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Amenhir

Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?

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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.

 

Thank you good sir Aylwen, for speaking truth that is so very sadly lacking.  The word cathartic has been genuinely felt here by all, thanks to your exceptional generosity.  I can only wonder how much better the community (both players and within Turbine) would have been with such honest discussion all along.  I think toxic culture hurts everyone in the end, and your voice has been good medicine here :)

 

I am not here to ask you questions, because you have already given so much.  But I want to beg you: when the lights go out on LOTRO, someone needs to leak the full code and assets into the public domain, so that it does not end up locked away and/or destroyed for ever.  Gamestop will never get copies of the server code to sell used on DVD for $10, and cartridges will not be found in closets, pawn shops, thrift stores or landfills.  Maybe the public will not be able to do anything with it, but if it all just gets deleted or locked forever in a WB vault, we will never have a chance to try.  And I for one think that would be a real shame.  If you have connections, please share this thought, please, from geek to geek, help us not lose such a great treasure as LOTRO into the gray blur of corporate fog.  Maybe one day we would have the means to have LOTRO rise again, in spite of the money.

 

Zooming way out, I am left as always with the conflicted feeling that an MMO can't be created without corporate structure and funding, and yet ultimately can't be properly built, loved, extended, polished, maintained, debugged, evolved, or in general curated properly by companies, because nobody in charge ever quite gives a damn enough to pull it off with enough passion.  And that leads me to wonder if the public domain has to be involved, because we are the only ones with the time and passion to burn.  If we can recognize the astounding mod content in the Valve Source ecosystem, we need to ask how that free community work can be captured into an MMO such as LOTRO.  Why not I say?  I imagine open source community efforts to create content, with subscribed corporate-operated world servers to provide an honest (no cheating) play environment.  By unloading much of the costly work onto the player base, perhaps the servers would earn enough to keep the lights on.  And then we players would only have ourselves to blame if we've been too lazy to create more content, or failed to polish what we have built to our own standards.

 

I don't know.  But I have to ponder these things aloud, beg you to help prevent the source code from being lost, and say thank you again for your wonderful insights.

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i only saw one.

 

Mike and Bree both, Las. Unless they edited their posts.

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As a late response to the title:

I don't like it!  :Y)  The best pvp-ers I have ever met played on Creepside. (not kidding, we/they play decent pvp games too still.)

There wasn't ever much to work with. But they/we sure as hell were creative, being the underdogs :Y

And nice to read some insights from you Aylwen.

Oh man, I have so much to say about pvmp, and the lack of dev-attention. But that ship has sailed, for many a year now, Into the West..

Those were great times, ah reminisce. Most of the times pvmping felt like this though: 7(8)7

Safe travels all,

Lalala*

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Mike and Bree both, Las. Unless they edited their posts.

 

Yeah, that was surprising to me too.

 

I think Las may be right, the green-eyed monster could be the reason for their posts.  We are getting a goldmine of genuinely interesting info and a rare peek behind the curtain, simply by virtue of being members of an outspoken community that impressed a former dev on the game we all loved to pieces at one time.

 

Aylwen has no axe to grind, is being very measured and calm, giving insight into the inner workings of game development and we're getting a big uptick in visitors because of it. 

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I've lurked here for a few years now, but I could not pass up a chance like this.  There are lotro questions that I have been wondering about for years, but I will try to keep it short right now, since you probably do not want to answer fifty questions at once.

  • Do you know of any zones in lotro that were canceled?  From what I've read, it seems like Gladden Fields, the South Farthing, and Grey Havens were going to be in the game, but ended up being pushed aside.
  • Were any big ideas or systems canceled (I like what-ifs)?  I know that Skirmishes were originally going to have freep vs freep content, but that it got dropped do to balancing.  Any others things like that?
  • Do you know what other games Turbine has worked on?  I know you mentioned the console lotro and Harry Potter MMO.  I've heard rumors that Turbine was working on a Hobbit MMO or game.
  • Do you know what happened to Berephon?  I assume he got laid off.  He just sort of disappeared from the other forums.
  • You've mentioned lotro china a few times.  Why was it canceled?  And how different was it going to be from the western lotro?
  • Also, what happened to Turbine West?  I remember the announcement, but then nothing ever came of it.  Did they actually
    ever do anything out there?
  • The Tolkien guidelines sound really interesting.  Do you remember any other things that were on it?

