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Everything posted by Hajile

  1. No prizes if you saw that one coming. I've never seen anyone so shamelessly change tack from "they never said..." to "they said but things change..." without a moment's hesitation to acknowledge the flagrant inaccuracy of their original smug assertions. Clutching at straws doesn't even begin to describe it. Nevertheless, it seems DarkCntry is now operating in a field of one. And when that is your only supporting voice, you're onto a loser. Smooth move, Turbine. I steadfastly hope that LOTRO's lesson will be learned by other developers. And that lesson is "how to sink a once-profitable game in 18 short months" and they are held up for derision within the industry. I hope they enjoyed all their year-end bonuses while they could for rushing Isengard out the door. I can't imagine their corporate circle-jerk will continue for much longer.
  2. I wouldn't go expecting any further responses from Sapience after that little contribution. Shame it's not the get-out-of-jail-free-card that he thinks it is, and it's transparent bollocks to anyone with more than four active brain cells. Bottom line, anyone who continues to defend Turbine after this latest episode and their CM's responses to it is a sucker who can't see the forest for the trees. I really hoped Turbine would get wise before they reached this stage, but we're here now and unlike previously I'm desperately hoping that Middle-earth Enterprises are watching and just revoke their license. Turbine would be laughing on the other sides of their faces if their WB overlords showed up at their door asking how the hell they managed to lose them the online gaming rights to one of the most sure-fire IPs of the last decade.
  3. That's the key word there. Had. The storyline is no longer well-written, being full of logical inconsistencies and plot holes. The basic premise of Volume 3 so far has revolved around every NPC you encounter being a feckless idiot. The story of the Isengard expansion itself and the attached instances is vapid and lazy. The landscape design of new areas is poor and unattractive and the soundtrack illfitting, tuneless and occasionally synth-heavy. As I said, there is nothing there not done better elsewhere, and what were once its most attractive features have lapsed into substandard shadows of themselves. You'll run out of stuff to do within the week. Then the obligatory grind sets in and you're repeating content ad infinitum.
  4. This. Regrettably, there is no longer anything that LOTRO does that isn't done better by at least one other MMO on the market at the moment. There is truly little new, and what new there is lacks the sort of refinement or polish to make it worthwhile or significant. Even if you just want to mind your own business and quest on your own, there are better outlets. Worry-free pugging is out of the question, and the instance finder feature is a non-starter of no help whatsoever. If you have no guild or friendship ties to LOTRO - and from the sounds of it you don't, and don't want them either - I'd suggest an alternative game or pastime. If it's all about inhabiting an online rendition of Middle-earth, then sadly it's all you've got, and even then it's becoming shoddier and shoddier as time goes on. So shoddy in fact, that some would argue it doesn't even have this as an attraction any more.
  5. Your assumptions are correct - they did nothing like that with me. I was simply saying things that they disapproved of, and so they decided to try to silence in a duplicitous and underhand way. They would have succeeded, too, had this forum not existed. Either Celestrata is using the flimsy technicality that my posts were not actually deleted but simply disappeared in order to be as misrepresentative as possible while staying within the strict limits of the facts, or she's just outright supping from the Chalice of Falsehoods. In any case, I'm finding it hard to care about what they do any more. LOTRO is gone from my PC, banished from my mind and I'm enjoying TOR. It might not be Tolkien (Star Wars, peh...) but at least it's not demonstrably run by lying gits. For now.
  6. Thanks for the kind words! You're a decent gamer, who just wants to enjoy your pastime. You've done nothing wrong. You certainly don't have to apologise for the behaviour of gold farmers, etc, just because they happen to also live in China.
  7. Yes. This. Dalth, we get that you don't like gold farmers, or whatever. But China is not some sort of Borg-like entity made up of purely like-minded people with the singular goal of ruining western gaming habits. We're all friends here. Let's try to treat each other with decency and address questions from perfectly polite new board members such as the OP with respect.
