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Hajile

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Everything posted by Hajile

  1. No thanks. I've given Turbine enough opportunities through a 'wait and see' approach and they've let me down every time. I'm done being optimistic. We now have enough information to arrive at reasonable conjecture by looking at their proven track record. Their proven track record says that they'll drop the ball because they're grasping for extra cash. Again. Nothing they've said gives any indication that that behaviour will change, including Sapience's recent PR-speak infested response to the community. Anything short of their aforementioned "We're going to stop being such dicks" announcement is going to be filed in my brain under Not Good Enough and will not win me back. They can try to rebuild trust all they want, but as long as they clutch to this business model and don't let go they will not be successful in doing so with me. And seeing as the chances of them letting go at this stage are a fat zero, I guess I'll just have to wait until their license expires and gets awarded to someone reputable before ever playing an online Tolkien adaptation again.
  2. I had a big post half typed out, but lost it due to a clumsy mouseclick. All I will say is: Spin, spin, spin. I see the same loaded statements we've seen time and again from Turbine. Rest assured, new features like mounted combat will feed directly into the store. The 'free for VIPs' area will only be a small section of the new zone, which they will charge everyone for (Pay close attention to how they are describing the free section as only "The Shores" of the Great River. Hmm.) The Fangorn and Amon Hen zones will be a Gap of Rohan-sized disappointment. Rohan itself will be full of twice as much dead space as other zones in order to justify the claims about its size, as well as an even bigger screwup from a geographical and lore point of view than Isengard, Dunland and Enedwaith combined. And their forum lackeys will once again reference the fact that 'Turbine never precisely said that..' or 'show me where they promised you'd get...' as their catch-all response to any criticism. I will be ready with my "I told you so"s. Don't care, never will again. The only 'announcement' I'm interested in hearing from Turbine anymore is "we agree with everything you say, we will reverse every dodgy decision we've made over the last two years and promise to never act like such deceitful avaricious assholes ever again." Anything else they offer is hot air, and anyone who falls for it is a credulous mug. What I find far more interesting than the announcement is the language they're using about the supposed success of the game. It's changed drastically. Gone are the claims to have 'tripled revenues' and other loud, bombastic declarations of all-conquering triumph. Now revenues are merely "increased" and the claims are that the game "definitely grew last year," both of which sound rather subdued and lacking in confidence. That doesn't sound like the sort of change a game going from strength to strength would make. That sounds like a game that's struggling, and their PR folks trying hard to remain on message.
  3. I just read that reply. Pseudo-placatory marketing spiel, all of it, and it provides little comfort or reassurance to those who are dissatisfied. In fact much of it just raies further questions, that will likely take just as long to get answered, if at all. I couldn't help but note that as long as that post was it didn't address one of the principal objections - that they chose to implement a store-based solution to this alleged "problem" that they now admit they knew would upset people. They could have addressed it through any number of in-game adjustments that have been suggested, and would have been equally satisfactory for their requirements, and far more palatable to the players. But probably would have required their devs to put a bit more work in. Oh. Answered my own question there, didn't I? From the sounds of it, they didn't bother even entertaining any kind of solution other than a store-based one and offered no explanation or justificiation for why it was necessary to involve the store in the "problem" at all. However, it was nice of him to basically admit that they now see the store as the first and foremost solution to in-game issues. I guess next they'll start selling a "reset Draigoch encounter" scroll. One use. 200 TP. They've also basically admitted that the definition of 'convenience' is "whatever we damn well please." Still, it's interesting to me that they have responded in this fashion at all, which is almost unheard of for Turbine. Things must be kicking off internally in a significant way to warrant this sort of thing. The comments about WB not being to blame as well suggests to me that certain Turbine figures are currently smarting in the botty from the going over they've just had from their WB overlords. Isn't it also interesting that they are referring to now merely "an increase in revenues." Where's your "threefold" increase now, eh? Pissed it up the wall because you couldn't keep your customers happy, have you? The post also raises the fact that their marketing and advertising budget has been upped. So if their 'revenues' are now only 'increased' and their marketing budget has been increased, where does that leave their profits? Because if their expenditure is up as much as their increase in revenues, their profit margin isn't going anywhere. I will also bring up a question that I raised a long time ago, and it has never been addressed - it concerns the initial 'threefold' spike at F2P launch. Was that spike really brought on by the F2P move itself? Or was it the result of the persistent and ubiquitous advertising campaign that coincided with it that increased the game's visibility a hundredfold? Because if it was, they could likely have achieved similar results without the shift to the F2P model. Food for thought, no?
