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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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There's an article about this thread on another site, and this is probably one of the only interesting topics that this forum has produced in a long time. Also cool to talk with an ex employee

Nah, there are lots of "interesting" threads, but they're not LotRO-related anymore and since so many of us have moved onto other games by now, the topical interest gets really spread out. Not to mention the original thematic nature of this community domain has been greatly diluted thanks to what WB-Turbine did to LotRO in the first place.

Thanks...and it really was. I guess it's just where the industry in general has headed but it's sad to see.

Somewhere on this forum was posted a link to a website where company employees rate their places of work, in this case Turbine. I felt kind of reassured to see many of the employees who posted there echoing my own impressions. In the same vein this forum-reading the words of people who feel as strongly about LOTRO as I do-reinforces that however it all turned out Turbine created something very meaningful and brought together a community the likes of which I highly doubt we'll see again.

Ohhh, I see. Well hi. :)

And it's really sad that something so special in the MMO landscape was squandered. Turbine even had a leg-up on the theme park quest writing thanks to the IP, but even so. My gaming buddy and I are enjoying Rift right now, especially the free-form housing system, but we still talk about how much we miss LotRO sometimes.

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Nah, there are lots of "interesting" threads, but they're not LotRO-related anymore and since so many of us have moved onto other games by now, the topical interest gets really spread out. Not to mention the original thematic nature of this community domain has been greatly diluted thanks to what WB-Turbine did to LotRO in the first place.

 

 

That and with the departure of Heaton, the one topic to rule them all got tossed in a volcano.  Love him; hate him; didn't care that was one topic sure to bring all comers regardless of point of view and/or interest in LOTRO(or lack).

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(Hi new peoples. What's going on here? There's like over 100 visitors at the bottom of the forum; it's not usually hoppin' like that.)

MassivelyOP has an article about this thread.

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Somewhere on this forum was posted a link to a website where company employees rate their places of work, in this case Turbine.

 

Yes, I actually wanted to bring this as a question to you but couldn't find or remember what this site was.

 

Anyway, the question was: Is this 'opinions site' for real? Are the posts there from actual Turbine's employees?

And do you have posts there? :)

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Interesting stuff, Aylwen.  I remember when Jalessa became the name associated with PVMP, there was another person too, and I can't remember his/her forum name..  But I think it started with a 'J' as well.  Was it you?

 

Your comments about SOM being a "budget" expansion strike home as I remember being flayed alive on the OF for saying there was a distinct lack of content curve from SOA to SOM, and I was not impressed with the 5 levels and Free Content Update-sized expansion zone that we had to pay for.  

 

Question:  What do you know about "The Lag"?  The game always had performance issues when numbers congregated, but it seemed like when they launched the Great River Free Content Update, they broke something.  Heaton said it was our ISP's.  But especially in the moors, we could no longer bring large numbers together without game crippling skill-lock, rubber banding, and a host of other server related phenomenon.  Any idea why?

 

Liked your comments about Orion too, he was always my favorite dev (and ZC my least).

Heya, if you happen to be Snowlock of BW we've played together/against a few times. On that note, over the years, I played on BW, Imladris, Riddermark, Slode for a time, and E and Meneldor briefly. E was a popular server back in the day for those Turbinites who played LOTRO but the LOTRO QA kinship formed on BW at launch and as my brother was with them at the time I went there. I wish I'd played on more servers-Landy must have been really interesting back in the day-but BW was a hard habit to kick.

Jalessa's successor is probably the guy you are referring to (he came on towards the end of SoM) but his forum handle eludes me at the moment. Apart from my player account I had no forum presence but was present as a + for certain PvMP events, either as +Snake (MoM) or +Laeswf (SoM).

Your mentioning being savaged on the OF for questioning SoM reminds me of the ambivilance I felt towards the 'fanboys/girls'. On the one hand I respected and certainly shared their love for LOTRO. But blind protectiveness isn't really any more helpful than pure negativity. The 'love it without question or leave it' mentality is silly. Love has many expressions.