  8. If anyone wants people to focus less on the negative and more on the positive, perhaps they too should be putting pressure on the developers to ensure that the former doesn't vastly outweigh the latter, as it does at present. For the record, this forum is not wholly negative. I recall that many here were quite complimentary of the changes to the rep system that was introduced recently. Some looked at it with no small degree of trepidation, waiting for the other store-based shoe to drop, but that's what happens when Turbine's current actions are observed by those who are aware of their demonstrable track record. Hmm, using examples of past actions to hypothesise current and future motive and behaviour? Sounds like basic corporate psychology to me. I think it's unfortunate some don't seem prepared to do their homework. In any case, misrepresentation of the subject matter of this forum is the very definition of unhelpful. It's a hallmark of those searching for an excuse to belittle or dismiss the forum as a whole without actually addressing any of the points that it raises. That is in turn suggestive of desperately clamouring for purchase on shaky ground in avoidance of having to compromise a haughty 'I'm never wrong' attitude. I hope you had a very merry Christmas.
  9. Visually, I think it was essential. I don't 100% agree with the almost completely non-dwarflike appearances of Kili and Thorin, but the rest are perfectly fine. Love that Oin and Gloin are the most Gimli-looking ones. That's a nice touch. Was it just me though, or does Bilbo's hair change colour halfway through the trailer? Or was it just the lighting in the scenes? Oh, but I love the rendition of "Over The Misty Mountains Cold." I hope they've done what I think they have with that scene - all the dwarves standing one by one and adding to the chorus as the song goes on. That'd be a wonderful moment. I think Howard Shore has just shown us all the leitmotif for the group, too. The full orchestral version is thematically similar to the 'Fellowship' theme from the LOTR films, but lower and deeper, as befits a party of dirty dwarves. Oh, I'm looking forward to this. Yes indeed.
  10. Bear in mind they wouldn't be going up against a game if they chose to do so, but the company running the game. Which is now WB. WB have an enormous presence in the US, particularly in the sort of markets geared in a big way towards kids and young teens - cartoons, comic books etc. I could think of no other MMO company to go after that would be as high profile to the average American layperson. Activision Blizzard? Who the hell are they to the average Joe? WB make Bugs Bunny cartoons and Superman movies. Go after them and it's national coverage in the American press.
  11. I think that's the nub of the matter. I'm not going to get into the debate myself, as I'm undecided on what sort of conclusion to draw, but to those that are arguing that it is gambling, I think they are arguing thusly: That if you use earned or stipend TP to buy a key, or if you use a key you obtained from a drop, it's merely lucky dip and is not gambling. But it's also possible to buy TP and spend those purchased TP on keys, and as soon as you do that, it becomes gambling. It may not be gambling in every available case, but the means to gamble is available in game, and that is all that matters to them. That is what the letter of the law suggests to those that believe this point, and while not wholly convinced myself, it's a compelling argument that may have to bear further examination by a qualified solicitor before we can determine if that's the case. I would be interested to hear from a professional on how they would go about arguing either side. If you consider the logical progression from that admittedly far-from-unanimous conclusion - then you can argue that the facility to gamble is being made available to minors. There are arguments for and against, of course, and I think the main stumbling block on a case-by-case basis would be in proving the TPs you spent on the key were bought and not earned or given. But it's very slippery ground for Turbine to be standing on - the merest possibility of this being the case is very dangerous from their point of view, especially if any parental pressure groups get a hold of this information. Very severe allegations could arise from them, and by then it won't matter if the allegations are legally correct or not - "Game company turns kids into gamblers" would make for damning headlines. I sincerely hope for their own sake that Turbine have checked and double checked their legal standpoint and know that it's bulletproof. If it isn't ...oh boy.
  12. They could probably do that, if they hadn't already invalidated the entirety of their EULA through their consumer rights offences of earlier this year.
