Jump to content
LOTROCommunity

Bullroarer U16 Notes


Ilodid
 Share

Recommended Posts

F2P has nothing to do with casuals, nor does it = success or failure.  For an mmo your currency is time regardless of payment model. the longer people play, generally the more they are willing to pay.  Much like any other hobby.  The biggest hurdle to incentivizing time spent is using bad game play and large grind.  Short term it works but burnout only happens sooner and you have faster pop die off than you have new shmucks coming in.

 

EDIT a good game, people will find a way to pay for it, a bad game, you can barely give away long term.

 

DBL edit as far as an "old engine" goes, funny how one of the most popular raids and the most requested raid Turbine not touch and thereby F-up was the rift.  yea that old engine really couldn't handle that one.   Blaming an engine for not accepting stuff it was never designed for instead of learning how to work the engine within it's limits or replacing it if your incapable is a cop out, and just a whine. 

 

As far as the F-up code as you put it, who's fault is that? it didn't start that way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could certainly see a planned strategy; I wouldn't describe Turbine as incompetent although one can of course be competent and still blunder strategically (Rommel in Egypt and all that).

When I think of games within a typically niche genre that successfully appealed to what might be called 'casuals', Civ and the original Panzer General (speaking of Rommel) come to mind. Perhaps WoW itself might be a more apropos example. But then WoW had universal appeal just by dint of its colorful presentation, humor, and gameplay. I'm always a little baffled when I hear MMOers say they 'hated' WoW. For myself, while it didn't hold me for the long haul, I couldn't see anything to hate about the game. WoW was in fact brilliant. With LOTRO...I loved it passionately but I rarely suggested it to friends simply because it was so patently non-casual in presentation and atmosphere. LOTRO is absolutely hit or miss with new comers; the hugely daunting 100 level grind alone would scare off most I imagine. Whether HD will ultimately benefit the game or be LOTRO's version of the NGE will probably be manifestly obvious by this time next year (individually we all have our own opinions already). But what they do between now and then will be crucial I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could certainly see a planned strategy; I wouldn't describe Turbine as incompetent although one can of course be competent and still blunder strategically (Rommel in Egypt and all that).

When I think of games within a typically niche genre that successfully appealed to what might be called 'casuals', Civ and the original Panzer General (speaking of Rommel) come to mind. Perhaps WoW itself might be a more apropos example. But then WoW had universal appeal just by dint of its colorful presentation, humor, and gameplay. I'm always a little baffled when I hear MMOers say they 'hated' WoW. For myself, while it didn't hold me for the long haul, I couldn't see anything to hate about the game. WoW was in fact brilliant. With LOTRO...I loved it passionately but I rarely suggested it to friends simply because it was so patently non-casual in presentation and atmosphere. LOTRO is absolutely hit or miss with new comers; the hugely daunting 100 level grind alone would scare off most I imagine. Whether HD will ultimately benefit the game or be LOTRO's version of the NGE will probably be manifestly obvious by this time next year (individually we all have our own opinions already). But what they do between now and then will be crucial I think.

 

If they are still sinking $ into IC we all know the likely fate of Lotro regardless of "The Plan"

 

EDIT

They managed to save DDO by pillaging  their other titles, then DDO helped carry them while they tried to save Lotro.  They no longer have any titles left to steal from so no saving IC, so IC can come in and save them later.  And I can just picture the meeting with WB execs, "We need more $

 for IC"  slammed door.  WB love em or hate em at least they have enough common sense to cut losses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well with IC being the fiasco it is LOTRO is about the only money maker Turbine has left, discounting their web stuff, and that's the well they have to draw from. Warner's sheer size and persistence in controlling entertainment is probably helping keep them afloat; it's hard to picture a Donald Trump-type not just yanking the plug, firing 1/2 the studio, and absorbing the rest into more profitable subsidiaries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think Lotro is making much money at this point. But they have invested a lot in their new mobile games, and I but Turbine and WB management are looking for those new mobile games to become the "money makers" for Lotro.

 

If they really think Lotro is going to save them, they better start spending more on it and making it better. Of course, as an MMO Lotro seems like a laggy mess, so I can't see anyone thinking at this point Lotro can compete against GW2, Rift, WoW and other AAA MMOs out there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could certainly see a planned strategy; I wouldn't describe Turbine as incompetent although one can of course be competent and still blunder strategically (Rommel in Egypt and all that).

When I think of games within a typically niche genre that successfully appealed to what might be called 'casuals', Civ and the original Panzer General (speaking of Rommel) come to mind. Perhaps WoW itself might be a more apropos example. But then WoW had universal appeal just by dint of its colorful presentation, humor, and gameplay. I'm always a little baffled when I hear MMOers say they 'hated' WoW. For myself, while it didn't hold me for the long haul, I couldn't see anything to hate about the game. WoW was in fact brilliant. With LOTRO...I loved it passionately but I rarely suggested it to friends simply because it was so patently non-casual in presentation and atmosphere. LOTRO is absolutely hit or miss with new comers; the hugely daunting 100 level grind alone would scare off most I imagine. Whether HD will ultimately benefit the game or be LOTRO's version of the NGE will probably be manifestly obvious by this time next year (individually we all have our own opinions already). But what they do between now and then will be crucial I think.

