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Everything posted by Bendin

  1. Lol they should just stick with what they are good at, horse blankets. At least that way non-creative people have to work harder to break the less is more rule....that horse is....busy. and probably needs a salve ,or a bullet.
  2. As far as the price meh a bit steep for an aging engine with likely large scale re-used assets..to each their own. As far as the debate regarding forced grouping/soloing... my POV Any content you create that you feel you must force a play style on your customer..your doing it wrong. Either you marketed to broadly or designed to narrowly. If content is good people will do what they have to to enjoy it. If utilizing your content require lots of forcing mechanics ie grind, forced, grouping , forced pveing/pvping, forced well anything to keep it relevant...well it wasn't that good to begin with was it? Nor well targeted towards your player-base. If a piece of content/mechanic/system you create is seen as a means to an end and not worthwhile in it's own right then perhaps game design isn't for you.
  3. It will likely resolve mask some issues, it will likely not resolve near as much as they hope. At best it will mask some underlying issues better, it however won't solve them. The problem with the engine wasn't 32-64b or even optimization in general really. The simple fact is people who didn't design or were otherwise subject matter experts on the engine kept trying to cram things into it for years it was never designed to handle. For much of what they tried to do over the years (if they were bound and determined to go down certain design paths); they should have bitten the bullet and re-designed an engine capable of handling it. Or worked inside the limits of the engine they had, not the one they wished they had. My bet this wont have much more effect than a typical placebo from a user stand point. Even when the engine was still relatively contemporary it had db issues, lag issues, comm isues that made it perform more poorly than it should have that were largely un-related to Hware, ISP, or scheduling. Hell I would bet $ there is still MyLotro DB polling going on. Moving those to 32b vs 64b only means those issues happen at a faster pace(their hope is fast enough to mask from user). It does nothing to resolve those issues. The problem is the engine(and what they are trying to do with it, versed what it was actually designed to do) not the bit/mem width
  4. Ok reality check folks. regardless of wishful thinking it is unlikely that LOTRO gets re-invigorated, re-branded, or re-energized. Some points on why: 1st Day-Break has two models it uses with it's stable Those games it actively develops and those that hang on the vine: Those with Strong IP's and an EXISTING strong player base get resources over an extended time or the milk runs where they either fade away using few resources as possible or are slash and burned via store to derive quick revenue. I'll let you guys guess where LOTRO falls in that 2nd Any re-branding or significant improvement means a corresponding infusion of time, effort and more importantly money. Anyone who runs a business only spends money if they can expect a solid return for that cheddar. Lorto is a known quantity in the mmo sphere, pretty much everyone who has played an mmo is familiar with what LOTRO is and it's relative quality even if they never played Lotro itself. To overcome the built in headwinds of: being a "known" quantity and not in the most positive light most people who played LOTRO no longer do(most of whom have some bitterness about the title) The shear amount of recourses it would req to get them back and more important keep them in any significant numbers beggar the mind. Aging Engine (to attract "new" players this alone is a deal breaker) niche IP(another barrier to "new" blood those who liked the IP already play/played LOTRO) There is no untapped market of secret Tolkien fanatics waiting in the wings. And this aint Star Wars. General scorn within the industry To overcome that not only would take some serious TLC in both the content and engine re-design dept. but would req a marketing blitz GOD hasn't seen. It would be cheaper to re-purpose the IP. and 3rd Day Break itself isn't in the position of having a lot of capital hanging around it can throw at a high risk low return venture of re-branding LOTRO. They have not had a good couple of years. Currently they have more failed/shuttered titles than on-going. Only Turbine itself has a worse avg of going concerns vs shutdowns among still existing developing houses or divisions. No this deal was simply WB divesting itself of a loss leader on the balance sheet before it goes into merger negotiations, and SS looking to use the existing store for a quick, low overhead, and short term revenue boost(most likely via whale farming). Or possibly access to the IP for future ventures, I'm unclear on the terms of how much control SS has for future ventures so that could go either way. EDIT The best you can realistically hope for is a maintenance mode . Anything beyond that your projecting your own wishes on reality. /EDIT
  5. For any mmo to garner my attention the bare minimum for me is: A sub only system, not because I have anything against F2P or B2P systems. However experience has taught me that over time developers get lazy within those systems and create content around the store and not content around game play. No or very little fetch quests. I never had any interest in working for the post office, I have even less doing so in a game. If creators can't be bothered to break out the whiteboard and actually block out a story line, I can't be bother to play their trash. Limited supported playstyles. If your game promotes itself as everything to everyone what your really saying is it's nothing to no one. Nothing brings out mediocrity like trying to do too much with too little. If procedural is a catch phrase of your game, you'll never see me playing it. Again if content creators can't be bothered to put time, effort, and/or passion into it, I can't be bothered. If the development/creation team spends a lot of time playing it outside QA sessions by choice not requirement, it's probably fun and would at least garner me taking a look. Any game it's own creators won't play is like food a cook wont eat.
