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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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Thanks for posting Aylwen!

 

You have confirmed a lot of what we have long suspected.

 

By the way were other devs aware of Sapience's (Rick Heaton) conduct on the forums? When someone posted a negative thread on the forums he would be instantly attacked by rabid fanboys and if he responed he would get banned by Sapience for "instigating flame war" and the fanboys were not punished. It was like the fanboys were Sapience's personal attack dogs he would set on disgruntled players.

 

Was the reasoning behind that behavior that if the forums were only full of positive comments about the game it would attract more new players?

 

edit: Also mentioning this site was ban worthy during Sapience's reign. He also handed down infractions for mentioning any other MMO by name. I mentioned Guild Wars 2 around it's launch and got my message instantly deleted and a never expiring infraction.

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I always thought, the powers that be worried more about the players we didn't have than those we did.

 

I think this is a very nice summary as a conclusion from all your posts, distilling every problem in Turbine (and surely in other companies as well) to its core reason.

One can imagine how many bad design decisions stem from this one basis. Turnover rate becoming more important than sustained constant population (apparently having both new + old players is impossible for this industry).

 

About the metrics data and in relation to Spidey's comment:

What Sapience said was that the combined raiders + pvp populations were less than 10%, with the pvp-ers being the bigger of the two subgroups. He also stated that, more or less, this has always been the case.

 

Now, I always found this as quite a pathetic excuse because it immediately generates the question "Were you guys stupid for 6 years until now, why stop making instances now?" This is such a ridiculous explanation, thrown in the OF as if the most expected thing etc. in a kinda 'How come you guys didn't know it?' manner, that I always thought it's Rick's very own unsuccessful attempt for damage control after the announcements of no new cluster and no new expansion on the horizon. But from your post, Aylwen, it strikes me as it was an official Turbine thing (a decision, let's say) to present this info, and Rick was simply the guy who had to channel it to the players, being the CM and all. Which do you think was the case, or maybe I'm wrong on both sides?

 

BTW, you mentioned in a previous post that a not well qualified dev was making the Watcher. But wait a second, the Watcher is the best raid instance of its kind the game has ever offered, isn't it?

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The fact that Creeps were basically NPC's that you could move makes a lot of things so much clearer now.

The story of how PvMP all came about is pretty interesting and in detail would be pretty lengthy. But part of the evolution was 'Creature Play', where players would play as landscape mobs, gradually moving up in tiers to more powerful monsters. Chicken Play is a legacy of that work, as is the 'Creep' (Creature Player) nickname, as well as the basic mechanics of MP.

You say that 7% was the PvP population and that sounds right to me, but as a raider, was the number Sapience brought up, less than 10% accuate about endgame raiders?

That sounds like a juked number to me. Tracking Moors participation is one thing, going there is a horse ride or a lvl 10 and a click on the MP button. Raiding is far more complicated. How accessible are the raids? What are the requirements? How relevant and how attractive are the raids? Is one compiling metrics based on averages or traditional peak raid nights (like Fridays for example). Is that percentage based on player total or capped level total? Are few people raiding because they don't want to raid at all or because they don't want to run such raids as are available to them? Like I suggested above that sounds like a way to rationalize a lack of content that owes more to a dearth of resources and motivation than giving players what they want (or in this case, what they supposedly don't want).

EDIT: I see you worked for Zenimax also, would love to hear about your experiences there, quite a few do or have played ESO.

I'll throw these up here, a couple of pre-Alpha ESO shots I took doing figure animation testing.

943158_252748508199432_1778833928_n_zpsh

296032_252748558199427_1510541317_n_zpsv

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But if LOTRO's revenue had stayed with LOTRO for its own development, what might have changed?

I thought about that all the time. Millions got spent on these fringe projects-console, Propel, hell we even had a Turbine West office in California (seriously) we maintained that sat empty for years-while the rank and file were poorly paid and crammed into a decaying and dark building that (as much as I loved it) did nothing for morale generally. As much as I have griped as a LOTROer about the sometimes shoddy work of the devs, it has to be said that it wasn't exactly an atmosphere designed to bring out 110% in people. To that add overwork as the dissipation of the existing staff over multiple projects meant that everything ended up being a beggar's banquet.