The specific causes for the upswing in lag that really began with MoM still aren't clear to me. One of the explanations given to me around SoM was that the sheer volume of data the SQL was being asked to crunch exceeded the threshold of the system's ability to handle it all (the legendary items system being a notable culprit). But the Moors was particularly vulnerable to lag for a variety of reasons, one of them being the overabundance of aura effects-the outpost buffs with RoR was basically asking for a big uptick in lag. As an aside, one engineer during the LOTRO China scrum rated the 'footprint' of characters in the Moors in the following order: NPCs>freeps>creeps, which surprised me in the case of NPCs but I assume has to do with AI algorithms, threat tracking, and so forth. I was also told at some point that the disabling of cosmetics had more to do with combating lag than helping creeps tell guardians from minstrels. Cosmetics act as layers: wearing a set of cosmetics would actually double the number of assets being rendered despite the underlying armor not being visible. But apart from that this is generally outside of my expertise. I can however remember that the guys in Core (who were responsible among other things for server stability) were not huge fans of the Moors.

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MassivelyOP has an article about this thread.

Huh, I thought Massively was shut down. Or something. It's resurrected by that Olivetti guy with a Kickstarter now? Clearly I haven't been paying attention.

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Thanks a lot for sharing this information, very interesting. I'm both dissapointed and glad that friends and I called out a number of odd decisions in Lotro For what they were, dysfunctional dev culture, devs that didn't play the game, Lack of leadership.

With that said, Lotro was the best 4 years of gaming I have experienced, due to the people I met and the journeys we had together. As much as F2p Seems to be a sore issue, I only gave it a look because of it. The early content really does have that feel of immersing you in the experience. Subscribed and stayed subscribed till the end of rise of isengard. The best content was absolutely the SoA zones and instances and the MoM experience.

As one of those weird Roleplayer people I think me and my group got a bit more out of the game than was to be expected- abandoned and half baked features like the music system and housing meant the world to us even in the state they were in, and things like skirmishes and the large amount of instances all served there purpose and were exciting in various events we held, not to mention the countless interesting little rarely visited parts of zones that someone questing through would never have gone back to twice. We really got to see the best of Lotro, the parts that really did some justice to tolkien's vision.

It's a sobering thought to think that it might all be gone soon- Even with all the problems, Lotro is a piece of lord of the rings now, and it would be a monumental waste if all the zones, the story, were just inaccesible to anyone that had not experienced it. An absurd notion, really- like someone reading a novel that they thought was profound and then they are unable to share it with there kids years later because it was no longer in existence. and yet it's a reality of MMO's.

I know WoW has a viewer program out for it that allows one to use just the client data to look around the zones themselves and view the world. At the very least something like that to preserve some part of LotrO would be invaluable. I suppose it might linger on in private servers like the city of heroes' community has.

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Thanks...

 

Speaking of Thanks - I Definitely wanted to thank you for your work with Jalessa back in Late SOA and through MoM.  Orion may have laid the groundwork, but Jalessa made the class absolutely sing, and despite many attempts I've never found anything in the MMO space that was as fun and had that great feel as the Weaver.

 

You had to have had a hand in that on some level, so thanks for a lot of great years.

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Heya, if you happen to be Snowlock of BW we've played together/against a few times. On that note, over the years, I played on BW, Imladris, Riddermark, Slode for a time, and E and Meneldor briefly. E was a popular server back in the day for those Turbinites who played LOTRO but the LOTRO QA kinship formed on BW at launch and as my brother was with them at the time I went there. I wish I'd played on more servers-Landy must have been really interesting back in the day-but BW was a hard habit to kick.

Jalessa's successor is probably the guy you are referring to (he came on towards the end of SoM) but his forum handle eludes me at the moment. Apart from my player account I had no forum presence but was present as a + for certain PvMP events, either as +Snake (MoM) or +Laeswf (SoM).

Your mentioning being savaged on the OF for questioning SoM reminds me of the ambivilance I felt towards the 'fanboys/girls'. On the one hand I respected and certainly shared their love for LOTRO. But blind protectiveness isn't really any more helpful than pure negativity. The 'love it without question or leave it' mentality is silly. Love has many expressions.

The specific causes for the upswing in lag that really began with MoM still aren't clear to me. One of the explanations given to me around SoM was that the sheer volume of data the SQL was being asked to crunch exceeded the threshold of the system's ability to handle it all (the legendary items system being a notable culprit). But the Moors was particularly vulnerable to lag for a variety of reasons, one of them being the overabundance of aura effects-the outpost buffs with RoR was basically asking for a big uptick in lag. As an aside, one engineer during the LOTRO China scrum rated the 'footprint' of characters in the Moors in the following order: NPCs>freeps>creeps, which surprised me in the case of NPCs but I assume has to do with AI algorithms, threat tracking, and so forth. I was also told at some point that the disabling of cosmetics had more to do with combating lag than helping creeps tell guardians from minstrels. Cosmetics act as layers: wearing a set of cosmetics would actually double the number of assets being rendered despite the underlying armor not being visible. But apart from that this is generally outside of my expertise. I can however remember that the guys in Core (who were responsible among other things for server stability) were not huge fans of the Moors.

