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New Exec Prod Letter April 2014.


LordVorontur
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Here's some stuff to read:

https://www.lotro.com/forums/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=7140811

 

 

 

Update 13 launched today, and LOTRO’s 7th Anniversary celebration will soon follow. U13 marks the finale of the Volume 3 Epic Story – this opens us to Volume 4 (and Gondor) later in the year. With that in mind, I wanted to provide you with an outline of our committed plans over the coming months.



2014

Paths of the Dead and Dol Amroth: Our second update of the year will kick off a new volume of the Epic Story, featuring the aftermath of the Army of the Dead as they pass through Blackroot Vale. Journey to Dol Amroth, our first Gondorian city and seaside port! You’ll also have five new levels to advance your character.



Dead Marshes: Between updates, we’ll take a small detour to check on wayward Hobbits…



Pelargir: Our third update of the year will take you to the great port of Pelargir on the delta of Anduin. Join the Army of the Dead to defeat the Corsairs of Umbar! This update will also include five new levels.



These new quests and the level caps will all be free to VIPs.





Of Bears and Bees

Recently we confirmed that LOTRO will be releasing a new class this year. I’m pleased to announce that this class is the Beorning! This will be LOTRO’s first class since the Mines of Moria expansion introduced the Warden and Rune-keeper.



Beornings are noted in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as a race of Man, with close origins to the Rohirrim and the Men of Dale. Most Men are not shape-changers, so we envision the Beorning as a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield. When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear.



We’ll be sharing early class designs with the new Players Council. Expect more details later this year, as the class progresses through alpha and beta.





Housing

This deserves a special mention. After reviewing all our goals for the year, major Housing changes will not be among them. We reviewed multiple options to update the system – none of them met our standards of quality, and ultimately the system you would want us to build.



LOTRO is about the journey, and first and foremost we want to be expanding and growing the world of Middle-earth. This does not mean there will be no changes to Housing, but don’t expect broad, systemic updates. I’m sorry that we set any other expectations in the past, as we know this is a feature that many of you greatly value.





As always, there are also features that we’re working on but haven’t committed a timeline to. Basically, we’ll ship them when they’re ready. Many of these ideas are based on your feedback, so please keep it coming!



Kinships: The next addition to loot options is a system of crafting tied to your Kinship house, which will encourage more social play. Our goal is to create Kinship deeds that you can complete together.



Combat Rebalancing: You’ve said that high-level combat has gotten too easy, and we agree! With new regions we’ll be taking a hard look at balance and adjusting existing opponents or adding new ones.



PvMP: Why add catapults to the Ettenmoors? Why not? Siege weapons!



Epic Battles: We’ll continue to update and improve this system, along with a new battle in 2014. There are some epic conflicts ahead in the story.



Festivals: Hobnanigans (better known as Chicken Hockey) is a special event for the Bree-fields. You can expect new weekend boosts and events as we go forward.





2015

Looking out to the future, our Palantir reveals multiple updates in 2015. Here are two of them!



Osgiliath: The middle of 2015 brings us deeper in Gondor, and to lands directly contested by Sauron’s armies.



Pelennor Fields and Minas Tirith: The end of 2015 takes us to one of the defining moments of the War of the Ring, the battle before the walls of Minas Tirith.



As you can tell, we’re in the heart of the story now. It is a tremendous challenge for the team to do justice to these well-known events, but also one we’re thrilled to be undertaking.





I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into LOTRO’s future plans, and I look forward to your questions and suggestions.

Rowan

 

 

Some interesting stuff, for sure.

I can say I didn't see Dol Amroth coming and neither did I think we'd be going to Pelargir before we ventured through Anorien!

New class, well, I think most of us saw it coming, if we are honest. We might not have wanted something different, but there it is.

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Haha!!! I love it! Supposedly, players wanted expansions put on hold so Turbine could work on fixing bugs and players wouldn't have to deal with the whole grind of a new level cap so often... but instead, they give two rises!

And the Beorning 'class' is just brilliant. Classes are something taught. You can't learn to be a skin-changer, it's part of a bloodline.

You sure this isn't a delayed prank?

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I'm surprised about how sad I am that they aren't doing the housing update. But I'm not surprised that it was back-burnered. I get the impression that Rowan is NOT interested in social aspects of the game: he seems to be more interested in combat and landscapes. unfortunately, at this point in the game, it seems that only social players are left. Do they care about level caps and new zones?

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Wow. Just... wow.

 

First of all, I really have to at this point, just assume that Turbine has simply no idea how to develop LOTRO in a way that longtime players want. They have now promised, then failed to deliver, a major Housing update in each of the last two years. The Housing system is not acceptable, Campbell admits as much, and yet they still keep pushing it back year after year.

 

Give it up, there will never be a major housing update in LOTRO. It is effectively off the table now, if not through Turbine's words, than through their deeds.

 

Next, I see there is yet another promise for major PvMP updates! No, it isn't a new zone, but siege weapons! Exactly what the players have been begging for over the last seven years, right? Wait, no it isn't... What they want is a new zone. HOW HARD IS THAT TO UNDERSTAND?!

