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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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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.

 

That's what happened to me for sure.  I can get that way to some extent with other games too, but never as totally caught up in it as with LOTRO. I don't have it on my laptop right now, but I'm sure that when any new zones come out I'll at least give it a look.

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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.

 

If you're willing to relay the info I'm sure many here would be interested.

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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.

Yeah.  I remember that when F2P hit Lotro,  I was well aware that no other MMORPG with "traditional" (tab-based, plenty of skills, etc) combat does have skill-queuing (or such distinct class like my favourite Warden) and it was one of those things that made me kept playing Lotro for few more months, ultimatelly I could not stand microtransactions or other changes to Lotro, but yeah skill-queuing was for me one of big Lotro strenghts.

 

That's what happened to me for sure.  I can get that way to some extent with other games too, but never as totally caught up in it as with LOTRO. I don't have it on my laptop right now, but I'm sure that when any new zones come out I'll at least give it a look.

I could not get "enchanted" by Lotro anymore nowadays, in any place old or new.  Many things that allowed that are missing from Lotro. 

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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.

That reminds me of Kesmai, on online company in Charlottesville VA where my brother worked in QA (he's been in the industry now since 1997ish). Great little informal, seat-of-thier-pants, place filled with great people.They did Air Warrior and were developing a sprawling Mechwarrior Online when EA stepped in and bought them. They plugged Kesmai into their ill-fated and infamous EA.com fiasco and essentially had destroyed the company, a pioneer in online gaming, within a year. If there's any company that truly deserves Angry Joe's Corporate Commander stereotype, it's EA. But mention Mechwarrior or Battletech online to any old Kesmai hand and they'll sigh wistfully...

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Aylwen, we can imagine that it's normal for the game companies to copy and adapt ideas from the competition, occasionally.

 

Some LOTRO devs have proudly mentioned on the OF that 'they play a lot of games'. Makes you wish they had some time to play their own too, but anyway.

Do you think there are particular features in LOTRO that were seen elsewhere and copied, building up on others' creativity?

And the other way around - did you guys notice something in another game that is just like this thing you implemented 2 updates ago?

 

What about stealing 'in real time'? Is there something similar to industrial espionage in the game industry?

Have secrets ever slipped from Turbine's office? I don't mean gossip, or who's phone exactly was used in the cafeteria to record the voice overs for the new expansion, but something more substantial that may be exploited by the competition.

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If you're willing to relay the info I'm sure many here would be interested.

In a way PvMP was LOTRO itself in microcosm in that it was substantially shaped by events. So I thought it might be interesting to tell the story in such a way that non-pvmpers might interesting. Everyone has probably heard of MEO (Middle Earth Online), the game Vivendi broke ground on circa 1998 and that eventually ended up on Turbine's lap. The legend of MEO has become somewhat conflated over the years (last spring I saw a number of people in World Chat bemoaning that it would have been a masterpiece if not for those bunglers at Turbine). For a better perspective on the reality of MEO, I would direct those interested to the following recollections...

http://programmerjoe.com/2007/05/28/whatever-happened-to-middle-earth-online/

The in-a-nutshell course of events:

Work on MEO began in 1998 but with Vivendi's acquisition of the company came major layoffs to Yosemite and finally the closing of the studio the following year. The MEO project was moved to Sierra's studios at Bellvue but languished and within half a year was shut down. Vivendi, through Sierra (depending on how you look at it), held onto the rights to publish LOTR video games based on the books (if not the movies, that right being held by EA), however, and at length Sierra published a number of single player games, The Hobbit and War of the Ring (a Warcraft clone), neither of which were particularly noteworthy or profitable. MEO floated about in limbo as Sierra itself was gutted by Vivendi following financial woes.