Thank you so much for answering everyone's questions, Aylwen.  It has been fascinating to read your posts.  I have been playing lotro for six years now, and I've been saving up questions that I never thought would have a chance to get answered. I'm sure I've got more, but over the years I tend to forget them.

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I have been playing lotro for six years now, and I been saving up questions that I never thought would have a chance to get answered.

... playing lotro for six years no... saving up questions...

... six years... questions...

982aebe2d39aaf5c291f64f526166066.jpg

After browsing this thread all I can say is that's a can of worms you've opened up, Aylwen. Good luck to you!

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Thanks for the insight Aylwen, it's nice to see a candid person chat openly about the game we all like(d). Its encouraging that there is a distinct lack of bashing as well, Your responses are articulate and resonate honesty which is nice. Thanks for that.

Your answers gave me a better insight and confirmed some things my friends and I have suspected for a long time.

As a raider, it's terribly sad to see the fellowships being broken apart the way that had with lack of grouping, lack of legitimate end game, poor scaling, loot rewards not being commensurate with difficulty, massive dps boost, trait trees dumbing down the classes and encouraging mindless button mashing for the win,  and solo-centric playstyle highly encouraged. With the return of a few new instances and a (hopefully) renewed interest in PvMP ...do you think there might be hope for the future, a change of direction from the past few years and a final last ditch effort to turn things around and go forwards?

Or .. is it we just play LOTRo SIMMS at this point with Mordor as a session play?

 

 

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Mike and Bree both, Las. Unless they edited their posts.

it occurred to me after my post, you may have been referring to the comment section & not actual articles (and i just noticed my little mail box had a message...  confirmed.)

 

whilst those 2 commetors do contribute articles, the mentions where from the comments section.

 

all i can say is if those two have any ability to self reflect, they really need to ask themselves why they are now acting on a reboot, (original massively is gone.)  & the attitude they embrace is why, the only time i EVER look at massively is if you folk direct me too something there.

 

still if one looks at simple brand sentiment of those comments (just over 60 as of this post) from a simple perspective of sentiment, overwhelmingly OVERWHELMINGLY people have appreciated this.  if i was measuring Brand success based on positive signal...  this is what it would look like folks.

 

and i guess they really need to reflect on where the previous Massively went...  and if that outcome was actually desired.  & "IF" it is a case of the green-eyed dragon...

 

SLAY THAT BLOODY DRAGON!  :Y

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As a raider, it's terribly sad to see the fellowships being broken apart the way that had with lack of grouping, lack of legitimate end game, poor scaling, loot rewards not being commensurate with difficulty, massive dps boost, trait trees dumbing down the classes and encouraging mindless button mashing for the win,  and solo-centric playstyle highly encouraged. With the return of a few new instances and a (hopefully) renewed interest in PvMP ...do you think there might be hope for the future, a change of direction from the past few years and a final last ditch effort to turn things around and go forwards?

People are still hoping that there will be some sort of magical turnaround?  I mean seriously I have seen this kind of behaviour and naivity in every single mmorpg out there and it just keeps repeating *sigh*

 

I understand having a nice warm feelings, after all I am spending time on a niche forum dedicated to a game I have not played in years, but what you're hoping for have not happened in any mmorpg title I am aware of because it does not make any business sense to do so, and yet in every single one people hoped that it will for some odd reason.

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Aylwen, just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share with everyone your thoughts & opinions on Turbine. What you've shared with us is both compelling and certainly cannot be doubted or rubbished by the few remaining fanbois on the official forum but also fascinating as it lifts the shiny veneer off of what was just a small IT company that grew too big & too fast and did not have top level management to drive it forward. Thanks again.

