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Role Playing (Games) Lord of the Rings Media Movies

Ask Turbine's Jeff Anderson About LOTRO 282

Posted by Zonk
from the hobbits-hobbits-everywhere dept.
Last month, Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar went live in what was arguably the most well-received launch for a Massively Multiplayer game since World of Warcraft. The game soared to the top of the retail charts, and has been a breath of fresh air for gamers looking to get a taste of something just a little bit different and a little bit hobbity. Today, you have the chance to ask Turbine's CEO Jeff Anderson questions about the process of creating the game, the Tolkien license, and new content we'll see in Middle Earth in the coming weeks and months. One question per comment, please. We'll take the best of the lot and put them to Mr. Anderson in a phone interview later this week. We'll post his responses as soon as we can, so make sure to get your question in today if you want it to show up in his response.
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Ask Turbine's Jeff Anderson About LOTRO

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  • Virtual Economies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:29PM (#19311237) Homepage Journal
    Can you talk a little bit about the challenges involved in setting up a virtual economy? Did you employ any professional economists to help design in the design or was it all off-the-cuff?
    • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot AT exit0 DOT us> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:36PM (#19311305) Homepage
      Do you have any plans to deal with Gold Farming?
      • by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:42PM (#19311377) Homepage Journal
        Do you have any plans to deal with Gold Farming?

        I would doubt it, after all its a racial characteristic of Dwarves and Dragons.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Puff of Logic (895805)

          Do you have any plans to deal with Gold Farming?

          I would doubt it, after all its a racial characteristic of Dwarves and Dragons.
          If the devs would be willing to let a Balrog rampage around periodically eating all of the gold farmers, I'd actually subscribe to the game!
      • by misleb (129952)
        You mean besides developing a functioning, player controlled, in-game economy? I have not played many MMOG's so I don't have a lot to compare, but it seems to me that Eve Online dealt with "farming" pretty well by simply making it a part of the game. In Eve, mining/farming raw materials and breaking down/selling loot is required for the economy to function. That is, you need someone to mine ore to sell on the market (and it really does have a market) so others can build ships and other items. Too many peopl
        • by Ryan Amos (16972)
          Farming is a necessary part of any MMO; but I think what people take issue with is professional farmers who sell in-game money for real-world cash.

          In a game like World of Warcraft (where many people seem to take issue with) the ability to craft top-end items are completely out of reach of many players, so they resort to buying what they can, which drives up the market on crafting materials and fees by the few who can actually craft the items.

          WoW has very little player-controlled economy. The servers are act
          • by misleb (129952)

            WoW has very little player-controlled economy. The servers are actually far too small to allow it and the economic choke points are far too concentrated (there are maybe 5 items that are used in about 90% of the crafted weapons/armor) so it's pretty easy for one person to corner the market on a specific item/kind of materials.

            Right, so the the solution is a large, player controlled economy. That's what I said. ;-)

            EvE seems like the game was designed around the economy, which is why the economy is good. WoW

            • by Knara (9377)

              It isn't like players are just buying and selling all day long.
              No, but some do. Profitable for your corp if you can stand it.
              • by misleb (129952)

                It isn't like players are just buying and selling all day long.
                No, but some do. Profitable for your corp if you can stand it.

                Exactly. And that is my point. Some people don't mind doing it. CCP has successfully made what would otherwise be a boring, pointless activity a part of the game. Heck, even griefers were tolerable in Eve for some reason. Sure, it is still annoying to have your ore/loot stolen, but outlaws and pirates are part of the game.

                Talking about EVE almost makes me want to get into it again.

    • Re:Virtual Economies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Puff of Logic (895805) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:55PM (#19311575)
      The idea of crafting systems in MMORPGs seem to be very popular with the player base, with many individuals quite content to pursue crafting to the exclusion of most other things. Two problems seem to intractable, though: low-level items flood the server and are therefore worthless; and one cannot advance a character's level as a crafter. In WoW, for example, many crafting recipes/skills are restricted by level, necessitating players to grind mobs for the appropriate levels.

      How does LotRO plan to handle these problem as the player-base expands? Is it possible that players will be allowed to gain experience from crafting rather than by mob-grinding or quests? Will it be feasible for an individual to gain renown on a server as a master craftsman (which should be extremely difficult to attain) if they only want to spend their time in Bree rather than strangling Orcs?
      • by EvilMagnus (32878)
        It seems that it's part of the 'MMO Design 101' that if you have Crafting, you must tie crafting to level advancement. I suspect out of some misplaced desire to keep people on the leveling treadmill out of a belief that only the level treadmill keeps people paying their monthly subscriptions.

