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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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I ran practically no instances in WoW, was in a guild that was mostly inactive, but seeing those other guys in the sweet looking raid gear, talking about this or that boss they had fowned, gave promise of great fun out there.

 

In the last few years in WoW most players run instances, at least the lower level ones, because the content is very easy and the LFG tool in WoW works so well. That was a big turn off to me for Lotro - whereas in WoW I could group up whenever I wanted to, or was sick of solo questing, in Lotro there was no real grouping tool, and except for the beginning, it was hard to find anyone for groups at lower levels. Playing an MMO where I could not group up easily was a big turn off - and I don't always play at cap level. IMO not making a good grouping tool is a major failure of the Lotro devs.

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The one thing that always bugged me about LOTRO was how horrible almost all the the armor looked graphically. The only armor that looked really cool was the Rift set and, on some of the classes, the BG set. In Rift (the game) even the crap armor looks good. Was there a specific person in charge of armors graphic look?

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In the last few years in WoW most players run instances, at least the lower level ones, because the content is very easy and the LFG tool in WoW works so well. That was a big turn off to me for Lotro - whereas in WoW I could group up whenever I wanted to, or was sick of solo questing, in Lotro there was no real grouping tool, and except for the beginning, it was hard to find anyone for groups at lower levels. Playing an MMO where I could not group up easily was a big turn off - and I don't always play at cap level. IMO not making a good grouping tool is a major failure of the Lotro devs.

 

Opposite here.  I was glad that there was no instance finder in Lotro and I did not like that Instance Join was added.

Sure no instance finder made lower levels a more solo experience, but cons from having auto LFG tool outweight pros for me.

 

Even simple Instance Join panel in Lotro changed Lotro drastically.  People stopped venturing outside of 21 st hall/Lothlorien.   All I was getting was endless "come on let's run some dungeons"  all the time.

 

Once instance join and scalable instances were added only place I saw my kinnies and friend-list people was instances.

 

Then there was the matter of rewards. Not so good. And just the sheer generic quality of them. Whether you defend the Hornburg solo at level 50 or in a 6 man at 100...it's basically the same thing. Your chances of 'better' rewards are somewhat increased but...for what? Just to run the same BBs?

Scalable content aside of huge gameplay penalties (you cannot have good content made by modyfying some hp/dps/mob nunmber formula) 

bring other things   - gamey feeling & huge generic token grinds.

 

You don't go anymore to hand-crafted place specifically designed for specific amount of people at specific level with specific amount of skill and gear.  Instead you go to generic place to grind X amount of tokens out of Y number of tokens need for some reward.

 

GW2 is good example btw.   Whole friggin game being one huge place with skirmish-like content everywhere.   Damn this game was letdown.

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What about the OF, Aylwen... Do those messages there ever proactively get to the Producers or Devs? For example right now on the OF there's one of those Open Letter/I Quit threads... Has there been cases were the CM would raise awareness to issues coming up on the forums to the Prods/Devs, or is it just the case of the Prods/Devs reading that stuff themselves, like your removal of stars example. Would Ferlorn print out a bunch of posts and give them to the New EP and say, "Here's what the hot topics are on the OF..." Ever been to a meeting where they've said "because of the outcry brought to our attention on the OF, we're going to do this..."

There was no formal policy during my years there when it came to the forums. Most of the devs I worked with did consult them. And the CM might bring this or that matter to the attention of the devs; I do remember OCR putting out lists of hot button issues. Of course the real trick is in interpreting what you are reading on the forums. If one plays the game it becomes much easier to sort the wheat from the chaff. Take the PvMP forums for example. My own advice to Jared Pruette had been, read the server specific PvMP forums. If there's an issue big enough and universal enough to get play there, those should be the big priorities. A lot of the 'omg game is broken' posts on the general PvMP forums could be translated as, 'I'm not pwning face in the Moors...unacceptable: buff me plz'. And there really is something to the argument that the forums can represent a skewed picture. You may well not hear from the 95 people who think their runekeeper is just fine but the 5 who don't might go to the forum with their grievances. The RK dev, being too busy in his off time playing DOTA or Minecraft for LOTRO, goes to the forums for ideas and what does he find there? But on the same token it really pays for the players to conduct themselves with maturity and grace. It drove me nuts to see players crapping all over Turbine in their posts, especially the PvMPers, as if insulting the developer was the key to getting positive results. Devs are human beings like everyone else and don't like to be told they suck because the player's experience is not what they think it should be. I can say from experience that one gets a hell of at lot further with honey than vinager when it comes to developers. I mean, what is a dev supposed to do with a 'this game sucks now I quit' thread? But in the end my own philosophy is that a developer needs to get in there and get personally invested in what he or she is working on. It's hard to picture a guy like Gary Grisby saying, 'playing wargames...in my spare time? Who has time for that? I'll just read the forums...'

