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LOTRO Dev Talks About Bringing MMOs To Consoles 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-me-a-mouse-and-keyboard-or-give-me-death dept.
Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer for Lord of the Rings: Online recently spoke to Eurogamer about the game's upcoming expansion and its future in the MMO market. One thing he mentions is the challenge of designing an MMO for consoles, which have a larger player base than PC games. He admits that UI development would be a huge issue, but also thinks MMOs could benefit from splitting tasks between various devices. "Long term, for me, the real exciting vision is ... thinking about a game, a franchise, as this centralised content. There's this thing called Lord of the Rings that sits on a bunch of servers ... and whether you're on your PC, your console, your mobile device, those are all just access points, and they're all good at different things. ... The console is great for fast action, immediate activities. Combat, raids, things like that could be a lot of fun sitting on your couch. And some things that are necessary but slightly rote and boring, like managing your inventory or setting up for a raid, or some elements of crafting — those are things that you can do instead of playing Bejeweled when you're sitting on the train or on a break or whatever it happens to be."
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LOTRO Dev Talks About Bringing MMOs To Consoles

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  • Yeah get a party together and set up your inventory on the train and then everybody get back together 2 hours later when you're in front of your tv?..
    • by snuf23 (182335)

      End game raids are usually planned days in advance. An app that allowed you to track who is planning to attend via a website or mobile wouldn't be a bad thing.

  • Punctuated entertainment that doesn't try to consume every second of every day of your life. Magine that - there's other things to do besides play a fucking videogame. Be nice if some MMO developers stopped thinking up game ideas before they take their OCD meds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Punctuated entertainment that doesn't try to consume every second of every day of your life.

      You're anthropomorphizing. How can a (your words) fucking videogame do anything other than sit there and wait to be played? How can it "try" to do anything?

      Here's a novel idea: Play the same MMO everyone else plays, in moderation.

      • by pizzach (1011925)
        Personal opinion, but games are so much more satisfying when they end.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by liquiddark (719647)
        Don't be intentionally stupid. The game is built by a set of humans collectively organized into a business. They not only do try to do something besides sit there and ask you to play, but in the case of the majors, they have a legal requirement (to their public shareholders) to encourage you to become completely addicted to the game so that you keep playing and keep paying.

        MMO games are addiction machines. This article points out just one of the slippery slopes they try to grease to get you to invest so
        • by 0123456 (636235) on Monday September 01, 2008 @11:23PM (#24837915)

          "MMO games are addiction machines."

          Guild Wars seems to have done OK without a permanent grind; I'm sure they haven't made as much money as WoW with its monthly fees, but I'm equally sure they've made a decent profit.

          • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @12:17AM (#24838295)
            I'd be willing to guess that the reason Guild Wars doesn't make as much is because they don't have a grind. Grind satisfies that lucrative OCD-fueled core of the target audience by giving them something to channel their compulsions. The community can be heard to grumble about the grind; but day in and day out they're in there, grinding honor, faction, mats, DKP, and whatever else goes on in WoW these days. Sure, everyone says they hate it, but it shines and sparkles just so; and they can't look away.

            If you don't populate the game with enough BS to keep the 24/7 players happy, they will leave. If you do, you're forced to balance the time investment requirement to that standard. Thus forcing casual players to invest more of their time to keep up with the Joneses.

            But while structuring reward systems to require as much time to complete as possible is good business. Taking up every moment of your free time to get those rewards is still your choice.
            • by Kingrames (858416)

              It actually does have a grind. it's just much less annoying. People who want special titles for their characters have a lot of hard work to do.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Arnold999 (1220926)

            Guild Wars is not an MMORPG
            http://www.guildwars.com/products/guildwars/features/default.php#details [guildwars.com]

            Guild Wars has some similarities to existing MMORPGs
            [...]
            Rather than labeling Guild Wars an MMORPG, we prefer to call it a CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game).

            • by AioKits (1235070)

              Guild Wars has some similarities to existing MMORPGs [...] Rather than labeling Guild Wars an MMORPG, we prefer to call it a CORPG (Competitive Online Role-Playing Game).

              Suppose that's better than Competitive Online Role-Playing System Entity.

          • Guild Wars is successful because it ends. The beginning of the game is attractive and then there's a huge incentive to just finish the stupid game already that you already invested time in. You don't realize how long the campaign is until you're neck-deep in it and then you really want to finish it to go back to Ascalon City and show off your fancy endgame skills. It takes only ~200 hours to COMPLETELY finish every bit of Guild Wars. Contrast that to wow in which the game is only beginning at level 70, far
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by LRayZor (872596) *
          Actually their ideal situation is probably that you keep paying WITHOUT playing (too much). That way their content doesn't get old so fast, the resources required to run the game aren't as high, etc. etc.
          • Agreed. But then people just stop playing because it takes too long to do anything so they never get anywhere at all. So the devs take the hit and make the game play-heavy and try to find ways to hook players into addiction-level gameplay.
        • The game is built by a set of humans collectively organized into a business. They not only do try to do something besides sit there and ask you to play,

          Certainly, they try. But there's only so much they can do. At the end of the day, there's still just the game, and it still just sits there until you do something about it.