  6. @ cossieuk in the early days of the ACA there were similar non-profits in the market. However the simple economics of the state of the medical industry made it impossible for them to exist, so they don't'. Now even for-profit providers are pulling out. As long as vast tracts of the industry represent an avenue to print cash , no non-profit is going to have an easy time covering operating costs. The one player in all this who actually has the bargaining power to limit costs chose not to use it, the federal govt.
  7. As far as the on-going debate you two are having over the ACA and it's struggling status. When you define something as a basic/fundamental need with a legal bare minimum then turn around and let cost be driven in part or in whole by free market forces you are an idiot as you've just created a cluster fuck. It is either a basic service/requirement with a floor/ceiling price range, or a supply/demand driven market. Doing both makes it a POS bit of legislation that won't ever work right. And that's in an industry with fairly tight margins and limited fraud/waist issues, none of which can be ascribed to the US medical industry where a procedure in one locale would cost 1-10k while one county over the same procedure with the same specialist costs 20-60k. We won't even go into drug pricing. If the ACA had been implemented as a straight up entitlement system it could have worked relatively painlessly. Or conversely actively implemented measures that addressed inflated cost drivers. In either case it's future would be more assured. As it's written? probably not long for this world due to simple economic forces and basic human nature regardless of DC's efforts. Insurance providers aren't pulling out of the market as a gimmick or fad.
  8. While I will agree that 100% of the gaming press is not worth the time reading, I wouldn't say all are "rigged". For some/many/all they are as bad as any typical gamer in letting "expectations" color their reporting/review/rant, or they are so afraid of being blacklisted they can't be honest, or they are so reliant on click bait articles to draw revenue, etcetera. A gaming rag will never win a Pulitzer....ever. There is a reason after all they have adverts, animated boobies, and random click bait splattered all over the place. It's the only way they can make revenue. To make revenue from actually doing their jobs (reporting/reviewing on various topics within the industry) they have to be competent/objective about it. Neither of which will happen in our lifetimes. EDIT Rigged implies a plan and an agenda, my opinion is the gaming press is more incompetent, cowardly and/or lacking in integrity.
  9. People still B&Ming about the OF? WTF, like that is or was ever the major problem with Turbine/LOTRO. Regardless of forums drama people play good games, they don't play bad ones. CM outreach is all well and good but at best it only affects the margins. If/when Turbine becomes serious about improving LOTRO's market share they will address the 800lb gorilla in the room and address the deficits in the game itself. Till then this whole discussion is a rather large waste of time (imvho). You could un-ban everyone who ever received one, made some tear jerking public apology about past wrongs and it would result in what? maybe 100 more people playing? Yea that'll save em. Most people didn't leave over forum garbage, they left over a garbage game.
  10. It depends, if Wows implementation doesn't require a "redo" every cap then I wouldn't categorize it as polish, I would categorize it as a core functionality improvement/change. I would also be curious if you need to Find 100's-1000s of the damn things to advance. Again if Wow's system doesn't require that level of asshatery, I consider it more than polish. That's a distinct design difference. Polish is tweaking a few #'s or changing text or graphic icon etcetera. a shiny pile is still a pile. "polish" doesn't change functionality, merely it's presentation. If however, the core functionality is fundamentally different and delivers completely different results that is a distinct and new system not a polished one. EDIT and yes I realize the whole 100+ li finally grows with you, blah blah. The 40 levels prev. however your just SOL.
  11. Copywrite all it takes is a cease & desist from WB to YT. Even though you tube video's are from an uploaders own comp and (hopefully) a product they purchased. video showing a game is still showing a companies intellectual property. Most companies don't care as it's free advertising and promotion, but in some cases particuarely early/free/exclusive reviews they can throttle if they desire if the uploader doesn't adhere to the terms agreed upon. A lot of yoututbe reviewers get advanced/early access to products but part and parcel to that is following what the man lays down. EDIT it's also why no one really considers any game/video site as anything resembling journalistic as to survive you basically have to have your hand out all the time, and are completely beholden to the industry for any level of access.
  12. Tbh the Fred ban did have one "arguably" positive side effect. Gaming sites started writing non-layoff related articles about LOTRO again, for a little while at least. When you get low enough even bad press is still press.
