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Upcoming Turbine Interview


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I figured I'd give folks here a heads up that I am conducting another interview with Turbine as a follow on to the one I did prior to the Isengard launch. I posted my general outline on My site and am opening up the floor for questions. While I don't share completely with some of the opinions here, I will be honest and upfront that the first part of the interview will be on the negative side. I'm still not 100% convinced that they've lived up to what they promised me during our last interview, not to mention all the other stuff :)

I can't guarantee I'll ask everything and I'm not completely sure who I'll have access to but I'm trying my best. And considering the last interview was only supposed to be with Rowan (Executive Producer) who pulled in both Graalx2 and Zombie Columbus, there is a chance they will do something similar again.

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If you really want to kill the interview off, I'd ask how they respond to the increasingly poor reputation of their company and its customer care due to their shady and dishonest activities, not to mention the conduct of their front-facing staff.

If the interview is still going on after that, I'd ask how they can justify resorting to those tactics when they're unlawful in one of their main territories, and by their own admission weren't necessary 18 months ago. :)

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Corner ZC and pointedly ask what the point is about back-pedaling on skirmish design, lowering rewards for player choice in favor of a grindy instance tool that can't even guarantee players would engage all instances/content (and even whether it will utilize all content), and announcing reduced costs yet the greater empowerment scroll in the bullroarer store doesn't reflect that change?(and in case there's a claim that the beta store can't be adjusted while beta is running, that's bogus, they did it during the ROI beta, the store is separate from the client) Tell him some players claim it's simply an attempt to increase a grind and make the store more palatable, see how he responds. If at any point he can't look you in the eye, there's your proof.

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As #7 i'm interested in the stat-changes we got. How does Turbine think the cap-removal and the new mechanics worked out? Will we see equipment that enables players to play their char with diversity, or will Lotro become the tank/heal/dd -comboplay for braindeads?

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I think a less confrontational way to ask a thing people are interested in is like this:

"Kate, could you release an updated statement about future intentions of the store, replacing the 'convenience not advantage' from 2010?"

I don't think the question on more updates on the break-in will lead anywhere as this particular aspect is probably stonewalled by WB lawyers and all of Turbine would be under a gag order.

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Oh here is what I would like to know: are they thinking about this problem?

I see a big problem with the pricing in LOTRO. Once you go Premium you pretty much can't go back to VIP because you have spent all this money that would simply evaporate (quest packs, skirmishes, some storage etc.). On the other hand as a VIP there is a sense of cutting your losses and go Premium as soon as possible so that you don't pump money into VIP that would then be gone without effect if you eventually quit.

I feel strongly that this is holding back spending on my part. I would hate to make LOTRO pricing more complicated than it is but I think it is necessary to give some kind of bonus for double spent money (quest packs etc) so that switching between Premium and VIP doesn't feel like ripping off yourself. Likewise I think VIP would greatly benefit if it had some permanent effect that accumulates over time. If you spend $360 for 3 years of VIP a little more permanent benefit that just the Premium bits that everybody gets for a single month are in order.

I would like to continue to be VIP in some months that I have more play time but it's not gonna happen with the pricing as-is.

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Thanks for the input all, I will be trying to navigate through these but I will hit on some of the rougher areas too :)

Ask them what the promised content VIP's would get in this update which will not be free for everyone else?

Not to try and start a nasty word battle here, but did I miss this promise somewhere? From my memory (could be wrong here) this Update was mainly billed as the instances that should've come with Isengard which are completely separate from subscription status.

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Thanks for the input all, I will be trying to navigate through these but I will hit on some of the rougher areas too :)

Not to try and start a nasty word battle here, but did I miss this promise somewhere? From my memory (could be wrong here) this Update was mainly billed as the instances that should've come with Isengard which are completely separate from subscription status.

I think it's a reference to suggestions that they would be releasing free content to subscribers like they used to. I think they already did. Remember those 3 instances with the grindageddon tokens? That are now defunct thanks to ROI? That was your free content. About 4 or so months worth of it. Yay. If you could stomach it for that long.

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I think it's a reference to suggestions that they would be releasing free content to subscribers like they used to. I think they already did. Remember those 3 instances with the grindageddon tokens? That are now defunct thanks to ROI? That was your free content. About 4 or so months worth of it. Yay. If you could stomach it for that long.

