO NOT perform under real world load.

 

of course now, they may no longer even be in a position to do such, as so many have been culled,  the current shoulders who'd bear such a task, are currently no where near broad enough.

 

 In March or thereabouts in '10 an email went out from Crowley stating that LOTRO's US subs were down to around 85k (the only time specific sub numbers were ever mentioned even in-house while I was there)

ah the guy i call, "The Transition CEO"  i am not surprised he was easily liked, afterall he was getting Turbine fit for sale to Warner.  such a sensative process...  don't want to rock the boat.

 

Galvagni is just a moblie market suit, who frankly should be thanking the time of his birth, to his past success, more than anything.

 

i actually liked Anderson.  at least he has some legitimate credentials in the MMO & computer gaming spheres.

 

i will say this...  85 K in subs in March of 2010, is probably much better money than they are currently bringing in with the current base.  also interesting that this was considered a significant downturn from previous highs.  & looking at the current tracking for people playing Lotro today...   ;)

 

anyway, i could be here replying all night to every tidbit you've brought to the table.

 

i will say i have found it fascinating to read, and i appreciate the time you've made, to share these things with us.

 

thank you, Aylwen.  :D

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Aylwen, thank you again for the very interesting read.

 

I think many expected IC to end up a flop, but what you write sounds just scary. One would think that a million-dollar company would be guided sufficiently to avoid failure of that magnitude. Especially when it causes sinking of the flagship game, even if the WB parent didn't care much about it. The 'head-less' development you describe during MoM speaks more of the same - no pilot in the airplane.

Would you expect IC to be shut down soon, or do you think it will be dragged along with the infinite WB resources just to not admit failure? Or maybe it will be left in a vegetative state without much funding, revenue or losses?

 

The 85k subs figure is intriguing and kinda fits to the outsiders' speculations. There is also the notion that F2P was expected to break the 1M mark of active players but it never did, leaving Turbine in a state of overkill with purchasing additional hardware to support the expected population that never came. Was this true? If yes, what would be the reason for the mismatch?

 

Several players'/users' sites and programs are tracking LOTRO's login numbers, such as the German site luxaeterna, Darmokk's site, or Castorix's software (sorry if I miss someone). But the (now quite low) values given by these sources are often trashed by the OF's fanbois as inaccurate, with Sapience himself mentioning on a few occasions that these numbers are misleading. Also, it is perhaps difficult to know how the counting would change if Turbine change something on their end.

Is it possible to know the accuracy of the activity data an outsider can get with such means? These sources suggest that the current active playerbase (as logins per time) is similar in size to the values immediately before the F2P transition, which would suggest this ~100k players figure. Is that accurate, in you opinion?

 

How did (and still do) Asheron's Call and DDO stay in terms of playerbase size, compared to LOTRO?

 

Gossip time: You've probably heard about the so called Players Council, introduced about 2 years ago - a group of players chosen among a larger number of applicants with the idea to provide a gamer's view, so to say, of different aspects of LOTRO (PvE, PvP, etc.) to the game devs. Kinda suggesting the devs themselves didn't play their own game (officially admitted at least about tier2 of the instances), but anyway. Do you think the effort to create this group was worth the input and influence they had on the game, or was it sort of irrelevant? These people can of course speak for themselves (but under NDAs etc.) and some did, while some of them are also in this forum. Therefore I'm not trying to create drama, but only to see how this 'system' looks and worked out when viewed from Turbine's side, instead of the player's side.

 

But either way there was never, ever any self-examination when it came to player dissatisfaction.

Lack of appropriate self-evaluation = fail. Even if so, were the devs at least aware of the reasons why the playerbase is dissatisfied, which design decisions annoy the player's experience (e.g. the LIs), what is liked and disliked? You mentioned that it's difficult to know why the subs go down on times but without having any clues about it, how can you fix the error and not repeat it over and over?

 

 

Once again, thank you very much for the time and effort to post all this interesting insider's info. I hope Frelorn is not chewing his nails at the moment :)

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No problem, and sorry for the walls of text. I guess after six months off the game after it bring such a central part of my life for so long, it's kind of cathartic to talk about it from a distance.

 

I don't find them to be walls of text at all, this is fascinating stuff.

 

 I also think it's just as cathartic for many of us to read your insights, given what we've suspected for so long.

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In March or thereabouts in '10 an email went out from Crowley stating that LOTRO's US subs were down to around 85k (the only time specific sub numbers were ever mentioned even in-house while I was there) and could we maybe ask our friends to try the game?

 

 

I have a question about subscriptions, did Turbine™ consider lifetime subscriptions as a failure?

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I have a question about subscriptions, did Turbine™ consider lifetime subscriptions as a failure?

I don't recall them ever being described as such (and that would have been something discussed within the domain of marketing perhaps). Lifetimes did come up during the f2p scrum. There was a discussion about how they should be handled and some talk, briefly, that perhaps the change in the revenue model nulled Lifetimes. This got a lot of push back immediately and so it was decided that they should be treated like perma-VIPs. In looking at lifetimes objectively, and bearing in mind the average 'lifespan' of an MMO player (in LOTRO's case as of SoM it averaged to 9 months, give or take a few months depending on thier social involvement), they couldn't be considered a failure. Very few customers, relatively speaking, are likely to play a given MMO actively for over two years.

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I don't find them to be walls of text at all, this is fascinating stuff.

 

 I also think it's just as cathartic for many of us to read your insights, given what we've suspected for so long.

 

Agree.

 

Aylwen, thank you for posting.

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Thank you so much for your posts, Aylwen, I find them facinating. I also was a die hard LORTO PvPer. The fact that Creeps were basically NPC's that you could move makes a lot of things so much clearer now. You say that 7% was the PvP population and that sounds right to me, but as a raider, was the number Sapience brought up, less than 10% accuate about endgame raiders?

 

Nimrodel must have good sources, I heard the rumors about a console port and the Harry Potter MMO, nice to have those confirmed.

 

I hope you continue to post here, whether it be about LOTRO or any thing else, as you can see we are multi-faceted. :D

 

EDIT: I see you worked for Zenimax also, would love to hear about your experiences there, quite a few do or have played ESO.

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Thanks, Aylwen.  I have a question for you.

 

I suppose it is a bit idealistic to think of a game having opening success and benefiting from it's own revenue without it being siphoned off by other interests within the company.  Life seldom works in such a way.  Still, knowing what you do about tech level (seemingly, LOTRO was built upon a tech foundation that was 'not strong'), direction of the company and game, etc. etc... How might things have been different if the money made by LOTRO stayed in LOTRO, paid for quality developers and content, and so on?  Ultimately, it seems that simply wasn't going to be possible because Turbine was fatally flawed with people in positions that wouldn't allow it to be run properly or healthily.  It's like wondering what our government could do if the politicians were actually there to serve the people they are representing.  But if LOTRO's revenue had stayed with LOTRO for its own development, what might have changed?

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