  13. This ^. As important and valid as changes to Turbines CM efforts would be; most of us who have departed LOTRO did not do so over CM issues. CM may(or may not) have gotten us out the door quicker, but in the end playing games is about game play. RH gets a lot of blame here for losing LOTRO's market share particularly post HD beta. And I certainly won't deny his efforts exacerbated it. However, he could have been 100% ethical, 100% honest, 100% transparent, and 100% professional, and HD would still have tanked. Good.bad CM can help/hurt sure, but it will never trump actual game play. RH could have been 10x the asshat people believe him to be and if HD had been a good product it would have barely registered. Good games can and do survive bad CM, The 2nd coming in the form of CM won't save a bad game. LOTRO's issues will not be fixed by slapping a "new" sticker on it. CM is the least of it's faults(even when CM was at it's proverbial worst). Very few people here will say Free was a bad CM, and yet the game continued to shrink in both market share and general gamer awareness despite any efforts on Free's part. That's not a CM or marketing issue, that's a product delivering what the market will buy issue. Very few MMORPGers are unaware of LOTRO, they have a fair grasp of what it offers. That's why they aren't playing it. EDIT Oh and welcome aboard.
  14. I'll chime in with my 2c. It's promising decision imho. Turbine was always fair to great(depending on ones personal perception/taste) in coming up with concepts, ideas and pasion. What they always struggled with was implementation, even back in the Microsoft days. One of the driving forces to Turbines struggles was the concepts and ideas they tried to implement had no correlation to the resources available(major reason why MS dropped em like a bad habit). This in turn lead to portion(often key to the concept itself) being left on the cutting room floor. In effect gutting what was a great idea into something that never recouped expenses in it's creation.Then the credit crash hit while simultaneously Turbine got a bad name within the investor community as being a bad bet. Over time this trend lead to fewer and fewer resources being available for implementation, but no wisdom was learned with regards to living within ones means. There was always an 11th hour miracle, angel investor, or WB to ride in to the rescue. Thus masking any need for "lessons learned" come to jesus sessions in regards to bad decisions. WB has since tightened the spigot significantly post IC. That's along with an existing aversion among investors in even looking at Turbine. Meaning poor decisions come home to roost much earlier in the cycle. Related to this but also opposed, the concept of it's done when it's done is typically foreign to Turbine while Blizzard are past masters of it, and their respective market share reflects that. Hell Bliz is willing to scrap entire mmo's(TITAN) ,in concept stage, that it feels won't meet expectations. Compare this to IC. Or SOM/HD in regards to LOTRO. Everyone knew it would flop. Hell, even Turbine had to have some inclination, but they pushed forward anyway. Not only that, but doubled down with massive marketing spending, show booths, siphoning resources from projects that were actual earners, ect. Basically throwing good $ after bad. All the while being unwilling to either sit on it till done or scrap. Time will tell if this is a one off, or if Turbine is turning a corner in internal thinking. It is just a raid after all not a business plan so I could be looking to deep into it. At this point it's hard to imagine any Turbinite being unaware of the current state of the companies resources. The sheer size and scope of cumulative layoff rounds should be a clue at least if nothing else. Assuming(yea I know) Turbine keeps this in mind during white boarding while also being able to sit on it till it's actually done can only be a good thing. It's a balancing act that at least till now Turbine showed no inclination in achieving. It will be interesting to observe over time.
  15. What I find interesting is the apparent evidence the margins have shrunk so much that cutting the support line has a significant impact on the bottom line. Most businesses a comparable level of outlay is a very small portion of the overhead. I new they had contracted significantly, but this starts looking like mom/pop level.
  16. From Turbines POV i'm not so sure/ They haven't released a game in almost a decade, with the exception of IC that lasted 5 minutes, and whatever MOBILs the puke put in the future. A game company that doesn't actually, you know, produce games has a bigger branding problem that poor communication. So from a branding standpoint it's no real loss whatever from 0 is still 0. As far as LOTRO itself re-investment stopped years ago, again no real harm/help if they started communicating. As far as "milking" that's basically the business model they operate under, has been for awhile, Most of the industry thinks LOTRO shutdown years ago anyway. There really is no upside to spending more time/effort communicating, isn't like that's going to change anything. Who honestly believes there's a mass of new/returning customers just waiting on an announcement of renewal to jump in and start spending money. On the flip side how many current spenders would continue to spend after an announcement "Yup, we're done" Most would just coast to judgment day. EDTI and as Amenhir mentioned it would be pretty stupid to say "hey we're done, no need to give us anymore $" until the last minute. That's basically what they did with AC2 2 weeks after xpac launched announcement of server shutdown....peace out.