A lot of us had worn-out equipment; I mentioned elsewhere that when my PC died, over a week elapsed before they could throw together a new one for me. Contrast that with ZOS where I was assigned two PCs, including a 2k $ Alienware rig. When new PCs did come in there was a cut throat scramble among departments to acquire them.

Basically game development is like everything else: you get what you pay for. Hire and pay on the cheap, offer minimal benefits, unpleasant (to many) working conditions, stay understaffed, and then turn a blind eye and offer little solid central leadership and accountability...forget making a great game, you'll be lucky to make any games at all.

This picture is of my buddy 'Sultrain' Sullivan on a rare day the lights were turned on. Note the water stains on the ceiling panels. The very next day Sully would arrive to find that one had collapsed on his desk-along with about five gallons of water-wiping out his PC. Again, I still miss the Westwood building...but then again I was in the Infantry. Many others didn't always like it so much.

303450_103270673147217_1234097052_n_zpsh

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What do you think about the class redesign that came out with Helm's Deep?

 

 We were constantly told that players complained of "skill bloat" and thus the redesign was by player demand, but to some of us it seemed mainly like a way to make future design upkeep easier in-house.  

 

Do you have any inside info on what the driving factor was to implement it? 

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Now, I always found this as quite a pathetic excuse because it immediately generates the question "Were you guys stupid for 6 years until now, why stop making instances now?" This is such a ridiculous explanation, thrown in the OF as if the most expected thing etc. in a kinda 'How come you guys didn't know it?' manner, that I always thought it's Rick's very own unsuccessful attempt for damage control after the announcements of no new cluster and no new expansion on the horizon. But from your post, Aylwen, it strikes me as it was an official Turbine thing (a decision, let's say) to present this info, and Rick was simply the guy who had to channel it to the players, being the CM and all. Which do you think was the case, or maybe I'm wrong on both sides?

BTW, you mentioned in a previous post that a not well qualified dev was making the Watcher. But wait a second, the Watcher is the best raid instance of its kind the game has ever offered, isn't it?

For the first part I could point to my above comments that forum feedback can be all things to all people and used to support any change. My experience was that there was a very human quality to the way developers approached player wants (and coversely having to deny those wants). It felt like they really wanted to put smiles on people's faces even if they knew they were issuing checks that were likely to bounce. When I mentioned the 'treatment' I usually got-and the player council would later get-about how they were planning great stuff for PvMP, it wasn't really a case where the devs in question were lying so much as just not wanting to be in the position of disappointing. Again, to use PvMP for an example, there was a case where someone in OCR-Meg I think-indicated in response to queries from some PvMPers that, yes, a new map was on the way. The thing was, that was absolutely not on the table, no plans for it whatsoever. I think she just wanted to make the players happy at the time (a very human response, not a malicious lie, just a promise she was in no way qualified to make).

Then on the same token, bad news was usually couched in disingenuous terms designed to save company face. Public appearances were a major thing with the company and we were very good at maintaining an image of continued success. Even within the industry I found that most considered LOTRO a major success and had no hint that we were in trouble. But keeping up appearances became just ingrained, inside the walls and out. Mersky in marketing was constantly sending out company wide emails highlighting the latest nice things Ten Ton Hammer had to say about us, this online award or that...even as we, the QA and Devs, knew very well we weren't putting out the best product we could have been.

But the long and the short of it is, there were no new instance clusters because there weren't enough resources. Rick was just the guy who had to spin that in a face-saving way.

Re: the Watcher. It was certainly a very unique instance, very dynamic! Really easy or really hard or simply uncompletable-just depended on the last attempt to fix it!

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Wow... you paint a truly dysfunctional picture.  Not a surprise at all.  Still...disappointing.  I REALLY enjoyed this game for 7 years.

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So really...toss some stuff out there... if LOTRO were managed a bit better and it's revenue were kept to making it a better game itself (at least to a greater degree), what would we have seen?

 

A new PVMP map or two?