  4. Yeah. When precisely did they grow a pair? (Although note how they stop short of criticising Celestrata, their close personal friend.)
  5. When you're right you're right... ...and when I'm right I do a smug little dance and people think I'm a berk. Shut up, Massively. You know sod all.
  6. Sounds about right for a Turbine employee. Go on, someone stick it on the official thread. It'll be fun - they might find it easy to ignore 500 posters complaining on their forums - but when those 500 players are bombarding their VP's personal Twitter account with comments and complaints, he'll have to take notice in some way. Get it up there while everyone's still good and angry!
  7. Got it. I've now gone over Sheppard's head and attempted to contact directly both Turbine's General Manager and their Vice-President of Operations. I'll be very interested to hear what they have to say if they bother to get back to me. By the way, unless it's a different guy with the same name who just happens to also work in the gaming industry, their VP of Operations appears to be on Twitter. @ksurdan How about someone throws that out info onto the armour thread in the official forums, eh? Ooh, imagine the fireworks...
  8. Forgotten Realms content in an Eberron setting? Can you say "Desperate shoehorn"? So I guess we now know where the supposed LOTRO F2P megabucks were diverted - towards development of an expansion for a game hardly anyone plays any more, ham-fistedly geared to try to shift attention away from the new Neverwinter MMO being developed by Cryptic. Cryptic, a company who know how to do F2P properly, who are developing this new MMO which otherwise could have potentially killed DDO; one half of Turbine's entire portfolio of profitable games; stone dead. Interesting timing, no?
  9. Lol, that's good. I was worried I might have to challenge you to fisticuffs, sir. I wouldn't really bother factoring in ToR to the numbers, anyway. ToR's impact on the industry at large is probably not going to be felt, or even reasonably predicted, against other games for a few months yet. I find it slightly intriguing that so many websites are reporting on the drop in stock values for EA, though. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the way stocks behave knows that stocks tend to fall immediately after the release of something enormous and potentially risky, and that's not exclusive to the entertainment industries. It's the market holding it's breath to see how the product will be received, and it happens all the time. As another example, Nintendo's stock fell sharply following the release of the Wii as the market did it's 'wait and see' thing. There's inexplicably a lot of sneering going on in online news sources regarding ToR which seems to be translating into an eagerness to report on stories that cast it in as negative a light as possible. The slightly smug tones of the Massively articles are a fine example. It's presumably because a high-profile release like ToR failing would generate months of copy for them, so some sites are leaping on this story and running with it, misrepresenting it as having more weight and being more noteworthy than it actually is. But still, you never know - there could be something in it after all...
  10. I still see a steady decline. A very small blip for the launch of Isengard, I'll grant you, but it quickly resumes its freefall. Well, I wouldn't presume to reiterate what I said earlier about ballpark estimates and smartarses... Just joshing with you, Darmokk. You know I love you really.
  11. Personally, and I know that this isn't popular opinion I've always found Obsidian's writing to be stodgy, overblown and unfocused. I called you on your statement and pointed out that general consensus both within the industry and in its customers disagrees with you. Check out any list of 'best game stories' you can find and I guarantee you if it's from a place whose opinion is recognised there will be at least one game from Bioware on it. That's not a coincidence. That's consensus. Obsidian will likely also be accounted for, admittedly, but hey, I only stated my personal preferences don't run that way. I'm not the one pretending that the other's comments are 'fallacious arguments.' And a word to the wise - don't preface sentences in posts in which you are indirectly accusing another of being a liar with 'Sorry.' It just makes you sound patronising and disingenuous. Sorry, but it does.
  12. And in one statement you rob yourself of any credibility. Say what you will about some of their games, or even your feelings about how SWTOR plays, but Bioware are rightly held by both gamers and other developers to have some of the greatest writers working in the industry, past or present. You do your argument a great disservice and render it moot by making fatuous and obstinate comments like this, and only ensure people will take what you say less seriously.
