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Hey Kate: the expansions are not the problem...


Darmokk
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Hey Kate: the expansions are not the problem...

... the problem is that you felt the need to combine them with new "killer features" but that the way you implemented those they were just fun killers.

Here is the thing. Mounted Combat and Big Battles were both simply not fun to play. The former being more on the frustrating side (no skill building would ever improve the gameplay experienced), the latter on the non-challenge side but the result is the same no fun.

I can't help being close to crying thinking about how much money and energy went into that that would have been so badly needed elsewhere.

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The problem is that the devs from SoA are not the same devs working on LOTRO now. The team is full of folks they have hired from the now-defunct 38 Studios and elsewhere, and their design choices are being informed by the guy from Zynga, to keep everything either directly monetized or driving players to the Store. I'm not saying Kate isn't at fault here, being the one in charge of this mess, just that it is the entire culture at Turbine which is truly to blame.

 

No game Turbine produces now is about fun. They are about wringing every last cent out of their players. It's fine for a company to want to make money, it is not fine for them to be so predatory about it, though.

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... the problem is that you felt the need to combine them with new "killer features" but that the way you implemented those they were just fun killers.

I can't help being close to crying thinking about how much money and energy went into that that would have been so badly needed elsewhere.

 

It was intentional. And had nothing to do with making a good game or expansion. They had to have some gimmick or "new thing" so they could pretend it was an expansion. If they only made new zones and a few instances then they could not hype it up and pretend some great new thing was coming (MC or BB). Their spin/lying helped them get pre-orders.

 

But I agree with you 100%. Doing this was the worst possible thing for the game. All that energy into both new systems and they didn't get either one close to right. If only they were as committed to making a good game as they are to getting those preorders.

 

If anyone is being honest at Turbine, they already know this was just a trick to hype up the expansion and divert attention from the fact that the expansions were going to be small and not well tested.

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Saying mounted combat is "simply not fun" is silly and ruins the OP. You simply can't reduce the MC experience to "simply not fun" to make an argument of any kind.  It's just not simple.  Period.  Ok, I'm being satiric on purpose.  I hate when people say "period", because it's the same thing.  It's bombastic and reducing the point to black and white at the same time, which things never are.

 

I just did the quest "Ride Against The Goblins" with Frithild and her Rohirrim, and it was the most fun I've had on a quest in quite a while.  (I got to gird her too before the battle, which was nice.)  I was happy to see a MC instance quest and MC being used in HD.  If they didn't do a new system, people would be bored and complaining that it's just the same thing over again.

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...

I just did the quest "Ride Against The Goblins" with Frithild and her Rohirrim, and it was the most fun I've had on a quest in quite a while.  (I got to gird her too before the battle, which was nice.)  I was happy to see a MC instance quest and MC being used in HD.  If they didn't do a new system, people would be bored and complaining that it's just the same thing over again.

 

I've just done the sequence defending Stoke too. Great fun and engaging story: I really feel like I saved the place. I wish more of the quests were well linked like this.

 

Just one use-of-English niggle. I'm not sure that you can be a "shield-maiden" if you have two children...

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I've just done the sequence defending Stoke too. Great fun and engaging story: I really feel like I saved the place. I wish more of the quests were well linked like this.

 

Just one use-of-English niggle. I'm not sure that you can be a "shield-maiden" if you have two children...

 

Sure you can. Maiden (in the sense of associating it with women) just means an unmarried woman, it doesn't mean an unmarried woman without children.

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Turbine were always on for a 'hiding to nothing' regarding MC, with an engine creaking at the seams and a skill based game there really wasn't much they could do without MC feeling like a side-game. While I am not the biggest fan of MC I do believe what we got was about the best we could have hoped for. It was never going to be a game changer and as a consequence would always feel slightly gimmicky. Despite this, I feel it was relatively well integrated in to the expansion as a whole, and Rohan would have been much worse without it.

 

The same goes for Big battles. Again I am not a huge fan but I do think they have done about the best we could have hoped for. They seem to do a pretty good job of telling the story and and the experience does feel someone authentic (at least to me). I don't think they could have done this with a simple instance or skirmish. Unfortunately the amount of bugs really detracts from the experience as does the randomness of the rewards.

 

Turbine's biggest problem is simply not having the resource to deliver the quantity and quality of content traditionally associated with a MMORPG expansion. As a consequence their yearly expansion was always going to feel poor value for money and leave a sour taste in the mouth.

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There were a lot of times that I enjoyed the Mounted Combat quests and riding.  It was new and different for LOTRO.  But the biggest challenge being Bugud which I once soloed was a killer.  Then the instance cluster arriving and....no mounted combat instances...another mystifying killer.  The mounted combat lag, which seemed to get worse for me as time went on, was a real detriment.  Wildermore warbands often being located in densely forested or obstructed areas that made fighting them awkward was another source of frustration for MC.  We were ALL wanting mounted combat since launch, but having it come at Rohan made perfect sense to me.  They just didn't follow through well.

