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Lord of the Rings Online devs prepare players for Mordor but won’t discuss license renewal

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You might have heard that Lord of the Rings Online is celebrating its ninth birthday this week, especially if you were in attendance for yesterday’s epic six-hour developer livestream. During the stream, Turbine answered a few of the pressing questions that the community sent in advance, including those about the game’s direction and the issue of the Tolkein IP license.

The question that everyone seemed to want to know is whether Turbine will be able to keep the rights to the setting when it comes up for renewal next year. However, the studio is unwilling or unable to talk about whether its trying to secure the game’s intellectual property license past 2017. In all fairness, Turbine might not be able to comment on it at this time, so for now the fans will have to settle for the ambiguous answer of, “We will face that when it comes.”

Past that note of uncertainty, there were a lot of exciting tidbits for players to celebrate. Mordor is definitely the next stop for our heroes, and Turbine stopped short of officially confirming that Minas Morgul is being created (but you know, hint hint, wink wink). There is work being done on a brighter version of Minas Tirith as a future quest hub, some of the cinematics will be improved, and the coming raid will contain at least five bosses.

Turbine confirmed that no new classes or races will be added to the game and that LOTRO will continue to roll out content updates instead of expansions.

Source: http://massivelyop.com/2016/04/28/lord-of-the-rings-online-devs-prepare-players-for-mordor-but-wont-discuss-license-renewal/

https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?614387-Anniversary-Livestream-Wednesday-April-27th-12-6-PM-Eastern&p=7583534#post7583534

https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?614387-Anniversary-Livestream-Wednesday-April-27th-12-6-PM-Eastern&p=7583884#post7583884

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Developers would only be able to cite from previous information released to the public by the suits. No surprise there.

Of course "face it when it comes" is right about now :)

The lawsuit is dragging on very slowly.

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Sensitive topic around here. There were more than a few who thought the license would have already ended.

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2 hours ago, FundinStrongarm said:

Sensitive topic around here. There were more than a few who thought the license would have already ended.

I got banned on the official forum for asking about the license. Sensitive topic over there, too.

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I've always thought its a bit of a catch-22 with the license... Why would the owner of the license not renew it for LOTRO if no other game is available to take its place? Conversely, why would a developer start work on a middle earth based game unless they have rights to the license? Despite the popularity of middle earth, given the state of the MMORPG market, I hardly think developers are going to queuing up to make another LOTRO... So basically it is mutually beneficial to both sides if it gets renewed... The license holder will obviously want to squeeze as much out of Turbine as possible while Turbine will play a game of brinksmanship to see how low they can push it.

In the end it'll probably get renewed   

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5 hours ago, Darmokk said:

I got banned on the official forum for asking about the license. Sensitive topic over there, too.

Naw. You got banned for asking something that was already answered, thinking there was some nefarious tricky doubletalk going on (not that I would have banned you for it - I would have simply answered the question yet again).

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7 hours ago, bhoris said:

In the end it'll probably get renewed   

Probably. But, just as last time, it's renewing a licence for a pointless game. It seems the whales are more profitable than I thought.

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2 hours ago, FundinStrongarm said:

Naw. You got banned for asking something that was already answered, thinking there was some nefarious tricky doubletalk going on (not that I would have banned you for it - I would have simply answered the question yet again).

Well, they/Sapience did not answer and didn't say "we here can't answer that". They simply disappeared all instances of that question.

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12 minutes ago, Papi said:

Geez, that's painful to see. There are posters in there literally asking Turbine to charge them to skip poor gameplay that's being forced on them. The old saying about a fool and their money turns out to be true.

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I'm not sure.  Bango is very standard issue troll, and not an imaginative one at that. When he/she says this it might not have any connection to the state of mind, might just be for forum reaction.

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The OF these days seems to be full of nothing but posts made for forum reaction, with the same few posters trotting out the same tired arguments they've been over time and time again.  And spammers.  Lots of back-and-forth "I know you are, but what am I?" bickering for pages and pages.

smh they should just close it down, it's lost all value at this point.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, warspeech said:

The OF these days seems to be full of nothing but posts made for forum reaction, with the same few posters trotting out the same tired arguments they've been over time and time again.  And spammers.  Lots of back-and-forth "I know you are, but what am I?" bickering for pages and pages.

smh they should just close it down, it's lost all value at this point.

 

 

It really is the same people., isn't it?  Every thread the usual suspects get involved with instantly devolves into a pissing contest.  I think some of them are trying to reach Yula status and post for the sake of posting.   My personal opinion as always of course.

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10 hours ago, warspeech said:

... with the same few posters trotting out the same tired arguments they've been over time and time again.