        I'd love for crafting to be divorced from level advancement, and for crafted goods to be worth more to vendors than the sum of their components - but that, too, seems to be a requirement of MMO Design 101.
        • by SScorpio (595836)
          Final Fantasy XI had a crafting system where the character level was not tied to the crafting level. You could reach the maximum crafting level without ever leveling your character. There were artificial barriers due to the acquiring components of later items.

          Crafted items can never sell to a vendor for more than the sum of their components. If this was the case people would just plan up shop next to a vendor and setup a macro to keep buying the components and then selling off the finished products to th
          • by EvilMagnus (32878)
            Crafted items can never sell to a vendor for more than the sum of their components. If this was the case people would just plan up shop next to a vendor and setup a macro to keep buying the components and then selling off the finished products to the vendor and then keep adding new gold to the economy. Overtime gold would become worthless and the economy would fail.

            There are ways to do this right - it's how 'real' economies work, after all - they're just much, much harder than making sure the finished good
        • by harl (84412)
          There are many MMPOGs that in no way tie crafting to character level. UO and EQ did this almost 10 years ago.
          • by EvilMagnus (32878)
            Yes, I know. You said it yourself, though : ten years ago. And they were both 'first to market' MMOs.

            So, what has changed? Is the current 'state of the art' a step backwards?
      • I don't know if it would be good or bad, but if crafting was separate, I bet a lot of players would use their main character for gathering and have an alt character or two camped in Bree to do all their crafting. I would. Some people do this to a degree now, but you have to level up both your crafter and gatherer for them to be any good.

        It would probably make the economy more complex and more difficult to balance. It could be more interesting though.
  • Direct X 10 client in the future? I haven't gone to Vista yet, but that might drive me if it made an already great looking game even better.
  • Gaming Addiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:33PM (#19311273) Homepage Journal
    Behavioral addiction in general, and gaming addiction specifically, are increasingly on society's radar. Now, being addicted to an online game is obviously different from being addicted to heroin- but it can still be extremely serious and destructive for geeks with addictive personalities. Do you think being attentive to gaming addiction is a responsibility of MMORPG developers? What steps has Turbine taken or considered?
  • End Game (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MontyApollo (849862) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:34PM (#19311275)
    Do you have a plan to deal with the destruction of the one ring, as in does the game end then? Any consideration of opening up the entire game map at that point for a massive PvP war?
    • Re:End Game (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fozzyuw (950608) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:56PM (#19312291)
      To expand on the OP's question, one of LOTRO's (which I play and I'm enjoying very much) biggest talking points is it's creative license. What's are some of the challenges, benefits, and surprises when working on a set story licenses? A license that has been around the bend many times from fan art, to multi-million dollar movies, to endless cartoon adaptations. Are there any challenges in creating something 'new' when there's so much already out there?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MontyApollo (849862)
      Oh, and a follow-up:

      How many expansion packs will we have to PAY for to reach the end game? Right now we can only go as far as Rivendell; how many times and how much money to make it to Mordor?
  • WoW influence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MacBrave (247640) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:35PM (#19311287) Journal
    What kind of influence did the overwhelming success of World of Warcraft have on the development of LOTRO?

    • Re:WoW influence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kleedrac2 (257408) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .cardeelk.> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:49PM (#19311497) Homepage
      As an avid WoW player I always keep one eye open (no pun intended) to see what the next "big thing" is going to be. Why should I consider switching to your game and what advantages do you claim over WoW?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EvilMagnus (32878)
      Dude, have you played LOTRO online? "Inspired by WoW" would be a polite way of putting the similarities. :-)

      It's clear that Turbine learned much from both the failure of AC2 and from the success of WoW ... in that they've copied wholesale many of the 'good bits' of WoW. It seems the game might be described as 'WoW 2.0' or 'WoW: Tolkien Total Conversion Mod'. I mean that in a good way, of course: LOTRO's great fun. But it's clearly standing on the shoulders of WoW.
      • lol, agreed.

        all the mmo makers out there were waiting for one to be successful to copy it and obtain a working formula.

        but heh wait.... isn't it how it worked for decades already ?
    • by leathered (780018)
      I've played both WoW and LOTRO beta. There are a lot of similarities between the two games, most notably the UI which is probably one of WoW's greatest strengths. Of course this has led to accusations on sites such as mmorpg.com that LOTRO is a WoW clone. I suppose this is inevitable for any new fantasy MMOs given WoW's extraordinary success. But people seem to forget that all the '2nd gen' MMOs including WoW borrow heavily from 1st gen games such as Everquest, UO, DAoC etc.