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Aylwen - why do you think originally Turbine did not have RP servers for Lotro? I was playing on Codemasters EU side and having RP server especially one that had enforced (by GMs) rules - was really something I valued (I've played on Laurelin), even though I was not active RP'er myself.

There was a real sense that LOTRO would be generally RP in nature. It seems quaint now to consider that OOC meant Out Of Character because it was assumed many players would be playing in character. I certainly came in at launch with that belief. Aylwen Wulfsbane of Rohan had a whole back story I developed for her bio (later replaced with killing blow records, notable damage results, 5 star dates...sort of sad now that I think about it). But in the beginning it really was cool how many players took care to adopt lore appropriate names, that gave LOTRO a uniquely immersive feel.

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The one thing that always bugged me about LOTRO was how horrible almost all the the armor looked graphically. The only armor that looked really cool was the Rift set and, on some of the classes, the BG set. In Rift (the game) even the crap armor looks good. Was there a specific person in charge of armors graphic look?

Oh god the armor. I have no idea why it looked so awful, especially in SoA, or how any art director could look at these designs and say, 'great work, ship it!'. Running around at lower levels I really felt like I was being trolled by the game. You know there's a problem when the cosmetic system-allowing you to cover up your hard-earned gear-was one of the most universally popular systems ever released for LOTRO. In WoW my little mage wore her PvP armor with pride. In LOTRO it was like being forced to wear that awful sweater your aged aunt gave you for Christmas every time you went to school.

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 It drove me nuts to see players crapping all over Turbine in their posts, especially the PvMPers, as if insulting the developer was the key to getting positive results. Devs are human beings like everyone else and don't like to be told they suck because the player's experience is not what they think it should be. I can say from experience that one gets a hell of at lot further with honey than vinager when it comes to developers. I mean, what is a dev supposed to do with a 'this game sucks now I quit' thread? 

 

I always agreed with this in theory, but I never found it really a realistic expectation in practice.  At least, how Sapience always put it; be polite or be ignored.  To me, that'd just make an angry player angrier.  Flip side, you don't want to encourage that behavior, I get that.  But just because they're mad about something, may not make it any less true, and if kind of felt that way to me, that Sapience was saying that "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" and I think he completely missed the point.  Besides, I always found it ironic, considering we're talking Boston, and all...  it's not like they're the politest fans of things.  And that's what we are; fans.  If you're a Red Socks fan calling the pitcher a "bum" because he walked someone at a crucial moment, you don't actually think he's a smelly homeless guy right?  That's insane.  But I'll guarantee, the same devs who are being offended for people saying they suck, screamed that Welkor sucked when he dropped that pass in the Super Bowl. Guarantee.  And it's no different.  

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Oh god the armor. I have no idea why it looked so awful, especially in SoA, or how any art director could look at these designs and say, 'great work, ship it!'. Running around at lower levels I really felt like I was being trolled by the game. You know there's a problem when the cosmetic system-allowing you to cover up your hard-earned gear-was one of the most universally popular systems ever released for LOTRO. In WoW my little mage wore her PvP armor with pride. In LOTRO it was like being forced to wear that awful sweater your aged aunt gave you for Christmas every time you went to school.