          You sound like you're an addict, just looking for someone else to blame for your own lack of self-control.

          in the case of the majors, they have a legal requirement (to their public shareholders) to encourage you to become completely addicted to the game so that you keep playing and keep paying.

          Actually, no, the most they would have is a legal requirement to make the most money they can. Keeping in mind that you can't keep paying if you're so addicted you're out of a job, I would imagine they'd much rather build a casual MMO

          • I'm not sure what your point is with any of that. My point was that the developer is intentionally encouraging the player to get addicted. That was the end of my point. You admit that they are trying to do that, so we don't need to discuss it any further.

            However: *was* an addict. I have no problem admitting that, and I had no problem admitting it while I was an addict. And nowadays I have to play the addict's game, avoiding the general class of addictive influence (ie most online games) so that I d
            • by snuf23 (182335)

              So because you have a personal problem with addiction to these types of games you think they should change the model?
              Should alcohol be banned because certain individuals have a tendency towards alcoholism? How about sex outside of monogamous married relationships because some individuals suffer from sex addiction? Cigarettes are still not banned even though they contain one of the most physically addictive substances.
              It's good that you realize YOU have an issue with these games. YOU can then take steps much

          • I reread your post, and you know, I just can't let it go unanswered. You don't really understand the addictive nature of these games.

            You sound like you're an addict, just looking for someone else to blame for your own lack of self-control.

            You sound like you're trying to justify the addictive influence some of these guys are banking on. Don't do that. Game companies and tobacco companies are not inherently good organizations. They're inherently amoral ones, dutiful only to the dollar. An addict is partly to blame for his disease, but the addictive influence is also to blame, particularly in the case where t

            • There are a lot of things you simply cannot do adequately in 10 hours a week, actually. Raiding. PvP. High-level instances. Crafting. All of these become exercises in futility when you're playing less than 20 hours a week in WoW

              Just wanted to point out that this isn't entirely true. If you are lucky enough to find a guild with a lighter raiding schedule, you can actually do it with less hours. The problem is finding such a guild. I'm someone who just switched from a relaxed guild that didn't raid ofte
              • At the same time, there's a limit to how far you can get in raiding with a limited schedule, depending on other guild factors.

                If you have 10-25 skilled people who can always be prepared to raid the same 10 hours each week then you can theoretically progress. It will be slower than other guilds, but it will happen.

                The problem is that guilds which the base assertion describes are very rare. Most guilds, even hardcore ones, require a number of additional people as backup for absentees and also must recruit new

            • There are a lot of things you simply cannot do adequately in 10 hours a week, actually. Raiding. PvP. High-level instances. Crafting. All of these become exercises in futility when you're playing less than 20 hours a week in WoW

              You don't play the same WoW I do. I do raiding and high-level instances all the time, and my guild raids for 9 hours a week (not all of which are you required to show up for... attendance is purely optional). We do fairly well, having made some progress into Hyjal and Black Temple, most recently. I don't PvP, but there absolutely is no time requirement in PvP--while that may have applied to the old honor system, neither the new honor system, nor arenas, are time-consuming.

              Crafting is the biggest joke in wha

            • You don't really understand the addictive nature of these games.

              Don't I?

              It's not a physical addiction. You, on the other hand, seem unable to make that distinction:

              Game companies and tobacco companies are not inherently good organizations.

              Tobacco companies make a product which is physically addictive, which causes actual withdrawal, and which kills you if you keep it up.

              Game companies make a product which, contrary to popular opinion, you can actually pick up for a few hours, and then put away. It's no more inherently addictive than television.

              They're inherently amoral ones, dutiful only to the dollar.

              You've just described the majority of capitalist corporations.

              Punctuated content.

              Let's be clear, then. What do you mean

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by liquiddark (719647)
                I see where we're having a disconnect. You don't believe in non-physical addictions. You're wrong. I'm done here.
                • Citation needed.

                  Last I checked, non-physical addictions were poorly defined, at best.

                  Is it possible to be addicted to sex? What about work? Or sports?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spy der Mann (805235)

      Punctuated entertainment that doesn't try to consume every second of every day of your life.

      Maybe what MMORPGs need is a "quick save" feature (how they implement it, is not my problem). A friend of mine has had countless arguments with his mom because he doesn't get on the dining table when he should. He always answers "I'll go when I can save".