      I feel sorry for developers of ne
      • by lewp (95638)

        But people seem to forget that all the '2nd gen' MMOs including WoW borrow heavily from 1st gen games such as Everquest, UO, DAoC etc.

        Indeed. Without going back to the drawing board and attempting to revolutionize MMOs as a whole, you'd have to be stupid not to copy WoW (and by extension EQ and friends). You can say what you want about it, but they've gotten quite a lot right, and I'd be very skeptical of any typical MMO that didn't pull a lot of their ideas straight out of WoW.

  • Farming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ookabooka (731013) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:38PM (#19311341)
    Many RPG's and MMORPG's to some degree encourage farming (playing the game in a way that isn't entertaining but to increase your virtual wealth). This monotonous activity leads to bots and other forms of automating the game.

    Have you done anything to decrease (or possibly eliminate) the need to farm, and if not what is your stance towards automated play?
  • Linux Port (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EvilRyry (1025309) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:42PM (#19311389) Journal

    So, when is the Linux port coming out? (Yes, I've read the FAQ)

    • Mod UP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LDoggg_ (659725) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:11PM (#19311749) Homepage
      Doh, just when I ran out of mod points...

      Get this question up to +5 and watch Zonk ignore it like he's does every time there's a game dev interview.

      We understand the size of the target market. We understand that it may not be economically viable. But does it hurt to ask for a port? I'd drop wine/WoW for a native LOTR online port.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by krelian (525362)

        Doh, just when I ran out of mod points...

        We understand the size of the target market. We understand that it may not be economically viable. But does it hurt to ask for a port?
        Why ask if you already know the answer? Zonk knows as well and just wants to prevent the interviewee from thinking of new ways to rephrase "we prefer to focus on markets that will actually us profits".

        • by LDoggg_ (659725)
          Why ask if you already know the answer?

          We DON'T know for sure. And asking the question at least makes our voices heard.
          Heck, it worked for getting Dell to ship ubuntu machines.

    • by Mr. Arbusto (300950) <theprimechuck@gm a i l.com> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:31PM (#19311991) Journal
      I'm one of 30 people I know shelling money out to Blizzard for WoW. I went to beta LOTROL and found no OS X client. I could boot into Vista on one of my machines.....but I'll just keep playing WoW.
      • by TommydCat (791543)
        There's actually 30 people on your RP server? WoW!
        • I love a quick post with no review.

          30 people using Macs....I know there are least 2 more :)
          • by TommydCat (791543)

            30 Mac users, therefore it had to be an RP server ;)

            Random animosity aside, I do hope they do show decent support for that platform, as games are one of the few reasons I'm still tied into Wintel. Linux+wine almost works but not quite. OSX, with it's familiar unix backside, would definitely have more marketplace potential if gaming ever hits critical mass (again), and give me the excuse I'm looking for.

            I don't care how many times Bill & co reinvent how to launch a program, it feels tired and bloated

      • by BMonger (68213)
        I really enjoyed LOTRO (Mac Pro with Boot Camp to XP) but after my first month I simply got tired of rebooting... so I canceled LOTRO. Not because it's a bad game, but just because I'm that lazy. Had their been a Mac port I would've kept on playing.

        I have little expectation for developers to cater to the Mac market still... I wish they would but I don't blame them either at the moment.
        • by LDoggg_ (659725)
          I wouldn't call that being lazy.

          Dual booting/virtualizing is inconvenient, especially if you're just doing it for one application.
      • If there was an OSX client, it means they're capable of rendering things without the complete dependency on DirectX. They'd be insane to not have some things modular already.

        After gigabytes of game code,an OpenGL rendering engine, scripting, modeling, artwork, and sound, the subtle differnces between OSX and linux wouldn't be that big of a deal to port.

  • Polish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:44PM (#19311423) Homepage
    I own the game, and played it for a while. But the other day I cancelled, and went back to WoW. The main issue was simply a lack of polish in the UI. Things like the UI itself being too small on my display (a UI scaling option is sorely missed), having to change tools constantly (Explorers have two gathering professions, basically forcing me to leave a bag open all the time to swap between a mining pick and an axe), the chat text box losing focus constantly, and so on.