  13. Spot on. Crypic's free to play option is the only example I've encountered of the right way to do it. Their store really is all convenience and fluff, and little, if any, advantage. Plus, it doesn't devalue the subscription option into irrelevance - a lot of the F2P transactions available in game simply remove the blocks put in place to bring you up to comparable, but never quite equal, pegging with subscribers. Some stuff will just never be available to you unless you pony up the sub fee. So it's either A - Subscribe immediately for full access and pay additionally for extra fluff, or B - F2P for the a la carte option, where you can purchase at your leisure whatever you like to bring you up to a sub-alike level, but one or two specific and specialist things will always be out of reach unless you convert to option A at some point. Hence, despite all the stuff you can buy during your F2P membership, Cryptic's ultimate goal is to eventually convert you into a subscriber. Turbine's behaviour supports the theory that their goal is to convert their subscribers into F2Pers, and is about the most ass-backwards, myopic business decision I've ever encountered. No business in the world should be actively dissuading their customers from providing them with fewer regular and sustained periodical payments. If you really don't want to, in Cryptic's model you can still enjoy almost everything the game has to offer through individual one-off transactions. True, if you happen to spend money on unlocking stuff then subscribe to get the rest, you're effectively paying twice for certain things, which is extra money in the pocket for Cryptic. But you never feel short changed because paying in that way was always your choice and you had all the information up front. It's superbly implemented. It's open, honest and fair and I see no reason why the Star Trek Online F2P model won't be identical. It's the correct implementation of what Turbine's marketing said their own store would be. One can't help but feel that Turbine have really taken themselves out of step with the market and the industry. When Cryptic of all studios is exposing to your customers what a money-grubbing shambles your payment model really is, you should be taking your decision makers to task quite urgently and publicly.
  14. The funniest dev comment so far has to the the one who opined that the player who spent 100TP on a key just to get the lootbox gone from their inventory and get the bagspace back, who found vendor trash and another lootbox inside was 'unlucky to just get vendor trash, but hey, they were also lucky, because they got another lootbox out of it, too!' As if that was the issue and cause for complaint. They just don't get it any more, do they?
  15. Heh. Their treatment of the threads on this subject says it all. Original thread locked, broken up into two - an official feedback thread on the store feedback forum (lol, they put it on the store feedback forum. Make of that what you will!) and a data gathering thread that quickly descended into bickering courtesy of one of their dedicated forum lapdogs repeatedly trolling the thread with argumentative drivel. Then, the official feedback thread gets moved again, out of the store feedback forum, relegated instead to 'General Gameplay,' a forum so obscure it took a good couple of minutes to even find. It's an official feedback thread, so shouldn't it go on the 'Offical Discussion Forum' where it would be nice and visible? Nah. Better to move it to a seldom visited out-of-the-way forum for it to wither and die, and when their pro-Turbine idiot gets the data gathering thread locked they can claim that nobody has the right to bring it up ever again. Subtlety? Turbine know not of this thing. You can glean more entertainment out of Turbine's brazen avarice and arrogant stupidity than you can out of any of their games these days. The only downer I have about the whole situation any more is a deep sadness that they still have the LOTR license. Nevertheless, I give it twelve months before Turbine realise their errors, release grovelling apologies and announce plans to change their management in a desperate attempt to keep hold of their rapidly dwindling customer base. Either that or WB will just shut them down. If we're very lucky, the now inevitable failure of LOTRO, coupled with the hopeful success of the sub-based SWTOR will show other developers that the F2P/Cash Shop option is not always the answer and should be treated with caution.
  16. Oh deary deary me. It's official, folks. Regrettably the devs are no longer able to put anything new into the game that isn't a massive steaming turd. What can I say except - lol. You did it to yourselves, Turbine. Anyone want to take bets on how long is left before WB pulls the plug? I'm guessing less than 12 months.
  17. He probably thought it would be a laugh. Or maybe he saw an opportunity to make himself look funny and badass at the same time and went for it. The massive piles of cash would have no doubt quashed any reservations he may have had, and it could hardly have taken him long to deliver two lines and crack his knuckles while wearing black karate gi. I could do that on my lunch break. I don't see any downside from ol' Chucky's point of view. I doubt they had to sweeten the pot with cocaine and hookers to make him say yes.
  18. "la la la la la, everything is fine here, nothing to worry about, la la la la la" says the crew of the sinking ship, their hands over the ears of their passengers to block out the screams and the sirens.