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People are still hoping that there will be some sort of magical turnaround?  I mean seriously I have seen this kind of behaviour and naivity in every single mmorpg out there and it just keeps repeating *sigh*

 

I understand having a nice warm feelings, after all I am spending time on a niche forum dedicated to a game I have not played in years, but what you're hoping for have not happened in any mmorpg title I am aware of because it does not make any business sense to do so, and yet in every single one people hoped that it will for some odd reason.

Yeah, notice how Snowlock returned after insulting people on this forum and saying he wouldn't be back.

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Yeah, notice how Snowlock returned after insulting people on this forum and saying he wouldn't be back.

Who?

shrug.png

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Yeah, notice how Snowlock returned after insulting people on this forum and saying he wouldn't be back.

 

I did notice that.

 

His "LOTRO savior" Rowan isn't around anymore, so I wonder if all the insider info he (Snowlock) said he'd provide us "when he was able to talk" is ever going to appear.  Not that anyone cares.

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I did notice that.

 

His "LOTRO savior" Rowan isn't around anymore, so I wonder if all the insider info he (Snowlock) said he'd provide us "when he was able to talk" is ever going to appear.  Not that anyone cares.

 

I bet he got the "treatment" too.

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Alywen, I found your posts very interesting. Thanks.

What is your impression, considering that Turbines license with Tolkien is up in 2017? Will WB bother with negotiating a new one? I'm certain the Tolkien estate will ask for more money, if they want to negotiate. They are in a lawsuit with WB now as it is.

I will probably stay in until the lights go out if for no other reason than to see where the ride ends.

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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.

 

It's seems like they've always been ducking in and out with PVP, they'll duck in to make a change or a fix, but never stick around long enough to fix whatever it is that the previous fix broke; so they were always behind the 8-ball.  Your comment about why they removed stars really strikes a cord too. Rick Heaton had always said that they gather so much more info than on the OF, but I always thought that was largely BS.  Or at least, that the OF were the primary source of feedback, and they were cherry picking threads to justify changes.  The players never understood this, they don't get how so many ideas that they hate that are in PVMP today originated on the forums.  

 

Okay, how about hunters... You said you played one.  In SOA, the Hunter was no different than any other class in terms of under power or over power. Their big defining attribute was a suite of ranged attacks more powerful than an LM's.  Then came Moria and they were OP.  And then after that, they've largely been the red headed stepchild of classes. They got the fewest updates for years. They're largely glass cannons. Creep food for the majority of players. Any insight?  I had heard two Steefel rumors on hunters; one was that there was a mandate after Book 7 that no hunter changes were allowed; and the other which I thought was funny was that his kid was playing a warg and got one-shotted by a hunter so hunters had to be nerfed :-)

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Thank you Aylwen.
 
Since SoM, PvMP and it's community have been my sole reasons for playing and returning after countless MMO pre-orders.   As one who's paid ~9.99/month for 8 years and knows that a part of my life will soon be gone, your candor has provided me closure in a way.
 
/kneel
 
P.S. Just for $hit$ and grins, if you happen to read this, what was the purpose of "Erebrandir's Horseshoe"? LOLz
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This thread is, hands down, the best thing to happen to this forum...it's already gaining interest on other LOTRO-based websites.

 

Keep the conversation going.

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One more question (they just keep pooping in my head)

 

- What was the deal with Enedwaith? [content delivered when F2P launched]  Because it seemed like this reqion was a patchwork made from more or less random bits & pieces sewed together.  

 

Like literally there was a task to prepare some relatively substantial content patch,  and in order to speed things up various old artwork, quests and other content from some unfinished older projects was pieced together into Enedwaith.

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Aylwen, do you think Turbine always had a finishing point of taking control of the European servers? Was it the long drawn out F2P negotiations which led to them taking it back or did Codemasters sense this and that is why they were playing hardball with F2P?

Thanks :)

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 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.

This! This! a thousand times this!

 

You mentioned that SoM was done on the cheap, but I and many here agree that it was by far the best bang for the buck xpac, far more complete at launch than MoM.