  13. I see these graphs sporadically, and I'd be interested to find out their likelihood of accuracy, because if they are on the money the game may be in worse shape than anyone anticipated. For a start it's in steady decline, regardless of content patches and expansions. Fewer and fewer people are playing LOTRO as time goes on, and there is no indication from Turbine's side that anything they have done recently has been remotely successful in turning that downward trend around. They also appear to have nothing significant in hand for the near future to make another go of it. There appears to be a fairly consistent but sliding average of 170-230 logins per minute, so that would be indicitive of roughly 245k-330k logins happening every day. That figure is cumulative, so based on an estimate of say, 15% of those logins being people signing in and out more than once a day, let's be kind and say there are roughly an average of 210k-280k people signing in every day. That's shockingly low. Especially if you bear in mind that rough industry estimates pre-F2P positioned LOTRO as having approximately 250k subscribers. That means that if the figures even remotely bear up to scrutiny and the pre-F2P numbers were halfway accurate there are could be fewer people playing the game now than there were before they started the F2P transition. And that's people who are logging in, not paying Turbine cash. If you're generous and say that only half of those currently logging in are getting a free ride, that limits their market of paying customers to 105k-140k people. That figure includes the VIPs, who I expect they're hemorrhaging at an alarming rate. These are all very much ballpark estimates, of course, so I'd thank any smartarses out there not to chime in with demands for evidence of the quoted numbers, thank you. But if that's the case (and their overheads have not increased or decreased), then Turbine's remaining paying customers will each need to be paying them significantly more per month than the former value of a monthly subscription in order for Turbine to even maintain the same profits they were seeing previously. No wonder they're gouging their existing players as much as possible.
  14. If anyone obtains email contact details for the person or persons immediately above Mr Sheppard's head, message me and let me know. I still haven't given up on my past complaints, much as they believe that is the case, and I'd like to hear what Sheppard's boss has to say about him wilfully ignoring legitimate customer complaints.
  15. Not really. AoC's quest dialogue system was a valiant early effort, but it didn't work as all the conversations were circular, even in Tortage. They were just an elaborate and unnecessarily long winded way of clicking the 'Accept Quest' button. They felt like dialogue trees that were written by people with no understanding of how the branches should work, so all choices ultimately yielded the same results. Maybe AoC opened up in later areas, but by level 40 I was so sick of the pointless rambling I walked away from the game. Still have it installed though, which is something I can't say about LOTRO, and I still occasionally pop in for a look. Only to realise that MMO amnesia has taken it away from me and I can no longer remember how it's wonderful combat system works.
  16. Yeah, best of luck to anyone who tries to contact that guy. I'm still waiting for him to get back to me with an explanation for why I was disappeared from their forums for being really thoughtful and reasonable and that. See the beginning of the "The Thing I Have Said..." thread for all the details on that particular nest of vipers, oh ho. Admittedly it was when I was in the middle of my 'Turbine Consumer Rights Violations' campaign. Did anyone else obtain a refund for RoI btw? You should have - I found a legal loophole that enabled everyone in Europe to get RoI for free.
  17. Hmm. From the official forums, from the lips of you-know-who: So basically, if you buy all three tiers of this store armour - which we've already established is better than pretty much every piece of armour you can earn in game on-level and about 8 levels up - then it pretty much renders anything available in game until you hit about level 28 obsolete before it's even dropped/crafted/bought. So they've effectively killed off all low level crafting, auctioning and bartering of armour in one fell swoop, because nothing you can earn for the first 30 levels of the game is better, or even as good as, stuff you can get your hands on if you get your credit card out. And because it's bound to account, you can recycle it to your alts, so theoretically nobody will ever need any armour that drops in the game before level 30 ever again, no matter how many alts they have. It sounds like they're trying to remove loot from the game by rendering it less feasible than store gear. More worryingly, it's an obvious attempt to reinforce behavioural patterns in newcomers. If they can do that for so long immediately upon starting to play, by the time they get to outlevel their tier 3 store gear the behaviour will be so indentured in them that they'll react when they suddenly can't buy the best gear in the game any more. Then there will be a demand for similar, subsequent tier 4/5/6 sets, etc. And Turbine can then use that demand that they engineered themselves as their excuse for inserting those higher-tier sets. It's transparent and it's utterly shameless. Turbine are pre-emptively manufacturing the demand now for items they intend to introduce later, and if anyone thinks they won't introduce them after laying down all this groundwork, they're a bloody fool. Get out, get out now while you still can, people. They're complete scum.