  19. Not to put to fine a point on it: No. If they want gratitude or kudos for simply doing their jobs, they should look elsewhere. I reserve gratitude and kudos for excellence, not adequacy and certainly not performance that I don't consider up to scratch. It they want it, they should make things that are less transparently cobblers and do a better job of working with and around the license than they are at present. That shouldn't be difficult - Middle-earth is; as I have said before; a rich and varied tapestry, and it should be within their capabilities to produce content that fits snugly into it without the need to take enormous liberties. And yes, I can support it, so it's not a 'belief' - They essentially admitted as much in the roundtable interview that this very thread is based on. They confessed they decided in advance that they were making a raid where the player fought Saruman atop Orthanc, and then started grasping at straws to try to rationalise it in any way possible. "Dangling from it as hard as we absolutely can" is the precise phrase they used. Ergo, they decided to do something they 'thought would be cool' before even considering whether it fit or was appropriate, and then set about finding whatever flimsy, unconvincing pretext they could to try to justify it. If they were doing a good job worthy of gratitude or kudos, they wouldn't have to "dangle as hard as they can" from anything, especially when there are other, less 'dangly' ways to produce similar material, as I have already shown with my hastily developed idea. Which, I add, I managed without a team of professional instance designers or indeed a salary behind me. In twenty minutes flat. On the first attempt. Your personal preference for the more 'dangly' concept is, with all due respect, immaterial. With Turbine's resources devoted to developing content, they could have managed something 'un-dangly' that also ticked all of their boxes. That they didn't says all we need to know about their lackadaisical attitude to their license.
  20. I draw the line at what is practical and as a result of rational decision-making versus what are unnecessary and based on a superficial desire for additional razzamatazz. I've been incredibly forgiving in the past when Turbine have been able to justify why they have made the decisions that they have, but since they started doing things just because they think they look cool or couldn't come up with anything better, I stopped being so tolerant. Hobbits in Lorien/Elves in the Shire fall into the former - to limit the zones certain races could enter would be unfeasible and irritating in a quest-hub based game with as few zones as this game has. The necessity for different levelling paths, ways to gain crafting mats, rep points, etc for each race would have cause the game to balloon in size. While it would have been a nice touch, it would have fundamentally changed the kind of game Turbine originally envisioned. For directorial reasons, a necessary addition. The rise of Angmar in game? The former - it was essential at the time to create a new, Eriador-based threat for us to oppose, as that was where we were based for a long time. Angmar has a storied history, and was the most appropriate location for this use. It also gave them opportunity to insert lots of lore about the former kingdoms of the north in the back story, so I'd say it was another necessary addition. Loremasters? As originally conceived, the former. Their spells were not as overt as they are nowadays, so they slotted more easily into the setting. It could have been argued at the time - as it was later - that a caster class was an essential as certain players demand them, so in its original form, which was conceptualised in a certain way so to not infringe more than absolutely necessary, it was a necessary addition. Later changes to the class were just plain dumb, and along with the Runekeeper fall into the latter. The Location of Dol Guldur? I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel it's the former, sometimes the latter. Considering the progression path Turbine decided on, going from west to east deeper into the zone, its location in the furthermost east section of the map is practical and appropriate. However, I would also argue that there would have been different ways to build the zone and the players' progression through it that would not have meant such a shift was necessary. Orthanc? The latter. Done for no better reason than to have a scrap with Saruman in a snazzy location. A vapid and half-baked design decision. Why do I draw the line at this point? Because Lord of the Rings deserves the very best of design decisions, and if changes are to be made to make it fly in game form, it should be for a better reason than "they thought it would be cool." If Turbine can't do that, then they don't deserve the license, period. To refer to it in terms of the changes made in the films - Elves in the Shire in game are equivalent to how quickly Gandalf returns to the Shire in the first film - a necessary addition to help it work in this new medium. The changes to Orthanc are Legolas surfing on an orc-shield at Helm's Deep - gratuitous and stupid. Clear enough now?