 

I do miss the world events like Amarthiel. It was Amarthiel that pushed me Creepside. I was a diehard Freep and at the time Creeps were much more organized that Freeps on my server. We were for once winning the day, about to take TA, when all the sudden Amarthiel and her minions decide to show up. Of course the whole raid was wiped because the Creeps wisely took advantage. I immediately rolled a Warg, then Spider and never looked back.

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Bohemond

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.

I played on Ridder for about three or so months, from the opening of the server until around New Years. For a Book 12 Baby like myself-one of those who came to the Moors in that massive bk12 SoA surge-it was a treat to start on a Creep on a fresh server and have that experience. I was the first rank 2 wargie on the server and wasn't I proud of that red fur. Ridder didn't end up being the 'true' PvMP server many wanted it to be but that time was a blast. While I was there I was with Serial Killers, Hotsndots' tribe, lots of fun.

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.

Audacity was a terrible idea. Jared Pruette implemented that a few month after I left the second time. Completely contradictory design decision. On the one hand he wanted to make the Moors less 'grindy'...and then forces another grind on the players. And it killed one of more interesting facets of being a Freep: developing just the right gear set to match your play style. It was Radiance, Moors-style. Far from easing the new Creep experience it forced another hurdle on green dots and gave raid leaders another good reason not to invite lowbies to groups on both sides. There's no question that managing DPS in the Moors is a complicated problem and I give him props for trying something but audacity was not the right answer. Perhaps Mastery caps would have been a better route. But I could have punched my computer screen when I saw Aud.

'Individual killing blows were a bug' was bullshit. The issue first came up in SoM in regards to keep kill quests (kill x number of foes in TA). THAT was a bug. Orion had intended for those to be group-wide. But Jen's fix ended up making all KBs group-wide. I raised hell about it, going to Jay the QA Director and basically threatening to quit (it was kind of a last straw thing) and after consulting with Orion Jen reworked the fix to make KBs work as before. Their functionality was declared By Design at that point. The later claim was, again, bullshit.

Akthuri

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 loved the Leaderboards. First thing I would at work in the morning after coffee and a smoke was bring up the boards, see who was up there in rating, who made the most renown, etc. I thought they definitely brought something to the experience. That said, once heal tagging and quest glory rewards came into play-to say nothing of rating becoming broken-nullified most of their value.

I only heard what most did: that removing MyLotro functionality was an attempt to reduce stress on the SQL. It sounded plausible. But if I'm not sure on something I don't want to speculate. Either way removing MyLotro certainly didn't improve performance.

CIG

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.

I started on my hunter out there and then rolled a warg. Our server's leading wargs-Fuzzybritches and Wargprancer-made it look so easy I thought I'd have a blast. Ran to STAB-TA lawn...and was blown up maybe 5 times in 20 minutes. I quickly realized this would take a bit of practice. But I was hooked.

drul

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.

Originally it was going to be a direct port, with a faster console feel. As I mentioned earlier it sort of morphed into a much less ambitious PvP-type game. QA wasn't heavily invested in it-we peeled off a couple of guys to work on it-so I only took a look at it a few times.

mobs AI  -  they are understandably server side and that brings a huge limit on how many scripting you can put on a mob, especially 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?

The performance footprint of mob AI is a concern, as is, needless to say, the added coding involved in making them 'smarter'. And there is a gameplay balance thing: you really just want them to react as the average player would expect ('Me see player, me smash') without making every encounter too complex or difficult.

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

I mentioned the Pickett's Charge analogy. And hearing the news in a Friday department meeting it really was like, 'General Lee, you want us to do what...?'. It had to have been an upper exec money decision. Just as the layoffs that followed MoM were a money thing. The decision to ship on that week was so obviously a bad strategic move, so doomed to fail, that I really have to assume that they had a very good reason. Although it is hard to imagine one given the circumstances. Maybe marketing had drunk too much of their own Kool Aid. But absolutely, from a logical standpoint, we should have pushed the release to Christmas. God knew MoM could have used another month of polish work. But shipping too soon at the behest of the execs has brought woe to countless titles over the decades.

Sigvard

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.