There was no public announcement of MEO's status and fans assumed that development was continuing. To make a long and convoluted story at least reasonably short, in 2003, Vivendi,Turbine, and the Tolkien family arrived at a deal whereby Turbine would be granted the right to produce an MMO based on the novels, the idea being that Turbine would finish work on MEO, to be published by Vivendi. The tentative release date was set for 2005. Yet when Turbine began sinking its teeth into MEO a number of big problems quickly became evident. Firstly the game featured elements that, while interesting, were not likely to fly with the Tolkien estate (and let's remember that the Tolkiens were still smarting from the Peter Jackson movies and feeling very protective of their IP). Chief among these was alignment. In MEO one's actions would gravitate the player towards either good or evil. But the Tolkien guidelines (which by the way I sorely wished I'd taken a copy of, they were interesting reading) were very clear that players were not to be evil or commit evil acts. So that had to go. More broadly speaking the game itself-if one could call what was delivered a game-was a mess. And, by 2003, it was an already obsolescent mess. But nonetheless Turbine monkeyed around with it for a year or so before throwing in the towel by the close of 2004.

With less than a year until the original ship date they went to the drawing board, borrowing a few concepts from MEO (nobody by my day could remember what exactly, possibly virtues) and the art that had been done. WoW had come out by then and made a big splash. Pressed for time and ideas the LOTRO team borrowed freely from Blizzard's game (saying LOTRO is a WoW clone is sure to ruffle some LOTRO player's feathers now but the devs who built the game wouldn't have denied the description had merit). LOTRO classes were based on WoW's classes in terms of roles. Thus the hunter in LOTRO was more analogous to the WoW mage, with the lore master being closer to WoW's hunter. At any rate the launch date was pushed to 2006, still a tall order, especially with DDO's planned early 2006 release schedule.

The better part of another year went by before PvP became an issue. Originally, in view of LOTRO's necessarily being a single faction game, the producers had planned for no PvP at all. As Steefel famously said, you wouldn't be seeing elves killing hobbits in the Shire (or to that effect). But here marketing stepped in. Launching LOTRO with no PvP whatsoever, when every other title on the market featured it in some form, just didn't make a lot of business sense. Grudgingly-the LOTRO team did have all its hands full just building the game-a number of pseudo-PvP systems were explored. The first was Dwarf versus Troll, a simple session play where the titular characters battled for control of a tower. That was obviously not going to cut the mustard but it did develop session tech and the later troll session play in the Moors was the living legacy of the effort. In fact for a long time a title from DvT (if you will), Dwarf Tosser, remained imbedded in the game and I believe was hypothetically achievable by troll players.

The next project was Creature Play. Players would assume the identity of simple landscape mobs, starting off as green dot swarm-level creatures and eventually working their way up to Signature mobs. Chicken Play lives on as a direct legacy of Creature Play. But this too was determined to be unsatisfactory and by now time was running out. The launch date for SoA had by now been pushed to Spring 2007 but by late 2006 there was still no PvP in the game. Monster Play was the logical-if ad hoc-next step. The tech developed for Creature Play was expanded upon and in just a few months Maki, Mike Jablonn, and world builder Ross Glover created Monster Play as we know it essentially from scratch. To make it happen Jablonn, a producer, needed to set aside his other duties and spend 60 hour weeks coding. With a dearth of producers owing to Jablonn's PvMP work and another basically quitting it fell on QA leads Peter O'Leary and Mike Seal to step in and act as LOTRO's producers for the home stretch. The Ettenmoors that shipped with SoA was necesarilly incomplete-Maki would describe it as essentially in an extended beta state until Book 12. Nobody really thought it would get much attention from players, just an interesting diversion that allowed marketing to say the game did indeed have PvMP. As Making admitted to me the following summer, 'we never expected people to embrace it the way they have'. And the almost fanatical passion the PvMP community showed for their zone remained a puzzling and awkward phenomenon for Turbine. These guys just wouldn't go away and wouldn't be ignored. But to wrap this up I would only say that while on paper I was 'just' a QA guy I'm proud that for over 2 years (imo the best years, book 14 through SoM) I was the face of the PvMP community at Turbine and while it would have taken far more than my own passion for the players to effect real change, I did raise awareness of the zone on LOTRO. Just having a PvMPer there, in physical and very persistent form, did make a difference. The war didn't go the way I wished it had but I did give as good a fight as I could.