Ahh, right - or content updates as in new zones. I don't ever remember that being promised in Update 5, but I'll be curious how they plan to roll that out in 2012 for sure.

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There is nothing that I can see in U5 on Bullroarer that is free for VIPs, and has to be paid for by Free/Premium players. The Epic book is free to all, as is use of the Instance Finder. The five instances are a part of RoI, and are free to those who bought the expansion with cash, must be bought with TP by those who bought the RoI quest-pack with TP.

That's it. The rest is mechanic tweaks and a consolidation of Skirmish marks down to three types of currency, and all players benefit from those changes. There is nothing in U5 that is free for VIPs that is not also free for everyone else. So, it could be argued that there is no benefit for staying a VIP, at least not with RoI or U5. If U6 is the same way, then I'm pretty sure that's a good indication of the path Turbine will be treading with LOTRO.

$10/month for VIP subscription basically is getting us 500 TP stipend. For ~$100 one could go Premium, buy all the quest packs, and do without the 500 TP/month stipend. Then they could buy $10 worth of TP every month and come out ahead. So, what exactly is the benefit of staying VIP any longer?

Sorry to derail the thread, just wanted to answer the question.

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There is nothing that I can see in U5 on Bullroarer that is free for VIPs, and has to be paid for by Free/Premium players. The Epic book is free to all, as is use of the Instance Finder. The five instances are a part of RoI, and are free to those who bought the expansion with cash, must be bought with TP by those who bought the RoI quest-pack with TP.

That's it. The rest is mechanic tweaks and a consolidation of Skirmish marks down to three types of currency, and all players benefit from those changes. There is nothing in U5 that is free for VIPs that is not also free for everyone else. So, it could be argued that there is no benefit for staying a VIP, at least not with RoI or U5. If U6 is the same way, then I'm pretty sure that's a good indication of the path Turbine will be treading with LOTRO.

$10/month for VIP subscription basically is getting us 500 TP stipend. For ~$100 one could buy all the quest packs, go Premium, and do without the 500 TP/month stipend. then they could buy $10 worth of TP every month and come out ahead. So, what exactly is the benefit of staying VIP any longer?

Sorry to derail the thread, just wanted to answer the question.

That's why I cut my losses, the leakage of money from VIP. A smaller and smaller percentage of the game is included in VIP. I don't expect all. But a constant percentage, yes I do. As long as this trend is continuing I cannot know how bad it's gonna be in the future. If I decide to go Premium later I take more losses.

Now I'm "stuck" Premium and "can't" go VIP because then my (pretty high) Premium money would evaporate.

It would be great if this question could be asked. Is this really how Turbine wants things to turn out in the player's brain when they decide over giving them money?

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There is nothing that I can see in U5 on Bullroarer that is free for VIPs, and has to be paid for by Free/Premium players. The Epic book is free to all, as is use of the Instance Finder. The five instances are a part of RoI, and are free to those who bought the expansion with cash, must be bought with TP by those who bought the RoI quest-pack with TP.

That's it. The rest is mechanic tweaks and a consolidation of Skirmish marks down to three types of currency, and all players benefit from those changes. There is nothing in U5 that is free for VIPs that is not also free for everyone else. So, it could be argued that there is no benefit for staying a VIP, at least not with RoI or U5. If U6 is the same way, then I'm pretty sure that's a good indication of the path Turbine will be treading with LOTRO.

$10/month for VIP subscription basically is getting us 500 TP stipend. For ~$100 one could go Premium, buy all the quest packs, and do without the 500 TP/month stipend. Then they could buy $10 worth of TP every month and come out ahead. So, what exactly is the benefit of staying VIP any longer?

Sorry to derail the thread, just wanted to answer the question.

I almost posted a financial breakdown on the main forum, then realized what they'd do if I did, so I simply posted that the math makes the sub a scam, and that buying a $10 card has more value than a subscription, so people would be better off dropping the sub, grabbing a card and using that plus earned TP to buy the rest, and then stop giving them money altogether. I'll say it again, by not really creating a true hybrid, they've made it possible for people to just drop subs and buy a lifetime for a lot less than the rest of us did.

Then I read posts about how they are adjusting skirmish rates and grind to make it harder, sweetening the store pot.

