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A letter from Executive Producer Kate Paiz - Looking Ahead to 2014


Falebrindor
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Hmm. So they have released an expansion less than a month ago, and they have already released a statement a year ahead of schedule ruling out a similar expansion in 2014.

 

Turbine are many, many things, but pre-emptive is not one of them. They are hiding something.

I think you are right. I think they did this out of desperation to try to stop so many players leaving.

 

I think they looked at dismal population numbers, and how many players are leaving, and someone said we better put out a letter = we have to do something!

 

I also think the player council members who visited got fooled - Turbine intentionally talked to them of plans and left out the problems with the game, low sales number, lot population, and the possibility of shutting down the game.

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I think you are right. I think they did this out of desperation to try to stop so many players leaving.

 

then again they could have just came up with more promises like they always did, right?

 

reading it again it's almost like she's telling us that wb pulled the plug after they saw how much of a fail hd was and they agreed upon keeping this game alive until the final hobbit movie is out. 

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I agree that we shouldn't have to CHOOSE between expansions or cleaning up old content bugs.

 

I agree that this coming so soon after the HD release, already saying a year ahead of time there will be no new expansion, does not bode well.

 

My secret hope that the game will get better and entice me to return to venture into Mordor is looking a bit more like a pipe dream.

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I think the "no expansion" might have more to do with the state of the license. We don't know *exactly* when the license expires - it could be January 31, 2014, June 30, 2014, or December 31, 2014...and WB/Turbine might not be willing to put any more effort into the game until they know more about the license. I've said it before, given what they've said about being allowed to keep Goblin Town in-game, despite giving up/losing the licence to the The Hobbit, they will likely be able to keep the game running without a license. Running, not developing.

 

Personally, I think WB is not going to negotiate an extension, and let LotRO fade into the west.

 

By the time I'd reached this post I'd begun to think "License Issues".  Rather than budget resources on a 12-month project (expansion) they can pitter-patter around on smaller (if any) 'new' content releases and instead re-hash what is already in-game simply because they aren't sure if they'll have a license in 12-months time.

 

I get the feeling that they're bunkering down.

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reading it again it's almost like she's telling us that wb pulled the plug after they saw how much of a fail hd was and they agreed upon keeping this game alive until the final hobbit movie is out.

Maybe somebody at WB did read on the web how the last expansion was received and then had to decide to either up the budget (and hope that the team would be capable of turning it into a better expansion which is not a given) or disallow another expansion.

Also, theoretically this could be legal preparation for a game shutdown, so that there aren't one-time payments for things that cannot be played afterwards. Yes I know they didn't care before but they have better lawyers now.

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The areas mentioned for next year are all areas that exist in some form already and can easily be tweaked to fit - we already have some Fangorn, Isengard is already there, and the Paths of the Dead and the Dead Marshes can use places like any barrow-maze area and the Midgewater Marshes as the template.  So they are not really developing much of anything new for the land mass areas.  Gondor is the only thing that could be remotely considered really new, and no doubt we won't see that till the very end of 2014.

 

As for the hinted-at secret thing - not going to believe anything till I see it.  Keeping it secret only means that if they can't execute it, we'll never know, and will have to be satisfied with whatever "Plan B' option they can scrape up and throw at us.  If it is really something to get us excited, it would be announced as the "one more thing" to cap off this letter.

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Time to cross another off my list!

1. Turbine start selling Lifetime accounts again.

2. Turbine have a massive Store sale.

3. Turbine sell TP packages with massive sales.

4. Turbine start trying to sell updates to VIPs.

5. Turbine announce and then release a buggy, half-finished, end-gameless 'expansion' for a huge amount.

6. Turbine give some announcement that they're doing better than ever (actually lying or deceptive).

7. Turbine add loads of items from in-game to the Store at once.

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Maybe somebody at WB did read on the web how the last expansion was developed and then had to decide to either up the budget (and hope that the team would be capable of turning it into a better expansion which is not a given) 

 

Hilarious ... yeah that's what happened. WB decided to gift Turbine a lot of money for Lotro. Riiiiiiight.

 

I know you are not saying this happened - but it is pretty impossible. If Turbine had more money the letter would be different. Notice how the housing update is not in any way coming soon. Just we will hear more on it in the next year. I am sure nothing will come out for the next 6-8 months on housing. They obviously used it to lure more players to stay and buy HD, but then did very little actual work on it.

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Sounds likethe old reach around back into the pockets of VIPS.

 

Perks for VIP= more SUBS, more SUBS= more reliable income.  And for that income they will scale old instances or maybe down level.

 

Reading into this Producers letter is like picking through piles of shit for some pieces of sweet corn, yeah theres some good in here, but the rest is shit.

