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


Falebrindor
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Pointedly deciding to not develop PvP or traditional raiding are the 2 main reasons this game sunk so hard after Rohan. There is a large contingent of players who may not focus on either, but the ones that did (in my experience) were the glue that held the game together - and kept lots of the other people around. Even if raiding and PvP were a minority of the total player base, these 2 sects of players undoubtedly spent more active time in the game than possibly all other player niches together. 

 

Their conscious decision to develop "fast food" content - content that requires minimal investment of time or resources to play - may have sounded good in theory, but it can't help but be generic and hollow in reality. Players who don't invest in a game do not keep that game going - and Turbine has all but made it impossible to invest in anything in LotRO. Just look at the development decisions they have made over the past few years along with the steady drop in player activity. How could they think they were on the right track?

 

This game is a classic model of failure on multiple levels.

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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.

 

Same here ... And isn't it funny that we won't touch HD even though we'd get it for free ? :D

 

Last time I logged in I had 10k TP and my VIP ran out sometime in November. This Producers Letter confirms my decision to just let it be, nothing to look forward to in a game on maintenance mode. "In the end all Paiz out." ;)

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Let's look on the bright side, folks: in spite of the predictions of many of us (myself included, I think), Kate Paiz actually put out another producer's letter!

This is indeed the most important factoid: there are still enough life in lotro to justify publishing a producer's letter. I am rather happy to hear that we won't have another 10 levels of dumb quests to grind next year, and that we even might have bits of interesting content for level 95 (of which there are actually absolutely none). The rest is wild speculations, I am not drunk enough to venture there at the moment.

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.

Not necessarily more powerful, my bet is on rohan something or gondor something and starting at a high level (75-85 ?). Probably a healer.

Edit: ok, a bit more powerful just to be sure it is not rated as "underpowered" by whiners on the forums, but not powerful enough to be ostensibly a shameless moneygrab. That would be the last nail in the coffin.

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Ooo oo oo. Please let the surprise be pretty ribbons for my beard!

 

I'm not sure cancelling the next expansion can be seen as a good thing no matter how they try and spin it. Expansions bring people back to the game after the summer lull. That always used to happen anyway. Not seen so many old faces coming back this time.

 

They better have something serious in the bag for spring or ESO will see Middle Earth pretty much emptied.

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People that are hanging around long enough have no doubt that this letter is just clear attempt at stopping the players numbers drop.

 

Turbine taught us that they always lie and this is no exception.

 

I agree that this is basically admitting that game is going into the maintenance mode now.

 

No new expansion, no group content, some new areas that does not need any real developing (old areas templates will be used as mentioned somewhere above), housing update that probably will turn out to be just some tweaks here and there (housing update should have happened long time ago, now it's too late), new class that most likely will be available only in the store and will probably be supr lore breaking.

 

Looking at the thread on official forum i wonder how many lies Turbine has to come up with for people to finally realise that whatever Turbine says is never true - latest example? Epic battles. Perhaps someone from the official forum can come here and explain to me how exactly are they epic? There is 0 epicness in them and Turbine promised that they will be epic. Just another lie out 100's they already made...

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...

 

No new expansion, no group content, some new areas that does not need any real developing (old areas templates will be used as mentioned somewhere above), housing update that probably will turn out to be just some tweaks here and there (housing update should have happened long time ago, now it's too late), new class that most likely will be available only in the store and will probably be supr lore breaking.

 

Looking at the thread on official forum i wonder how many lies Turbine has to come up with for people to finally realise that whatever Turbine says is never true - latest example? Epic battles. Perhaps someone from the official forum can come here and explain to me how exactly are they epic? There is 0 epicness in them and Turbine promised that they will be epic. Just another lie out 100's they already made...

 

We need a sense of proportion. LOTRO is a six-year-old game, it's never going to be the most popular with young gamers and it won't last forever. Sometimes on the official forums people are more positive than warranted. Likewise, some of us here are more negative than we need to be.

