Cordovan

Hello from Cordovan

310 posts in this topic

Hello! I wanted to create an account here just to introduce myself, and see what's going on. I know there's been some animosity between the community folks and this forum in the past, but AFAIK it didn't involve me (much?), so I figure this new era of sorts is a good time to say hello. I'm the current Community Manager for LOTRO and DDO (and to the extent AC is still supported, Asheron's Call.) I'm an old-school gamer and pen and paper nerd. Ask me about my THACO! 

There's a lot of work to do in the LOTRO community in the coming weeks, and I plan to do it. If you have a short bullet-list of what you feel is most important for the community (not development, that's a different thing), lemme know.

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And of course I put this in the off topic section rather than the regular LOTRO general discussion. Guess I still need to learn how to forums.

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I moved it. Welcome!

 

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Welcome to the land of misfit toys....
You get +25 points for checking in. I think you will find a lot of the actual animosity here is
directed at a Mr. Heaton that previously held your position. I know I received a lifetime forum ban for saying that I was never going to play again.
Never mind that I was VIP until last month....:P

I think you will find a lot of the folks here still play, that we do love the game, and want it to succeed. Just a lot of the time some Turbine/WB decisions leave us baffled.

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Hello and welcome

The main thing for me is more open and honest communication and the game.  Knowing what the future goals are for the game.  We keep hearing about people losing their jobs, which sucks, but how does that affect the game in the medium to long term.

Also the licence for the game runs till 2017, any updates on that as soon as possible would be welcome

Lastly it would be nice if people who get banned on the forum could have their bans looked at or allow them to appeal it again.  Many of the feel that under previous CMs they were not treated fairly.  

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Hi!

Yes, a lot of people posting here are mis-judged if they post on OF, in that they do love and want the game to be great, but they are so annoyed at bad decisions and lack of decent honest timely communication that they feel they can only vent honestly here, and not be flammed or banned.  Some may even not play anymore, or very little, but they still have interest enough to want to know what is happening to the game for the sake of friends that still do play, even though it may not be right for them any longer.

Wishlist:

1 - Regular open forum comms.  Keep the players in the loop, EVEN if the news may not be great.  I'd MUCH prefer a "hey, that idea we had, it isn't going so great..."   rather than nothing, even after lots of people are asking for info.  IE  Server merger EU stuff, I personally asked over and over Vyv's INTENTION, not if it WOULD happen, INTENTION, to move to EU... no response.  The lack of transparency when Vyv moved on to Batman,  The license issue, though TBF I understand that legally that can't be discussed, but even so, you could as a company say you WANT to have the game running in 5 years etc.

2 - Equality on OF - sometimes it seems like popular "positive" pro LOTRO posters can get away with being mean towards "critical" LOTRO posters, who in the past could be banned just for being critical or negative, even without being rude!  Please be forward and don't favour "positive" yet rude posters.

3 - Encourage Dev and EP involvement - as hard as it may be, try and get employees to post more frequently in forums.  An example from the past, I can't recall what class it was, but that dev hardly ever came on the forums to answer queries.  Lighten the load on yourself, and get everyone to chip in a little to let us know what they are up to, if they need suggestions, and so on, or even just to chat.

4 - Regular weekly / bi-weekly video blogs - Either like Frelorn's Thursday Fun, or Sapience' blog style.  Just... not like either! lol  These done well would not only inform the current player base, but would act as fantastic FREE advertising.  Show off new systems, give away codes, do MORE Twitter contests where a lore question is asked and the first five to reply correctly get a neat code.  Let's Plays by Devs MUST be done with HEART, we can't have someone sign on and instanly sigh, hunch back in the chair, and auto attack and wonder aimlessly..... it is depressing.  TLDR;  POSITIVE news, get people excited; if you can't do that weekly, you SHOULD be able to; ask why you CANT otherwise.

5 - Reliance on player streamers - I understand this works GREAT for you, free, no hassle, advertising!  Please, do NOT rely on this too much.  Players and the hardcore NEED Dev and Turbine leadership input directly to feel connected and FULLY involved, to rebuild TRUST.  (see point 4)

Those would be my top 5 without thinking too much, PURELY for the forums and community, not game dev/mechanics, just like you asked :)

I'd like to say thanks for coming here too and saying Hi, that's a great step, shows you understand this forum has some voices to listen to which may have otherwise previously been ignored.

 

All the best!

 

Long term player, Beta, and maybe even other *cough* tester

 

(edit - I went mad for it and came up with some more stuff, I hope it helps)

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Maybe it is time to talk about some of our official forum bans, administrated by Sapience in sometimes not too graceful ways.  