 

Lotro Store Cosmetics...although that doesn't explain Mirkwood

 

Re: final straw and OCR...I still today recall the PM I got when I asked to OCR what I should do after 7 years of leading a guild when my loyal freinds and player base was leaving bc there were not instances, no challenges really, and no Raids...the response "maybe turn the kinship into a reading/writting club meeting in ME in the spirit of Tolkien and his friends..." My jaw dropped, I knew it was over...

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I'm pretty sure you all know this guy or have heard rumors of his existence.

Sadly I've never managed to meet him (and according to the comment the trick from the video no longer works) but ... whose idea was it to create him? (and why did they wall him off again?)

 

Are there any other easter eggs that people so far haven't found?

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I'm pretty sure you all know this guy or have heard rumors of his existence.

Sadly I've never managed to meet him (and according to the comment the trick from the video no longer works) but ... whose idea was it to create him? (and why did they wall him off again?)

 

Are there any other easter eggs that people so far haven't found?

 

 

As of Friday Jan 23rd of this year you could still get to him:

sFbQN6N.jpg

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I always agreed with this in theory, but I never found it really a realistic expectation in practice.  At least, how Sapience always put it; be polite or be ignored.  To me, that'd just make an angry player angrier.  Flip side, you don't want to encourage that behavior, I get that.  But just because they're mad about something, may not make it any less true, and if kind of felt that way to me, that Sapience was saying that "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" and I think he completely missed the point.  Besides, I always found it ironic, considering we're talking Boston, and all...  it's not like they're the politest fans of things.  And that's what we are; fans.  If you're a Red Socks fan calling the pitcher a "bum" because he walked someone at a crucial moment, you don't actually think he's a smelly homeless guy right?  That's insane.  But I'll guarantee, the same devs who are being offended for people saying they suck, screamed that Welkor sucked when he dropped that pass in the Super Bowl. Guarantee.  And it's no different.

Saying that the game suck and I quit, doesnt help the devs. If they dont know what you are unhappy with or what you would like to see done differently, then how are they going to know what is wrong in the eyes of the players. Also since devs are not obligate to come to the forum and interact with the players they will not do so if every time they do all the see is players having a go at the person and offering nothing constructive.

Shouting at a sports star for making a mistake is different, they know what they have done to have people shout at them. Often people are angry at some one or two changes out of dozens but they just expect the dev to fix it without telling them what they would like to see fixed.

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Lotro Store Cosmetics...although that doesn't explain Mirkwood

 

Re: final straw and OCR...I still today recall the PM I got when I asked to OCR what I should do after 7 years of leading a guild when my loyal freinds and player base was leaving bc there were not instances, no challenges really, and no Raids...the response "maybe turn the kinship into a reading/writting club meeting in ME in the spirit of Tolkien and his friends..." My jaw dropped, I knew it was over...

Well...in fairness, as we often suspected and have had somewhat confirmed here, what COULD they have told you?  The truth? "I'm sorry.  We don't have the resources to make an IC anymore."  That's like telling people you've hit an iceberg but don't panic and head for the lifeboats.  Sounds like they were trying to give you some positive message.

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Saying that the game suck and I quit, doesnt help the devs. If they dont know what you are unhappy with or what you would like to see done differently, then how are they going to know what is wrong in the eyes of the players. 

i think the thread that snow referenced...the guy actually listed some of the issues that have caused him/her to leave.  so there was some type of feedback, not just...this game sucks, i'm leaving.  and of course, it was greeted with the usual apologist type reaction the OF is known for at times...

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Aylwen, couple things I'm curious about.

 

Early in beta testing I was running around doing stuff on my hobbit burglar and I attacked a dourhand dwarf in the Rushock Bog near Needlehole.  It was one of the more memorable bugs I stumbled across.  The dwarves were linked.  Every single dwarf came out of that dourhand camp in a long, angry line and killed me.  A few more deaths confirmed it didn't matter which dwarf I attacked, they were ALL coming out as if someone had blown a rallying horn.  I asked the zone about it and a high level hunter came by and gathered them up to slaughter them.  How does something like THAT happen? 