 

Anglion, I'm not having a go at just you, but see what you did there? "Whatever Turbine says is never true"! Gasp, you mean there's really no such thing as Helm's Deep? There wasn't really an update the other day? There has been no skills revamp? No, "whatever" and "never" are too strong. But then, to try to back it up, as an example of Turbine saying an untruth you're reduced to complaining about a lack of "epicness"; whatever that is.

 

And it's not just Anglion, I just picked his post as a recent example. The really weird thing about that kind of post is that no-one challenges it. It has no logic and dubious justification, but this forum generally laps up that kind of thing. It's the game which is played here, instead of LOTRO.

 

Kate Paiz's letter has some points which seem unjustified or implausible, given how LOTRO has declined already. It also has some encouraging ideas. Stopping expansions and working on fixing the bugs was actually suggested in this forum when Turbine announced the HD expansion! And a housing update is wanted by many players, even though we know we won't get everything we want from it.

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Anglion, I'm not having a go at just you, but see what you did there? "Whatever Turbine says is never true"! Gasp, you mean there's really no such thing as Helm's Deep? There wasn't really an update the other day? There has been no skills revamp? No, "whatever" and "never" are too strong. But then, to try to back it up, as an example of Turbine saying an untruth you're reduced to complaining about a lack of "epicness"; whatever that is.

 

Well i may have exaggerated a bit but the point stands.

 

In my opinion, Turbine lies. And they do that very often.

 

You wan't to be very specific and in this case you are correct, Turbine did launch HD so it was not a lie that there will be an expansion. I am not that specific though and for me they constantly lie about many different things.

 

Launching dates of various things were given in the past and many of them were postponed and delayed = lie.

Epicness of BB is a subjective thing ofcourse but they are just chaotic battles and there is literally no epicness in them i think people generally agree on this. In my opinion this was a lie to say that these battles will be so breathtaking and epic.

 

Would have to dig for many more examples of Turbine lying to us but i just can't be bothered really.

 

This is my opinion: Turbine lies to it's playerbase. Nothing will make me change this opinion and i'm preety sure that in a year time, this whole Paiz letter will turn out to be 80% of lies. No i cannot back this up now, this is what i feel but i guess i'm not alone with this opinion.

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The really weird thing about that kind of post is that no-one challenges it. It has no logic and dubious justification, but this forum generally laps up that kind of thing.

Fwiw, not everyone does and there are others here who roll their eyes at those over-the-top statements such as "Turbine always do x" or posting with 100% certainty that they know what Turbine's intentions are.. or that this means definitely won't ever be another expansion, the updates will only be old stuff, blah blah blah. Not continually challenging these statements doesn't = agreement. It gets tiring constantly refuting things, just as it does at the official forums.

We all have our opinions which is great, but it would be great if people would refrain from using 'always' and 'never' statements or pretending they know what's going on within Turbine or Turbine employees' heads as none of us know that. But this is a problem with people the whole world over, so.. yeah. :P

Given that they're putting out this statement of no expansion for 2014 so soon after having put HD out, I tend to feel like others that there is something they're not telling us. That could be wrong though. Whilst Turbine doesn't always lie, they certainly have been dishonest in the past through withholding information and have done it enough to make me wary of them and be cynical of what they say. So I don't take this letter as something positive, unlike so many who are getting very excited at the official forums. I'd love to be wrong. We'll just have to see. Basically, I won't get my hopes up. I'd rather be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed yet again.

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Copying Glumposneak's posts to over here just in case a Turbine mod gets delete happy for some reason. It's a really great post:

.

.

 

I was debating whether to respond to this or not. I've decided to do so giving both my positive and my cynical viewpoint.

While I'm more cynical than positive, I want to stress that nothing would please me more than in a year from now, various posters quoting this post and saying how wrong I am.

