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Lotro PvPers...are they really that bad?


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It's entirely up to the companies to decide how to interpret the NDA in relation to my comments. If they want to 'come after me', as you put it, they know who I am. I do appreciate your concern on t

Modbreak: Dear GameDev, Please refrain from posting personal information on this board. Given your geolocation, it might be perceived as a rather vengeful thing. Say hi to the rest of Turbine

I agree with this on a personal level. First post here although I consider this forum superior to the official one (where most of my posts over the years were confined to grants on rank x threads)

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Thanks for answers Aylwen!

 

So Turbine knew about the lag all the time and yet CS always blamed players computers or ISP for it on the official forums. Were they ordered to cover up or did they do it on their own initiative?

 

I'm EU player and Codemasters servers were always a bit laggy and when the servers moved to US the game actually became smoother for some time but then the lag began to build up again and I think it was Update 6 after which the game has lagged like hell for me (rubberbanding and hitching).

 

Game runs 100fps+ on my current rig but doesn't feel smooth at all because of the lag. I'm pretty sure it's the game and it's servers since I have eliminated every possible computer related bottleneck (game is installed on PCI-E SSD which is way faster than any available SATA SSD etc).

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Hi Aylwen. I've registered specifically to say a massive thank you for all your postings on this thread. This kind of honest retrospective is something we need a whole lot more of the in the gaming. A hobby that I really stopped paying any attention to with the death (in my eyes) of Lotro around the time of the F2P transition.

 

I played and frankly lived Lotro and in particular the Moors for years almost exclusively as a Creep, for a while it was all I did with my days beyond the essentials and I have absolutely no regrets about that, met some amazing people and had some incredible times, the likes of which I doubt I'll ever recreate in anything I do in life. I always had the impression that SoA in many ways was something of a fluke, a great game with as has been mentioned an atmosphere and community that drew me into the game and kept me there more than any particular gameplay feature ever did. I've often said that the best state Lotro was ever in was the state it launched in and that nearly every time Turbine touched it afterwards only served to water-down the experience. Reading your tales of poor management and loss of talent makes me think I'm right but also gives me a welcome sense of closure on the game. I quit a few years ago, I returned to the moors during the 65 cap and really enjoyed it but left again when that stopped and I've always been very frustrated with Turbine for their handling of the game. Reading your anecdotes has made me realise that actually there's probably no other way that it could have gone, and actually that I never did really give enough appreciation to what Turbine did achieve with the game and that has let me look back on my time with the game with a fresh, healthier perspective.

 

So yeh, thanks.

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Again, thanks for all the "behind the scenes" info. This thread turned my boring sunday afternoon into something exciting.

 

Not sure if it has already been asked, but I'm really curious about Helms Deep:

 

Why did big battles turn out so unattractive and encouraged so many people to leave lotro?
Lack of funds for that project? Lack of talented people? What went wrong?

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I don't think I understood the significance of the complaint people put forth for years about it seeming that some LOTRO devs often did not play the game they were developing.  This thread and discussion has helped illustrate the negative impact.

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I'm EU player and Codemasters servers were always a bit laggy and when the servers moved to US the game actually became smoother for some time but then the lag began to build up again and I think it was Update 6 after which the game has lagged like hell for me (rubberbanding and hitching).

On Turbine servers loading times (i.e. when entering a building) were noticeably shorter, but latency was much higher (distance obviously) which may not have been an issue to some,  but for me it degraded quality of game badly for both of my maincharacters and for Warden specifically it was completly devastating.

 

 

Seriously if I'll ever play any MMORPG again in my life, then if company will move servers from EU to US, then I am immeditetaly stopping playing.

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I don't think I understood the significance of the complaint people put forth for years about it seeming that some LOTRO devs often did not play the game they were developing.  This thread and discussion has helped illustrate the negative impact.

Absolutely. I don't trust game devs who don't actually play out their games--not all of it, but just enough to see certain things clearly from the point of view of a player (e.g. LIs).

But this type of "user experience" covers a lot of other things as well. For example, I tested the BiC software for my department a long while back, and knowing the processes our team actually used, could tell the software vendor to fix very specific things no one else would think to address. And the software is now very good. Other enterprise software implementations fail because the people pushing the software didn't understand how the users would use it and simply never asked. Or, I rightfully did not trust one of my bosses, who was responsible for pushing a global software implementation, because she had zero programming experience, zero project management experience, zero enterprise software experience, zero legal experience (this was for the legal department)... Talk about utter fail!

To be honest, I don't know just how involved the Trion devs are in playing their own games. But I did see Daglar, the Rift producer, in Tempest Bay one day on a (50s or SL-capped) toon doing a random Q&A right by the port. That was pretty awesome.