 

The new "Class" is actually a Race, but not really. Aaron says Beornlings are Men (as in Race of Man), but they can shapeshift. So does this mean that Beornlings will be limited to only Race of Man characters, or will we see Elves, Dwarves or Hobbits that can shapeshift? And what is it exactly about these skinchangers that prevents them from learning a class? Why would Turbine's devs envision these Beornlings as light-armor wearers?

 

The whole stinking idea is Fail.

 

Kinships changes are mentioned, but it's a crafting deed grind. Yeah, that's exactly what players have been asking for!...

 

But at the very least, Turbine is making a fucking priority out of Chicken Hockey, Epic (Fail) Battles and Combat Rebalancing! The latter is basically fixing what Turbine broke with the release of HD, no one gives a flying fuck about more EFBs, and Chicken Hockey?!  Really?! Chicken Hockey is more important than the long-promised Housing Update, long-needed Kinship Revamp, and even longer-needed new PvMP zone?

 

If I hadn't already moved on from LOTRO, this Producer's Letter would be the final "Fuck You!" from Turbine to boot me down the road. How anyone can stand behind Turbine after this is beyond me, let alone defend these plans! WTF, Turbine, really!

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"Combat Rebalancing: You’ve said that high-level combat has gotten too easy, and we agree! With new regions we’ll be taking a hard look at balance and adjusting existing opponents or adding new ones."

 

And for how many months are they going to say that without doing nothing noticeable ?

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To be honest, for me as a casual player who does quests and exploring, this doesn't look that bad at all. 

 

And at least they give a timeline and more usefull information, something they didn't do in the past were everything they said was unclear

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"Combat Rebalancing: You’ve said that high-level combat has gotten too easy, and we agree! With new regions we’ll be taking a hard look at balance and adjusting existing opponents or adding new ones."

 

And for how many months are they going to say that without doing nothing noticeable ?

They say they rebalance for the new regions. They don't say they touch anything for the exiting ones.

So for the new zones they just throw more mobs at you, with more health?

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This is the most detailed producers letter we have had, ever.

Surprised at them adding 10 levels over the next year. They could have just done 5 to get us to a round 100 levels.

I wonder how many people have the will to run another alt through all the content again

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This is the most detailed producers letter we have had, ever.

Surprised at them adding 10 levels over the next year. They could have just done 5 to get us to a round 100 levels.

I wonder how many people have the will to run another alt through all the content again

 

If they can get the balance right again for leveling,  I'll definitely be willing to still run alts to the end of Isengard. Once I step foot in Rohan though it gets depressing to take an alt through some of the content. It's too inconsistent at that point for me. Some stuff is fun, some stuff is just depressing to do. So I end up just not enjoying it as much as pre-Rohan content.

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I would take a new class through old content again, it might be quite refreshing to do it with something new. I'm not sure I like the Beorning idea though, as far as I am aware Beorn clearly states that he is the last of his kind although I suppose it is possible he made some baby Beornings since The Hobbit (does Boerning + non Beorning = Beorning I wonder?!).

 

With the currently dull end game content I actually welcome level cap increases, there is nothing else to do that interests me.

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I'm a little confused as my Tolkien lore is rusty at best, but I thought that Beorn was the LAST of the skin-changers? 

 

I know he went on to lead a band of hillmen that adopted the name Beornings, and that his son Grimbeorn would be his successor but I remember reading that they were axe wielding hill men, not bear changing shape-shifters.... Is anyone more knowledgeable about this that can clarify?

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This is the most detailed producers letter we have had, ever.

Surprised at them adding 10 levels over the next year. They could have just done 5 to get us to a round 100 levels.

I wonder how many people have the will to run another alt through all the content again

 

I wrote a negative reply to the Update 13 thread yesterday that came out of boredom from spending a quick half hour leveling an alt., so i agree with you.

 

However all this new content coming is, to me, a surprise - a very pleasant surprise.

 

I will certainly play through this new content, I think.

 

I'm disappointed about housing, but with the letter saying Pelennor Fields for 2015, anyone else think this is the road map for the shut down?

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Everyone with half a brain cell and an eye on DDO called the Beorning thing. It's just a copy and paste from one of Turbine's other games.

 

As for two increases in level cap in the course of a year, it makes any grind for top level gear redundent.

 

But the community at large seems happy because  they've dangled the bait of The Paths of the Dead and Dol Amroth.

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But at the very least, Turbine is making a fucking priority out of Chicken Hockey, Epic (Fail) Battles and Combat Rebalancing! The latter is basically fixing what Turbine broke with the release of HD, no one gives a flying fuck about more EFBs, and Chicken Hockey?!  Really?! Chicken Hockey is more important than the long-promised Housing Update, long-needed Kinship Revamp, and even longer-needed new PvMP zone?

I wouldn't say it's more important but instead in the scope of their abilities and budget.