 

The other: you mentioned multi-boxing and the response of 'they paid for the accounts, let em play them'.  What is your position, as a PVPer, on the guy who put together 21 free accounts with Reavers and ran them through the Moors soloing Keeps and flipping the map?  There were other examples, I know.  It seemed like an exploit of the F2P accounts and an unbalancing act to me.

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Snowlock

But I'll guarantee, the same devs who are being offended for people saying they suck, screamed that Welkor sucked when he dropped that pass in the Super Bowl. Guarantee. And it's no different.

I must say that the only big Pats fan there that I knew aside from myself (and our office manager at Needham who was also one of the Minutemen, the guys who fire a volley for every Pats score in Gillette Stadium) was Orion. And he did probably curse Welk for that drop. While one can't over generalize, the typical dev was more likely to have played D&D in high school than fullback.

It's one thing to scream at Wes Welker on the TV set, another thing altogether to deliberately antagonize the person in a position to do anything about what ails you. And developers are people. They aren't disembodied psuedo-beings spit out of the Matrix to fufill our ideal gaming experience on demand. They make mistakes, they often operate under circumstances they have little control over, and are learning as they go. And, yes, some are just crap and probably shouldn't be devs at all. But the best thing the player can do is present useful and well-reasoned feedback. Yelling and screaming probably isn't going to help.

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While one can't over generalize,

 

But that's my point.  It's really not an over generalization.  I mean, it's a matter of perspective.  You're in the biz, I'm not.  As someone who's not, video games to me are the same entertainment media as books, movies, music, sports, and TV.  And if I'm passionate about that media, and I've formed an opinion about it, and I have an avenue to share it, I will.  And all you guys are all lumped together.  In kind of a neutral, abstract sort of way.  I fucking HATE TURBINE for what they did to the game.  I'm perfectly comfortable in saying that.  I'm a MN Vikings fan.  I fucking HATE that the Packers swept us last year (FU any packer fans, in advance).  Same thing to me in my mind.  I don't HATE turbine, or it's devs anymore than I HATE packers.  I wish no one harm.  I'm sure that's hard to read, someone saying "You're a fucking jackass I hate you".  George RR Martin gets the same thing when a favorite character is killed.  It comes from the same place.  It's just fandom.  I think a video game company needs to be able to parse the hyperbole from the feedback piece.  I'm not excusing the behavior on the part of the fans, I'm just saying it's not controllable, so you (general 'you') can't shy away from it.

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Aylwen, couple things I'm curious about.

Early in beta testing I was running around doing stuff on my hobbit burglar and I attacked a dourhand dwarf in the Rushock Bog near Needlehole. It was one of the more memorable bugs I stumbled across. The dwarves were linked. Every single dwarf came out of that dourhand camp in a long, angry line and killed me. A few more deaths confirmed it didn't matter which dwarf I attacked, they were ALL coming out as if someone had blown a rallying horn. I asked the zone about it and a high level hunter came by and gathered them up to slaughter them. How does something like THAT happen?

The other: you mentioned multi-boxing and the response of 'they paid for the accounts, let em play them'. What is your position, as a PVPer, on the guy who put together 21 free accounts with Reavers and ran them through the Moors soloing Keeps and flipping the map? There were other examples, I know. It seemed like an exploit of the F2P accounts and an unbalancing act to me.

In the case of the dwarves I assume they were all accidently assigned to the same pull group somehow.

Turbine's position on multi boxing in the Moors was absolutely stupid. Yet it was immovable. Forget that for the sake of a miniscule number of accounts (we had all of one boxer on BW for the first two years or so) thousands of complaints were generated and tremendous bad blood was generated as the company seemed to be saying: 'we really could care less about your experience in our game...the $$$ from the 4 or 5 accounts we get from the boxer means more. Sure, we could disallow the boxer playing his extra accounts in the Moors but be fine to pve...but, eh, we don't even care enough to do that. But don't let us catch you wandering in FixMe Unassigned! That's serious business!'