 

More expansive landmasses?

 

A better Legendary Item system?

 

More dynamic events?

 

A better engine that avoided the crippling lag often seen in the Moors but elsewhere in the game as well?

 

More expansive group/raid content?

 

Others?

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So really...toss some stuff out there... if LOTRO were managed a bit better and it's revenue were kept to making it a better game itself (at least to a greater degree), what would we have seen?

 

A new PVMP map or two?

the argument against a second PvMP map wasn't entirely unreasonable. The thinking was, there's already a small number of PvMPers...so why further split that population, especially when weighed against the resource cost of making a new map. And it would be easy to forget that making a new pvmp map required a lot more dev and engineering time than making a pve zone. So it's questionable if that would ever have been in the cards.

 

More expansive landmasses?

I'm not sure, definitely open to debate. Possibly the land masses wouldn't have so much been bigger as more fully realized. Mirkwood would have probably been more impressive...or perhaps they wouldn't have gone to Mirk at all-no question that was a 'budget' expansion.

 

A better Legendary Item system?

I think that was just bad core design. I'm still not sure how one would even go about revamping it and it seems they don't know either.

 

More dynamic events?

That's something that goes back to issues of departmental egos if you mean events like Amarthiel. More money and resources probably wouldn't cure that. A strong central leader might have overcome the hurdles.

 

A better engine that avoided the crippling lag often seen in the Moors but elsewhere in the game as well?

 

I think the core engine design was fine and it held up through SoA pretty well. It was the piling on of features and sheer volume of data that brought it to its knees. A better awareness of how certain mechanics like legendary items and aura effects would impact game performance would have gone a long way.

More expansive group/raid content?

I'm sure. Just a few more Alan Makis would have helped. LOTRO dev just had a terrible track record with their instances, virtually all of them had serious issues when shipped that provided everyone with serious headaches. To be perfectly frank I don't think we even had any devs by RoI aside from Maki would could make a solid raid. The Dragon is all the backing evidence needed for that assertion.

 

Others?

It's really hard to say, so much of LOTRO's post MoM roadmap was defined by the diminishing manpower resources. One can only imagine...

BTW, just noticed your location. I was born and raised in Maine.

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Thank you so much for your posts Aylwen! Very interesting to read!

Do you think we will ever see a MMO like early (pre f2p) Lotro again?

Btw, if you have any more images of early ESO builds that you can share it would be amazing!

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Thank you so much for your posts Aylwen! Very interesting to read!

Do you think we will ever see a MMO like early (pre f2p) Lotro again?

Btw, if you have any more images of early ESO builds that you can share it would be amazing!

MMO: Dunno...I kind of doubt it, just with the sheer costs involved and the changing markets. Also I think people have finally come to accept that WoW's success cannot be repeated.

I'll post what screenies I have...

Valenwood

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Valenwood landing

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Company PvP test

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Placeholder mob army.

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Crazy goat!

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More ESO angels

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aNGEL_zps0lkyw8h5.jpg

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angel2_zpsn4ze1xih.jpg

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Thanks for the great posts Aylwen, they make for fantastic reading.

 

I'm sure. Just a few more Alan Makis would have helped. LOTRO dev just had a terrible track record with their instances, virtually all of them had serious issues when shipped that provided everyone with serious headaches. To be perfectly frank I don't think we even had any devs by RoI aside from Maki would could make a solid raid. The Dragon is all the backing evidence needed for that assertion.
 

 

I always assumed JW Barry was the 'brains behind' most of the instance/raid content that came out post Mirkwood such as Ost Dunhoth, Orthanc and the Erebor cluster... I always had him down as one of the more talented devs. 

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Thanks for the great posts Aylwen, they make for fantastic reading.

 

 

I always assumed JW Barry was the 'brains behind' most of the instance/raid content that came out post Mirkwood such as Ost Dunhoth, Orthanc and the Erebor cluster... I always had him down as one of the more talented devs.

Thanks and NP, I think the whole lotro story-both within and behind the game-is a really interesting one on lots of levels.

Joe Barry... he got better. I might just leave it at that. He wasn't my favorite dev.