I commented somewhere else that two systems devs at other companies often referenced when discussing LOTRO with me were music and PvMP. In a business that sees so much wholesale design reiteration, original systems are always respected. PvMP may have been ad hoc but it was bold and innovative. Where I absolutely felt that Jen and later Jared erred vis-a-vis PvMP was in not sticking to the guns of the original design statement. PvMP was intended as a raid v raid environment. Creeps were expected to work together to succeed. Nobody envisioned people running around solo other than warg scouts. Creeps were built to fill a specific role within a raid. 1v1s were about as far from the original vision as you could get. But Jen (who by the way really is a great dev overall, very smart and measured) ended up playing class and complaint whack-a-mole. True balance in an asymmetrical system like PvMP was simply impossible. Some things one has to just take or leave. Nobody was forcing anyone to play a Creep-hell, Core and perhaps CS would have been happy if nobody played a Creep. If LOTRO dev had declared a mission statement for the Moors-this is a unique system that's designed to pit individually weaker Creeps against Creeps in an RvR setting-instead of floundering around and basically coming across as the bungling wardens of a laughably busted system, I think in time more players would have come to accept the Moors for what it was.

Exploder

when the lights go out on LOTRO, someone needs to leak the full code and assets into the public domain, so that it does not end up locked away and/or destroyed for ever.

I think that if Turbine had stayed independent something along those lines might have been feasible. But with WB's ownership-and all that entails-it is very hard to envision private servers seeing the light of day. The best one could hope for is WB's sheer wealth keeping LOTRO kicking around for a few more years. After all ol' AC is still permitted to carry on so who knows.

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 We will have to wait and see but chances are that the closest thing to all those dreams may become a reality in EQN, where the base-tech for fully customizable player housing already exists (currently in Landmark).

It already exist in Rift.

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do five

Do you know of any zones in lotro that were canceled? From what I've read, it seems like Gladden Fields, the South Farthing, and Grey Havens were going to be in the game, but ended up being pushed aside.

Nothing springs to mind from my era. I do know that Breeland was originally going to be 25% or 30% smaller at release. QA argued that given that it was a hub zone for all races it needed to be more expansive and prevailed. And I have a dim memory of being told that the South Farthing was considered but decided against given time constraints.

Were any big ideas or systems canceled (I like what-ifs)? I know that Skirmishes were originally going to have freep vs freep content, but that it got dropped do to balancing. Any others things like that?

There was some very passing talk about PvMP functionality during the lead up to skirmish development but that's all it was. Shortly after RoI there was talk about essentially creating a Sauron faction, with areas for fleshed out Creep characters but I knew to dismiss that as a pipe dream and of course it never went anywhere. Creep skirmishes were mooted on two occasions, the first shortly after f2p as I recall, and then again after RoI. The later progressed as far as Nate in engineering being reluctantly roped into a scrum and the dastardly duo of Barry and Zombie making their appearance on the PvMP scene. Zombie was into MOBAs and wanted to make what amounted to a PvMP moba for RoR. I thought it was the most laughably absurd thing I'd ever heard. Can you imagine trying to matchmake for a set piece PvMP fight? Small group PvMP fights, especially for Creeps, require experienced players who are familiar with one another and with just the right class composition. I walked off the scrum. It was a waste of Nate's time, my time, the dev's time, and would never see the light of day anyway. And of course Zombie's PvMP mob a system was axed later on. The only upshot of that silliness was RoR PvMP being utterly hosed by Barry and Zombie's blundering involvement.

Do you know what other games Turbine has worked on? I know you mentioned the console lotro and Harry Potter MMO. I've heard rumors that Turbine was working on a Hobbit MMO or game.

I heard talk about a Hobbit game but it seemed only to be a possibility that was being tossed around.

Do you know what happened to Berephon? I assume he got laid off. He just sort of disappeared from the other forums..

The forum handle isn't familiar to me so I couldn't say. If I knew what their area was I could hazard a guess.

You've mentioned lotro china a few times. Why was it canceled? And how different was it going to be from the western lotro?