 

Unfortunately I cant even get myself to buy helms dump with TP even though I have enough.  Thats a fucking shame, I used to love this game, half ass trait trees are the final nail in the coffin for me.

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Reading through the official forum thread on the letter leads me to think:

1) congrats turbine on the PR stunt. It is working! Lot's of excited players - over nothing.

2) Unless you state otherwise, there will clearly be no more group content in 2014.

3) People are gullible idiots, in general.

 

EDIT:

I agree Thunder (the next post after this). Lotro is all one big PR stunt now, carefully designed to get money from current and new players. Turbine is excellent at hyping this game and pretending it is still a decent MMO.

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Reading through the any official forum thread on the letter leads me to think:

1) congrats turbine on the PR stunt. It is working! Lot's of excited players - over nothing.

2) Unless you state otherwise, there will clearly be no more group content in 2014.

3) People are gullible idiots, in general.

 

Couple small, but I think accurate, edits.

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It seems there are lots of possibilities behind this announcement, and most are pretty bleak outlooks. I'm not sure how anyone can view this as a positive step.

 

On another note - no annual expansion and quarterly updates free for subscribers? Doesn't that sound familiar to anyone? That was pretty much their release schedule before they moved to implement F2P. Perhaps they've concluded the same thing we knew all along - that the way they were doing things pre-Paiz and before their ill-advised F2P move was actually fine. If so, it's only taken them several years and the ruination of the game to get there. Only now I'm guessing they've had their budget slashed due to the failure of Helm's Deep and they're shutting the stable doors after the horses have bolted.

 

Aww. Boo hoo.

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It seems there are lots of possibilities behind this announcement, and most are pretty bleak outlooks. I'm not sure how anyone can view this as a positive step.

Sorry but I can :)

Theoretically, if they keep a couple of coders for class re-balance (wtf class redesign, anyway?), for housing and for bug fixing and a couple of designers for some minor landscaping in the game that is what I wanted in the first place. The shitty quality of recent expansions has me stranded way below level 95 and my play time gets less and less as I "progress". I don't need an expansion soon, much less one that raises the level cap.

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Housing

No housing update this year? Can't say I didn't see that coming.

 

“Take a break from expansions” and More Content, More Often – Free for VIP.

No more expansions means that money is running really thin. Instead of new systems, multiple zones and what not (like mounted combat or Epic Battles), they are just going to concentrate on small zone releases. These new areas will be "free for VIP's", but it makes me wonder what they are going to charge VIP's for to make up for it? Probably group instances or newer Epic Battles (if they come out with more). It also looks like they are trying to move back to the subscription model or just giving up and running the course until either the money runs out or we actually make it to Mordor.

 

Inventory and Bag Space

Inventory and bag space? I guess they're looking for ways to monetize that as well, or make it more like the normal vault/new housing storage with nameable tabs and what not (or both). I really don't see this as a major overhaul.

 

Festivals and Events

Honestly, I don't care about festivals and events anymore since they turned them into a grind and stuck items in the store to make the grind "easier".

 

But, with all that said, you really have to look at what's missing...

 

No mention of instances.

No mention of raids.

No mention of skirmishes.

No mention of the future of Epic Battles.

No mention of zone revamps (North Downs, Angmar, Trollshaws, etc.)

No mention of PvP.

No mention of raising levels in 2014 (are we going to be stuck at 95 forever?)

 

Oh, and I'm not going to hold my breath on that "surprise" either.

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Since Turbine is most likely to answer a question on Twitter, someone needs to send them this question:

"In Turbine planning to include traditional group instances in the new content that will be released quarterly mention in the Letter?"

 

Either that, or players need to be relentless in asking over and over until Sapience of someone gives an answer. Already some players are assuming group content will be coming soon, and is part of the new content. We need to keep asking - because I am pretty sure Turbine has decided to not make any more group content and is carefully not telling players that.

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Yeah, pretty hard not to see right through this.

Stupid, really - to think they will benefit by 180ing the development philosophy back to what it was before they turned so many of us off.

Way too late for that. Not sure who's best interests they think they are serving here other than folks who no longer play. Is that their new target market? lol

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Just out of interest, how long were we stuck at lvl 65?

 

Approximately 22 months.

 

 

12/01/2009 (SoM release date) - 09/27/2011 (RoI release date).

 

 

During that time:

03/01/2010: Lone Lands Revamp.

09/08/2010: F2P released, with Enedwaith. Starter instances revamped. LI overhaul (supposedly part I of II, but part II was canceled).

11/29/2010: Ered Luin Revamp; Barter Wallet; Winter Home/Frostbluff.

03/22/2011: In Their Absence Instance Cluster (3 3-mans/2 6-mans/1 Raid in 5 parts).