Keep in mind that banned people like me cannot even tell you why specifically we were banned, precisely, because the ban process sent a private message, which you cannot read anymore when you are banned, and (of course) emailing private messages was broken at the time.

As far as communication goes, I think a request for information has to communicate up the ladder, and a piece of information back down again, and that is the status of the Tolkien license. I realize this is a big deal in the corporate world, and communication like this isn't done lightly.  But please keep in mind that we here (the players) make investments in games, and the investment of time and money into a MMORPG is rather large. You basically ask us to make an investment, but you refuse to disclose the status of a "blow the whole thing up" known potential issue. And that issue's date is 2017. If I restart playing this fall I would be unamused if my investment done over the winter goes POOF by spring.

LOTRO has always been the MMORPG with a more grown-up audience, and we don't throw resources around randomly.

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Hi Cordovan!  

That is amazing you posted here. I am impressed. Thank you. A lot of us here have a deep love of Lotro.

I was just reading about THACO a few days ago. I grew up playing the old version of AD&D with THACO and the cool DM guides and Monster Manual. Keep on the Borderlands! People were saying that the old versions of D&D used imagination more (and storytelling more) than the new, current 5th edition of D&D which uses a grid or game board to play (and probably has better rules).

It must be amazing to have been involved in DDO and D&D for so long. It seems D&D has had quite a revival in college these days.  

I wish you the best in the CM role for Lotro and and am sorry about the recent the layoffs.

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2 hours ago, Darmokk said:

You basically ask us to make an investment, but you refuse to disclose the status of a "blow the whole thing up" known potential issue. And that issue's date is 2017. If I restart playing this fall I would be unamused if my investment done over the winter goes POOF by spring.

Either we will get a clear message that Lotro will continue past 2017, or we will not. If it is uncertain, or if they will not renew, there is no possible way Turbine will tell players that the game will be shutting down after 2017. So there is a slight chance for good news from them, but IMO it is much more likely they will say nothing.  

I really can't see, if there is any uncertainty, Turbine telling players that the game might not continue past 2017.  

In general, I don't see much for Turbine or Cordovan to say about Lotro at this point. They have a small staff working on additional content. We will get some new stuff. I don't think they have any resources to fix performance or many bugs in the game. They probably have a limited budget to spend on making additional content as they try to get to Mordor.

The best we can hope for, IMO, is Cordovan and the new ED (who posted once on the forums already) to just be decent and respectful of the playerbase. I can't see them spending a large amount of time talking to players - what is there to talk about? We have an old game, with major bugs and issues that will not be fixed, and with some new content coming when it is ready.  

This is not an MMO with a large active development like any of the top MMOs (GW2, Rift, FFXIV, TSW, etc.).

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3 hours ago, RedMaggu said:

Hi!

Yes, a lot of people posting here are mis-judged if they post on OF, in that they do love and want the game to be great, but they are so annoyed at bad decisions and lack of decent honest timely communication that they feel they can only vent honestly here, and not be flammed or banned.  Some may even not play anymore, or very little, but they still have interest enough to want to know what is happening to the game for the sake of friends that still do play, even though it may not be right for them any longer.

Wishlist:

1 - Regular open forum comms.  Keep the players in the loop, EVEN if the news may not be great.  I'd MUCH prefer a "hey, that idea we had, it isn't going so great..."   rather than nothing, even after lots of people are asking for info.  IE  Server merger EU stuff, I personally asked over and over Vyv's INTENTION, not if it WOULD happen, INTENTION, to move to EU... no response.  The lack of transparency when Vyv moved on to Batman,  The license issue, though TBF I understand that legally that can't be discussed, but even so, you could as a company say you WANT to have the game running in 5 years etc.

2 - Equality on OF - sometimes it seems like popular "positive" pro LOTRO posters can get away with being mean towards "critical" LOTRO posters, who in the past could be banned just for being critical or negative, even without being rude!  Please be forward and don't favour "positive" yet rude posters.

3 - Encourage Dev and EP involvement - as hard as it may be, try and get employees to post more frequently in forums.  An example from the past, I can't recall what class it was, but that dev hardly ever came on the forums to answer queries.  Lighten the load on yourself, and get everyone to chip in a little to let us know what they are up to, if they need suggestions, and so on, or even just to chat.

...

 

I'd like to say thanks for coming here too and saying Hi, that's a great step, shows you understand this forum has some voices to listen to which may have otherwise previously been ignored.

 

All the best!

 

Long term player, Beta, and maybe even other *cough* tester

 

 

Hi Cordovan, thanks for taking the initiative to reach out to us here.