 

I would at least on the business side, Microsoft didn't drop em because they were acute sharp eyed money managers.  Turbine has ALWAYS reached farther than it could afford in both manpower and resources, never spending any worthwhile time determining the difference between what they wanted todo and what they could do pre-production when it would have done some good. they ALWAYS lacked the discipline to keep separate projects/budgets...well separate.   Post AC they have never devoted full teams to individual projects long term, they bounce around like ping pong balls as soon as one underfunded, undermanned project starts sounding alarms.  They weren't desperate for the WB deal because they were about to take the industry by storm.  They ALWAYS let their internal narratives filter the reality they perceived.  At what point in their history could they have ever been accused of being fiscally responsible, particularly when using other peoples money?  The creditors/investors weren't circling pre WB because they knew how to balance a checkbook that's for sure.

 

Those issues had a direct effect on it's production side

 

EDIT it's generally considered a bad idea to begin planning for a crisis/emergency during one

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember having a discussion with a few ZOS producers over drinks one night in Baltimore and we debated the impact of Turbine on investor capital flow into MMO projects. One stated that, absolutely, Turbine had soured interest in the field, going so far as to say, 'Turbine wrecked investor capital for MMOs.' The other-like me a former Turbinite-argued that such was ridiculous and that the 08 economic crisis had far more to do with less capital being available for game investments. Perhaps there was an element of truth in both positions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

sure but the credit crash is was only a critical problem if you lived off credit, companies that actually had working capital instead panhandling everywhere had much fewer issues.  The side effect of Ponzi schemes is if one card gets pulled the whole shebang goes tumbling. ( and yes I realize Turbine didn't quite go that far, but they were damn close.  I suspect if the WB deal hadn't gone through eventually the feds woulda come calling as soon as that 1st investor payment got missed and people started going through the books) This would likely have posed a problem as Turbines various pitches probably involved specific projects, but they way they budgeted internally would have raised eyebrows.  There is a reason WB got you guys for a song(at a time Turbine still had everyone convinced  DDO & LOTRO(projected) were making mad bank with F2P), they also got your debts(the Turbine you, not you specific).  Live beyond your means and your much more vulnerable to high winds.   Use new investors to pay off old investors and sooner or later it catches up.  The whole time your running around poking fingers in leaks in the dike instead of re-investing intelligently in your successful product lines that could actually make you a profitable company.

 

EDIT

No investor wants to play with a company that looks like it might leave them holding the bag.  That's where that statement in your cited conversation likely came from.  Little things like that tend to annoy them, whoda thunk it?

 

DBL EDIT

Just to be clear I in no way was insinuating criminal activity( I think it highly unlikely) but if/when investors started to suspect they may not get their principal back let alone a return, they would have pushed, hard, particularly once they saw any type of "creative" budgeting, and started reaching for bigger levers. 

Civl actions however would have been an entirely different story, Turbine would have been sold off piecemeal.(in a hypothetical situation minus the WB deal)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can Turbine be a thing of such magnitude as to cause something like that?

I don't have the experience to comment on that in an educated manner, but I agree with your question.  Saying they wrecked it seems an overstated case.  The economy tanking had a larger impact, in my mind.  As we sit today, I think Turbine would be considered one of many cautionary tales.  SWTOR, ESO, Wildstar have all come onto the scene with tremendous hype and stumbled rather dramatically. RIFT too, I suppose. Vanguard was another. SWTOR and RIFT have generally changed course and recovered, but a AAA MMO must have once seemed like a pretty safe bet.  It's obvious that's no longer the case. Thus the rise of the Kickstarter MMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can Turbine be a thing of such magnitude as to cause something like that?

 

This is speculation on my part, but,

because of the shear amounts, of both $ and number of investors involved and how many years Turbine lived on the dole.  At least since MS pulled out I assume.

Remember Turbine was consistently trying to run2+ mmo's at the same time while usually have 1+ in production and various side projects.  None of whom were market leaders and a couple virtual or actual flops.  All with personnel/resources  more reminiscent of a small business owner (liquid able assets)than a corporation.  They were doing it for at least 5 yrs more likely longer.  It adds up year after year.

 

Turbine wasn't unique among small dev houses in treating investment capital like mana from heaven, far from it.  They were however stand out in amounts.  Name me one other company even close to the size of Turbine that runs that many mmo's at the same time.  There's a reason you won't find any in something smaller than say EA, Sony.  MMo's aint cheap, small performing(DDO), and shut down(AC2) mmos cost even more.  In terms of investment capital, they probably represented  3 or more companies(of their size) in shear amounts  borrowed.