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On SoA... I have wondered sometimes what it would be like to start up a toon on a pure SoA server...if it would be a happy return to the good old days or a shock ('you want me to grind how many leather for my next tier!?')

 

lol I know what you mean. I know without a doubt I would love to play pure SoA again. If it relaunched today sub only, I'd pay founder all over again in a heartbeat.

 

That said, my rose tinted glasses don't make me see SoA crafting better than the grind it was.

 

I think it was close to awesome but just missed the mark (in a massively important way). I  loved the crafting quests - more colour, more reasons for us to venture out into the world = more immersion. I didn't mind the "grind" of leveling up crafting tiers either. What truly killed crafting for me was it always lagged well behind my character's level. I don't recall exact numbers, but something like I'd be 20 and could finally craft level 15 stuff, and I'd be even higher before I could get level 15 crit. 

 

Of course, the "processing" fix they introduced recently trivialised maxing out crafting entirely. All I think they really needed to do in SoA was double or triple the crafting xp for finished products. I liked the idea of making various components, but did find it a bit silly that churning out masses of those often worked out a better way to level up than making the end product.

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lol I know what you mean. I know without a doubt I would love to play pure SoA again. If it relaunched today sub only, I'd pay founder all over again in a heartbeat.

 

That said, my rose tinted glasses don't make me see SoA crafting better than the grind it was.

 

I think it was close to awesome but just missed the mark (in a massively important way). I  loved the crafting quests - more colour, more reasons for us to venture out into the world = more immersion. I didn't mind the "grind" of leveling up crafting tiers either. What truly killed crafting for me was it always lagged well behind my character's level. I don't recall exact numbers, but something like I'd be 20 and could finally craft level 15 stuff, and I'd be even higher before I could get level 15 crit. 

 

Of course, the "processing" fix they introduced recently trivialised maxing out crafting entirely. All I think they really needed to do in SoA was double or triple the crafting xp for finished products. I liked the idea of making various components, but did find it a bit silly that churning out masses of those often worked out a better way to level up than making the end product.

I loved the tactical nature of SoA: at least as a hunter, every fight had a certain process. Lay your trap, slow, bleed, etc. If you tried to just run in and lay waste, you'd get smoked. I remember mining above level and sitting patiently for red tag cave crawlers to move away from a node. A red mob could cause you big problems. Tangling with a purple was tantamount to suicide. The grind, level-wise, did have more to do in my opinion with the incompleteness of certain zones than a failure of design. But crafting was a chore to say the least...and consequently the more rewarding for it. Two personal achievements truly stood out for me in terms of sheer joy over the years: hitting 5 stars on my hunter during SoM (the only active hunter on US servers to do that during SoM) and...critting on my exquisite radiant cloak during SoA. Oh how proudly I wore that!

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I loved the tactical nature of SoA: at least as a hunter, every fight had a certain process. Lay your trap, slow, bleed, etc. If you tried to just run in and lay waste, you'd get smoked. I remember mining above level and sitting patiently for red tag cave crawlers to move away from a node. A red mob could cause you big problems. Tangling with a purple was tantamount to suicide. The grind, level-wise, did have more to do in my opinion with the incompleteness of certain zones than a failure of design. But crafting was a chore to say the least...and consequently the more rewarding for it. Two personal achievements truly stood out for me in terms of sheer joy over the years: hitting 5 stars on my hunter during SoM (the only active hunter on US servers to do that during SoM) and...critting on my exquisite radiant cloak during SoA. Oh how proudly I wore that!

 

Couldn't agree more on the tactical nature. Hunter was my first character. Had a ball in the Lonelands when we were capped at 15. I had done all the quests I could, so was just ... hunting. Wandering around. Killing orcs. Seeing what I could do. What interesting stuff might drop. Positioning, situational awareness, planning etc were all a must for each fight. All that = massive immersion.