      Game designers need to understand that we weren't born to just play games.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        Are you serious? MMORPG's can't "Save" like a traditional game can (in reality they "save" every instant you're playing the game, as essentially what happens, happens. There is no returning to a previous save), nor can they be paused. The reasoning is simple: you're not playing alone. You can't pause the entirety of the game world in WoW every time some kid needs to run off to dinner. The game would literally never UNpause because some new kid would be running off. You also can't expect it to do so ev

        • Are you serious? MMORPG's can't "Save" like a traditional game can (in reality they "save" every instant you're playing the game, as essentially what happens, happens. There is no returning to a previous save), nor can they be paused. The reasoning is simple: you're not playing alone.

          I know, but perhaps you could train for "solo" missions, or maybe purchase "abort mission" tickets (which would only apply for team missions) that could take you to a safe point in the game, keep your experience and items, save the game, and log you out automatically.

          And my friend most of the time trains alone, so at least there should be a "quick save" feature for people like him. Or how about this? A cooperative "save dungeon state" that would only apply to the current mission/dungeon. You know, like Virt

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            I know, but perhaps you could train for "solo" missions, or maybe purchase "abort mission" tickets (which would only apply for team missions) that could take you to a safe point in the game, keep your experience and items, save the game, and log you out automatically.

            WoW already has the hearthstone which is an instant ticket to a safe spot. I'd assume similar items are to be found in most games. And even if you can't use it (it has 1 hr between uses) - there is no penalty to just logging out. Sure you might have a slightly inconvenient corpse run and a minor repair cost upon logging back in if you die, but we're talking something that will take MAYBE 2-3 minutes to recover from. As to items, quest progress, etc, most MMORPG's, certainly WoW, "save" all that as you g

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday September 01, 2008 @10:57PM (#24837731) Journal

    I haven't played WoW very seriously, but from what I've seen, at least some classes need to be pretty focused, and have quite a lot of things to keep track of -- more buttons than exist on any console controller.

    I guess I don't see how raids from your couch would be fun. After all, MMOs aren't the only genre that a keyboard and mouse is better for -- and especially if you're actually fighting other humans, why would you deliberately cripple yourself?

    I can see exploration from the couch, or soloing.

    Good idea, though, with the "centralized content" -- not entirely original, but good to see it catching on.

    Then again, I'm really not sure I want to see people inevitably logging in just to text... txtspk is even worse than 13-year-old WoW griefers, if that's possible.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      After all, MMOs aren't the only genre that a keyboard and mouse is better for --.

      porn?

    • by Negatyfus (602326) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @05:13AM (#24839965) Journal
      I can see it happening. Have you ever tried to set up a gamepad profile for a PC game? There are certainly ways to set up quick access to 12 or 16 hotkeys on a gamepad using shift buttons. On top of that, MMO's aren't the twitch affairs that FPS games are. Usually there is a cool-down of a second minimum between skills, and a player with some experience on the gamepad could hold his own in raids for sure. Most raids are fairly repetitive, anyway.
      • 12 or 16 buttons? Back when I still played WoW, I had 5 toolbars with 12 icons each showing on the screen at once, and one more that the bottom-left could be mapped to. I also had a sixth toolbar with another 12 slots, 10 of which were used (I was a mage, my teleport/portal spells were there).

        While it's true some of these were shortcuts so I didn't have to go through the Skills interface to reach them, more than half of them were various spells/abilities/items I used on a regular basis.

        • er, whoops, I meant to delete the part that reads ", and one more that the bottom-left could be mapped to". Pretend it isn't there.

      • by rtechie (244489) *

        So how do you click on the monsters or on screen elements?

        The problem is not the number of buttons, but that MMOs are built around the vastly more flexible "point and click" mouse model. Is this as necessary in an MMO as, say, real-time strategy games? No.

        It's possible to design a perfectly-functional MMO that uses a menu-driven interface. They just tend to lack depth and sophistication, like Phantasy Star Online.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I haven't played WoW very seriously, but from what I've seen, at least some classes need to be pretty focused, and have quite a lot of things to keep track of -- more buttons than exist on any console controller.

      Funny, I've got a keyboard attached to my 360.

      Secondarily, when I played WoW, I played it on my 50" HD panel while on the sofa with a wireless keyboard and mouse on the PC. This actually resulted in the play being more fun since I was able to use my primary surround system for listening to music, able to stretch out and relax while playing, and while waiting for groups to gather, I could simply go split screen and watch something on the Tivo.

      At the time I had wished the game ran on the Xbox, primarily so ev

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Monday September 01, 2008 @11:01PM (#24837755)

    I haven't played LotRO, but from what I hear its interface closely mirrors the WoW interface which would make it pretty much unplayable without a keyboard/mouse setup. Movement and using different skills are such a large part of both games and being unable to have precise control over both ends up making things ridiculously difficult in some PvE encounters and most PvP settings.