 

EDIT it takes years to recoup production costs on a single successful mmo, juggling several at the same time?  Not all of whom are successful?  Most companies wait till thier 1st one is in the black before starting the 2nd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can Turbine be a thing of such magnitude as to cause something like that?

 

... Saying they wrecked it seems an overstated case... 

 

I'm not sure but I imagine what is being refereed to is the relative success of DDO and LOTROs conversion to F2P which probably had an effect on the rest of the market.

before this snowballs further, lets just be carefull with whom is being attributed to stating what...

 

highlights mine: ZOS producers (in red) Alywen (in blue):

I remember having a discussion with a few ZOS producers over drinks one night in Baltimore and we debated the impact of Turbine on investor capital flow into MMO projects. One stated that, absolutely, Turbine had soured interest in the field, going so far as to say, 'Turbine wrecked investor capital for MMOs.' The other-like me a former Turbinite-argued that such was ridiculous and that the 08 economic crisis had far more to do with less capital being available for game investments. Perhaps there was an element of truth in both positions.

so one ZOS producers opinion was that it had a key negative impact, is not (or at least at the time was not) Alywens position.

 

"Perhaps there was an element of truth in both positions."

 

that is reflection, an an element of truth does not equate, in entirety.

 

and whilst Turbine is not the only player, in retrospect of all that has transpired, it does not surprise me in the least, that the tale here (as with many other companies) has indeed soured the milk.  because after all, if the economy was the sole perpetrator, an upturn would also see a return of investor interest.

 

information passed casually, over drinks, doesn't just happen amongst the teams at game houses.  everybody with a greater investment than a simple subscription or micro-transaction has their ear to the ground.

 

so whilst pinning blame solely at the feet of Turbine may be exaggerating the case...  i do not think it resides in the ballpark, of another game field altogether.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spiteful...

too much to convert into quotes, so this reply will have to be a generic catchall...

 

i think the subjective plan for LoTRO (subjective being, pending formal resolution of legal licensing conflicts.  if those should pan out entirely favorably)  the game will eventually be added to (including conversion over to) Warners "official" network as a legacy title with a maintenance team only, (no further  development beyond the conclusion of the story.)

 

it effectively placeholds the licenses for the foreseeable future.  whether they will ever return to MMO development at a future date...  i think that other market players success (or failure) will determine if that happens again.  though if Warners blunders start to outpace the successes (i'm looking directly at you mobile team)  that may also, for better or worse, determine what, if any, course the future takes.

 

i do not think the conversions to the game were made at the requests of Warner Executives with the intention and awareness of addressing the limitations of the current game engine & net code in the client...  i'll be honest, i don't think they have a proper clue in that department...  but rather conversions are being made, that align with much of the design plans for that current Warner network & its intended future status, (for all it's games.)

 

i'd also make the position, that the haphazard nature of it's unfoldment is as much an issue with only partially including the employee chain (most are in the dark, especially with many of them being on the chopping block, past & future) down from those decision makers, as it is one of spreading the expense out over time and blending it with each successive quarterly budget.

 

so whilst i don't disagree entirely with your positions, the degree & reasons with which you "SEEM" to attribute them to Turbine & specifically the product of Lotro & its development course, as directly responsible for the course of the ship...  if in fact that is your position...  i have to disagree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can Turbine be a thing of such magnitude as to cause something like that?

I only related the incident to illustrate that Turbine's vicissitudes were of some interest within the MMO business; I couldn't say I personally had an opinion on the matter except to suppose that there may have been something to the argument that Turbine soured IC in some cases. I felt the one producer much overstated the negative impact however. And as I said, 'over drinks'... But as Herodotus said, each is free to decide what they think is the closest to the truth.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only related the incident to illustrate that Turbine's vicissitudes were of some interest within the MMO business; I couldn't say I personally had an opinion on the matter except to suppose that there may have been something to the argument that Turbine soured IC in some cases. I felt the one producer much overstated the negative impact however. And as I said, 'over drinks'... But as Herodotus said, each is free to decide what they think is the closest to the truth.

 

I'm assuming that Turbines footprint vs it's actual size and ability to cover it's bets is a factor if such a perception exists in the investment community.  Like I said Turbine was in no way unique in game dev houses in how it handled other peoples money.   In turbines case however they simply reached out and "touched" more people than was typical, thereby conceivably becoming something of a poster child.

 

 

Companies that borrowed more than Turbine almost all I suspect are publicly traded with investor calls, most also had the ability to pay off from liquid assets in worse case scenarios.

 

EDIT

To put it a different way

SWTOR's investors even if it had been a complete flop and dew 0 revenue were no where near as exposed as those investors in Turbine projects prior to the WB deal.  EA could cover it's bets if they went bad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...