 

Yup that's me.  Who were you (tell me via pm if you prefer)?  I'm from Vilya originally; my kin and I transferred to BW in 2012.  I used to have a Turbine QA guy in kin back during MoM.  He played a warden, but he and his wife left the game and the company before SoM. He talked alot about the things you did, seemed to feel the same way.  Especially about the LI's and at the time Radiance.  It was Kelsen that followed Jalessa after ZC took it for a minute between the two, I think...

 

Very interesting that creeps would have the larger footprint.  I remember Orion saying that they were basically NPC's; which is why they couldn't have vaults and mail, traits; and why their had a native resist rate that was higher than their tool tip indicated (which used to drive me nuts) because they upped the resist rates on all npcs because Sammath Gul was proving to be too easy right after launch so creeps got the benefit as well.

 

I always wondered if all those server calls of all those clicks to decon LI junk would cause lag.  

 

But I think maybe the biggest question I'd have, and that you allude to is, what was it about PVMP that Turbine so did not like? I always thought, hey this is the ultimate repeatable (cheap) content.  Why don't they ever do anything sustained with it.  Did they not see the numbers they wanted to see when they did their only major real update in adding the Delving, Defilers and Rangers/Trolls?  Or what else was it?  it's always felt like there was this cultural preference in Turbine that PVP was not to be encouraged.  And I always found it odd.

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Yes, I actually wanted to bring this as a question to you but couldn't find or remember what this site was.

 

Anyway, the question was: Is this 'opinions site' for real? Are the posts there from actual Turbine's employees?

And do you have posts there? :)

I certainly recognized certain posters based on some of the details they provided. And the accuracy of many of their judgements-both pro and con-rang true.

I have never posted there myself. I don't have an axe to grind with Turbine, never regretted working there or wish to dissuade others from doing so. WB has axed a lot of excellant personnel they were lucky to have had but such is the way of Big Corporate. In recollecting those days hopefully I strike a balance between bemoaning the frustrations and underscoring the good.

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 In recollecting those days hopefully I strike a balance between bemoaning the frustrations and underscoring the good.

I applaud your doing so. It is uncommon to find that in this day and age.

A few writers at Massively's new site, while enjoying quoting you at length, took pains to say companies don't appreciate former employees airing their dirty laundry.  I tried to tell them you spoke with equal parts frustration and reverence the revelations seem to have incited everyone's 'ooohahhh'.  I think to have someone open up is exceedingly rare, but all the moreso that you've done so while still expressing such high regard for so many.  

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Guessing you didn't expect to generate so many questions or such a prolonged conversation with so many when you first posted.

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It's a sobering thought to think that it might all be gone soon- Even with all the problems, Lotro is a piece of lord of the rings now, and it would be a monumental waste if all the zones, the story, were just inaccesible to anyone that had not experienced it. An absurd notion, really- like someone reading a novel that they thought was profound and then they are unable to share it with there kids years later because it was no longer in existence. and yet it's a reality of MMO's.

Yes and it is a harsh reality really. One can invest years of thier lives in an MMO and then one day...lights out, it's completely gone. No busting out the old Playstation and firing it up for a few minutes to sate the nostalgia. One is left with memories and perhaps a folder of old screenshots. I always hated the amount of drama among players in the Moors (as much as that was an intristic part of the Moors) because, really, like or dislike your fellow players, they are the only people who can relate to how you feel about the game and understand why it mattered enough to rack up that ridiculous /played time. Certainly nobody's grandkids are going to be saying, 'Grampy, tell me about the Watcher again!'.

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The atmosphere of the Moors, with all of its poisonous drama, was also a constant interest when I played out there on Landroval.  I would log in and my curiosity had swung from what was on the Auction House to what color was the map, who was out there, where was the action, etc. etc.

 

I had started playing Elder Scrolls Online for a time last year and had some hopes for it because their Cyrodiil PVP zone was similar in some respects to the Moors...a wide open PVP area with room for raids and individuals and small groups alike.  It didn't catch on for me.  I wish it had.

 

The Moors was an ongoing, 24/7 melodramatic soap opera and saga, a book I couldn't put down.

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I applaud your doing so. It is uncommon to find that in this day and age.