Ah LOTRO China aka perrma-beta. They-CDC-were awful to deal with. Basically they didn't have to pay us as long as the game remained in beta. And so-surprise, surprise-every six months or so they'd come up with something they weren't happy with and needed to be fixed before they would end beta. So for example, LOTRO had too much blood (seriously)...then too many undead (ancestor worship and all that-in fairness WoW had to address that as well)...then the lack of open world PvMP was unacceptable. So, hurting for cash, we dutifully spent a few months creating a system of rotating open world zones that would be opened for PvMP. But in the end it was all for naught-they never paid us and all we got for our troubles were the castaway players when they shut down. Our negotiators who went over there came back with horror stories of their business practices and treatment of employees. So when the Chinese company Perfect World entered the competition to buy LOTRO it was a pretty unsettling development.

Also, what happened to Turbine West? I remember the announcement, but then nothing ever came of it. Did they actually ever do anything out there?

It was basically a staging area for trips out west to court Burbank. That's the only thing I ever heard it being used for anyway.

The Tolkien guidelines sound really interesting. Do you remember any other things that were on it?

Respect for nature and the natural world was a central theme...ironic considering that LOTRO players would ultimately be tasked with killing everything that walked, crawled, and flew in Middle Earth. And things like players not being Maiar, Dunedin, etc.

Danys

do you think there might be hope for the future, a change of direction from the past few years and a final last ditch effort to turn things around and go forwards? Or .. is it we just play LOTRo SIMMS at this point with Mordor as a session play?

There's always a hope for a light in the shadows I suppose. My old dream had been that LOTRO would end up being like AC, off the radar and with a little core team free finally to develop without the pressure of being the pillar of the company. Everyone had their hands in the LOTRO pie. Just as one example, those random item advancement landscape quests that appeared with SoM or Loth (where you tracked down a given mob or mobs for exp runes) were a case of marketing just jumping in and 'helping' out with no consultation with Jen or any of the leads. But now I don't know. For WB LOTRO is just another revenue stream and had best keep generating that revenue. 'Better' means more $.

Snowlock

Okay, how about hunters... You said you played one. In SOA, the Hunter was no different than any other class in terms of under power or over power. Their big defining attribute was a suite of ranged attacks more powerful than an LM's. Then came Moria and they were OP. And then after that, they've largely been the red headed stepchild of classes. They got the fewest updates for years. They're largely glass cannons. Creep food for the majority of players. Any insight? I had heard two Steefel rumors on hunters; one was that there was a mandate after Book 7 that no hunter changes were allowed; and the other which I thought was funny was that his kid was playing a warg and got one-shotted by a hunter so hunters had to be nerfed :-)

The MoM hunter was a case of a class dev doing his own thing and going overboard. And Steefel's kid had nothing to do with the nerf, as funny as that would be. I opened the bug on the excessive hunter DPS and Darren Sugg, Systems Lead at the time, was only too happy to oblige. He didn't particularly care about wargs in the Moors but hunters nuking instances was another matter. No question that the experience of Book 6 left hunters sitting at the back of the classroom for quite a while afterwards. That said, and especially after Darren left, there was not a blacklisting of the hunter so much as a very measured approach to the class. Ideally the Nuker is not the most populous class in an MMO (the WoW mage, the hunter's inspiration, used to require a lot of skill to master and wasn't overly abundant) but in LOTRO this was the case. But for my part I loved the hunter at 85 and found she could hold her own in the Moors at 65.

Boc3phus

Just for $hit$ and grins, if you happen to read this, what was the purpose of "Erebrandir's Horseshoe"? LOLz

Haha no idea!

PJ

Aylwen, do you think Turbine always had a finishing point of taking control of the European servers? Was it the long drawn out F2P negotiations which led to them taking it back or did Codemasters sense this and that is why they were playing hardball with F2P?

That I really can't speak to apart from reporting that there was no love lost between Turbine and Codemasters. My impression was that we had long wanted some way to sever our relations and f2p happened to finally be the way. On a personal note I would occasionally be kicked over CM PvMP bugs when Chris in International QA couldn't make sense of them: they often read more like forum rage rants then the work of a QA professional.

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