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Interesting sub-thread here on the whole subscription thing, I think I'll try to figure out a good way to word it. As really the only benefit is the 500 TP stipend (if you like stuff in the store) and content which hasn't come in a LONG while. I think Enedwaith was the last quest pack released, and you could even argue that unless they start offering quest packs more then every 3rd month, it still is cheaper to just buy them with a big TP bundle then have a sub.

I'm also still really curious what the break-down of VIPs currently looks like, I'm guessing almost 85%+ are lifetimers (like me).

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I'm also still really curious what the break-down of VIPs currently looks like, I'm guessing almost 85%+ are lifetimers (like me).

We just ran two polls on this, this forum is lifer heavy.

FWIW, I would be a lifer, too, if it had been offered when I was playing the most. Now I'm a VIP dropout.

Quite frankly I'm shocked how few VIPs we have. Maybe I actually have a point saying that the current pricing structure is only suitable to make VIPs cut their losses, and then never re-subscribe.

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Since F2P came out we had the following content that was free to VIPs but required payment from Premium players

- Enedwaith Bundle (695 TP)

- Halls of Night (395 TP)

- Inn of the Forsaken (395 TP)

- Attack at Dawn (395 TP)

- Icy Crevace (395 TP)

Total: 2275 TP

So a premium player would need to spend approximately $20 to get the above. Meanwhile a VIP subscriber would have to pay a monthly subscription which can add up to over $180 for a year. Clearly it is not worth being VIP on this basis unless you spend a lot of time in EM.

Perhaps a good question to ask could be 'Are you now encouraging long term players to switch to Premium as there seems little incentive for non PvP players to maintain a long term subscription as it is not cost efficient in comparison?' or something along those lines.

I think in interviews it is beneficial to give them the benefit of the doubt, so perhaps the above demonstration of the way VIP has been devalued is an unintended side effect of their move to F2P and they intend to correct this and encourage more players to go back to VIP. I think I read somewhere from an interview that they said VIP players were their 'safety buffer' or words to that effect.

As much as I am interested in their intentions regarding the value of the VIP subscription over the long term, unless they are going to come out and say 'yes we are winding down VIP' my more immediate question would be what content can VIPs expect in Update 6 to justify the expense of maintaining their VIP subscription?

When will Update 6 be released? :)

Why are there no mounts available as gameplay goals as part of ROI? Are all new mounts to be store exclusive only from now on?

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to put these questions forwards for you to consider! :)

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1. Thank you for the opportunity, Doc.

2. I saw that you already listed the warden issue, so I dont need to mention this topic :)

3. Could you ask if there will be a modification in the cosmetic-slots.

actually we can add cosmetic outfits like helmets, armor, boots, gloves and so on.

But I would also replace my actual shield with a cosmetic design or my actual gold-glittering spear with a simpler cosmetic design. So I would like to know if there are plans to add weapons- and shields-slots in the cosmetic outfit area.

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1) Will there be in near future new hobbies comming to the game, seem to remember that there was something planned like a treasure hunt or something

2) Are there ever going to be changes made to the kinship/housing factor of the game, lots of nice suggestions already been made around this on the forums

3) Are they planning for more frequent content-updates like back in days from Shadows in Angmar.

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Even though I'm a Lifer, I'd also be interested to know their take on the incentive to purchase and viability of the monthly VIP model. Especially at this stage of the game - and the criticism of recent updates and expansions, the VIP model isn't exactly selling itself. A friend of mine who plays quite heavily actually just dropped to F2P and other than a few skirms, he can still run everything with us that he used to - and he hasn't bought any points at all (nor does he plan to).

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Some (all?) of these have been mentioned already but:

- Hobbies. When are we getting new ones?

- Instance finder. How much effort is being put into this, will we be able to choose what instance we look a group for (instead of random instance)?

- Kinships. There's an amazing kinship renewal idea put out by community member, look at it? Kinship alliances, is this possible?

- Housing. More hooks/removal of hooks. Anything to spice up housing would be nice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I posted on my site and the official forums, but wanted to post over here too on this interview.

My interview ended up not happening, and I just posted what happened. Essentially I filtered out what I assumed folks like CSTM and LOTRO Reporter (I also co-host on that show) would cover and try to focus on those aspects. However Turbine doesn't want to cover the things that I (and my readers/listeners) wanted to at this time.

If you'd like to listen to the interview Chris from LOTRO Reporter and I did with Producer Aaron "Rowan" Campbell, here's the link.

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