I copied RedMaggu's post because I feel the same way on those points and have the same LOTRO credentials.  

Point #2 is one I feel especially strongly about.  Get to know the main participants, watch how they operate, learn the patterns of how they attack/support others, and find a way to put a stop to it.  Some people are overdue for a rude awakening.

Reviewing the Sapience-era forum bans, particularly the ones given out around the Helm's Deep Beta Test time period, would be a refreshing sign of good faith as far as community management goes.

I know you said no dev stuff, but I did want to give my feedback that game performance since the server closures/datacenter move has made the game unplayable for me.

I logged in to see what's new at the Summer Festival and between the atrociously long time it took just to load my character in, and then the slideshow that I got at the Party Tree when I mapped  to it, I gave it a big "nope" and logged right back out.

There was a time when I couldn't imagine not wanting to play LOTRO anymore.  Now I can't imagine anything "big" enough to get me to put up with how laggy and buggy it is.  I hope something can be done to fix the problems before the end, but I don't think that's a realistic hope. 

Thanks again for stopping by, I really appreciate the gesture.

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Hi Cordovan!

While I have done many posting on the OF in the captain forums for years, most of the recent forum activity is what can be best described as an assisted suicide that proved that moderation is all but nonexistent on the OF.

Essentially, you need to take the high post count shield and shatter it to dust - ESPECIALLY when it comes to people on the suggestion forums saying that X or Y is not financially viable for the game, as that behavior (along with the Anti-PvMP and Anti-Raiding Crusades) have been the single most destructive thing when players are trying to pitch ideas to Turbine and get things fixed that certain players do not want to see happen.

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For me personally, there is only one thing that Turbine (or its CM or EP of the month) needs to do and that is stop the BS and corporate speak. In other words stop sugar coating lies. If you can't afford to move the euro data centre to Amsterdam, say it. Don't pretend like its going to happen for 8 months only to suddenly declare that leaving it in the US is better for the game. We really aren't as dumb as to believe this kind of thing, and frankly it is tiring being openly lied to especially over things that we know aren't going to happen (Housing Update, Music Revamp, EU Server's, No more tablecloth horses, no more copy paste festival rewards and so on and so forth). 

I would like to add that I am well aware that these are older lies, but lies none the less. The majority of lotro players adore the lore and want to enjoy the experience. The only thing that has ever soured the experience for me is the seemingly constant change in direction from Turbine over issues that at one time or another they have "promised" to it's players. Even at conception stage, a company knows whether something is feasible and whether it can truly be implimented to the effect that it is required, so if it doesn't look likely then just be honest about it. 

 

I don't know you Cordovan, and I do wish you the best of luck. To be honest I am a player who is taking a hiatus after feeling disenchanted more with the workings of lotro than the game itself. I would love to see the license renewed next year, not so much for me but for my friends who are still playing and I guess I know at some point I will log in again. All I am really saying is please don't promise the Earth if you can't deliver it. Be real, tell us how it is and let us decide for ourselves what to get excited over. 

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That's brave! For myself, I still play LOTRO a lot, in fact no other game comes close. I still greatly enjoy the lower-level areas. I feel that recent areas (Rohan & Gondor) have lost their way a bit, but it's hard to pin down exactly why. In fact the tone of the book changes in The Return of the King and it might be just that The Fellowship of the Ring is my favourite volume. I make allowances for LOTRO being almost 10 years old and don't expect a modern game engine. There has been community shrinkage but I think that was probably inevitable because of many gamers moving on to new games.

I can't speak about the Official Forum moderation issues as I've never posted there. One reason why I haven't is that the OF wants my preciousss game password as login and that conflicts with my ideas about secure passwords.

There is one big game issue that I would like to highlight: performance. I find now that older areas (up to and including Great River) run nicely on both my laptop and PC. After that, though, I just can't get a good frame rate. I think there was a step change in scenery design. It might be the density of reeds, long grasses and bushes. Another possibility is atmospherics; I find that anything with mist, fog or vapour in the later areas kills performance. Maybe the world designers could be asked to show some restraint?

Minas Tirith looks great but has terrible frame rate. I guess this is just the sheer number of buildings and their detail. I think there it's tolerable because I can understand that it just wouldn't be the same without all the detail. I occasionally stop and turn the graphics up to take screenshots.

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Jedy faints. 

Checks for hallucinogenic drugs in his morning coffee.

If post true - starts to search for ways to help his favorite dying game. 

 

 

P.S. The OP is about COMMUNITY not development. Reading skills don't seem to be a pre-req on this forum any more. 