  17. I can't report any anything but a 50/50 split my self. However I only used it twice; so fairly small sample size. Once my issue was addressed professionally(back in Moria) The other was character falling off map in one of the Rohan horsy wars zone thingies and all I got for that about 3 weeks waiting for my char back(and another 2 day rollback on top of it). So mixed results for me. I'm sure the CS department survived the myriad layoff rounds with no issues since I played.(sarcasm)
  18. Pretty easy actually to see how this happened(Assuming not being sarcastic, if you were; ya got me) Consider If the engines problems were not hardware related to begin with, and as far as I know during the years as performance hits increased no corresponding Hardware additions(or removal) to contribute to the decline. In that case even in a perfect world newer better faster would at best mask poor optimization and inelegant additions to the engine. In the real world the same "expertise" that allowed the engine to achieve it's stellar level of performance in the first place is likely to have "issues" in not only adding new hardware variables to the mix but cramming even more crap onto the engine with control software the engine wasn't written for and apparently was never re-written for. This whole exercise has been nothing but a collection of bullet statements some hoped to use in future employment with no improvement and arguably even worse performance of the actual goal. EDIT your talking about a company that last launched a successful product beck when XP was a recommended requirement in the industry. add myriad rounds of layoffs with the only new hires having Moba then Mobil experience...DUH It would have likely taken the 2nd coming to pull of this upgrade in anything resembling an industry standard. The only shock here is that they were stupid enough to try for it. Even for Turbine it's a wow moment.
  19. During that same time you had the year long temper tantrum by one of the leads on the LI systems. In effect calling everyone stupid for not liking it and complaining, every chance they got. It had less of an impact back then as social media wasn't quite a thing, and one's ability to look like an idiot on a wider spectrum was more limited. Also during the late development of Moria you had the emergency DDO all hands on deck salvage operation. It had an effect on several systems for Moria(including both RAD and LI's, neither system benefited from 1/2 assed effort)and basically killed SOM before it even started. Same shit different day. Substitute ROR for Moria(with DDO diverting resources earlier in Moria dev cycle, like IC did for ROR) DDO = IC and HD = SOM and the same mistakes are repeated in both communication and finishing the work. Substitute Mounted for LI's and Hytbolt for Rad, EB's for skirms and well...the similarities are striking. Again two horizontal prog systems not given enough time to cook. Both turning into anchors instead of boosters. With the users being held at fault for not enjoying it. The goals were different, results the same. Added to an incomplete solo/group external mechanic that subsidized/replaced traditional content...that...lets say had mixed reception in both time frames. Those who don't learn....repeat. EDIT Both Radience and LI's were intended as horizontal progression systems, lack of time/resources they got crammed into the vertical and balanced poorly with the rest of the game as a result. Mounted and Hytbolt never even got that far in dev cycle. And I don't think a lot needs be said about the difference in devoted resources to skirms vs EB's vs traditional content. But that's merely a difference in scale and aproach, not goals. Skirms were probably proportionally as "mixed" as EB's however unlike EB's enough traditional content existed along side skirms to relieve some of that type of pressure/focus. With EB's that's it; if you hate it the game offers little else.
  20. True but I've always assumed those decisions were an effect not a cause. Two contributing factors tied into that me thinks A. the internal company dynamic of believing your own bullshit among various cliques departments. Overselling pitches then blaming the consumer when it doesn't work out(it's your ISP, LI's are great) B. The severe contraction of available resources form the combined impact of diverting to IC while also trying to get to the moon when you only have the dV to get to LEO. When you honestly believe your own BS and when you face real world constraints you are unwilling to admit to(at least publicly)...it's other peoples fault by default. EDIT thinking further, not using your own product was probably a contributor as well and not just in communication. Rather challenging to form a base line if you don't understand what your markets(who are users not producers) talking about.