 

Not quite the same pre fight prep on my champ of course, but a careful pull, rotations, pip gen, heal timing, stuns etc were all critical. Throughout early SoA I'd generally swap between my hunter champ and burg (capped all at 15 during the founder head start) Started playing my champ again in his low 30s after playing the burg for a while. Pulled a few worms in the Ram Duath and got shredded. Absolutely melted. I was shocked. For a moment I wondered if the game had been changed, but instantly thought I was being silly (never crossed my mind to head to the forums and demand changes!) So I thought about what I did wrong, went straight back and won the same fight comfortably. 

 

Completely agree on the crafting chore = much more rewarding. Leads to some fun moments. I remember flipping out when my jeweller critted something like 10 out of 13 etched beryl pieces. I was ok with the crafting grind at cap (even something like 40-50 hides to make one piece of armour!), only thing that disappointed me was my crafting capabilities lagging behind my character on the way there.

 

A lot of those who were always asking for things to be easier or more "fair" didn't seem to understand this - even stuff we don't "like" often makes the game better, more rewarding. They don't get it's ok to sometimes get frustrated when playing a game: for "ups" to exist, we need "downs". I even (mostly) liked hounding fear - it wasn't perfect (was annoying and silly when I'd get it from low level stuff that was no threat) but in on or above level areas it added to the danger and immersion.

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A lot of those who were always asking for things to be easier or more "fair" didn't seem to understand this - even stuff we don't "like" often makes the game better, more rewarding. They don't get it's ok to sometimes get frustrated when playing a game: for "ups" to exist, we need "downs". I even (mostly) liked hounding fear - it wasn't perfect (was annoying and silly when I'd get it from low level stuff that was no threat) but in on or above level areas it added to the danger and immersion.

Totally agree. I always think back to playing Ultima Online around 1998. PKing was brutal-lose all your gear, long run back to Rez. And I don't know if that sort of thing is viable in a mass market MMO. And I hated being PK'd. But the sense of danger that came with every journey out of town absolutely heightened the experience. Simply being spared by an infamous PKer was a moment I long remembered. Of course I'm not saying PKing should have been allowed in LOTRO. But that experience in UO kind of matured me as a gamer. Once I accepted that sometimes I was going to have the occasional bad day, the good days-as you said-were that much better. That was for me the experience I had creepside in SoA. It was really tough to establish yourself, to rank up and earn the respect of the more experienced players. But when you did you really felt like you had accomplished something. I think when a dev gives in to the 'make it easier' crowd they don't really do a service either to the product or to the players who are complaining.

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I think when a dev gives in to the 'make it easier' crowd they don't really do a service either to the product or to the players who are complaining.

 

Hello, Aylwen.  Thank you for your candor here, as it's been very educational.

 

The statement I quoted reminded me of a question I had:  Were people from the forums like djheydt and whheydt  - both of whom are very vocally anti-group and anti-PvMP - contributory to this "giving in" that occurred? 

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Hello, Aylwen. Thank you for your candor here, as it's been very educational.

The statement I quoted reminded me of a question I had: Were people from the forums like djheydt and whheydt - both of whom are very vocally anti-group and anti-PvMP - contributory to this "giving in" that occurred?

The trend towards easymode gameplay was really more of a reaction to the problem of low new player retention than specific player complaints. We found that many new players would play through the trial period or until maybe level 20 and then fade away. So the thinking generally was, if we speed along new players further into the game, they'll consequently become more invested and stick around. It didn't seem to matter to anyone that even WoW had a massive new player turnover rate. In fact their average player 'lifespan' according to a study done around 2010 was six months-three months less than LOTRO and a full year less than City of Heroes (those CoH players loved their game!)

Looking back on the whole MMO scene in that era, WoW's mass success really distorted the picture. While the lure of WoW riches brought in the investors you needed to make the games in the first place...they were going to expect a return before long and 40 or 50 or 60 million dollar development costs take a while to earn back. So you end up in a situation that comes dangerously close to being a ponzi scheme...using new investor capital to pay off your old investors. And the company execs are going to be pretty darn anxious to see revenue coming in, no matter what market reality suggested. That anxiety is going to be kicked down the ladder: get those numbers up.

But sometimes devs cater to players simply to be seen as doing something for them whether necessary or not and it's easy enough to pull up the forums and fish for cheap ways to do that.