Well you can't get anything new when the game hasn't changed for 3 years.

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9 hours ago, Amenhir said:

My personal opinion as always of course.

Hahaha! :D

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It still is a problem business-wise, not talking about the license.

MMORPGs are trust-based. They are huge investments for the user, the customer.  Thousands of hours. Now potentially thousands of dollars.

A business should know that it needs to communicate as soon as possible when issues come up that threaten the project as a whole. Nobody can require a business to do that for one specific game, however if you leave people feel cheated your entire brand of games goes straight to hell.

Much of the player base would understand much better that there might be an end to the game (or to new developments) due to the license. Honestly saying so would work to a certain degree, as people understand this is out of Turbine's hands.

Trying to milk people as long as possible while keeping the fundamental issue that the license is a secret is a sure way to lose trust. Nobody would ever trust a WB game again. And that would be because of communication issues, not license issues.

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32 minutes ago, Darmokk said:

Trying to milk people as long as possible while keeping the fundamental issue that the license is a secret is a sure way to lose trust. Nobody would ever trust a WB game again. And that would be because of communication issues, not license issues.

That is actually the smartest thing to do, from a profit standpoint.  If they released a statement tomorrow declaring that the license will not be renewed in 2017 that eliminates potential new customers wanting to spend money on Lotro.  It sort of pushes the hand of anyone who may have been sitting on the fence about whether to give up on the game.  Strictly speaking of money, if the license were not being renewed, it would be pretty stupid to mention it this early from the renewal date.  If they are going to renew the license, than not officially commenting on it is also pretty stupid.  Speculation can get wildly out of control.  I'm beginning to think they enjoy the drama.  Perhaps keeping it up in the air is creating some kind of buzz for them.

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...or just let it die. we now know turbine /WB was the wrong company to do this. maybe be someone else will treat this IP right in a few years.

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18 minutes ago, juppy said:

...or just let it die. we now know turbine /WB was the wrong company to do this. maybe be someone else will treat this IP right in a few years.

But WB has access to a large sum of money, which is Middle-earth Enterprises' (the licensor) primary (some would say "sole") goal.

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We need to keep in mind that probably nobody or at best the chief and head lawyer at Turbine knows anything about the license renewal. The Tolkien "partnership" is core WB business. A small game with little profit (if any) is way below consideration of those who duke it out with Saenz and the estate.

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28 minutes ago, Dakilven said:

Do people actually think that license isn't gonna be renewed? 

It might get complicated with that lawsuit involved. There is three parties - WB, Zaentz, and the estate.  The estate might want to prevent the license from being interpreted as covering lotro (online only, has gambling for real-world money etc).  The other two parties might then decide to throw LOTRO under the bus to secure licenses for other projects, including movies.

You can be that there won't be just a renewal of the old contract. I think the three-side haggling will either end up with entirely new licensing or decided by a court.

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12 hours ago, Darmokk said:

It still is a problem business-wise, not talking about the license.

MMORPGs are trust-based. They are huge investments for the user, the customer.  Thousands of hours. Now potentially thousands of dollars.

A business should know that it needs to communicate as soon as possible when issues come up that threaten the project as a whole. Nobody can require a business to do that for one specific game, however if you leave people feel cheated your entire brand of games goes straight to hell.

Much of the player base would understand much better that there might be an end to the game (or to new developments) due to the license. Honestly saying so would work to a certain degree, as people understand this is out of Turbine's hands.

Trying to milk people as long as possible while keeping the fundamental issue that the license is a secret is a sure way to lose trust. Nobody would ever trust a WB game again. And that would be because of communication issues, not license issues.

From Turbines POV i'm not so sure/  They haven't released a game in almost a decade, with the exception of IC that lasted 5 minutes, and whatever MOBILs the puke put in the future.   A game company that doesn't actually, you know, produce games has a bigger branding problem that poor communication.  So from a branding standpoint it's no real loss whatever from 0 is still 0. As far as LOTRO itself re-investment stopped years ago, again no real harm/help if they started communicating.  As far as "milking" that's basically the business model they operate under, has been for awhile,  Most of the industry thinks LOTRO shutdown years ago anyway.  There really is no upside to spending more time/effort communicating, isn't like that's going to change anything.  Who honestly believes there's a mass of new/returning customers just waiting on an announcement of renewal to jump in and start spending money.  On the flip side how many current spenders would continue to spend after an announcement "Yup, we're done"  Most would just coast to judgment day.

 

EDTI and as Amenhir mentioned it would be pretty stupid to say "hey we're done, no need to give us anymore $" until the last minute.  That's basically what they did with AC2 2 weeks after xpac launched announcement of server shutdown....peace out.

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