    Entering text would be a complete pain in the ass and unless LotRO has built in voice support that everyone uses the console version would suffer due to a lack of Ventrilo or Team Speak support as voice communication is fairly vital in executing raid encounters. I suppose it could be included with the game, but that means getting it to work on both or either the PS3 and Xbox 360 and all the additional hassles that go along with that.

    It'd probably work out decent for solo play where one joystick controls character movement, while the other moves the camera and cursor, and commonly used abilities are mapped to buttons. From my experience when I was grinding while playing WoW I never really used more than one or two abilities. There's probably a lot of other things that I'm overlooking, but as I haven't played this particular game, my knowledge is a little general.

    It seems like something that won't draw a lot of additional subscribers and will probably end up costing more to develop and implement so that it works well than they'll see returned in increased revenue. I'm not saying that a console MMO couldn't be done, but it would need to either solve the problems I mentioned above by adding good voice chat functionality and allowing keyboard and mouse input or be designed from the group up with console controllers in mind.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      you do realise that the current gen consoles now come with full keyboard support. You don't even need a special keyboard just a generic USB one from an old PC laying around does the trick.

      • by alvinrod (889928)

        I know that both support using a keyboard and mouse, but so far there aren't a lot of games that actually allow you to use them. The only one that I've ever heard of is UT3 on the PS3. That's one out of the countless FPS games on the consoles. Most of these games have PC versions as well which means that somewhere along the way there's some code that handles this. How much would need to be changed in order to get it to work on either of the consoles, I honestly don't know, but it seems as though once it's d

        • I know that both support using a keyboard and mouse, but so far there aren't a lot of games that actually allow you to use them.

          Any PS3 game that uses the standard PS3 text entry UI (the one also used in XMB) supports keyboard text entry, even if the game itself doesn't use it. PS2 games with online capability use the keyboard, mostly for text entry in setup forms or game chat, but in both of the PS2 MMORPG's it can also used for game control.

          Otherwise I'm honestly not sure why so many games on these cons

    • I haven't played LotRO, but from what I hear its interface closely mirrors the WoW interface which would make it pretty much unplayable without a keyboard/mouse setup

      Uh, that's not a UI problem, it's a complexity "problem".

      Imagine having a WoW game without 25 spells/attacks to use.

      Just wouldn't work.

      • global cooldown in wow is 1.5 seconds.

        you could conceivably have 3 pallets switchable with one of the "trigger" keys (similar to what was used in pso gc, but fitted to more modern controllers)

        these could be swapped around in 1.5 seconds to access primary, seocndary, and tertiary priority abilities, and would offer the equivalent of 1-2 action bars.

        • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @07:00AM (#24840525) Journal

          Yes I've played Phantasy Star Online, and nowadays its successor, Phantasy Star Universe. It did that. It also had about as much depth as a mud puddle. It was just a glorified button masher.

          Managing all those abilities and possibilities and synergies between them, is half the fun of WoW. It's basically like a puzzle game. You have all these pieces, and your team mates have some more, and you have to see what cool things you can build out of them. In real time.

          PSO had two lists of 3 buttons each. One normal block of 3 (the fourth button was for a substitute limit break) and a shifted one. Considering that two of those are your normal attacks, it leaves very little room for depth in your abilities. It's also a mere half a WoW action bar.

          But let's say you use both shoulder buttons as shifts, and all 4 buttons. That's 12 different icons, or the equivalent of one WoW action bar.

          It might be enough for an over-simplified straight-up damage class like rogue or maybe warrior. A mage is already getting squeezed in there. But it would make hybrids utterly impossible. You can't play, say, a druid where the whole _point_ is that you get the skills of 3-4 other classes (if weaker than the pure classes equivalents of those powers), with barely enough buttons for _one_ such class.

          • Maybe you should ask those who played the two console MMORPG's: EQOA and FFXI, how their games handled it, rather than discuss how a glorified Diablo clone did.

            EQOA has three hot bars with five slots each, two of which are used for abilities. You never need ALL your abilities ALL the time so you put in what you need for what you're dong at that moment. you control the hotbar with the D-pad, flip between them with right and left d-pad, scroll up and down. You activate the abilities with the circle button.

            • I'm not much of a console player (my kids have the Wii and XBox360, but I don't touch them too often) so my concern would be for classes that need to monitor the other party/raid members. I have a alt priest character in WoW that I'm leveling and healing in battle ground raids is a real pain without some sort of mod to help with healing (in my case, Healbot Continued). Using a console controller, how easy is it to target and cast a desired spell on party/raid members? It seems that a controller wouldn't
              • At least in FFXI, it's remarkably easy. All of the players in a party or raid are arranged vertically on a listing, which you can scroll using up and down on the d-pad when selecting a target. A full 'alliance' setup (FFXI's raid grouping) has 18 members, and it never got unmanageable for me when I played a white mage.

              • Good question, luckily my character in EQOA was Cleric and my highest level job in FFXI was White Mage.