A few writers at Massively's new site, while enjoying quoting you at length, took pains to say companies don't appreciate former employees airing their dirty laundry.  I tried to tell them you spoke with equal parts frustration and reverence the revelations seem to have incited everyone's 'ooohahhh'.  I think to have someone open up is exceedingly rare, but all the moreso that you've done so while still expressing such high regard for so many.  

i only saw one.

 

a case of the green eyed dragon?

 

in the years covering Lotro (whilst simultaneously covering their a(cce)ss to said material...  yeah i went there dammit) the info said individual managed to convey, is but a thimble-full, when compared to the sea of what has been brought to light via this thread.

 

& Aylwen has been entirely more charitable & diplomatic than i could have EVER managed.

 

and i'd just like to state that this "candor"  is what the majority of gaming centric sites (like massively) are missing & what many of us gamers are actually starved for.  literally starved for.

 

and i can't thank Aylwen enough for FINALLY providing real substance.  & the little blip from Fedaykin was also appreciated.

 

in all honesty, i would love for many MANY more to come forward with the same candor, right across the entire industry.

 

it is material, far more interesting to consume.

 

so i do suspect someone might have a bit of a case of the green eyed dragon.  regardless, they too found it interesting enough to article about.

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I applaud your doing so. It is uncommon to find that in this day and age.

A few writers at Massively's new site, while enjoying quoting you at length, took pains to say companies don't appreciate former employees airing their dirty laundry. I tried to tell them you spoke with equal parts frustration and reverence the revelations seem to have incited everyone's 'ooohahhh'. I think to have someone open up is exceedingly rare, but all the moreso that you've done so while still expressing such high regard for so many.

In my opinion there are a number of reasons you don't tend to hear a lot of game company employees talking about their experiences. For one thing if they are still in the industry the last thing they want to do is step on toes when there's no telling when those toes will cross their path again. If a carpenter pisses off another carpenter in North Carolina and then moves to California there's little chance that will come back to haunt him. Not so much in the game industry. And there's a very strong culture of secrecy there that becomes ingrained, especially amongst the rank and file. Forget that you're making video games that are often as not derivative rehashes of twenty other games; this is serious business! And forget that a year from now your game will probably be pushing up daisies in the GameStop budget bin anyway. This same culture extends to marketing and community relations: never tell the truth, never admit a mistake, silence criticism, contort the facts even if it means blatantly insulting the intelligence of your customers. Release bogus screenshots of your upcoming product, happily collect the pre-orders, release a buggy unfinished product, and then sell everything you didn't get done on time as 'DLC'. But now I'm digressing a bit!

The take-it-as-you-can-get-it nature of the industry means that frequently people aren't necessarily working on the games they would ideally want to. If I were to say a fair number of LOTRO devs and QA would have preferred to have been working on something else, this wouldn't be some attempt to malign them. It would be a simple statement of fact. Generally you take the work where you can find it, finish the title, and then move on. I was just one of those cases of someone absolutely loving the game I was involved with; I had no interest in the games industry at all prior to having the chance to be part of LOTRO. So I love talking about it, as a LOTRO fan, to other fans. No expose intended!

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Snowlock

But I think maybe the biggest question I'd have, and that you allude to is, what was it about PVMP that Turbine so did not like? I always thought, hey this is the ultimate repeatable (cheap) content. Why don't they ever do anything sustained with it. Did they not see the numbers they wanted to see when they did their only major real update in adding the Delving, Defilers and Rangers/Trolls? Or what else was it? it's always felt like there was this cultural preference in Turbine that PVP was not to be encouraged. And I always found it odd.

There really were a variety of reasons. LOTRO was originally going to ship with no PvP, this being more in response to the limitations of the IP vis-à-vis the Tolkien Guidelines then an anti-PvP culture at Turbine (after all AC featured PvP prominently). So when PvP was belatedly added at the tail end of development at the behest of marketing it assumed very much the role of the afterthought. It was not seen as being an area of real significance by the execprod and others and nobody, not even Orion himself, assumed it would end up being anything more than an occasional diversion from the core experience. The sheer passion of the PvMP community-by book 12 PvMP threads were swamping the forums-and their outspoken nature was both unexpected and an entirely different animal than the Festival Tree community that fawned over Patience. They were unruly, an endless headache for customer service, and threatening to the mainstream players. So they didn't have many supporters at Turbine (and nor would they: it is fair to say that between SoA and F2P the only avowed PvMP advocates would be myself and Frelorn and neither of us were devs). That said they couldn't be ignored, despite their relatively small numbers, and so they did get some (at times) grudging bandwidth. But then the Moria layoffs hit (a dev hired for PvMP work managed to complete a few new skills before being axed), our slender resources were divided up in a number of directions, and there simply wasn't much there to throw at PvMP under the circumstances. This is the short version but the main thing was resources and manpower.