  21. If Turbine were truly dead set on having a confrontation with Saruman, I guarantee you there are less-stupid raid alternatives to storming Orthanc itself. In fact, I'm going to give it a try now, just off the top of my head, so won't be checking it precisely against the books, but it should be a much better fit than Turbine's shoddy effort. Ignoring the whole 'taken prisoner' claptrap Turbine wrote, how about this - the raid (and the instance cluster itself) could be based around reconnaissance sorties in a variety of Isengard-y locations, accompanied by Rohirrim NPCs. The raid itself begins simply enough, with a scouting mission for one of Theodred's most trusted lieutenants to a rumoured hidden Uruk encampment in the mountains at the edge of Nan Curunir. The camp proves even larger and more imposing than the reports suggested, your party are spotted, and your way in is cut off as an exit. Trapped in the camp, with enemies closing in around you, you are left with only one option - not victory, but to fight your way to ESCAPE! Thus the raid is based around not fighting from the outside of a fortress inward towards the centre, but from the heart of enemy territory to freedom. Now that they don't have to plot around using portals to enter instances, it'd be much easier for them to design a raid to begin from the inside, heading outward instead of the other way around. That's how all other instances go and it's getting a bit passé. It'd be frenetic, exhilarating and quite, quite different. Various events can occur to spur you in different directions - maybe the first task is to distract some guards to allow the Rohirrim to escape on his own to take word back to Theodred. Uruk generals can attempt to block your progress throughout the raid, ushering the raid's progress in specific directions, and the forces trying to stop you breaking the line and fleeing can make up the mobs and bosses along the way. Varying the roadblocks based on conditions met would be a nice way of setting different objectives for challenge modes, etc. You could still fit some iconic locations in there - maybe one boss fight takes place on or near the Isen Dam, with the circle and tower of Isengard below as a backdrop. Maybe one section involves you powering through an area that is developing fire-based weapons, which Saruman has devised as security against potential Ent retaliation. Destroying them means they are not at Isengard's disposal when Treebeard's forces attack, and thus we involuntarily contribute to a later victory in our efforts to get away. Heck, if they were really adamant about putting Saruman in there, it'd fit, too - watching impatiently from his tower or his Palantir, growing increasingly frustrated as his weak and stupid servants fail to hold the interlopers captive. He makes an appearance at the end, where the goal is not the defeat of the wizard but simply survival and egress. If Turbine were ambitious, and they got it right, they could make the fight with Saruman a chase sequence through a series of obstacles, with Saruman an unconquerable threat looming behind the group at all times, taunting us with his power as we desperately try to get away from him, while he goads his own forces into testing themselves against us to prove their value to him. At the end of the raid, all seems lost - we can't break the line and Saruman is almost upon us. The escapee from the start of the raid then shows up with a troop of soldiers as reinforcements, breaking through the defensive line from the outside while their attention is fixed on us, thus providing us with a way out. Then, when our team has finally escaped the encampment, Saruman would continue to goad us as we flee, making oblique reference to the doom that awaits Theodred, and commenting that the experience has been useful - it has told him that his troops needs to redouble their training to become even more formidable for when the time comes to invade Rohan. There. No eagle rescue, no stupidly redesigned Orthanc, no dodgy stuff about rings of power and no going toe to toe with an Istari. And it'd be a nice alternative to what is usually delivered in raids. Flawed? Probably. But hey, it's late and I'm not a game designer. But it shows that it's not necessary for Turbine to be so boneheaded with the source material to make something cool happen in game.