 

One thing I had hoped, when penning this letter last year, was that at the end of 2013 I would be able to write about the great changes we’d made to housing. But, as you are aware, we had to delay the bigger housing changes we have been working on to 2014. We had some very good discussions with the Player’s Council about what we should include in the housing revamp and there are a lot of excellent ideas out there. It takes time to develop those ideas into good, fun housing features, and while we could have rushed something out just to say we’d done it, instead we decided to take more time and make more meaningful changes. We will continue our conversation around housing with the Player’s Council, and I look forward to giving you an update later in 2014.

Positive:

I would love a huge major housing revamp and I honestly think if they had done so a few years ago, Turbine would have been able to make a fortune from the store selling housing items (if priced at a sensibly cheap amount and not an over priced greedy amount that few are prepared to pay) that we actually had the room to place etc. Sure some of us aren't interested in housing, but many including me are. I think had this been top of their list at F2P, they wouldn't have had to impose so much of the store on us at other points in the game as they would have made so much money from it.

There is so much scope to make the housing almost a game in it's self. Extensions, multiple houses, buy-able npc etc (stable guy, AH, crafting stations etc etc)

The kinhouse could be then a great place for the kin to meet up before a raid or whatever, with all amenities there.

I remember when I first played, how excited I was to get my house and how quickly I became disappointed at my overflowing storage of un-placeable housing items.

Cynical:

a) The player council are a handful of people that aren't allowed to discuss with the players what they are suggesting etc and in no way shape or form represent me or any of my wishes at all.

We were promised the housing update this year, we didn't get it, we are now promised it next year, what's to say next end of year letter doesn't apologise for not managing to get it in in 2014, and promise us it should be with us in 2015.

B) How great will these changes be. I'm sure I've read a few posts by Sapience implying that if we are expecting major housing changes, not to get our hopes up.

Just managed to find one

 

I just want to set some expectations before too many people start getting the wrong ideas.

Primarily, please do not confuse 'this year' with 'Helm's Deep'. While there may be some first steps in launched alongside Helm's Deep we aren't trying to tie the two things together. Any housing changes wouldn't be tied to a HD purchase for example. So don't expect HD to launch with an entirely new housing system, and I'd caution against thinking we're going to be able to rip out the old system and build a new one from the ground up. That's just not in the scope of this. If you think more in terms of revise and revitalize, you're a lot closer than if you're thinking overhaul and rebuild.

c) If it's just a few more hooks or any item allowed to be placed on any hook, it will still be a very very poor system. I've now given up even storing housing items as I have so many.

d) If the ludicrous price they are charging for the current revamped housing vault is anything to go by, I suspect the bean counters at Turbine will demand they charge an unrealistic price for any new addition that few are willing to pay. They need to look at how something like Candy Crush works. A lot of players don't mind occasionally paying 69p for a few more lives etc, hence 1000s of players do so. But if they charged say £2m I suspect their revenues would plummet as so few would be willing to.

 

The release of Helm’s Deep was definitely a high point of the year for me! The new Epic Battles system allows us to explore momentous parts of the story and the Class Revamp gives us richer character development in the future. We know the class changes were dramatic, but we feel the game is in a much better state now because of them. Looking forward, balancing the class changes in both PvE and PvMP will be a focus for us, and Update 12.1 will be the first of many updates that address those balance concerns.

Another set of great moments in the year for me were when I got to meet with members of the Player’s Council and listen to their thoughts. We have a great group that has worked very hard to bring your concerns to our attention, make suggestions and provide invaluable feedback on a number of projects. I really appreciate their perspective and participation, and I thank them very much for sharing their time with us! At our last meeting, I discussed with them a broad outline of our plans for 2014 and I’d like to share that plan with all of you.

Most here probably know I'm not a fan of HD, although that's a bit unfair, had the Trait Trees been done at a separate time, my opinion might differ

But had the Trait Trees come first, I'm not sure how many people would have thought HD a worthwhile exp to actually buy. With the 'Epic' Battles feeling more like a Real Time Strategy game than an MMO, while it will appeal to many, there are also many mmo players myself included who have no interest it.