                If memory serves me correctly, you use the shoulder button to switch between party members in EQOA. flick flick the shoulder button, flick the dpad to the ability (if needed) then circle. Very fast.

                In FFXI the dpad switches between party members. But you can also macro a heal spell on a specific target, for example, when I hit Ctrl+1 that healed me, Ctrl+2 healed the the one in the second slot etc. I c

                • I could see the shoulder buttons working for smaller parties (maybe up to 10 players), but if you start approaching the 25-40 man raids, the shoulder buttons seem like they'd be a bit slow. Maybe ordering the list for "likely" targets would help (i.e. put tanks as the first five entries and the rest of the raid sorted in a likely damage taken order). Seeing some fights though that damage the entire raid (High Warlord Naj'entus, for example, deals 8500 health damage to the entire raid at intervals so each
                  • I'll have to admit that I don't get the concept of "Raids", I came into electronic RPG's from a tabletop back ground where parties beat the "Big Bad" with 6 - 8 characters. EQOA party size is 4, in what raiding occurs I think individual healers focus on their tank in the group of four, though I think one tank in the "Raid" had a party consisting of him and three healers. But I'm not absolutely certain on that. In FFXI you could form alliances between three groups of 6 and could macro heals as needed. Th

                    • World of Warcraft has raid parties up to 40 characters (pre-Burning Crusades), but most are not run since the Burning Crusade expansion (which has 10 & 25 man raids). Managing 6 players in a list probably isn't bad to click through, but 25 or 40 is probably not easy to manage unless the list can sort itself based on priority for healing. Figure even if you set the tanks as the top slots in the list, a damage class can overtake the aggro of the tank and quickly become the focus of the monster you are t
          • But it would make hybrids utterly impossible.

            Speak for your druid self. My paladin required 3 buttons in healbot mode, about 4-5 in tank mode, and dps mode wasn't much better. It's one of the reasons I quit.

            I've played about 3 classes to any sort of depth, and they all used 3-4 buttons 80% of the time. The warlock was the most complex, as it needed about 30 buttons for the other 20%. But most of my time was spent hitting the same button sequence.

            • In WoW, Mage and Warlock tend to use a lot of buttons. Although, I tend to put my summons and teleports/portals on the toolbar that you need to hit the up/down arrows to reach.

              Still, they have more buttons in general because you need to adapt which spells you use based on enemy resists and (of course) your talent build.

              • Depends on what you're doing. In PvE, mages use 1 button 90% of the time, another button 5% of the time, and 5 other buttons 5% of the time. PvE mage is fun as hell (I main a mage), but is not a complex activity at all. In PvP, it's more complex, though.
                • I was on a PvP server, but this was more world PvP than anything else.

                  When specced fire, my bars usually looked like this:
                  My first bar from left to right was usually: Attack, Shoot (Wand), Fireball, Pyroblast, Fire Blast, Scorch, Blast Wave, Frost Bolt, Frost Nova, Arcane Missiles, Food, Water.
                  My second bar (above the first) was usually: Racial Ability, Racial Ability (if there were two, such as Blood Elves have), Flamestrike, Blizzard, Cone of Cold, Arcane Explosion, empty square, Counterspell, Polymorph,

                  • Oh, I can agree that my buttons are chock full of stuff. I have like 5 spaces free across all my bars. I use far fewer skills than I have dragged out, however. Sure, my action bars look impressive, but I use very few of those buttons on any regular basis.
            • by snuf23 (182335)

              Ok as a restoration druid:

              Most commonly:
              3 main heal over times
              1 big heal
              1 swiftmend heal
              1 natures swiftness
              1 cure poison
              1 remove curse
              also shift form is necessary sometimes

              Around 10 in all.

              Generally speaking though you have the main ones mapped to keyboard combinations used in conjunction with an addon like healbot.

    • by TitusC3v5 (608284)
      Entering text would be a complete pain in the ass and unless LotRO has built in voice support that everyone uses the console version would suffer due to a lack of Ventrilo or Team Speak support as voice communication is fairly vital in executing raid encounters. I suppose it could be included with the game, but that means getting it to work on both or either the PS3 and Xbox 360 and all the additional hassles that go along with that.

      For the record, LotRO does in fact have built-in voice chat, for better
    • See this right here is part of the problem. You're right, for the kind of interface they've set up you'd probably want to use a keyboard and mouse. But perhaps someone would like to remind me why I can't do that with a console again?