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40 minutes ago, Jedy2 said:

...

P.S. The OP is about COMMUNITY not development. Reading skills don't seem to be a pre-req on this forum any more. 

Oops, sorry.

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2 hours ago, Brrokk said:

Oops, sorry.

You are forgiven. ;)

 

A TLDR on community;

 

1 - Heaton was an evil fuck. Look on LOTRO Codemasters forums on how CM should look like.

2 - Avoid Turbine corporate double-speak as much as you can.

3 - Change the forum/game/identity password nonsense.

4 - Just the fact that you wrote on this forum, means you are a human being. Keep it up as long as possible.  (Being human, that is)

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3 hours ago, Jedy2 said:

Jedy faints. 

Checks for hallucinogenic drugs in his morning coffee.

If post true - starts to search for ways to help his favorite dying game. 

 

 

P.S. The OP is about COMMUNITY not development. Reading skills don't seem to be a pre-req on this forum any more. 

I did see that, but thought it was important to highlight the fact that the reason I stopped playing recently isn't because of anything that goes on in the official forums.  

The reason I stopped playing is because the game is a laggy, buggy, crash-prone mess.

If you want to manage a community and make an unprecedented effort to reach out to *everyone* in the community, you deserve to know that game performance is one of the major reasons that your community is shrinking, not anything you may or may not be able to do as far as forum behavior goes.

Cordovan, apologies for getting off your main topic, please understand that it's because I care about the game as much as anyone, it was a big part of my life for a long time and I'd love to be able to see the thing through to the end.

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I do think there is an opportunity to take another look at forum bans, but it'll be a couple of weeks most likely before I've got the time to do it. That said, I know some of the bans are legit, having looked at some ban appeals for LOTRO in the past, and the folks banned have a difference of opinion on it, so be prepared to be told no if you've violated Wheaton's Law.

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Hi Cordovan,  nice to see you posting here  d;)b

 

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On 7/21/2016 at 11:47 AM, Cordovan said:

There's a lot of work to do in the LOTRO community in the coming weeks, and I plan to do it. If you have a short bullet-list of what you feel is most important for the community (not development, that's a different thing), lemme know.

Thanks for taking the time (and the leap of faith) to engage with us over here!

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1 hour ago, Cordovan said:

That said, I know some of the bans are legit, having looked at some ban appeals for LOTRO in the past...

Much like how I was banned after disagreeing with a thread thanking Celestrata, only to find I was also slapped with a few more bans by Sapience months after the fact. The support team decided to uphold that particular example of blatant moderator abuse.

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12 minutes ago, Doro said:

Much like how I was banned after disagreeing with a thread thanking Celestrata, only to find I was also slapped with a few more bans by Sapience months after the fact. The support team decided to uphold that particular example of blatant moderator abuse.

Don't know the circumstances, but I'd imagine it depends a lot on what your definition of "disagreeing" is. If you were an abusive jerk, then yeah. If you lashed out at folks and threw a temper tantrum, then also yeah. Otherwise, when the time comes, we'll take another look at it. In general being abusive toward Turbine employees and members of the Community Team is not cool, and not allowed. Especially if you are also abusive to other players on top of it. 

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1 hour ago, Cordovan said:

Don't know the circumstances, but I'd imagine it depends a lot on what your definition of "disagreeing" is. If you were an abusive jerk, then yeah. If you lashed out at folks and threw a temper tantrum, then also yeah. Otherwise, when the time comes, we'll take another look at it. In general being abusive toward Turbine employees and members of the Community Team is not cool, and not allowed. Especially if you are also abusive to other players on top of it. 

Well, it's just this:

You thank someone for doing an exceptional job or going above and beyond their job. Otherwise you're just thanking them for doing what they're supposed to do (which, in this case, I don't think has even been met).

https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?492284-Thank-You-Serafina-Brennan&p=6569202#post6569202

Really no point looking into it, because I stopped playing years ago. Just wanted to oppose this idea that everyone who was banned was fully deserving of it. We all know some posters were targeted for dissent, not for being "an abusive jerk" or "throwing temper tantrums". That's the job of Turbine's community managers.

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What Doro's getting at is that too much dissent in the past has been interpreted as abuse, even when the honest feedback is "this person sucks", despite that being accurate.  Likewise, calling out someone on the CM for doing something that a player perceives to be wrong can also be interpreted as abuse, despite it actually being valid feedback.

So let me ask you this:

What's the appropriate way for the players and the CM team to operate in those scenarios so that no one gets banned for voicing an unpopular opinion or concern?

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Those of us who used the same username still have our posts public on the OF. Can be reviewed easily.

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