  22. Thing is, we've had detailed explanations of precisely how the raid will unfold, so we've got more than enough information to arrive at preliminary conclusions. In particular the eagle rescue at the end is bollocks of the highest order. As for Orthanc - I have seen it. The screenshots taken at the top of Orthanc, at least, and whatever else it is, it isn't Orthanc. Not even close. The floorspace atop Orthanc is supposed to be miniscule, not a massive plateau, and it's not a place suitable as a venue for a pitched raid battle. Knowing that, if the devs were adamant about the battle taking place at all, they could have found a different, less stupid place to put it, but instead they chose spectacle instead of accuracy. That is precisely what's wrong with their design ethic nowadays, because there's no need for them to sacrifice accuracy in favour of spectacle. It's Middle-earth! It's got enough spectacle in it already and they just have to find a fitting way to bring it to life. There's no reason for them to be so inaccurate. If they could just apply a little more imagination and thinking outside the box, they could execute their lore-bending without snapping it entirely. But they no longer put the required effort into making sure things even kind-of fit. The round table chat basically comes out and says they were grasping at straws, so why shouldn't we conclude that they're just not trying any more? I almost don't blame the devs. Some clueless money-man probably said "the player fights that Christopher Lee guy at the top of his castle and that's the end of it" and let them worry about how to do it. That certainly seems to be the case - from the sounds of it the concept of the raid was decided in advance of any work actually being done. For the record, I liked the films a lot. There were changes, yes, but for the most part they were done for the sake of brevity or to trim sections of the plot that would seem flabby if played out visually. The changes and additions that were made for other reasons are to the films' general detriment, and not just for the sake of accuracy. They stand out like a sore thumb, just as they do in LOTRO. The whole "Army of the Dead" section of the third film is particularly egregious. There were a great deal of problems with the films, but what they got right far outstrips what they got wrong. They certainly did Orthanc better than Turbine, for a start. Remember the bit where Gandalf is held prisoner on the roof? That's the roof of Orthanc as described in the books, and ably demonstrates exactly how wide of the mark Turbine have deliberately had to go just to fit in their fight with Not-Saruman. I won't respond to the rest of your post, because it largely comprises of a blanket dismissal of opposing perspectives on an incredibly flimsy pretext. If you truly think that being knowledgeable about something that someone else created somehow doesn't count as genuine knowledge, you've pre-emptively dismissed any and all rebuttals including the ones above, so there's no point in disussing it further, is there? Also, you should tell that to David Salo, John Howe or any Tolkien authority. Or any professor of mythology or folklore. Or any expert on Shakespeare, Dickens or Conan Doyle for that matter. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for one of those conversations.
  23. There are suggestions that lean in both directions, and Tolkien never provided a definitive answer one way or the other. Perhaps deliberately, too, as there are a few nuggets of genuine mystery and lack of clarification amongst all his writings that still encourage debate today. We pretty much have all the material we're ever going to have and unless someone finds some lost notes, the answers we already have are as conclusive as they're ever likely to be. But still people debate, often for the sheer fun of discussing something so captivating. I'm a writer of fiction myself, so the poet in me likes to think of the two Glorfindels as one and the same person. The guy has mystique, and there are allusions that even compared to people as mighty as Elrond and Celeborn that he is Not Like The Others. He is basically portrayed as the Elves' premier bullet hard geezer of the Third Age. That lends itself to something staggeringly exceptional in his back story. And if he's a warrior among warriors, well... Presumably there was a reason why Tolkien created the character of Legolas and didn't have Glorfindel become a member of the Fellowship as originally planned. Probably for suspense reasons. Kind of hard to feel the peril if you have one of Middle-earth's greatest warbastards in your team: Gandalf: "YOU SHALL NOT PA--" Glorfindel: "Run along, Gandalf. And chill out - I got this wuss."
  24. It is, and it does. There are extensive critiques of the rubbish they're shoehorning into this new raid that expose it for the joke that it is. Most of which are on the official forums, supplied by Beleg and Radhruin, the EU forum's former lore monkeys. They're arrogant, condescending arses, as they always have been, but they're rarely wrong about what is and isn't Tolkien. It's just so very counterproductive. Turbine were clearly desperate to have this confrontation with Saruman atop Orthanc at the end of the raid. But they've made so many concessions to make it happen that it reduces it to something unrecognisable. What we're left with isn't of any use to anyone interested in participating in a battle at an iconic location with an iconic villain. They've changed so much they're unrecognisable as the iconic things they're supposed to be. Whoever Turbine deliver atop Orthanc, it's not going to be Saruman. Nor is it even going to take place atop Orthanc if you have even a passing familiarity with the source material. And if it's only a raid in not-really-Orthanc, and the player does battle with not-actually-Saruman, why should anyone give the tiniest shit about it?
  25. It's a pretty silly thing to do, tbh, but it's one I anticipate being very quickly addressed. Seeing as the response to this particular thing has been uniformly negative, we should probably keep an eye on it to gauge how Bioware and EA intend to deal with the customers' negative feedback.
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