      Final Fantasy XI on 360 has no problem with this. The damn box has USB ports on it even so you don't need to buy a specialized keyboard/mouse combo like in previous generations. Both 360 and PS3 support this kind of thing if a developer wants it. Neither should have a pr
  • Final Fantasy Online (11) already has this. PC gamers and console gamers already play side by side.
    • While not an MMO per say as party limit is 4-6 players, Phantasy Star Online was the pioneer in bringing online RPGs to consoles in 2000. With Phantasy Star Universe, you've got both PS2 and PC players going on the same servers.
      • by walshy007 (906710)
        indeed, and the funny thing is the modern mmo's like wow typically aren't really any prettier, all to keep requirements down so anyone with a computer can play (almost)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Everything in LotR is set in stone. Your mary sue isn't going to save the day nor will the character be acknowledged by Gandalf or Sauron. The One Ring's going to be destroyed and everyone's going to live happily ever after once the elves cross over to the east.
    It's not like Star Wars where there's a god damned retcon every time Lucas scratches himself.
    And if the LotR takes place after The One Ring is destroyed, what will make it any different than a branded morepig other than mopping up remaining uruk-hai

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Everything in LotR is set in stone. Your mary sue isn't going to save the day nor will the character be acknowledged by Gandalf or Sauron. The One Ring's going to be destroyed and everyone's going to live happily ever after once the elves cross over to the east.

      Any game with 100,000+ players is going to have this issue. No one can ever be a truly epic hero or affect the story*. Every third WOW character is a level 70, if it were a solo game you'd be godlike at that stage but in Warcraft you're still just

    • Re:don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by edremy (36408) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @03:03AM (#24839281) Journal
      Actually, Turbine's done a really nice job of handling this. Gandalf (and Gimli, and Bilbo, and Aragorn, and...) *do* acknowledge your character- you're playing a parallel series of quests to the Fellowship, and you cross paths quite often. Yes, we know at the end of the books the ring gets destroyed, but who cares? In LOTRO currently the fellowship is just leaving Rivendell: the coming expansion will cover the Mines of Moria. I think the actual end of the game is scheduled somewhere around 2014.

      And an ending to an MMO isn't a bad thing either- a Tale in the Desert does pretty well with a global EOG+reset every now and then

  • Anti-social (Score:4, Informative)

    by Macgrrl (762836) on Monday September 01, 2008 @11:17PM (#24837873)

    Part of the appeal to MMOGs is the social aspect. Especially that you can play with other poeple you know in RL at the same time. e.g. I play WoW with my husband and have had up to 6 people with their computers in our house playing at the same time. Not so easy to do if everyone needs their own console and TV (and sofa).

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Yes, because consoles are so much bigger and more expensive than PC's.
      • Yes, because consoles are so much bigger and more expensive than PC's.

        Partial strawman. The grandparent never mentioned price.

        Laptop computers are a lot easier to carry around than a console and TV to plug it in to (bolded for emphasis). The GP didn't explicitly mention laptops, but it was implied. Laptops have outsold desktops since 2003 [nytimes.com].

  • But what about those of us who don't have one or more of those devices? I have a PC and I have a cell phone, but no console. My phone can't handle anything more sophisticated than a bad Bejeweled port or SMS-- both of which my cell provider likes to charge through the nose for.

    Sure, Nintendo did something much like this with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, necessitating the use of a Gameboy Advance for each player, and both Sega and Sony had their Video Memory Units and Pocketstations-- but an MMO deve

    • by Icarium (1109647)

      Unfortunately, with regards to keyboards, what makes a console attractive to a developer is the exact same feature that would discourage a developer from making a console game that requires a keyboard. Predictability - when you develop a game for a console, you know exactly what hardware the console has as standard. Keyboards and mice are far from standard on any console - would you spend the vast sums of money required to develop a modern game, if you know for a fact that 99.5% of your target audience does

      • Requiring a keyboard for an MMORPG isn't a big deal. Everyone knows you'll need a keyboard for it. I encountered a few people in EQOA and FFXI who didn't have one, but would always say: "yeah I'm getting a keyboard soon."

        • by Icarium (1109647)

          Required != Recommended

          I encountered a few people in EQOA and FFXI who didn't have one, but would always say: "yeah I'm getting a keyboard soon."

          If you can play the game without a keyboard, it's not a requirement. How many people have you met that played Wii Fit without the balance board or Guitar Hero without the guitar?

          Everyone knows you'll need a keyboard for it

          False. Whether you'll need a keyboard or not depends entirely on the game, regardless of genre. The only reason " Everyone knows you'll need a keyboard for it" currently is because MMORPGs developed for the PC assume, naturally enough, that your PC will have a keyboard attached. Much like it's assumed you have

          • If you develop an MMORPG specifically with consoles in mind (such as FFXI) you can design the UI to utilise the existing controller, even if it's not feature complete (You can play the game without having to chat).

            FFXI has a quickchat system where you can select words/phrases. It's also how you communicate cross-language with all the Japanese players.