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Thank you again for posting all that stuff, Aylwen. Very interesting read.

But I can say that never once, either during my first stint or brief second tour, did I hear anyone talk about 'skill bloat', either as a player or dev concern.

Yes, this is something that transpired pretty quickly as the dumb official excuse. Naturally, it got support by these 3 people on the OF, which doesn't mean much.

So...yeah whenever I hear Turbine claiming it changed this or that based on 'feed back', I tend to roll my eyes.

OK, I feel silly now. In the past, when somebody mentioned on the OF that the development relies too much on forum feedback (what you say here), I've sort of a defended Turbine that it's not really possible to rationalize game changes based on a reason that stupid. I simply couldn't believe that their limited time and resources can be wasted without support from all the metrics they are expected to have on their end. Everyone knows a game's forums is not a reliable source. Almost as useful as if you ask on Twitter should humanity continue with cancer research - whatever the result, no sane person will care about it. It's not the right medium for such a question.

In fact, during the 'no new raids' debacle when Rick was exercising futile attempts for damage control, he himself said more than once that the forums do not reflect realistically the game population and that the raiders and pvp groups are disproportionally larger (on the forums, compared to reality) and hence more 'vocal'. If Rick can see the forums as not a quantitatively realistic feedback medium, how come the actual game devs couldn't? Couldn't he just, you know, like, tell them during a coffee break or something?

Again, to use PvMP for an example, there was a case where someone in OCR-Meg I think-indicated in response to queries from some PvMPers that, yes, a new map was on the way. The thing was, that was absolutely not on the table, no plans for it whatsoever. I think she just wanted to make the players happy at the time (a very human response, not a malicious lie, just a promise she was in no way qualified to make).

I just wanted to repeat and bold this one, to increase the chances of it being seen by the PvP community  - I think it's only fair for those people to get some answer as to why this promise was broken (twice?).

...Ten Ton Hammer...

A bit brutal question --please feel free to ignore it,-- but do you think Turbine ever paid for positive articles, either to TTH or elsewhere?

But the long and the short of it is, there were no new instance clusters because there weren't enough resources.

I'd say every sane person knew that since the 'no new IC' announcement was made, so thank you for confirming this (even if obvious) truth.

Re: the Watcher. It was certainly a very unique instance, very dynamic! Really easy or really hard or simply uncompletable-just depended on the last attempt to fix it!

I see. It kinda reminds of Draigoch, although not really that bad. Draigoch is such a nice and original idea that was made in such a buggy manner, that you can only ask yourself why oh why...

And it would be easy to forget that making a new pvmp map required a lot more dev and engineering time than making a pve zone.

Very interesting, I didn't expect that. Isn't the landscape just a landscape either way? And a PvE map would require NPCs and quests, while a PvP map can be left relatively empty, right? Actually, if they just copy/pasted Angmar's landscape to a new 'layer' and called it the new PvP map, some might have been happy. Although the lore-junkies might protest + everyone was going to shout it down as cheap solution, and rightfully so. But anyway, why is a PvP map so demanding?

Joe Barry... he got better. I might just leave it at that. He wasn't my favorite dev.

Well, who was you favorite dev, then? :) You already spoke very highly of several persons. Would you say those were the core, 'glue' people that managed to keep this Titanic afloat for so long?

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 More expansive group/raid content?

I'm sure. Just a few more Alan Makis would have helped. LOTRO dev just had a terrible track record with their instances, virtually all of them had serious issues when shipped that provided everyone with serious headaches. To be perfectly frank I don't think we even had any devs by RoI aside from Maki would could make a solid raid. The Dragon is all the backing evidence needed for that assertion.

Orion got the dubious task of apologizing for "Radiance" in February of 2011 & pretty much from that point on his Lotro involvement became nonexistent.

 

i don't know the exact timing that he got pulled to work exclusively on Infinite Crisis, but my guess is it was right around that time.

 

if JWBarry is still with Turbine, i'd be surprised,as his public signal disappeared shortly after HD launched...  unless he is now on the new mobile project.  he doesn't seem to be a part of Lotro, regardless.