(From my point of view in general, if the creators don't use their own product, they don't actually love it. :P)

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Graalx2 was Ken Burd, who designed the Warden. Classes tended to shuffle between devs-for instance Brian ZC Aloisio, who designed the RK later had the hunter for a while-so Ken may have handed the warden off to someone else for some period of time.

 

There must've been some kind of dev shuffling in 2010/11.  ZC took on Hunters, and had burgs and RK's.  Graalx2 got Capts, Guards & Lm's.  Orion got Wardens, Minstrels and Champs.

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Created an account here just to say thank you for sharing. LOTRO was my childhood, started playing with my dad when I was ten (Best gift I ever received was the lifetime account he bought me). I was obsessed with the game for years until I quit playing after Rise of Isengard. Reading your post brought back so many great memories. Turbine really brought Middle-Earth to life for me and was something truly spectacular back in it's day. Nothing can match the nostalgic feel I get thinking about LOTRO.

 

I switched to the Riddermark server when it first launched as well. :)

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drul

Following Fellowship of the Ring, listening to Frodo or something was epic boredom.   I remember this stuff in Lothlorioen when you were walking with Frodo,  listening to what he was saying I was like "where to cancel viewing it!?"

Haha oh yeah, for me that was the '/follow-go-have-a-cigarette' quest. And I agree, the epic storyline was always more interesting when it went off in an original direction. I've mentioned this already but I think the Amarthiel chain was superb, I don't think I'd felt so invested in a game's plot since Baldur's Gate 2 (MSG Snake Eater was way up there too but rather different genre of course).

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This may have already been answered, if so I apologize. The whole scenario where several FAs are dropping in T1 raids (OD) and T1 Skirms (Battle of the Way of Smiths)...Turbine will releases an update, the FAs will drop like crazy and then they "fix" it a couple of months later--and make comments that it was not intended. The apologists will defend Turbine and say that it's not intentional and that Turbine would never purposefully do something that has the potential to feed the store with revenue. Today, the FA is worth next to nothing and it all started with those scenarios. Your take?

You know, that's a tough one. Because I saw similar scenarios play out for very different reasons. There were times when the dev simply made a miscalculation and in fairness one can't underestimate the inherent difficulties in balancing just about anything in an mmo. This is one reason why it is so important to play the game you are working on. But even then there's no guarantee you won't misjudge the impact of something once the general audience gets hold of it. This is only obliquely appropos but since I have been free in my criticism of the mistakes of others, it would only be fair to call attention to my own blunders. One that springs to mind is the Book 7 Blackarrow Fire Dot. Jen gave Creeps a good pass after the Book 6 debacle and asked me to give my critique of her changes. I looked at the fire dot damage and thought, well, it's slightly on the strong side but the BA is a somewhat dull class, pretty one-dimensional, and a little extra DPS wouldn't hurt them. Looks fine, says I. A few weeks later I'm watching BA raids burn down the one-shots and my hunter is melting from a dot or two. Oops. All of that is just to underscore that mistakes-including drop rates-are common and more often than not are just honest miscalculations.

Rather then being a contrivence to feed the store I suspect the dev/devs in question either, a, misjudged the number of FAs that their loot tables would put into circulation, or, b, just goofed outright in stacking the loot table. My experience at Turbine leads me, when I am not entirely aware of the reasoning behind a questionable decision, to give the benefit of the doubt insofar as I assume human error is at play. That said, we did have a few cases of marketing monkeying around with quests, the LI exp rune quests I mentioned earlier among them.

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Jen gave Creeps a good pass after the Book 6 debacle and asked me to give my critique of her changes. I looked at the fire dot damage and thought, well, it's slightly on the strong side but the BA is a somewhat dull class, pretty one-dimensional, and a little extra DPS wouldn't hurt them. Looks fine, says I. A few weeks later I'm watching BA raids burn down the one-shots and my hunter is melting from a dot or two. Oops. All of that is just to underscore that mistakes-including drop rates-are common and more often than not are just honest miscalculations.

 

Hey thanks man :/  lol.  My all-time record, I still remember it, 32 simultaneous fire dots on me.  Thank god for Captains.

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Was that when they fired "Scenario", or at least removed him from the project?

That forum handle doesn't ring a bell off the top of my head. The post-SoA drain came mostly from the usual departures one sees after the release of a title with a long development cycle. After 4 years many are ready to move onto something else, especially with a freshly minted release under their belts. Titles-that is, released products-are a nice thing to have on one's resume and not always as easy to get as one might casually assume. I've known fellows who have worked for years in the industry who, owing to circumstances, have never worked on a title that saw the light of day. This is especially the case with mmo development, where the number of games that founder and fail much exceed those that survive to launch day.