  18. Well, they do work in marketing, so it's fairly likely they're all just deeply unpleasant amoral sociopaths.
  19. It's top notch entertainment, isn't it? It's a strange beast to be sure. It has the best attributes of single player RPGs and of MMOs smashed together in a way that just works so damn well and feels so natural it's surprising nobody's done it before. I especially love how rather than ticking boxes on a straight and linear path, the story allows you to find your own way through it. It's introduced Role-Playing back into MMOs. I'm not playing my characters in the way that will max my stats or net me the best gear. I'm playing my characters in the way that feels best for them. If I want to make my Trooper a basically decent soldier-type who does the right thing, but has little patience or tolerance for fools and has no compunctions about killing defenceless people if it's in the aid of the greater good, then I can do that, and the game accommodates it. All those who are criticising it for a supposed lack of innovation either don't understand or can't see what Bioware were intending to deliver from the start, and that's a revolution in MMO storytelling. Yeah, it's a bit buggy in places. Yeah, there are some bits that could use a bit of work, like a more customisable UI, etc. Me? The only things I want them to introduce at present are the ability to hide hoods, hide the headgear of companions and to give me a few extra hotbars. Once I have that I'll be happy for a good while..
  20. Exactly. And one thing anyone interested in fostering change in the developers should not be doing is making things more pleasant for the prospective new customers when said new customers are still making the decision about whether to keep playing. That will only make it more likely they stay, and in turn that only increases the odds of the store gaining new customers. You wouldn't be sending Turbine a message by doing that. You'd be doing them a favour.
  21. The problem with the game's direction is that there are too many people who are apathetic to the changes. Too many people are prepared to let things slide, so the trick with any kind of protest would be to make those apathetic people who don't care, care. Turn those "yes"s and "maybe"s into "no"s and Turbine will soon stand up and take notice. And the best people to do that to would be the people that Turbine obviously care the most about - the newcomers. Sour their initial experience so they don't come back and you've cut Turbine's legs out from under them. Newcomers aren't going to particularly care why you're doing it. So chase them off before the game gets its hooks in. All they will do is think 'well this game sucks' and never consider it again. They'll go play Age of Conan or whatever, it'll make no difference to them. Cut off the newcomers, and all Turbine will have left are the stalwarts who are already playing, most of whom they have been systematically alienating over the past 18 months with their store nonsense and already have one foot out the door. Is it a bit of a hardline stance? Of course. But people who play LOTRO need to take action if they want to preserve what's left of their game.
  22. How's about this for an idea? Take a leaf out the Eve Online players' handbook and stage an in-game protest. Those who still play the game (I'm not one of them, natch) do something to visibly inconvenience the game itself when the changes launch. I dunno, maybe log on with your high level characters and collectively spend as much time as possible loitering around the starter areas, mining all the nodes, tagging all the mobs and robbing all the low level players of their kills, effectively preventing them from questing, gaining xp or progressing their characters in any meaningful way. If any of them ask why you're doing it, explain it to them and suggest alternative games they might want to try instead whose developers demonstrate less overt asshattery. And if any GMs question you, you can just claim you're doing deeds but don't want to buy any accelerators so you'll be there all day. It's just a thought.
  23. The simplest solution to that would, as ever, be an open and honest response, which he is more than capable of but chooses not to offer. Such as: "Guys and girls, thank you for all of your feedback. We appreciate the strength of your feelings on this matter. We will relay your responses to the relevant people, but due to the weekend they will not be available to respond themselves until Tuesday at the earliest. Rest assured they WILL be given this feedback and invited to post here directly. I'm sure you will find their explanations satisfactory." It would firmly wash his hands of the whole affair, leave it to the people responsible to communicate with the players - as they used to back in the day - and give the players hope that an actual decent response straight from the horse's mouth will be forthcoming. Moreover, he would come out of it looking good, and not like someone trying to be deliberately slippery. But, of course, the issue with that is that Turbine have no intention of ever offering an actual decent response straight from the horse's mouth, and they employ a community team who believe in doing as little open and honest communication as possible. Turbine - where the customer is the enemy and needs to be separated from their money by trickery and deceit.
  24. If people are not 100% certain in their assertions and have not checked their accuracy thoroughly, then they should cool it with the haughty and disdainful attitude that gets people's backs up so much, lest they end up looking like complete idiots when others inevitably show them to be talking out of their arses. That wasn't directed at anyone. Just a general observation.
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