And again I couldn't care about anything the Players Council suggest or think any more than others care what I think.

 

Take a break from expansion

We’ve heard a lot of you suggest we take a break from the annual expansion cycle, and we agree! We’d like to take the time to revisit some older systems, add more region content, and just generally have more Middle-earth to explore throughout the year. When the Players Council last visited, we asked them what they thought of a year that focused on more content and more opportunities to refine and improve existing systems. They echoed the sentiment we’d heard from many of you and were unanimous in their support. They were also very passionate on one point; VIPs should get this new content for free. (Again, we agree!)

More Content, More Often – Free for VIP.

In the past we’ve focused on yearly expansion packs that brought big changes and lots of new content at the end of the year coupled with smaller updates throughout the year and a new region in the spring. In 2014 we’re going to focus on a steady flow of content throughout the year. We’re planning on adding new content on a quarterly basis in 2014. Players have expressed a desire to explore a bit deeper into Fangorn Forest and to see Isengard flooded in the battle with the Ents. Both of these are slated for our first quarterly update in March.

Later in the year we’ll be seeing more iconic locales and moments from the lore including the Paths of the Dead and the Dead Marshes. We will also take our first steps in Gondor!

If you’re a VIP, these regions and content will all be free with your subscription.

Positive:

a) This is a good move as judging from the past few years, a year is not enough time to get an expansion ready, hopefully this will mean they are still working on the next one, and given the extra time, will. release it to the close beta in a much more finished and polished state.

B) Free to VIPs, a great way to encourage more subscribers.

Cynical:

a) Please correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't we promised this when the game first went F2P, I'm sure I was told that with the extra revenue from F2P we could expect regular content etc released throughout the year. Presuming I'm correct (which I might not be), it didn't happen then, so why should I believe it will happen now.

B) You have a big meeting (phone lines closed as everyone's attending etc) then a couple of days later you announce there will be no expansion next year. That could be interpreted by many (including me) that WB or Turbine bosses are not happy with the HD sales (no I don't have any data to back this up before anyone asks, just saying what it could look like) and are nor prepared to risk investing in something that won't generate any income until the end of the next year, better off releasing a few things throughout the year to generate a steady income. Which could look like good business sense, or it could look like alarm bells are ringing.

c) Continuing point b, there's still the fact that we haven't seen the actual words from any Turbine Employee "Yes we have the license to continue past 2014", we've had politician like spin implying they see themselves continuing for many years etc, bit those actual words have still not been said. Add to that the fact that there is a legal battle going on between WB and Chris Tolkien, it could (not saying it is) be that Wb aren't prepared to fund an expansion that might never get released, and want to get every penny they can as quickly as they can.

d) Also continuing from point b, many many many life time players have stated since HD that they will never leave Lotro but are no longer giving them any money, instead they will buy all further expansions with their free monthly TP points. So Turbine realise they are not going to earn much money from another expansion, so it makes no difference to the lifetimers that they are being given something for free as they were getting it for free already.

e) Also continuing, what it does mean is that if they can pursuade more F2P playeres to subscribe, they will get more regular income over the year and the player will be paying far more than an expansion would cost if released on it's own.

f) Also Continuing, there is the danger that they might price the new content unrealistically high in a gamble that they hope makes most f2p players subscribe, but could backfire when they neither subscribe or buy the new content.

 

Inventory and Bag Space

We know you can never have enough bag space when you’re out adventuring and inventory management and control can almost be its own mini-game at times. We think it’s time to take a new look at inventory in LOTRO and see where we can make improvements. Please share any thoughts you have on what works or what doesn’t work for you regarding inventory here !

Positive:

We can never have too much storage

Cynical:

The price of the housing vaults is plain wrong and if this is the future then you may as well not bother as few will be prepared to play, or you will end up with a few happy rich players who are prepared to pay and keep the bean counters happy, and the rest of the lotro players fuming.I may be in the minority here (don't know) but I actually liked having different vaults in different rooms in my house, it made it feel more real.