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

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Haha oh yeah, for me that was the '/follow-go-have-a-cigarette' quest. And I agree, the epic storyline was always more interesting when it went off in an original direction. I've mentioned this already but I think the Amarthiel chain was superb, I don't think I'd felt so invested in a game's plot since Baldur's Gate 2 (MSG Snake Eater was way up there too but rather different genre of course).

Heh. I think I've already quit smoking by that time, but on more serious note - I was more bugged by how simplified and streamlined Lotro world became since Lothlorien (and in lesser extend even Moria) rather than by "Frodo talking&walking cutscene" which I could ignore. 

 

 

About Baldur's Gate 2 -  check out http://eternity.obsidian.net

It releases THIS MONTH.    Who can say if it'll be good or not, but it definately shows some promise it might,

 

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OCR, under Meg 'Patience' Rodberg, who was a warm and justly popular person with our fans, acted as the human face of the company. Her role, and she was great for it, was to make the players feel like they were extended members of the Turbine family. But she too wasn't always kept in the loop and also had to interpret policies that may have been cloudy or (again) contradictory.

When Patience left, the OF really lost something...

Sapience...wasn't as well suited to that role.

Phbbbbbbt. Here's to the people who insisted he was "merely doing his job" (in shutting down people and writing rude things).

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Aylwen, people debated shortly after the release of HD whether the development of Big Battles has similar cost (time, money, effort) to the development of classic instances. What is your take on that?

My impression is that BBs are the economical alternative to instances. For one thing some of the basic functionality there was already established for Skirmishes. And, like Skirmishes, once you have developed the BB template, it's consequently cheaper to develop further iterations. Moreover, by making them scaled by level and group size, you don't need to develop unique 3 or 6 or 12 man instances. The initial development investment, taking into account all the various mechanisms (and many of those were iterations of existing tech as well) might have been comparable to a traditional cluster but in the aggregate, moving forward, they are more cost effective.

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

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LOTRO being limited to one faction was a detriment to them.

It depends how you define factions, I define them by PvP. It hasn't been a detriment to GW2, 1 faction PvE, 3 faction PvP. LOTRO was one faction only if you didn't PvP. IMO factions only matter for PvP

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CS had to deal with literally thousands of irate complaints, each one a ticket that took up their time and slowed down their ability to respond to other tickets just that much...

 

 

 

...I made a proposal to Ken Surdan, Turbine's VP of Ops pre-WB, a no-nonsense guy who would listen to anyone's ideas, that LOTRO dev host pre-launch and update presentations for CS to outline areas of concern, known bugs, that sort of thing. Ken liked the idea and sent out a company email calling for its implementation. And nothing came of it, such being the nature of companies. But the point is, more often then should have been the case, CS was forced to translate at time hazy or even contradictory policies and issues as best it could.

there have been more than a few times, when i decided to stop furthering a ticket, because i suspected just this.  & that recommendation you made did seem a pretty solid idea.

 

but internally, the "upper" management wasn't actually focused on the customer, so much as they were their backers.  so i can see why nothing came of it.

 

more the pity.

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Phbbbbbbt. Here's to the people who insisted he was "merely doing his job" (in shutting down people and writing rude things).

 

I join you in your "Phbbbbbbt" and add a vigorous flipping of the bird to those folks too.

hater

So Turbine knew about the lag all the time and yet CS always blamed players computers or ISP for it on the official forums. Were they ordered to cover up or did they do it on their own initiative?

We absolutely knew about the lag and server performance issues. This is a case in point that underscores my above observations about honest and clear communication. What kind of message are you sending your customers when at one moment you tell players that Mylotro is being discontinued to improve overall game performance and then the next that their rigs and providers are to blame for lag? 

 

...

 

That would be the kind of message that earns you a "Wilfred" around here.

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Again, thanks for all the "behind the scenes" info. This thread turned my boring sunday afternoon into something exciting.

Not sure if it has already been asked, but I'm really curious about Helms Deep:

Why did big battles turn out so unattractive and encouraged so many people to leave lotro?

Lack of funds for that project? Lack of talented people? What went wrong?

I think it really depended on the player. Many older LOTRO players loved instances: those were the focal point of the experience, generating many of our best memories of the game, the arenas that brought kinships together and were the reward for all the (often tedious) landscape grinding and day to day upkeep. Even many players who didn't have a chance to run many instances could see the promise of them as a goal to work towards. I ran practically no instances in WoW, was in a guild that was mostly inactive, but seeing those other guys in the sweet looking raid gear, talking about this or that boss they had downed, gave promise of great fun out there. BBs were a poor substitute and if past history told players anything-thinking skirmishes here-Turbine was sure to ride the BB cart until the wheels fell off. Then there was the matter of rewards. Not so good. And just the sheer generic quality of them. Whether you defend the Hornburg solo at level 50 or in a 6 man at 100...it's basically the same thing. Your chances of 'better' rewards are somewhat increased but...for what? Just to run the same BBs?
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