            If it requires a keyboard and mouse (which games such as WoW arguably do) you're stuck with three choices if you want to port it to consoles - either sell the game with a keyboard and mouse (And people just love extra expense),

            Not an extra expense at all, many people have a keyboard lying around that will work. If people are willing to shell out for those game with guitars/drums etc, they can shell out for a cheap USB keyboard if they don't have one already.

            sell it without (and watch buyers rage about having bought software that they don't have the hardware to use) or dumb down the UI to make it workable on a standard controller (since the PC version allows you to have a lot more clickable icons than you could realistically map to a controller).

            Instead of "dumb down" a better phrase is alter. When it comes to UI, simpler is faster and better. Besides, lots of console gamers have keyboards hooked up to their PS3's already since you can use it to control GameOS's XMB (including the web browser)

  • It ain't happening. Console gamers like to play for half an hour to an hour in the evening maybe, not an eight hour raid and shitting in a sock. They also like games that are fun, not grinding.

    • by Negatyfus (602326)
      It's already happened. There are a few reasonably popular MMO's that are mainly played on consoles. For example, Final Fantasy XI.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      I shit in a sock too. But I don't play MMO's.
    • Haven't played many console games or know too many console gamers do you. Sure there's the "play Madden for a half an hour" crowd, but there's plenty of console games that people play for hours on end...grinding. God knows how many hours I put into EQOA and FFXI not counting all the single player games.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @02:52AM (#24839217) Journal

    Is Lotro the family friendly MMORPG, the game that doesn't require endless hours to achieve the smallest things OR is it a game that in many ways rivals WoW and even Everquest in the endless grind?

    The answer is that Turbine just doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind what it wants Lotro to be.

    Level 1-45 are fairly light, LOTS of quests that give good XP and rewards so you constantly feel you are doing new things, going to new places, getting new skills etc etc. Compared to WoW and other MMORPG's getting to the endgame is trivially easy. We are talking 5 days of game time and that is with normal playing for the first time with no grinding for xp.

    A mount? Well if you have been a bit frugat, you get your horsey at the right level, np. No endless money grinding for this either.

    Crafting, well that is an odd one. The thing is that in Lotro you can't craft for yourself unless you grind VERY HARDCORE. That is PURELY grind to gather resources without gaining XP, else by the time you are a master and can create the best items in a tier, you will be to high level to make any use of them. So does Turbine want people to grind resources OR is this a way to let people do crafting LATER, when they already levelled? Perhaps they just never intended for everyone to be a crafter and where hoping that 1/5 of a kin would craft and the rest would supply.

    So far so good, you don't really need to craft early on as it makes no sense, you get better equipment from questing for your level. Later on, you can craft for new characters you create. New players? No, they won't be able to afford to buy crafted gear. But since you can casually quest for XP and items without having to commit for more then an hour for the longest fights it is, by MMORPG standards, a pretty casual game. You don't have to worry for instance about having to kill 100 beasts for 1 item, drop rates are high and often shared in a group meaning a mob drops a quest item for everyone.

    And then, things changed.

    The level 45 class quest, is the first time players will encounter the dreaded ONE ITEM PER BOSS quest. The class quests require you to collect a list of items from all over the place, there are two quests to do, so two lists, the end items come from one semi-long instance 2-3 hours and one super long instance but that can be done in sessions. The problem is that only one person in the group can get the item and a few of them are shared between classes. Most famous is Slime of Helcham, an easy enough item to obtain, 2 hours, 1 if you got keys. Oh yes keys. They also drop ONE per boss and of course the person who NEEDS them, isn't around next time. With three popular classes needing slime and the fight being, up to that point, one of the thoughest AND one of the most bugged, people easily have to do half a dozen runs just to get it. Then of course, they will also be called upon to aid others in their kin.

    Rune winged of Dominance is another item, same instance, but several bosses onwards. If you got keys, it is easy to get to directly, but of course, those who absolutely need keys won't be around when the gates need to be opened. So either you go hardcore and designate people who are key carriers to be online at certain points for opening the doors OR you commit yourself to do it in one run so all the keys will be with the group.

    Why does the above matter? Well, it is taking the casual out of the game. In itself there is nothing wrong with being hardcore but there is something wrong with a game that changes its stripes half-way through. You wouldn't want a civilian flight-sim to suddenly turn into a twitch shooter would you, or have your twitch shooter suddenly ask you to remember radio frequencies for every airport?

    Another example is reputation grinding, this was added in one of the book updates and is a real mixed beast. Some repuation factions give rep just for killing enemies in certain areas and this is easily obtained, gain rep questing and gain the rewards. But for some there are no enemies

    • Oh, and the console market is SMALLER then the PC gaming market. Any idiot would realize this as there are FAR more internet connected PC's out there in peoples homes then internetconnected consoles. Be honest, who has an internet connection just for a console?

      I personally got broadband with PS2 online gaming in mind. But these days home networks are very very common so a lot of people have their consoles networked. Sure there's a lot of net connected PC's but a lot of them aren't capable of playing mu

      • That a LOT of PC's are used for playing games, just not monster games that make your CPU scream for mercy and you video card smoke. Flash games are just as much games as any triple A title.