 

Festival and Events

We’ll continue to develop our festivals, new and old, and add more events for you to participate in throughout the year. If there are any festivals or events you’d really like to see us build, please let us know on the forums! A thread for Festival suggestions is here .

Positive:

I Love festivals and time spent here will please many players that I know

Cynical:

I remember the stupidly high price you introduced at last years yule festival which stopped the snowball fights dead in their tracks, I hope this isn't part of your future plans.

 

We are working on one more secret surprise, but I won’t do more than tease its existence now, other than to say that the class changes have made it possible for us to consider making a new addition to the game… which we will talk about later in the year.

Positive:

Excellent, I love a (good) surprise

Cynical:

Any company could say that every year. You could have plans and depending on how lotros future pans out over the next few months you could invest in this great idea.

You might not have any idea but simply say that to get our interest and discussions about what this idea might be going to get momentum up.

Either way, it's very very easy to pull almost anything from your hat at the last minute and claim that was your big secret all along.

My general points

Sorry for so much cynicism. There have been a lot of mistakes made in my opinion and game aside, some of the major complaints are about how we the customer appear to be treated. I shouldn't find out on a gaming site that the housing update has been postponed. Too often user complaints are met with a wall of total silence, and while some people stick up for you saying thats the way businesses work, it's not the way to keep customers.

For example, we know balancing urgently needs to be done, many players have left over it, yet you could have put a huge announcement acknowledging the problem and what your plans are to rectify it, but the odd comment about balancing issues in a few posts simply doesn't do it. If you simply held your hands up and said we need to address xyz, we know it's not working as intended, you would have a lot more player support (and a lot less leaving)

It seems to a point that you are making the game up as you go along. We get legendary weapons, but they aren't legendary. We should have got one, that's what a legendary item is, something extremely rare, not a throw away item, and this one weapon should have grown with us. You should have continued to work on it but it feels like you introduce something that lkooks good and has potential, then leave it as is and go on to your next idea.

Then we get mounted combat, I hope that isn't it for mounted combat, I hope it's going to be worked on and improved.

Then we ger Big Battles. Not for me, but for those that like them, again I hope they are not simply forgotten about when you move onto your next big thing.

Lotro is unique in the MMO world, please don't let the bean counters that know nothing about gaming, kill it.

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I think the business model has suffered from a couple of things that have lead to the situation of the current state of the game.

 

1) Firstly lifetime accounts have really hit the profitability of the game. The die-hard LOTR fans who would have paid their monthly subscription through 'thick and thin' purchased lifetime accounts straight away. While this generated an initial surge of cash, it has been hurting the game's revenue generating potential (heavily IMO) for many, many years now.  

 

2) Upon transitioning to F2P the offer given to lifetimers was again simply 'too good'. Did it really make good business sense to offer every lifetime account 500TP a month just for logging in? I think the number of people who bought HD with saved TP was very high for this expansion. When the game went F2P lifetimers should have essentially had permanent VIP status minus the TP monthly allotment.

 

3) We have no idea just how crippling a financial burden the license places on the development of LOTRO. It will not be a trivial sum of money however and would probably have been able to provide a lot of money for the features that Turbine are now unable to include in expansions (raids, instances, etc.)  

 

People complain about Turbine's greed w.r.t. the store but are they really being greedy if the game is struggling to make any sort of profit? I expect Turbine is looking to re-negotiate the terms of the licensing agreement to something much more favourable, I cant really blame them for this. They should be in a relatively strong position as one would presume there are no other LOTR MMORPs currently in production (why would you develop one without a license?). So if it is not re-newed for LOTOR it will probably be 3 or 4 years before a new online LOTR game could be released which is quite a log time for the license to be dormant and not generating money for the holding company.

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We need a sense of proportion. LOTRO is a six-year-old game, it's never going to be the most popular with young gamers and it won't last forever. Sometimes on the official forums people are more positive than warranted. Likewise, some of us here are more negative than we need to be.