    None of these individually are game breaking issues, but them and a host of other UI annoyances all pile up to make it a much less enjoyable experience then playing with WoW's incredibly smooth UI (which is even more so once you start using mods).

    I'm curious if the developers are going to take some time to go back and improve the UI?
    • Re:Polish (Score:5, Interesting)

      by maroberts (15852) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:06PM (#19311689) Homepage Journal
      A rational follow on to the previous post is whether LOTR is going to encourage the independently developed add-on/plug-ins that WoW has done.
    • Why would you want Polish in your UI?

      Italian is way more in.

  • by Himring (646324) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:44PM (#19311429) Homepage Journal
    Tolkien was, to say the least, picky about his work. He specifically expressed it should never be dramatized and also made it clear that no one should dare edit the writings besides his son, Christopher.

    As an avid fan who knows this, how can you justify, to me, putting the professor's world into a game genre. Why should I play it knowing Tolkien would most likely disapprove?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by abigor (540274)
      Tolkein had no objections to the dramatisation of the LoTR. It was first performed on the BBC back in 1955-56. Tolkein was dissatisfied with it, however. He also expressed interest in a cartoon version of LoTR: "As far as I am concerned personally, I should welcome the idea of an animated motion picture, with all the risk of vulgarization; and that quite apart from the glint of money..."

      • by Himring (646324)
        Look for a quote regarding his, "it uniquely lends itself to not being dramatized" or something along those lines.

        Also, the Tolkien estate was against the early incarnations of d&d if I remember, and isn't this the reason "hobbit" was removed and replaced with "halfling" in the game. I could be wrong on this last point.

        I do know this, Tolkien said a lot of stuff, and if you look long enough you can find him saying about anything. No, wiki is not the best source. There are more reliable sources
        • by abigor (540274) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:57PM (#19312309)
          My source for his quotes is "The Letters of JRR Tolkien", edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien.

          The quote you reference was a part of his complaint that the BBC messed up their LoTR broadcast (letter 175). He was never against dramatisation on principle. Tolkien is quite consistent on this point: dramatisation of the LoTR was always something he had in mind, not least because of the financial possibilities, as he was quite broke. Christopher's ambivalence was well-known, but he didn't write the books, so who cares what he thinks.
          • by Himring (646324)
            Your post looks good, and is forcing me to think, but I will reserve agreement until I can learn more. It's been several years since I read the letters myself. Still, my overall impression from reading many things from Tolkien is that he was against a dramatization. Simply take into account his pickiness over the very publishing....

            Christopher's ambivalence was well-known, but he didn't write the books, so who cares what he thinks.

            JRRT cared what Christopher thought....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)
      Um, while I do have great respect for Tolkein, I have to say: Who cares what he thought?

      Tolkein's legacy was a fantastic series of fantasy novels that created a mythology unto their own. If I recall that was his goal in the first place, to create an English mythology. His legacy does not include a set of rules for ways in which we can enjoy this legacy. Any more than the ancient Greeks can object to us using their mythology to make God of War.

      This being aside from any legal and copyright issues. But if
      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        Um, while I do have great respect for Tolkein, I have to say: Who cares what he thought?

        Tolkein's legacy was a fantastic series of fantasy novels that created a mythology unto their own. If I recall that was his goal in the first place, to create an English mythology. His legacy does not include a set of rules for ways in which we can enjoy this legacy. Any more than the ancient Greeks can object to us using their mythology to make God of War.

        I don't think this is an attempt to seek permission or validati

    • by quantaman (517394)
      Well too bad for Tolkien then.

      I'm of the view that if you want no one to distort, tarnish, or otherwise transform your works you simply shouldn't release them. You can't hand someone an idea then give them a set of rules on how to think about it.

      Yes the creator has certain rights but Tolkien wasn't the only creator, even ignoring the fact that he, like any artist, took inspiration from the culture around him, the fans of his works are creators as well. When you read Tolkien your imagination expands those wo
  • by FiloEleven (602040) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:44PM (#19311437)

    We'll take the best of the lot and put them to Mr. Anderson in a phone interview later this week.
    Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call when you are unable to speak?