 

and since Cardell & Leo are sharing "lead" on Infinite Crisis, i think Steefel is also gone.

 

anyway, i always appreciated Orions communication style and he was one of those that did make the time to connect & dialogue with the players.

 

P.S.  i was never a fan of the watcher raid.  all gimmick, not much substance.  & the target swapping mechanic, that considerably increased the difficulty, was ripped out in one of the later passes, after radiance was removed.

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Orion got the dubious task of apologizing for "Radiance" in February of 2011 & pretty much from that point on his Lotro involvement became nonexistent.

 

P.S.  i was never a fan of the watcher raid.  all gimmick, not much substance.  & the target swapping mechanic, that considerably increased the difficulty, was ripped out in one of the later passes, after radiance was removed.

 

Orion was still very active up to (and after) the release of RoI... I remember his work in revamping the champ and minstrel was very impressive.

 

What do you mean by target swap mechanic on the Watcher? If you mean alternatly killing 1 tentacle every minute to prevent Watcher heals then I believe that still exists although it has been long since negated by massive DPS.

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Orion was still very active up to (and after) the release of RoI... I remember his work in revamping the champ and minstrel was very impressive.

i am recalling this from the perspective of the old no longer existent forum blogs.

 

after that apology, i don't recall much from him beyond that.  RoI was September of 2011, so how much  after that was he still with Lotro?  as IC was still very much under wraps, it wasn't like there was a big announcement of him moving.

 

regardless, he was one of the early key folk to transition over to IC.

 

What do you mean by target swap mechanic on the Watcher? If you mean alternatly killing 1 tentacle every minute to prevent Watcher heals then I believe that still exists although it has been long since negated by massive DPS.

yeah,  sounds about right.  wasn't like i ran it much as having to turn all graphic effects off to run it effectively, kind of put me off.

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Thanks Aylwen for all that posts.  Really interesting read for a ex-Lotro players.

 

Also for me personally interesting that several of my own suspictions actually do more or less check with reality.

 

 

 

I have few further questions:

 

1. Skirmishes  -   what I always though is that one of major reasons of why whole skirmish system was developed - was for cost-cutting reasons. It seemed like an idea of putting considerable manhour investment in order to create a long-term venue/way for cheaper future content developement.

 

When I've saw skirmishes for the first time somewhere in SoM, it was first time a though like "damn Lotro must be in trouble"  crossed my mind.

I just wonder if my suspictions of skirmishes are right or it's just my personal disgust about Skirmish-like content is clouding my judgement?

 

2. Siege of Mirkwood -  I wonder about why Turbine released expansion like that.  I understand that post-MoM player numbers were dropping and that resources were smaller, but it really seemed like Turbine gave up on Lotro with SoM.    Because Turbine managment surely had to know that releasing such minimal expansion(+other problems this expansion had) will result in big player drop?

 

So why were not resources from other projects diverted to work on SoM to make it bigger and better?   

 

a ) Was Lotro deemed to have little (re)growth potential so that other projects like i.e Lotro-console deemed more worthy?

Or/And   Was outlook on Lotro-console projects so positive that Turbine management though they can finalize and release it relatively soon?

 

b ) Was WB deal so imminent that it was better to sustain an illusion of highly-succesful dynamic developement house being able to work on several "future growth" projects?

 

c ) Maybe F2P was already on the wall for Lotro so resources were directed to building foundaments of F2P system?  (store, billing, monetization, content for F2P launch, etc?)

 

I just wonder because SoM release could have only one result.  Significant player drop and it seems like it did.

 

3. Were Turbine management and/or other employees geniunely surprised that DDO failed so hard?  (like you said it dropped to below AC player concurrency and it seemed like it never got much playerbase to begin with).