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Saying mounted combat is "simply not fun" is silly and ruins the OP. You simply can't reduce the MC experience to "simply not fun" to make an argument of any kind.  It's just not simple.  Period.  Ok, I'm being satiric on purpose.  I hate when people say "period", because it's the same thing.  It's bombastic and reducing the point to black and white at the same time, which things never are.

 

I just did the quest "Ride Against The Goblins" with Frithild and her Rohirrim, and it was the most fun I've had on a quest in quite a while.  (I got to gird her too before the battle, which was nice.)  I was happy to see a MC instance quest and MC being used in HD.  If they didn't do a new system, people would be bored and complaining that it's just the same thing over again.

Fair enough points and correctly identifying the OP as hyperbole.

However, if you put the result of MC in relationship to its cost and what else could have been done with the resources invested, does it still look good?

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If the lag wasn't so irritating/ present, it would have been a great addition to the game. It just has too much flaws. Yeah, not everyone will like it, but I enjoy MC when there is no lag present when fighting difficult warbands. 

 

Defeating a 6 or 12-man warband solo feels good, because that is the most difficult content for MC. 3-mans should be a great accomplishment as a solo player instead of a 6 or 12-man, but when it's challenging and lag-free, I really like it :)

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Fair enough points and correctly identifying the OP as hyperbole.

However, if you put the result of MC in relationship to its cost and what else could have been done with the resources invested, does it still look good?

 

I think mounted combat was always going to be a huge problem. It had been eagerly awaited by players as soon as they figured out that expansions would have to take us to Rohan. But the game architecture couldn't (can't) cope with it. Turbine had two choices: not do mounted combat and face huge ridicule and rage, or implement mounted combat in a clunky way.

 

Having gone for the "clunky" choice, they had to decide how it's different from ordinary riding and combat. Obvious ideas are:-

 

  • Make combat skills fire off whenever in weapon range (otherwise players will need to have split-second timing and with the lag involved they can't).
  • Make horses have inertia, so they can't turn on the spot at speed like ordinary mounts and change speed gradually.
  • For the horsey people, give them four speeds (walk, trot, canter, gallop).

 

It looks like the present implementation more-or-less designed itself. Personally I don't enjoy MC and would have been happy for it to be left out, but I guess Turbine couldn't face the inevitable flak they knew would follow that decision. As it is, I only do it when I have to but occasionally it's fun (as in those Stoke quests, or against some warbands).

 

BTW having a key mapped to /follow is a great thing. My method for that defending Stoke quest where "Frithild must not be defeated" was to /follow Frithild and spam combat skills, hitting her target whenever we both passed it.

 

I once did some tests comparing /follow on a target with the Spur On skill. Spur On gives you more Fury whenever you land a blow, but you strike blows less often. The average damage seems to me higher with /follow, and the pathing is better too. You also get hit less often by your target because you're usually behind him.

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They had to have some gimmick or "new thing" so they could pretend it was an expansion. If they only made new zones and a few instances then they could not hype it up and pretend some great new thing was coming (MC or BB). Their spin/lying helped them get pre-orders.

 

I don't understand why each expansion is expected to come with a new gimmick.  RoI didn't have a gimmick, and that was a good expansion.

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It's because they have to have something to focus on as "new and big". If they just came out and said the expansion will have a few small new zones and a few single boss raids, then it will be obvious they didn't spend much on making the expansion. They need to have some big new system they can rave about. Remember how they told the press about those 30,000 orcs coming at you.


Turbine's biggest problem is simply not having the resource to deliver the quantity and quality of content traditionally associated with a MMORPG expansion. As a consequence their yearly expansion was always going to feel poor value for money and leave a sour taste in the mouth.

 

Obviously WB has the money. As far as Turbine, they had the money too - they just decided to spend very little of it on Lotro. They took most of the money coming in from past expansions and store sales in Lotro, and put into making their new game Infinite Crisis. They also moved the better developers off of Lotro and put them on IC.

 

At the conferences, they made huge areas where players could demo IC and had nothing at all to show off Lotro. Remember when the Hobbit came out and viewers had to watch ads for GW2, WoW and Runescape? with nothing on Lotro. Then later they somehow found plenty of money to make ads for Infinite Crisis before movies. It is all about priorities and a decision to not spend money making Lotro better - and very little about "not having the resources".

 

Now their strategy is playing out. They made a pretty bad expansion with HD and sales were low. Infinite Crisis is failing big time. They just announced they Lotro will get no more expansions. They have already given up on making instances for Lotro. They are starting to get desperate, and trying to take as much cash out of Lotro - doing things like selling 1 character at level 50 for $50!

 

What is probably most significant is they have seriously broken the difficulty of the game, and they can barely be bothered to admit this, let alone try to fix it quickly.