  • Leveraging fans (Score:4, Interesting)

    by palladiate (1018086) <palladiate AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:53PM (#19311543)

    As a fan and former Vanguard member on AC2, I noticed Turbine's greatest strength was a rather fast and sane response to player feedback (despite many claims to the contrary). I recall many AC and AC2 fans and 3rd party developers ended up on your dev teams. I witnessed all of this first-hand when you were developing the hero-class endgame mechanics. And despite the system's friendliness, balance, and incorporation of player feedback, most players were unhappy (they thought the system was too simplistic, a la WoW, or had other esoteric gripes).

    Do you have any plans to try and continute to leverage your community, or do you find vocal MMOG players just too darn irrational and hard to please? Blizzard seems to regularly ignore players, and does quite well from what I hear.

    And thanks for making games that don't suck. Asheron's Call was, to me, the finest example of storytelling with thousands of players done yet. Logging in to find my Monarch was Bael'zharon ranks as the coolest moment of my 20-odd years of gaming.

    • by crossmr (957846)
      Go to the forums and read up on sweet gelanas (unless they've "sanitized" those threads). There is nothing sane about their decisions this time around. Its knee-jerk reactions to satisfy one outcry after another. In one fell swoop they managed to entirely destroy a crafting profession, and bend over and take it from a group of people who didn't even understand what it was they were bellyaching about.
  • Lessons Learned (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mac_Daddy (21452) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:53PM (#19311549) Homepage
    In light of the eventual closure of Asheron's Call 2, what were the biggest lessons you and the rest of Turbine have learned?
  • End-game content (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eieken (635333) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:54PM (#19311561) Homepage
    What happens in the game when a user finishes the very large amount of quests in the game? I know about the player-vs-monster-player area, and it is rather fun. Is there any other end-game content other then the monster player area?
  • Leap of faith... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Last_Available_Usern (756093) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:57PM (#19311599)
    Your team no doubt learned from all of the succeses and failures within World of Warcraft and did their best to retain what aspects had player appeal and shy away from those that illicited public outcry. Stepping away from those choices, what would you say was the most daring leap of faith the team made in the game mechanics, balance, graphics, or any other facet that jumps out at you? Is there anything in the game that really made you say, "Dang, we're hanging our butts out there on this one, but we believe in this feature/mechanic and are gonna run with it."
  • by LetterRip (30937) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @01:59PM (#19311617)
    Will users be able to create content? If so what free tools (http://www.blender.org/ [blender.org] or http://www.artofillusion.org/ [artofillusion.org] ?) and formats will be supported? Will we be able to export animations or create normal mapped items?

    LetterRip
  • Today I got my first gold farm spam mail as did several other people in Bree town (from IMs on the public channels.) What steps is Turbine taking or going to take to prevent or minimize annoyances caused by gold farmers, spammers, etc?
  • by Vicegrip (82853) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:07PM (#19311693) Journal
    Where World of Warcraft has largely failed in my mind is in the end-game. Here the content is, aside from reputation quests, entirely Raid driven and controlled by harsh unforgiving bosses and large time sinks. Blizzard's PVP system isn't really anything to get excited about as it is totally un-interesting outside of arenas.

    Essentially, there is no other story line in World of Warcraft other than to kill Illidan and spend a lot of time farming farming farming for reputation. I so miss the innovations that Ultima Online had with housing or seafaring ten years ago.

    What does LOTR bring to the table in the end-game that makes it different from other MMOs?
    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      Where World of Warcraft has largely failed in my mind is in the end-game. Here the content is, aside from reputation quests, entirely Raid driven and controlled by harsh unforgiving bosses and large time sinks.

      Ahmen. Even reputation became group required. This is my #1 reason for leaving WoW. I couldn't participate in the End game (which I COULD get to easy enough). My #2 reason? Too hard to find a group (even when in a good guild, oddly) to participate in the end game.

    • Blizzard's PVP system isn't really anything to get excited about as it is totally un-interesting outside of arenas.