 

 

----------

I've also wanted to comment on something:

 


MoM
We lost a lot of subs that winter. Maybe players didn't want to spend a year in a big cave or maybe the endless server downtimes got old. But either way there was never, ever any self-examination when it came to player dissatisfaction. It couldn't possibly be that the devs were putting out sloppy, uninspired work or substituting mindless grinds in place of meaningful, engaging gameplay. There was never a dev fired for poor work-sometimes it seemed like a cabal where if nobody admitted the quality of the game was down, nobody would get blamed for it. That may sound harsh but the game speaks for itself.
When I look back on LOTRO as a player, having been away from the game for a while now, my own realization is that it was the community-our closeness, personalities, the sub-plots we created as we interacted (especially in the Moors) that kept me engaged and in love with the game. My nostalgia for SoA through SoM is really about that and maybe it makes the game itself look better than it might have actually been.

Yeah. MoM on one hand seemed like this ambitious piece of work, real proper expansion (quite a lot of content, 2 new classes), but on the other hand it really seemed diffrent than SoA.   Quality seemed lower for everything &  there was definite increase in usual MMO grinds.    Overall bugs and dungeons exploits especially that many of them did not get fixed for months or practically never before I've stopped playing - really was bad.

I agree about "one year in cave" as well.  I mean I personally liked Moria, but looking in perspective I think it would be much better if actual Moria Mines was twice smaller, so players would get through it and continue second part of expansion in open terrains. (+ maybe coming back to Moria for instanced dungeon runs and/or some parts of some quest lines). 

On the other hand - really good open world have stopped with SoA.   Lothlorien as preety as it was aescethically was really uninspired work.  It felt gamey, filled with some token leaf grinds and very hubbed questing.  Same was in Mirkwood.  

Just very diffrent feeling than in SoA regions where Lotro managed to achieve this illusion of fictionary world you travel through.

 

As for SoA and MoM times.  I agree that nostalgia is strong and gameplay wise it was not nearly as good as we remember it.  What I think was main strenght of SoA was that it achieved to create this "mood" or "trance" in some of players of playing, exploring some kind of fictional fantasy world.  Sort of similar feeling to when you read a really good book and you "sink" into it for a few hours.

That allowed to overlook that as a game it was not as good.

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As for SoA and MoM times.  I agree that nostalgia is strong and gameplay wise it was not nearly as good as we remember it.  What I think was main strenght of SoA was that it achieved to create this "mood" or "trance" in some of players of playing, exploring some kind of fictional fantasy world.  Sort of similar feeling to when you read a really good book and you "sink" into it for a few hours. 

That allowed to overlook that as a game it was not as good.

 

I'll agree that for me, looking back on MoM and Mirkwood, nostaliga makes them seem better than they really were at the time, but I don't agree with you on SoA. Yes, there is an element of nostalgia and first-time-experience that cannot be recreated, but I strongly believe that SoA really was as ridiculously wonderfully amazing as I remember. In my opinion, the part of your post I bolded above is a big part of the reason that as a game, SoA was amazing. I have played through SoA on so many alts and have generally enjoyed every single time. For me, the trait trees were the final nail in the coffin, not just in killing my enjoyment of the 95/100 caps, but in being able to enjoy the early game too. Bizarrely, I'm having the most fun in the game now with my auto attacking champ since probably the 65 cap.

 

I absolutely agree that from MoM onwards the game began to feel progressively more gamey - instance joins, more and more tokens to collect, skirmishes, etc - the amazing immersive world was lost and it started to feel like my characters were playing a game, not just me.

 

And to Aylwen - I'll add my thanks for your contributions to this thread. Some very interesting stuff. So much I could reply to, but I'll just add my 2c on the PvMP stars - I loved them. They added fun, colour and an interesting dynamic. Really, any sane person should have seen they hurt no one. Sometimes I star hugged, more often than not I didn't care. Both were fun. Getting a kill on a notorious star hugger was always a blast. 