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Aylwen, I just want to say thank you for your candid responses to people's questions. It really is refreshing to hear such honesty about something that at some point we have all loved. I never wanted to leave Lotro, but the blatant continuing half assed content that they have been churning out over the last 2 years is just not worth paying for in my honest opinion. 

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I would say the thanks are all owed to you. LOTRO's community was absolutely unique, nothing else like it. I can't say that enough. I am truly proud that I, like my brother before me, had an opportunity to contribute to a game that brought so many wonderful people together, from so many places and diverse backgrounds. Every one had a voice worth hearing and I believe every one of them deserves to hear at least one perspective on why the game was the way it was. I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate honesty. And I am convinced that if we had been more candid about our limitations, our mistakes and missteps, what we could do and couldn't do, the vast majority of our fans would have responded with more loyalty, not less. The very fact that one old Turbine hand's reminincences is considered noteworthy underlines how starved the gaming nation is for honesty and candor. The greater the wedge companies drive between themselves and thier customers the greater the animosity: nobody likes to be treated like a child or have their intelligence insulted. 'We have your money, now stfu and like it or go away' is not a platform likely to engender a contented body of consumers. Honest, open communication is the way.

Transparency earns greater trust than not. This isn't rocket science (but it is psychology, LOL).

This is one thing I've really appreciated about Obsidian's development of their Kickstarted game, Pillars of Eternity. Granted, a big reason for their transparency was because the game is crowdfunded, but that's not required because many other crowdfunded ventures still operate in a black box. Obsidian went so far as to post very technical updates about how a computer game is created, even including a spreadsheet with the project management timeline (crazy stuff). That sort of thing brings the two parties closer towards an understanding and patience for a process we really don't understand, yet the final product and business is ultimately beholden to us, the players.

So it's great that you came along to pull back the curtain for us, even a tiny bit. On one hand, some bitterness might be assuaged when it turns out a mystery we could only speculate about wasn't true (going F2P as survival mode as opposed to greed), and on the other hand, the misgivings of former players who had felt shafted by Turbine over the years may be validated with a sense of closure when other speculations are true. For those of us who left, we wouldn't have gotten this annoyed/pissed if we didn't love the game and community in the first place, after all.

This has been rather cathartic. ;) But it's also pretty clear that in its current state and lack of resources and WB-Turbine's intentions vis-a-vis no marketing presence, Lotro isn't turning around. But it may slowly limp, if WB so deems it.

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Well...in fairness, as we often suspected and have had somewhat confirmed here, what COULD they have told you? The truth? "I'm sorry. We don't have the resources to make an IC anymore." That's like telling people you've hit an iceberg but don't panic and head for the lifeboats. Sounds like they were trying to give you some positive message.

There was a lot they could have said. The response was the conclusion of what we had long expected. They actually did not care about retention, customer investment, nor consider how to maintain it.

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There was a lot they could have said.

Yes.  I was thinking of that one person working for Turbine, the grunt sent into a gunfight with a butterknife.

 

The response was the conclusion of what we had long expected. They actually did not care about retention, customer investment, nor consider how to maintain it.

mm....yep.  

 

The thing that always baffled me was the lack of tie-in advertising and activities when the Hobbit movies came out. But I see now it likely wasn't something WB was interested in helping with.  We had an IC based around Erebor and that was it.  After all the out of place stuff they did like Draigoch and the 'dream sequence' that allowed a Balrog fight in OD, they didn't even whip up a historic, flashback, Smaug fight for us.  No commercials on TV to piggyback the Hobbit mania going on.  I expected a LOTRO wink during the previews before the Hobbit movies started in theaters. 

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We had an IC based around Erebor and that was it.

A quick question based on this comment:

 

Aylwen, was there any other reason --anything at all-- to create an IC in Erebor, aside from conceptual attachment to the coming Hobbit movies?

The art used in those spaces was very obviously copied from previous locations (e.g. Moria), so in theory this IC could have been anywhere (with the same amount of work to create it).

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Tagging along with the previous comment...

 

Could you list who was the lead dev for creating instances that you may know?  Some of the commentary you've made so far on this doesn't quite jive with what has been implied  and/or expressed on the OF in the past.

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