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You have an exceptional perspective, Aylwen. Reading these behind the scenes stories from you, matching them up with my in-game experiences over the years, has been some of the most enthralling reading I've had in a very long time.  Really fascinating.  All the moreso because of your measured responses, fair tone and writing skill.  Thank you.

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You have an exceptional perspective, Aylwen. Reading these behind the scenes stories from you, matching them up with my in-game experiences over the years, has been some of the most enthralling reading I've had in a very long time.  Really fascinating.  All the moreso because of your measured responses, fair tone and writing skill.  Thank you.

Thanks for the kind words and for giving me a chance to revisit one of the great loves of my life and share my own perspective. For me personally it was the player-the human-story that made LOTRO something more than just a game. Not everything that I've said about the inner workings of LOTRO is exactly complimentary to some of us involved on it but that too was a human story and (my hope being) provides a little more context to the LOTRO experience we all shared.

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(those CoH players loved their game!)

 

Yes.  Yes, we did.  Then again, the mythos was very unique and compelling, and the dev team (post-Emmert) was very free-and-easy to connect with, much like I felt Turbine to be in the SoA days.

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Aylwen: During your time on the LOTRO team and from what you heard from other devs, what would you say was the single biggest development disapointnment? This vould be anything like a new area that was considered but never realised, an innovative feature that was suggested but never made it, or simply something that didn't turn out to be half as good as it should have been.  

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You have an exceptional perspective, Aylwen. Reading these behind the scenes stories from you, matching them up with my in-game experiences over the years, has been some of the most enthralling reading I've had in a very long time.  Really fascinating.  All the moreso because of your measured responses, fair tone and writing skill.  Thank you.

Seconded.

 

 

...they were going to expect a return before long and 40 or 50 or 60 million dollar development costs take a while to earn back.

 

Interesting. Some time ago there were unofficial estimates published about several big games in the MMO market:

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/wow-was-the-top-subscription-mmo-in-2013-star-wars/1100-6421191/

 

LOTRO ranking at ~$100M would suggest that --even if the net is ~10%,-- it shouldn't be so tough to return 50M.

On the other hand, I don't understand how an F2P game with ~100k active players can generate $100M per year? Given another estimate about F2P games revenue per player, according to which LOTRO is not even 'on the table':

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-04-10-world-of-tanks-leads-the-way-in-average-revenue-per-user

I also can't believe RIFT is making 1/3 of LOTRO, this just makes no sense to me.

 

(Note that the Asian MMOs are low on 'per player' and high on 'total', due to massive player bases. This is one of the differences with Western markets and, imo, one of the reasons why F2P is not copy/pasted properly from Asia to the West, and in its current state is not well suited for the Western market.)

 

So, in your opinion, is there something real in those numbers? As far as LOTRO is concerned, or any of the other games if you have info on it?

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Aylwen: During your time on the LOTRO team and from what you heard from other devs, what would you say was the single biggest development disapointnment? This vould be anything like a new area that was considered but never realised, an innovative feature that was suggested but never made it, or simply something that didn't turn out to be half as good as it should have been.

Having given that some thought it's hard for me to point at one thing as the biggest disappointment. The pain was very much of the thousand cuts variety. It was disappointing that we wasted time and resources on LOTRO China. We never should have done business wh them. LOTRO's launches in Japan and Korea were so disappointing they were immediately and quite effectively brushed under the carpet and never spoken of again. For DDO it was disappointing that WOTC proved such an unfriendly partner that a long legal battle erupted. Mirkwood was disappointing in general (redeemed for me personally only by being a good year of PvMP, at least on BW and depending on your definition of good).

When I think of features that under-delivered a few come immediately to mind:

Housing It was laudable of LOTRO to include housing at all. And given the engine the interior functionality was fine I guess. But accessibility was the killer for me. The neighborhoods were in the middle of nowhere, the maps (for no good reason as near as I could discern) were on an hour cool down. Basically, showing off your house to your friends-integrating the system into the social realm-was more of a hastle then it was worth. I put in a number of suggestions to reduce the map c/d's and make them fellowship ports but nothing came of it. Instancing individual housing on the landscape (for example sharing a door in a house in Bree with many other players) would have been the way to go in my opinion.