That's why I think they're so incompetent. The game is old, yet they make all kinds of assinine changes wherein the only net effect is driving people away. Tell me the class changes resulted in a net gain of players. Tell me dropping raids and PvP support resulted in a net gain of players. Nothing they can do will result in a net gain of players, so they should have focused on keeping the loyal ones they had. Too late.

To be fair, I'm sure many of these revamps are due to the new devs not knowing how to even begin working within the existing code, but it's still no one's fault but Turbine's.

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bhoris,

 

what percentage of the population do you guesstimate the lifetime accounts represent?

 

It can't be that many, and if it is truly having a bad effect then the overall numbers must be pretty low.

 

I would guess that lotro gets less than 10,000 players a day which might mean a pretty large proportion of lifetimers, but I don't know.


I was wondering the same thing.  Why is Sapience posting her letter?

It is not unusual for royalty to delegate an underling to address the unwashed masses.

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I think the business model has suffered from a couple of things that have lead to the situation of the current state of the game.

 

1) Firstly lifetime accounts have really hit the profitability of the game. The die-hard LOTR fans who would have paid their monthly subscription through 'thick and thin' purchased lifetime accounts straight away. While this generated an initial surge of cash, it has been hurting the game's revenue generating potential (heavily IMO) for many, many years now.  

 

2) Upon transitioning to F2P the offer given to lifetimers was again simply 'too good'. Did it really make good business sense to offer every lifetime account 500TP a month just for logging in? I think the number of people who bought HD with saved TP was very high for this expansion. When the game went F2P lifetimers should have essentially had permanent VIP status minus the TP monthly allotment.

 

3) We have no idea just how crippling a financial burden the license places on the development of LOTRO. It will not be a trivial sum of money however and would probably have been able to provide a lot of money for the features that Turbine are now unable to include in expansions (raids, instances, etc.)  

 

People complain about Turbine's greed w.r.t. the store but are they really being greedy if the game is struggling to make any sort of profit? I expect Turbine is looking to re-negotiate the terms of the licensing agreement to something much more favourable, I cant really blame them for this. They should be in a relatively strong position as one would presume there are no other LOTR MMORPs currently in production (why would you develop one without a license?). So if it is not re-newed for LOTOR it will probably be 3 or 4 years before a new online LOTR game could be released which is quite a log time for the license to be dormant and not generating money for the holding company.

 

Personally I agree about the lifetime situation although I do know many lifetimers who (until HD) did pay for other VIP accounts too.

 

My complaint isn't with the store as such,  its with the people running it having zero clue about making money and keeping customers

 

I used to buy (both with my lifetime TP and my TP from my VIP accounts) daily trait resets when they were 50TP.

 

One day I went to buy one and they had doubled in price to 100TP. I haven't bought one since.

 

High prices mean a few people buy occasionally. Very cheap prices mean many people buy very often and usually end up much more profitable (if it's a digital automated item)

 

EU players were sold lifetime accounts at  £75  a couple of months before F2P was announced (around mid 2010?), I subbed up until that point and would have done so every month up until the past few. Sure they got the subs from my second account on the US servers, but they lost out on 3 years worth of subs from me for one price of £75. I also spent a LOT of money on TP points for my VIP account and would have spent a LOT more than I did on my lifetime account too.

 

So they lost out about £500 over the past 3 years from me alone.

 

And they still give lifetime accounts away as prizes every beta too

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Well, we don't know the impact lifetime accounts have had.  I'm a lifer, and I've purchased every expansion (besides Helm's Deep) with real money, and I usually got the top tier offering.  I've purchased TP twice - not as much as some, but certainly more than a lifer "needs" to.

 

If I did not have my lifetime account, I would have stopped paying my subscription when F2P launched; that is around the time when I took my first extended break from the game.  If I did not have a lifetime account, I don't think I would have come back at all.  I've taken about 3 or 4 extended breaks from the game, but my lifetime account keeps me coming back.