      If Blizzard *really* wanted to make things interesting then they could turn on Global PVP (i.e. anyone can kill anyone else at any time and for any reason without warning) AND make the entire map like battlegrounds (where opposing sides can capture and control areas by meeting objectives). If the capital city of either Horde or Alliance falls then all of the players on the winning side get
      • There are thousands of good ideas how to get PvP going in WoW, but Blizzard is so reluctant to introduce any of them it is beyond comprehension. Unfortunately pvp in wow becomes boring fast and this is just because of no really diverse content. They have so rich gaming population, relatively huge virtual world, they could do there nothing short of miracles in gaming, but what gamers get: "Hey we created new Tier666 armor set, and we added a dungeon where 2% of server population can get, and oh btw, we added
  • In-Game Music System (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Soukyan (613538) * on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @02:11PM (#19311755) Homepage
    As a former subscriber to Asheron's Call 2, I was disappointed to see that game go for a particular social aspect that goes unrecognized and unimplemented in other MMOGs - the music system. As a beta tester, you can imagine my delight at finding out that Turbine had added a similar system to LoTRO. I am now a paying subscriber based upon this one feature that I feel adds depth to the world and serves as a great community building tool. Could you expound upon the music system and its implementation as well as future plans for the system?
  • What has it got in its pocketses?

  • Could you please add some kind of content to auto-kill any character that compares LOTRO to WoW? I'm so tired of reading those debates; and filtering hasn't worked, they move from OOC to Advice to Regional. I'm left moving onto the combat channel to just listen to the orcses trying to hurts us.

  • The Lifetime Option (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tadprime (465963) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @03:40PM (#19313005) Homepage
    Personally I love the lifetime option, and it was a major selling point for me (it is much easier for me to justify a one-time splurge of $200 instead of adding another monthly outlay). What convinced the business-side that that was a good idea?

  • What issues have stirred up the most ire in players?
  • Licensing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Chief Crazy Chicken (36416) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @03:53PM (#19313205)
    What is the scope of the current licensing, as in which books are covered by the current agreement?

    Do you envision being able to add future expansions/sequels/engine-using-content-environmen ts that allow for first age content, perhaps co-terminus with the Children of Hurin book just out? Or any other era? The flight of the Noldor from the west would also make a good high-power story arc.

    Most games have an escalation of power as they get older, but with the LOTR mythos, the power diminishes over time. However, adding elements as alluded to above would fit the increased power design pattern, plus fit into the overall mythos with more elegance.
  • Can you talk a little about the website, and how important you perceive that as being to a new game?

    * Is that a key component or just a "nice to have"?
    * In most industries, the idea of "closing" a sale on a website would be laughable, but could a website make a difference in video games?
    * Do you see your web community as important to you?
    * Do you purposely not invest in resources (art, programming and copy) until knowing if the game is taking off?

    I joined WOW about a year after it came out, so I never saw
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs@nOsPam.ajs.com> on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @05:26PM (#19314569) Homepage Journal
    I played EverQuest for 4 years, and have played WoW for just under a year. They've both had their problems, but in both I see a pattern: as the game progresses, and they transition from release to long-term expansion cycles, content progression becomes so deep and so complex that new or casual players must spend 4-6 months to join their friends who have been playing for months or years. Worse, the new or casual player represents a drag on the resources of any player that wants to help them level. There's no effective way to (relatively) quickly make a new player useful (say, in the period of time it would take to learn to use their abilities).

    I worry about this, and wonder: do you have a way of solving this problem in the longer term for LOTRO, or are you (like EQ and WoW before you) pushing off those choices until you're already in the expansion release cycle?
  • Dear MMORPG industry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zaphod-AVA (471116) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @06:28PM (#19315303)
    Dear MMORPG industry,

    When will you stop making games designed to waste huge gobs of time?

    I don't put up with random 10 minute periods of doing nothing in other games, why should I with yours? Any game that makes me sit/travel/do nothing for 10 minutes running I immediately uninstall. I'd like a modern adventure game, but for some reason they refuse to jump to the next level on this issue.

    -Z
  • by Angelwrath (125723) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @07:31PM (#19315899)
    During the beta test of LOTRO, it was revealed that at least one, or more, Turbine employees were a part of the dominant guild, Extra Crispy (EC). They censored dissent and criticism towards the game, and demonstrated strong favouratism for some players.

    Is Turbine going to enforce rules for Turbine employee participation to avoid issues like censorship and favouratism, and to avoid other potential scandals?
  • The Censor Filter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Usagi_yo (648836) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @02:41AM (#19318575)
    I would like to know why the word "Bible" is censored from public, private, trade, ooc, and all other chats. (it's replaced with '#!&#@') and other Religious books are not. Like Quran, Qur'an, Koran, Torah et al. I would like to follow up with: Who decided that people would be offended by the use of the word "Bible"? FYI, I discovered this while telling my son (who also plays), where I keep the passwords and pin codes. I was dissapointed so tried all the other chats and words and to my astonishment, "Bible" is censored (along with a bunch of 4 letter word).

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