  21. To be fair having great ideas is cheap, implementing them...not so much. And to be completely honest Turbine usually did have great ideas, until they didn't due to personnel changes. What Turbine has always struggled with, even in AC1 days and most definitely something they struggled with AC2 and post, was implementing those ideas in a cost effective manner for the business while remaining enjoyable to the consumer. /shrugs LOTRO is a poster child of abandoned systems that looked great in concept(or at least workable) but never quite made the turn, particularly if their wasn't a store tie in to incentivize more effort from it's end. It's nice to have a great idea, it's much better to have the discipline to path out what you can actually deliver vs what you want to do. As opposed to getting 1/2-1/3 the work on only to abandon later. Which in effect is merely wasted effort manpower and resources. Big eyes; small stomach. If any of the myriad abandoned systems that constitute LOTRO had actually managed to increase customer demand/usage/spending, they would be added value. However, in most cases the various systems usually end up on someone's shitlist of complaints in the see you later questionnaire. Garbage in garbage out. If a system ends up costing you customers instead of adding or even holding steady you wasted your time adding it. EDIT this trend is largely why BB's or EB's or whatever they want to be called are now the limit of Turbines creative endeavors with LOTRO. It's the lowest hanging fruit they can reach but also the only fruit they can reach. Setting aside the lack of discipline in keeping separate projects/budgets well...separate and stealing from Peter to pay Paul. The inability to determine that concepts are unworkable as envisioned beforehand, and waiting until after they have already spent the farm to make the determination has backed them into a corner resource wise.
  22. And I never said they would shut the company down merely a single product that has been contracting for years. You somehow conflated the two. It(LOTRO as opposed to Turbine) will shut down the day it goes red. DDO alone wont be enough to support itself and turbine(and by extension WB's expectations) all by it's lonesome while also carrying dead weight non-profitable products that add no value to the company. Nor is there a viable reason to keep it going any PR mileage is years in the rear view, there is no clause that offers protection for an extended time and judging by the repeated rounds of lay-offs WB isn't giving Turbine games division a whole lot of rope. Certainly not after IC. EDIT If Turbine ever released a game that lasted longer than 2 weeks this generation things might change, but until then dead weight will get cut when sources of profit are rather thin on the ground in Turbine land. Speaking of IC that's your perfect window into WB thinking and track record of responses to non-profitable product lines, they did not even hesitate. No speculation needed.
  23. 3 years actually consecutive in any 5 year period, you are allowed 2 years of non profitability deduction during the same period.
  24. Some mainly the physical property, yes; IP depreciation, yes; and that's not guaranteed Turbine was sold for a song little better than at cost(if even that) not market value. Not a whole lot to depreciate. Prior Turbine incurred debt, no; and this is the biggy, and likely the main reason Turbine was so cheap along with the age/profitability of it's released products. EDIT most of the intangibles were already nearing the 1/2 life of depreciation by the time of the WB deal (another problem of a game company not making games for a decade) the curve flattens after awhile. The biggest cost drivers aren't subject to depreciation or had already mostly completed the cycle(nearing zero at the time of the deal), and were likely already factored into the deal hence the cheap price. If they had paid market value then yes many of the intangibles could have been given full value for depreciation. The cost savings came with the deal you don't get to double dip later. DBL EDIT Microsoft probably got more back from depreciation of Turbine assets than WB ever did. You have to remember Turbine has been a lame duck business wise for a long time. WB only gets the benefit of depreciation since it started ownership. Or have been surprised(in a legal sense) how poorly positioned Turbine was(and the buy in price tends to argue against that). For purposes of calculating depreciation it's something of the difference of a vehicle with adequate service documentation relatively well taken care of, and low or payed-off note; or the same make/model with a visibly twisted frame, missing panels, more bondo than sheet metal, and four different competing title loans. One depreciates more than the other from time of purchase with a corosponding purchase price(which is in essence an agreed upon reflection of relative valuation). That which has value depreciates that which has less depreciates less.
  25. no but they do have a lobby, they do impact personal improvement, and they are manufacturers(which do get tax breaks at least s far back as NAFTA) and significant employers. No gvt takes a loss in revenue without a countervailing reason. You can claim anything you want up until you get audited. Making bad bets, bad investments, absent something else, is not an automatic "freebie" at least in the US code. Free enterprise = the freedom to fail unless there is countervailing reasons(which are specifically spelled out in the code) There is no blanket "your stupid" here's your Timmy award unless you have one hell of a lobby(which the games industry doesn't). As well the profit motive clause only works for awhile if your deducting year after year. Sooner or later YOU WILL BE audited. The IRS takes a dim view of it being abused as a tax haven when it's actually an investment incentive to increase a businesses profitability and corresponding higher tax revenue. If it does not appear that the item, activity, business your were deducting will ever be profitable not only will you carry the tax burden, but if the finding is that it was for the purpose of sheltering other income you'll likely get hit up with a nice fine/penalty (above back taxes) as well. Generally much after 3 consecutive years of claiming the deduction the chances of scrutiny go up. That clause was never meant to be a tax shelter. EDIT Besides one good box office weekend pulls in more than Turbine is even worth, not much of a tax break for WB if it even existed. It would have hardly any effect on the bracket. At best the IRS would call it a hobby and req itemized with caps. Something like +/-2% probably(of Turbines gross not WB's)
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