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^Okay, that follows the known information about PvMP being a tack-on, and the associated resources and attitude about it. The toxicity isn't surprising either, but that's not unique to LotRO by any means.

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On that note, over the years, I played on BW, Imladris, Riddermark, Slode for a time, and E and Meneldor briefly.

 

 

Interesting. We probably crossed paths on Riddermark. The 65 cap on RM was probably my most active time in the game. While PvE had started its decline, it was one of the best times in the moors. (Maybe bettered only by SoA book 14) I absolutely adored the moors at 65  and played pretty much every single class. It was also the time when skill was most capable of outplaying gear. (My favourite thing was surprising high ranks by beating them with a rank 2 warg.. think I had them on 4-5 different servers!) I still played a fair bit at the 75 cap, but by 85 my playtime in the moors started to taper off (more like plummet) to practically zero by 95 and actually zero by 100. 

 

I always hated the amount of drama among players in the Moors (as much as that was an intristic part of the Moors) because, really, like or dislike your fellow players, they are the only people who can relate to how you feel about the game and understand why it mattered enough to rack up that ridiculous /played time. Certainly nobody's grandkids are going to be saying, 'Grampy, tell me about the Watcher again!'.

 

Agreed 100%. There were always people I loved to "hate" but in the same way I enjoyed hating certain features that made the game difficult. And I was certainly one of the more vocal posters on our forums  ... at least until I was one of sap's early perma ban victims around 2009 :) But as much as people like to say I "raged" it was never personal to me. I found the idea of truly "hating" someone I had only ever "met" in pixel form (and who just so happened to share a massively time consuming hobby I too enjoyed) not just remarkably silly but actually inconceivable.

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Aylwen, since you have proved to be more enlightening than all of my dealings with all things turbine over 8+ years, I only ask this...

 

As a die-hard PvPer (I finally won the game in January and achieved r15 on my LM) I saw PVE as a means to gear up for PvP.  Many of the folks in this thread echo my sentiments, that for a small percentage of us - PVP was why we came.  An exceptionally vocal, passionate and competitive community, some you hated, others you loved, but all were necessary cogs in the wheel.  Enough reminiscing...

 

So, I think for the really pro, hardcore players the straw that broke the camel's back was the removal of stats from PVP.  None of us could compare renown gained per day, per side, check each other's ratings, etc.

 

Why was that element to PvP removed?  Many of us speculated on the forums, but as was always the case there was no clear, hard answer from turbine.  I recall the weeks following that move led to a fast erosion of the two best pvp kins on slode as well as the loss of really key, backbone players.

 

I still play a few hours a week, but that's really more a result of the friends I have made in the game over 8+ years.

 

Anyway, thanks for helping me understand more in 45 minutes than I have in 8 years of pouring over the lotro forums.  I think this might be as therapeutic for all of us players as it is for you!

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Yeah this was a good read, thanks man. I started playing creep around that October after release and can still remember just laughing and laughing, "wtf is this shit?!!" Go to stab, CC'd = renown node, run back, repeat... 8 years later and I still like to sign on to raise hell occasionally.  

 

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Absolutely we stretched ourselves thin (and as previously mentioned not just with the MMOs)

So Lotro-console was a single player or co-op console game?  I somehow automatically assumed since Turbine was MMO-only studio in past ,that it was a console MMO(RPG) project.

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.

Yeah, for a themepark mmorpg that definately was not going route of player economy and freedom like i.e. Ultima Online,  then using individual instancing via many diffrent house doors on landscape would be good idea.

 

Neighbourhoods were terrible idea.    An odd neighbourhood portal with literally dozens or hundreads of diffrent "neighbourhoods" - this could not have ended as anything more than glorified extra stash.

 

Failure to conceptualize and execute what happens with homes of people who don't play anymore for lenghty peroids of time was not a good thing.  Not that it would change much with Lotro's housing implementation, but it's just showed that there was no really well thought out concept behind housing.

At least that's how it looked from player perspective.

 

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.

Yes. That would be much better.  I generally think that standard D&D-like levelling in MMORPGs bring more bad than it does good.