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I guess there was a lot of dysfunction-and again, a lot of it was stuff you might see at any given game company (my brother was QA manager at Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2: the fall of the West-Zampella IW makes Turbine's issues pale in comparison)-but on the other hand the very fact that this little company, that in 1998 or so operated out of a garage basically, managed to build and maintain three well-known MMOs is an incredible accomplishment. Really it should have been impossible. And arguably had Turbine been a more conservative and less ambitious company, LOTRO never would have been made in the first place. As someone who loved LOTRO it did drive me nuts that we didn't always have the best people in the right positions. We had too many management and lead positions occupied by people far more concerned about staying in a comfortable bubble of job security than pushing any envelopes. And that atmosphere tended to foster aquiesence; it was a miasma of mediocrity that pulled people in, regardless of department. Criticism was either ignored or pushed back; the art director's policy on art figure bugs was simple: closed, there were no art bugs. But... I would go back to Turbine at Westwood in a heartbeat. There was a magic there, so many good souls within those walls. LOTRO wasn't the game it could have been-and maybe never could have been-but it still gave me the best gaming experiences I've ever had. In talking about the story of LOTRO, I hope it doesn't seem like I'm simply railing against Turbine. It really is, in its totality, a more complex tale, warts and all, then just 'so and so dropped the ball' and x mistakes made. Bittersweet, for sure.

 

Aylwen, I know just what you mean.  One of my best working experiences was in a small start-up, we worked in an old husk of a building that had been an auto assembly plant back in the day, there were just a handful of people and we worked our butts off, had loads of fun as well, and accomplished things that seem unbelievable when I look back on it.  

 

Eventually the company was bought out by a big multinational corporation, things changed quickly and there was a lot of heartache, and before too long my old crowd there all left for other jobs, myself included.  Some places/teams have a magic that can't be duplicated, just a case of "right people/right time".

 

I don't play LOTRO at the moment, though I had such a great time for most of the time I did play.  Many thanks to you and everyone else who made it what it was back in the day.

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Well maybe I worded that incorrectly.

 

What I've meant is that Lotro (and generally MMORPGs)  don't have particularly good gameplay in most areas compared to other game types.

 

AI of mobs is absymal,  quests mechanically&gameplay wise compared to proper single player crpg's are pathetic,  there are brain-dead grinds present by design and so on.

 

Yet some selected MMORPGs can be great experiences and keep players playing for a long-time.

 

Inferior gameplay, but still great experience.  That what Lotro was.    Yet most mmorpg's in last years, try to improve their gameplay (and not surprisingly failing to do so) and at same time ruining what kept them special - resulting in 'meh' bland grindy experience.

 

 

To be fair though -  Lotro gameplay wise was not totally bad. There were some genuinely 'general' gameplay things that were good like i.e. :

- some of the classes - like Burglar, Lore-master, Rune-keeper and especially Warden  -  quite unique classes when you compare to other themepark mmorpgs.

- skill queuing - controversial I know - some of the players did not like it, but for me it did differentiate Lotro from other tab-based mmorpgs.   In other mmorpg's when you click a skill when previous skill is still 'in motion' you either don't do anything or you cancel your previous skill.  In Lotro this second skill queued and auto-fired once previous skill was done.   For some of the classes it allowed for more in-depth and dynamic gameplay.

 

- instanced 'by hand' dungeons (not skirmishes, BB, crafting instances or other like that) - one of few things MMORPGs have and most other types of game does not and while some dungeons were bugged which decreased their potential and hurt Lotro (imo)  - then some of them had really good clever and fun ideas and gameplay.

 

- PvPM - I did not care much about it tbh, but it was kinda special and there was sizeable miniority that enjoyed it for a long-time.

 

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So if MMORPG have a few really solid well exectured gameplay elements coupled with creation of immersive virtual world that can 'enthrall' it's players and leverage it - then it can be great experience, even if gameplay itself will be inferior vs single player/multipayer games.

 

And Lotro was like that in SoA, and to lesser extent MoM.

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- skill queuing - controversial I know - some of the players did not like it, but for me it did differentiate Lotro from other tab-based mmorpgs. In other mmorpg's when you click a skill when previous skill is still 'in motion' you either don't do anything or you cancel your previous skill. In Lotro this second skill queued and auto-fired once previous skill was done. For some of the classes it allowed for more in-depth and dynamic gameplay.

Skill queuing is one of the things I miss most in other MMOs. I absolutely love the way skills work in Lotro with queuing and no global cooldowns. This is quite often what makes me stop playing other MMOs after just a few hours.

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