 

Without the lifetime account, I would not have purchased Isengard or Rohan or purchased any TP ~$140 all together.  This is probably the same for my husband, so multiply that by 2 ~$280 from our household over the last 2 years.  Not much, but better than the $0 they would have gotten.

 

As it turns out, I've not been happy with the development of the game since ROI, and it has been bad enough that I decided during the Helm's Deep preorder to not spend anymore real money on LOTRO.  So yes, now I'm one of those "dead weight lifers", but I will be more than happy to open up my wallet again if the game gets better.

 

I do have to agree with a PP though that they were too generous with the lifers when F2P hit.  Lifers should have received permanent VIP status minus the monthly TP stipend.  But Turbine can't change it now without the playerbase losing all faith in them.  What little is left anyway.

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We need a sense of proportion. LOTRO is a six-year-old game, it's never going to be the most popular with young gamers and it won't last forever.

The age of the game shouldn't matter. WoW is almost 10 years old and it's still hugely popular.

 

The really weird thing about that kind of post is that no-one challenges it. It has no logic and dubious justification, but this forum generally laps up that kind of thing.

Maybe because we take such posts in context?

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The age of the game shouldn't matter. WoW is almost 10 years old and it's still hugely popular.

 

Maybe because we take such posts in context?

10 year old and far more expensive than any other MMO on the market as far as the sub fee goes.  Gee I wonder why they never went to lifetime subs?  Wow was also rivaling Call Of Duty numbers before they added pandas and dumbed down gameplay.

 

I have always represnted the good as well as the bad on this site.  There are even somethings I like about Helm's Deep (don't tell anyone, landscape and some of the quests).  But it's harder than it has been in the past.  It's like wading through a waste dump to find 1 diamond.  If the game was even half as good as it was during any of the past xpacs you would not even see me here complaining.  The only reason I would have to post would be to help others or make suggestions.   I used to reccomend this game to my ex-wow buddies during Moria, MW and even ROI.  Now I tell them don't waste your money.  It can no longer rival the experience they got previously from WOW. 

 

As far as lifetime subs causing these development problems......give me a break. 

They still get steady streams of income from the remaining VIP's but their big mistake was losing so many customers with the nickel and diming and poor quality.

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One thing I had hoped, when penning this letter last year, was that at

the end of 2013 I would be able to write about the great changes we'd

made to housing. But, as you are aware, we had to delay the bigger

housing changes we have been working on to 2014. We had some very good

discussions with the Player's Council about what we should include in

the housing revamp and there are a lot of excellent ideas out there.

It takes time to develop those ideas into good, fun housing features,

and while we could have rushed something out just to say we'd done it,

instead we decided to take more time and make more meaningful changes.

We will continue our conversation around housing with the Player's

Council, and I look forward to giving you an update later in 2014.

I think this is positive. Turbine admits that their own ideas were not

suitable for release.

 

The release of Helm's Deep was definitely a high point of the year for

me!

Compared to... what? Low bar much?

 

The new Epic Battles system allows us to explore momentous parts

of the story and the Class Revamp gives us richer character

development in the future. We know the class changes were dramatic,

but we feel the game is in a much better state now because of them.

Looking forward, balancing the class changes in both PvE and PvMP will

be a focus for us, and Update 12.1 will be the first of many updates

that address those balance concerns.

From the feedback I see 12.1 made class balance worse.

 

Another set of great moments in the year for me were when I got to

meet with members of the Player's Council and listen to their

thoughts. We have a great group that has worked very hard to bring

your concerns to our attention, make suggestions and provide

invaluable feedback on a number of projects. I really appreciate their

perspective and participation, and I thank them very much for sharing

their time with us! At our last meeting, I discussed with them a broad

outline of our plans for 2014 and I'd like to share that plan with all

of you.