Legendary Items. No need for me to soap box or play armchair dev here. We all felt the pain of this design. That system could have been implemented ten different ways and the worst possible was the one we got stuck with.

Skirmishes. Some players really claimed to like these and to each their own. But the final product was such a big disappointment when contrasted with Barry's original pitch.

Mounted Combat. This was Elliot Gillman's baby and I feel bad calling it out for that reason. He really is a great dev. But what a mixed bag Mounted Combat was. First and foremost was the maneuverability issue: rubber banding, mystery deaths, phasing through and under terrain, puddle dismounts, mounts being almost impossible to use inside towns and uneven ground. The quality of the combat depended so much on the class as well. For a hunter, it was OK-I felt like a Mongol warrior pew-pewing away. On my burg...awful.

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Seconded.

 

 

...they were going to expect a return before long and 40 or 50 or 60 million dollar development costs take a while to earn back.

 

Interesting. Some time ago there were unofficial estimates published about several big games in the MMO market:

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/wow-was-the-top-subscription-mmo-in-2013-star-wars/1100-6421191/

LOTRO ranking at ~$100M would suggest that --even if the net is ~10%,-- it shouldn't be so tough to return 50M.

On the other hand, I don't understand how an F2P game with ~100k active players can generate $100M per year? Given another estimate about F2P games revenue per player, according to which LOTRO is not even 'on the table':

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-04-10-world-of-tanks-leads-the-way-in-average-revenue-per-user

I also can't believe RIFT is making 1/3 of LOTRO, this just makes no sense to me.

 

(Note that the Asian MMOs are low on 'per player' and high on 'total', due to massive player bases. This is one of the differences with Western markets and, imo, one of the reasons why F2P is not copy/pasted properly from Asia to the West, and in its current state is not well suited for the Western market.)

 

So, in your opinion, is there something real in those numbers? As far as LOTRO is concerned, or any of the other games if you have info on it?

In a word: no. Now I'm not a money guy, I don't know any more about the account books at Turbine than you do at this point. But 105 million a year would suggest LOTRO has well over 500k players paying 15 a month on average. Where are they? Now I get that some players might be 'whales'. At Meteor Games a big chunk of our monthly revenue came from rich kids-the sons of Kuwaiti oil barons and the like-who would drop thousands of dollars a month just on Island Paradise. But LOTRO would need a lot of rich Kuwaitis running around in Bree to generate that much revenue for a game that is planning server mergers (and has practically no players on many of these servers to merge anyway). Were that figure even remotely accurate-and it isn't-WB's acquisition of Turbine was the deal of the century. Funny though about all those layoffs...contraction is rarely a sign of great success.

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Hey aylwen, this thread is really answering many things that I've been wondering since I picked this game up in SoA and I really thank you for it.

 

 

I've one question that I think hasn't been asked but touched on, would a pure Shadows of Angmar server be possible to make again by Turbine?

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Aylwen, what features of current MMOs do you admire? How do you feel about lockboxes and RNG-based rewards?

Although this wouldn't exactly qualify as 'current', I think Dark Age of Camelot has always been an intriguing game. I really wish LOTRO had adopted a similar overall approach. The cap would be 50 (as with DAOC), which covers Eriador and with leveling culminating in Angmar (let me say too that I loved the epic storyline for SoA and really got into the Amarthiel arc). The rest of the game, the world beyond the Walls of Moria, is essentially one big sprawling end game, where players are free to explore as they will and where every instance in Moria, Isen, and beyond is relevant (a big objection many of us in QA had with SoM was the 5 level bump...for a trivial leveling experience we were rendering obsolete most of our Moria instances-having finally worked out all the glitches). Progression post 50 would come from gear and alternative advancement systems ala DAOC. You as a player have just that initial-and very manageable-linear level grind to master your class and then have a whole world of end game possibilites ahead.

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