 

 

Surprised at them adding 10 levels over the next year. They could have just done 5 to get us to a round 100 levels.

Dunno.. I think their remaining player base loves leveling.

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However all this new content coming is, to me, a surprise - a very pleasant surprise.

Who's to say how much content this will actually hold? My betting is some daily grind crap in a region about the size of Bree (not Bree-land, just the town).

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As for two increases in level cap in the course of a year, it makes any grind for top level gear redundent.

 

But the community at large seems happy because  they've dangled the bait of The Paths of the Dead and Dol Amroth.

I think this is a fair point, it would seem to me that LotROs focus is shifting a lot. Instead of any serious focus on end game content with any real degree of difficulty we now see the focus shift on solely telling the story of The Two Towers and The Return Of The King and bringing new regions. I think LotR enthusiasts are Turbines target market now rather than MMO enthusiasts (you could argue it always has been). Turbine are now aiming for the "OMG Dol Amroth!!!" crowd and not the "OMG a new raid!!!" crowd.

I now play LotRO so casually that actually my opinion is... OMG Dol Amroth!!!

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 Journey to Dol Amroth, our first Gondorian city and seaside port! You’ll also have five new levels to advance your character.

 

No to expansion, but yes to level cap raise. There cannot be any more explicit admission than this, that the financial state of this dying title is such that it's unlikely to ever see another expansion before the plug is pulled altogether.

 

No expansion announced for 2015. Pelennor fields and Minas Tirith sound like it's an instanced BB. Of course, BBs themselves have been conceived in anticipation of drastic reductions in dev team to eliminate the need to design whole new expansions, landmasses, and landmarks, while still enabling players to "see" these places "on a budget". Will there ever be Mordor? Doesn't sound like it, unless it's another BB. But at this point, who cares? The lights will be turned off much, much earlier than 2017.

 

Certainly this news comes as no surprise to this forum - many here saw this thousands of miles off, and called it - which again speaks for the quantitative intelligence and well-reasoned foresight in its discussions, in stark contrast to the North Korea that is the OF. 

 

 

we envision the Beorning as a light armor casting class with a focus on control of the battlefield. When a Beorning gathers sufficient rage, they may transform into a mighty bear.

 

A true crowd-control class, after the already-existing ones have been castrated by HD changes? I expected a true hybrid and called it, little did I know they're taking this "hybrid" business literally. They're getting so desperate for player retention they're not only enabling every player to have pets, but to play as one too.  :+  

 

 

After reviewing all our goals for the year, major Housing changes will not be among them. We reviewed multiple options to update the system – none of them met our standards of quality, and ultimately the system you would want us to build.

 

_O-  _O-  _O-

 

As you can tell, we’re in the heart of the story now.

 

As I can tell, this game is so dead to me now that my obsessive love of the IP compels me to abandon Lotro altogether, for Tolkien's sake. Starting to research Rift as a possible new recreation time sink. I might get active soon™ (heh) on the Rift section of this forum with some newb questions.

 

The only entertainment value left in Lotro is to observe the OF as reality catches up to more of them. You cannot hide from truth, you can only postpone it. The ostrich head hats are bestsellers now, but panic is bound to tear through the rift (heh) in due time.

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Im finding it particularily hilarious that they are incorporating an idea which hasnt been entertained at all, until a popular competing game comes along which has it.Then all of a sudden its top priority to get it into the game.

 

The first occurance was the commendation currency system from Star Wars the Old Republic that made it into the ettenmoors, not all that remarkable apart from the name.

 

The second is Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) use of siege weapons.

 

The main point being, it wasnt asked for (to any degree), and yet there are a host of other unsatisfied ways to please existing players not being attended to. This is just another shameless grab at getting new players in on the back of a more popular product.

 

It works the other way around as well, ESO's Cyrodil pvp map/gameplay is more similar than it is different to that of the Ettenmoors. Youve even got a warg equivalent in there. If youve ever played the Ettenmoors you'll feel right at home.

 

Im biased anyway as i can see ESO becoming my new staple, its taken bloody years but i think its a realisation. It does have flaws however, we'll see if they get addressed.

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Who's to say how much content this will actually hold? My betting is some daily grind crap in a region about the size of Bree (not Bree-land, just the town).

 

I don't really care now to be honest, I just want them to finish the story and get to go to those areas.

 

I think like Laurinaohtar says above, they are now 100 % making Lotro just for Tolkien enthusiasts. 

 

We should not expect them to do things that a typical mmo does - they are going purely story driven to get us to the end of the books so that they can shut the game down.

 

 

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@MMO Troll: a new (second? contiguous?) PvP area might make sense for the bigger servers, but it makes absolutely no sense for the medium to smaller ones, which are quieter as ever as it is already. Siege weapons, though.. Well.

 

I wonder why he emphasizes that the lvl cap raise will be "free to VIPs". Can they prevent non-vips from leveling? Can't imagine anyone looking forward to 2 level cap raises in a single year, especially if they come with lvl100 and 105 LIs..

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