        Don't forget that there are web based MMORPG's that can easily be played on a PC that can only handle flash like runescape. Who says all MMORPGs have to be 3D beasts?

    • by jbacon (1327727) <jcavanagh617.gmail@com> on Tuesday September 02, 2008 @10:43AM (#24843105)

      Honestly, you've got a lot of WoW hate in that post. I've been playing the game since launch, as a rogue, and my current guild is on track to finish Sunwell (most difficult expansion instance) before Wrath of the Lich King hits. You could say I'm a pretty hardcore player.

      However, I only play 4 hours a day, four days a week. In those sixteen hours a week, I manage to successfully raid the most difficult instance in the game, farm consumables for said instance (lots of them), and even spend some time leveling various other characters. I have another character at max level, a mage, and a paladin on the way.

      Now, sixteen hours a week is a lot of time, but as I said, I'm a hardcore player in the top tier of progression. I choose to do it. A casual player can do an hour of battlegrounds or arena per day and end up with a full set of epic gear after a month or two.

      However, that doesn't address GETTING to the level cap. Leveling to the cap is easily possible with zero grinding sessions - nothing but quests. Sure, sometimes the quest is "Kill X number of Y", but the reward is gear, gold, or lots of bonus experience. Blizzard has made many changes to make what was already a very easy leveling process even easier (compared to a game like EverQuest or FFXI). Experience needed per level was reduced by 15%, low-level quest rewards were reworked to have more optimized stats, mounts are now available at level 30, and so much more. There is no penalty for death other than a small amount of money and a short walk - no experience hit, no de-leveling. Heck, with a good guide, you can go from 1-70 in less than three days played time.

      In conclusion, WoW is not a grind unless you want it to be. A player can be successful without devoting their life to it. It's easily the most casual MMO I've ever seen.

      On top of that, it's FUN!

      • by rtechie (244489) *

        However, I only play 4 hours a day, four days a week.

        "Only"? This is fucking ridiculous. You should be able to finish the entire game in 40 hours. The only reason it takes longer is all the grinding.

        Leveling to the cap is easily possible with zero grinding sessions - nothing but quests.

        Your definition of "grinding" is apparently some weird definition in which endless fetch quests don't count as "grinding". If it doesn't advance the plot it's grinding, period.

        There is no penalty for death other than a small amount of money and a short walk - no experience hit, no de-leveling.

        Why force players to waste hours their lives walking back to their corpse? And taking cash also eats up time. Why have any penalty AT ALL? Customers have already invested shitloads of time a

      • There is a quest in the dark elf starting area. 2nd area from the home town, you are asked to collect something from a number of mobs, warlocks if I remember right. Easily killed, I gained 1 and half level and still the item had not dropped.

        Please say again how you can quest without grinding?

        Lotro has this too, leading to once cartoon "Why do only 1 in 4 boars have stomachs?"

        I think you got some serious misconceptions about what casual means. Casual doesn't mean, sure you can play but you just can't play

  • What they deliver in UI usually is far worse than other companies. One thing I remembered from my LOTRO days was how their UI came off half finished. Parts of the UI would have an appropriate fantasy-rpg look while other parts looked liked a PDA from DOOM3.

    I think it is interesting Turbine is looking towards consoles for success. With two of the biggest names ever in gaming titles you would think any competent company could hit a home run. I know, they don't publish their numbers and its rumored that LO

  • Build for the console first then a computer second. Final Fantasy XI: Online did this six years ago and we're still half a million strong; SquareEnix must have done something right. The biggest issue is getting past not having a keyboard. In XI, you can use just about any USB keyboard and get it to work with a console and you're all set or use the soft keyboard (which is pulled up in one buttonstroke) wherever you need to. Hell, even the little Xbox 360 controller attachement works for this. It works becaus
  • People need to remember that MMORPG's aren't the only MMO games out there. Sure they are the dominant archetype among mmo's, but successes have been made of others too, many of which are more suitable for consoles.

    An MMOFPS like Planetside would suit console's perfectly in my opinion - easy enough to control using a standard console controller, and a good mix of action / twitch and persistent elements. Some console games are halfway there, they provide persistent elements in having ranks / xp for characters

  • First: You need hype, and a concept that has mass-market appeal. LOTRO could have possibly been that, but they are very true to the books and probably have more of a nerd-niche than they would have liked. WoW came out too long ago, and Warhammer still doesn't have enough mass market appeal.

    Second: It needs to be bundled with a keyboard, and probably a mouse. theres too many things to target in most MMOs, and far too many UI menus and buttons. Thing Oblivion on an X360 but with 10x more options.
  • It's only the most popular MMO in Japan.

    Console MMOs have been made. They have issues with UI and sophistication relative to PC RPGs. This is glaringly apparent with Final Fantasy XI.

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