Honestly - it would be much better if you would allow the council

members to talk to us at all. Even about these authorized

to-talk-about things that you talk about below. Obviously they aren't

secret. Why not allow council members to talk about them in their own

words.

 

"Take a break from expansions"

We've heard a lot of you suggest we take a break from the annual

expansion cycle, and we agree! We'd like to take the time to revisit

some older systems, add more region content, and just generally have

more Middle-earth to explore throughout the year. When the Players

Council last visited, we asked them what they thought of a year that

focused on more content and more opportunities to refine and improve

existing systems. They echoed the sentiment we'd heard from many of

you and were unanimous in their support. They were also very

passionate on one point; VIPs should get this new content for free.

(Again, we agree!)

"Last visited". I mean WTF Kate? It was their first and only

visit. Stop blowing this up as something it is not. You have a focus

group. We get it. It is much better than not having a focus group. See

point #1 at the top.

No more expansions. Good. The idea to combine expansions with brand

new game mechanisms, as opposed to refining existing ones, backfired

big time.

Neither mounted combat nor big battles were any fun. What a waste of

time, effort, energy and money.

 

More Content, More Often - Free for VIP.

In the past we've focused on yearly expansion packs that brought big

changes and lots of new content at the end of the year coupled with

smaller updates throughout the year and a new region in the spring. In

2014 we're going to focus on a steady flow of content throughout the

year. We're planning on adding new content on a quarterly basis in

2014. Players have expressed a desire to explore a bit deeper into

Fangorn Forest and to see Isengard flooded in the battle with the

Ents. Both of these are slated for our first quarterly update in

March.

Yeah, in this "players have expressed" claim I would really like a

council member to be authorized to validate that statement. But

that's not how Turbine rolls. You muffle the council members so that

we only have your word (which in the past wasn't very good) and you

can use any of them as strawmen.

 

Later in the year we'll be seeing more iconic locales and moments from

the lore including the Paths of the Dead and the Dead Marshes. We will

also take our first steps in Gondor!

If you're a VIP, these regions and content will all be free with your

subscription.

Good. VIP had taken too much of a beating for years. VIP was for

fools easily parted with their money.

I don't see how this is new, though. They could always walk around

and do the epics (before Helm's Deep, anyway).

 

Inventory and Bag Space

We know you can never have enough bag space when you're out

adventuring and inventory management and control can almost be its own

mini-game at times. We think it's time to take a new look at inventory

in LOTRO and see where we can make improvements. Please share any

thoughts you have on what works or what doesn't work for you regarding

inventory here <link>!

Thanks. Many of us happily pay for storage and bags. It should be a

primary selling item.

 

Festivals and Events

We'll continue to develop our festivals, new and old, and add more

events for you to participate in throughout the year. If there are any

festivals or events you'd really like to see us build, please let us

know on the forums! A thread for Festival suggestions is here

<link>.

If you are developing it the way you did in the last years - no

thanks. Useless, mindless grinding. Can be avoided by paying

real-world cash in which case it is no challenge.

Those aren't festivals, especially since the rewards were lame. You

used to have people make at least decent cosmetics as festival

rewards. Even that was lost.

And BTW, Kate, I can not share my thoughts about that on that link

because your employee Sapience banned me from your forum for asking

about the extension of the Tolkien license (and the Überpotions).

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We need a sense of proportion. LOTRO is a six-year-old game, it's never going to be the most popular with young gamers and it won't last forever. Sometimes on the official forums people are more positive than warranted. Likewise, some of us here are more negative than we need to be.

I don't see that. I actively test a number of the other MMORPGs out there and the basics of LOTRO, especially the landscaping and the cosmetics are really not much older looking. I don't think this is a real factor.

The new games are generally not able to target the newest graphics out there either, and they use old engines because they need a stable base etc

Logging into lotro, rift, gw2 and tsw my wife wouldn't be able to point to any one of them as being behind. The space games, Eve and STO look a bit fresher, but they have an easier time since the environment is more square shaped and doesn't have vegetation.

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