-----------------------

RoR was made when they were spending more money on the game. I am sure they tried to do a good job on MC and did some things well. But overall, they did not spend enough on it, they didn't address performance issues, and remember how late RoR was released, including the instances being delayed for half a year. Their dreams for MC were good but they had already moved money and senior developers off of Lotro by then. Once again, with Big Battles their dreams were big but they did not have enough people on the project or money put into the expansion to pull it off. Big Battles obviously could have been much much better than what we got.

 

But hey, they got their gimmicky new system to market, they got their pre-orders, and they got their excuse to tell everyone why there are no instances or endgame in HD (because Big Battles replaces all of that). If Turbine/WB actually spent the money on the game, then they could make an expansion more like Moria or Rift's Stormfront. That is what an expansion looks like when you spend money on it, not HD.

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The budgets are set far earlier than people realize. "Running out of money at the very end of the budget" is generally a good thing; the money was already spent (or earmarked) and the goals for that money were spelled out, with a deadline that was met. Any new development budget will come from evaluating the results of the previous (sometimes overlapping) budgets. Residual income goes back to the "pool" to cover the investment already made, not future development. That future development budget will be driven by measurable success from previous budgets.

 

Two things that put the brakes on new projects being budgeted are:

- Cost overruns: you use up all your money before you reach your deliverables

- Not meeting deliverables as evaluated by the measurable goals of the original budget

 

Notice that the two chase each other's tail. You use up budget too fast and you have to cut back on deliverables, you cut back on deliverables and your measureable goals get harder to meet, on and on. I think we are seeing the results of a WBI dictated budget from 2010 which ran out of steam before RoR. Deliverables were cut, measurable were disappointing, and the LOTRO leg was dependent on tiny 2013 budget eaten up by bugs and incompetence, destroying any chance of a supplemental budget in the 3rd quarter. This now is the end result and the budget for 2014 which was likely finalized before Dec 3 is looking pretty slim, with no hail mary pass available (that ship sailed with rohan).

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Fair enough points and correctly identifying the OP as hyperbole.

However, if you put the result of MC in relationship to its cost and what else could have been done with the resources invested, does it still look good?

I think what you were saying in the OP was opinion.   It's ok to say MC was not fun period because to you it was. 

As someone that used 4 classes during ROR MC I can say that on all 4 classes it was plain terrible, and the updates made during update 11 only made it less terrible.

 

It's easy to say you like MC if your main class is say a hunter, cappy or LM. 

Meanwhile during ROR my classes in order of play time were:  Guardian, Warden, Burg and RK.   For melee classes it wasn't so great and for my guardian it was actually slower than fighting mobs with the same morale on foot, if that is even possible.

My burg?  WOW what a horrible experience it was.  To the tune of skipping all but 2 mounted combat quests for the entire xpac.  Which meant at level 84 I was stuck skirming and doing Hytbold to reach 85.

 

That was not fun period.  I feel bad for players who only play 1 toon and that one toon is a Burg.

 

As Darmokk said think of what that money could have been used for instead.   I'm not just talking about raids.  Dynamic quests, more puzzles, mystery quests etc.   What I would have liked while leveling is to have had a similar style of questing that SWTOR delivered (minus the redundancy and long winded cinematics). 

 

Every post is subjective because it is ones opinion. 

 

And to  me MC was a gimmick, it was wasted developer time, it was unenjoyable when implemented and to this day I still avoid as many MC quests as possible.

 

In the same token if someone is enjoying it more power to you.  But you ain't changing my mind.  After my first MC instance where my burg was killed 4 times it became less than enjoyable.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAKVXtw1hFc

hehehe

 

Best part start at 1.55

 

===============================================================

Generally I did some thinking about MMORPGs recently.  Something which was often brought up during conversations about MMORPGs I had years ago, but something I never see anymore in discussions.

 

MMOs & MMORPGs take A LOT of time to play them and it is  irrelevant if they are type of game that teleports you everywhere, show you arrows and instance everything or one that has big open world and don't show you what to do at every step.   People play long hours and for long peroids of time whenever it is hihgly instanced Star Trek Online or Neverwinter,  World of Warcraft with it's cross-realm LFG tool,  GW2 with teleporters everywhere or EVE Online with it's huge galaxy.

 

Whatever it is - it is still gonna take a lot of time to play it.   Of course it is players themself that decide how long to play them and it's their decision and responsibility - but players play mmo's alot.That's a fact.

 

There is no really way around it - if you have character you develop / build and in an enviroment with lot of other people - then you're gonna spend substantial time playing it and that is true for most people playing them.  

 

 

If I am personally to play an mmo / mmorpg and to put all those hours into it, instaed of doing anything else I could have been doing in this time - it better be DAMN GOOD.  Not "ok", "nice but with many flaws" or "once great, now bad but hope I'll be better".  It has to really really good.

 

 

Just my 2 cents of (sort of) off-topic.

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