I agree about your opinion about going with level increase in SoM as well.

 

 

 

Since you was in game industry for a long time, and also in MMORPG industry specifically both as member of MMORPG game studios and as a player - I am curious about your opinion about certain things in MMORPGs.

 

I.e.  mobs AI  -  they are understandibly server side and that brings a huge limit on how many scripting you can put on a mob, esepcially outside of instances, but do you think that even if there would be much more processing power available would there be better "AI" in MMORPGs or would that not happen because of game concept or/and budget reasons?

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So, I think for the really pro, hardcore players the straw that broke the camel's back was the removal of stats from PVP.  None of us could compare renown gained per day, per side, check each other's ratings, etc.

 

In my case the loss of the leaderboards was a shame, but not a huge issue. I generally found it was the less competent players ("zerglets!") that cared about ranking super fast and farming x thousand renown per day. The boards were a good way to spot cheats farming themselves though.

 

For me, audacity was the start of the death of PvMP. It's basically PvMP radiance but worse, since you need to PVMP to get PvMP radiance, the lack of which gimps you for PvMP. It would be like gating the watcher behind using radiance but only being able to get radiance from the watcher. 

 

Aud was such a horrible idea I don't know how it got off the ground. I went from playing every creep class well (at 65) and all my capped freeps to occasionally playing 1-2 creeps gimped with low aud (never playing enough to get to max) and maybe once ever getting a freep to max aud. 

 

Then the last straw for me was the idiotic pointless and not really asked for ever (by a serious moors player at least) effective removal of killing blows. It was a fun thing. They gave titles. No advantage at all. Sure different class got kbs more easily than others. We all understood that. We often used our kills to kbs ratio to get an idea of how much soloing a player did vs zerging or farming or whatever. But despite all that, some genius had the audacity (ha!) to spin that "killing blows" only going to whoever got the killing blow was a bug all along and didn't really mean "killing blows" after all. And we already had a kills count.

 

Which reminds me - one thing that pissed me off was the insulting condescending hubris of (some) Turbine staff when announcing changes in dev diaries, as though everything they were doing now was oh so much better than the clueless awful devs back in the silly olden days of (usually) SoA.

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Ahh, I remember audacity now. I was a pretty active PVMPer in addition to doing roleplay stuff and the raids. Did just about everything in the game really. I stopped around that same time as well. It was an absolute blast to go out into the moors with a friend or two and get behind enemy lines, roaming around way up in the north, hitting people when they least expect it. Rushing into the delving to try and shake off a big group of creeps after us, or that perilous last hundred yards between us and Glan vraig when your at 10% health and sprinting away, haha.

Played a creep too though, got to see both sides. One of the most interesting assymetrical PvP Modes ever made. Perhaps that says more about the lack of such things than the quality of the moors, but it was fun. There was a real sense of brotherhood over there on the creep side. People had to stick together on such a small server, they were just a tiny band against the world. Sometimes felt more like the heroes over there when we held off against the armies of men than anywhere else.

You mentioned WoW timing it's updates with yours: it would not suprise me. If you really look at it, no other subscription MMO that is so similiar to it has done so well for such a long time. Everything else has been rather fly by night: an initial hype and a lot more popularity, but they've all crashed hard. Lotro probably didn't make the same profit they did, but stayed steady. It's absurd to think it ever would have competed directly with it, but it was (and still is, the game isn't dead yet) A very viable alternative. Even with the removal of skill bloat and the talent trees, it's important to remember it still has way more skills than the new WoW since Warlords of draenor has, and the talent trees are the old school ones from cataclysm and prior, something a lot of WoW players miss now. Not to mention Mounted combat, for all it's horrible qualities is more of a content update than anything in that new expansion of theres over there.

I guess that's what really goes back to part of the core of your statements there: that regardless of all these issues, Turbine still managed to make all this with a team that was too small, an environment not suitable, so on so forth. And did it three times over with three successful games. I'm glad they did. That's how life goes. It's nice to think of what would have been if you swapped ZOS' budget over to LOTRO, but all we can do is work with what we have available to us, and the time given to us.

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One more question for you Aylwen:

 

Why do you think release of MoM was not postphoned when WoW announced release date of Lich King expansion for the same day?

 

It seems like a suicidal move.  I mean it's good to have confidence in your own product, but massive Blizzard Marketing machine and huge community behind WoW would obviously pose a huge risk of overshadowing release of any product from smaller competition.

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