05/23/2011: Halls of Night, Inn of the Forsaken, Attack at Dawn, & Icy Crevasse added.

 

I stated playing in mid-March and hit level 65 just about the time Enedwaith was released, or soon after.

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1)  I like how she spins them not putting out an expansion next year as a plus.  LOL.

 

Eventually their yearly expansion schedule was going to slip.  Each expansion gets smaller and more bug ridden.  They simply can't push out something next year worth even Turbine calling it an expansion.

 

2) They are definitely losing subs and realize that VIPs need more to justify paying a sub.  Smaller but more frequent content updates without actual expansions are likely their last ditch effort to keep people subbing.

 

The game is on its last legs.  I don't ever expect to see Minas Tirith.

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The "surprise" will be a new class (for both freeps and creeps)

 

BUT, it will not be free. Everyone, including VIP's, will have to pay for it. And I am guessing it won't be cheap. Considering they aren't coming out with an expansion next year, I am guessing the new class will run around the 2000 to 3000 TP mark ($20 to $30 US, or 250 to 375 Mithril Coins).

 

Their excuse will be that "Everything else is free for VIP's, so you have to pay for that!"

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The new class, if one is coming, will either be Skinchanger or Ranger. Whichever it is will be an "Elite" class, require purchase on the LOTRO Store to access, and be significantly more powerful than our current classes.

 

And come to think of it, those of you who said this is due to the Licensing issue are likely correct. If Turbine is not continuing to add new content to the game, only revamping and expanding areas currently in the game (Fangorn, Paths of the Dead, etc), then they can argue they are not in violation of any licensing deal they may or may not have, depending on how the lawsuit goes. Most likely, this was forced upon Turbine by WB's lawyers. They were likely told to go into a Holding Pattern in regards to the game, just flesh out what is already there and improve current systems, until WB can buy a favorable verdict.

 

Just my $0.02

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Since everyone else chimed in....Guess it's my turn.

 

Kate's state of the union address is much like the ones from President Obama, lots of hope with little change.

 

I agree with those who said this is the beginning of the end.  I would have been ok with a long stretch in between xpacs.  Before all this poor development and money grubbing went into affect.  To me playing the game recently it seems as if you are encouraged to spend mithril coins in order to enjoy the game.  Just looking at the beginning of the current epic quest confirms this.  They give you a map to get the first quest by the Entwade, but after that it's a ton of riding.  Go back to Nona's cave in Wildermore.  Go back to Entwade.   Ride all the way to Edoras.  That right there is an underlying ad for mithril coin use.  As far as the Epic Battles being intertwined with the epic, you can complete them before you reach the quests for them and just go back and forth between the quest givers asking you to do them.   Not sure why we paid for it considering they have always been free.  

 

Back on topic.  I played the game during that 22 month gap in content and never quit.  But at least the game back then had some promise.  After playing WOW for nearly 5 years I really thought this MMO had a chance because of the IP to be the wow killer.  But it was squandered away.   The great content we got in the past is just that, a thing of the past.  And they keep reminding us how good it was by continuing to upscale it, rather than create new content lol.  Was the peak of the game really level 65?

 

All this spells doom.  They can not please the remaining groupers by creating new content.  They can't please the soloers by creating new content like Hytbold.  They can not please the PVPers by maybe trying a new mechanic for it.  They can't even please the rpers with a decent housing update.

 

And as said above a new housing update will surely include monetization.  Want a crafting forge for your personal yard 4995 tp.  You want more hooks 295 tp each. 

 

"The release of Helm’s Deep was definitely a high point of the year for me!"

Biggest lie ever told.  

 

And as for the more content more often?  I can see it already.  Instead of Wildermore we will get Fangorn proper.  Where we team up with the ents to take down Isengard.  Although the last quest in the epic will be us watching the action rather than actually making a difference.  Maybe make an Epic Battle out of it where we stand around and watch someone else do the work again.

 

Paths of the dead?  Maybe just an epic quest where we watch Aragorn team up with the oathbreakers.  Enewaith Epic anyone?

The dead marshes will be some dream sequence where we see Frodo and Sam being led by gollum.   Great River Epic.

Sadly our first steps into gondor may be our last on middle earth.  Probably another epic quest where we watch Theoden ride from the boarder into gondor.  

 

I'd like to be more positive but I have already played through HD on a toon and if this is what 40 bucks or 4995 tp gets you 10 bucks a month is not going to get you much more.  Who would even be encouraged to buy it when your gear means nothing and no levels will be changing.  Maybe they will offer a couple extra trait points to entice but it won't be enough.

 

WB has zero faith in this game or the development team.  We can only hope a smart company who isn't looking to wring every last dollar from the players gets the IP.  Sadly starting over at level 1 in the shire yet again doesn't sound to promising to me.

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