Producer’s Letter, December 2010

December 3, 2010

General, LOTRO News

Today saw the release of another Producer’s Letter from Kate Paiz.  Let me start out by saying that I like these updates.  Yes, they are somewhat full of ambiguities and “marketing speech”, but so what?  I wish that more companies had someone high up the food-chain that would put out things like this.  So Kate, if you should happen to read this, thank you for setting aside the time to write something up for the players to read.  I will take a long letter that is carefully crafted not to reveal or promise too much of what is coming in the future than silence.  To me, it’s the effort that makes such a thing feel heartfelt.  Now onto the actual content:

Free Epic Quests in Moria & Mirkwood

Summary:  “We’ve had a lot of feedback from former players who came back with the free-to-play launch that they were really hoping to have a chance to play through Moria and Mirkwood without having to commit to the up front cost of the expansion.”

My thoughts:  I actually think that this is a great idea.  The best way to encourage someone to purchase something is to give them a sample; not hiding it behind a wall, and this goes for Moria and Mirkwood as well.  How many of you remember walking into Moria and  thinking “wow” or something as you climbed up that staircase?  However, if you don’t get to see it you don’t know what you’re missing.  I think this will go a long way to boost their sales for those areas and I have no problem with them opening up the landscape and Epic Questline for those areas.

New Content Type: Tasks & Lone-lands

Lone-lands Summary:  “A lot of players get through the free regions and realize they need more reputation to continue with the Epic Quests in the Lone-lands.”

My thoughts:  This reads to me that the Lone-lands was not selling very well because of faction issues.  The item that was supposed to be drawing people into the zone (the Epic Questline) was broken, because it relies on you boosting your Eglain faction; which can only be done by doing quests in the Forsaken Inn.  Oops, lesson learned by Turbine.  However, obviously the price drops we saw were meant to encourage people to purchase the area and play through the content.  Since it is ending up as free, that strategy must have not have worked.  However I think it kind of stinks that the people who purchased it early on didn’t get some kind of compensation.

Tasks Summary:  “The second, Tasks, is a new type of quest that allows you to change your trophies into reputation, and was launched as a Beta feature in the November update.”

My thoughts:  This system, while it has promise, has flaws.  Now, let me say that I have not tried tasks.  The feedback that I’ve heard though is that these feel very “thrown together” and lack the polish and depth that Turbine is otherwise known there.  Yes, I get that it’s Beta.  And yes, I know there are already “go kill ten rats” quests in LOTRO.  However, I also feel that every one of those kill quests usually has a storyline or at least a good supposition for why you are going to do what menial task the NPC wishes you to perform.  Maybe a town needs boar meat; maybe a hunter needs furs; or perhaps wolves are terrorizing the countryside.  But Tasks seem to say “gimme yer junk kk thx”.   I’ll be sure to test them later, and maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.  But if they really just are a pale comparison to actual quests, how can you expect to encourage people to delve into a game that has a rich lore and quests when all you show them is something that some feel is junk?  To me it sounds like the intentions are good, but the implementation is poor.

Radiance & its removal in Q1

03_tower_raidFull Quote:  “We’ve received a lot of feedback on Radiance gating since its introduction and are pleased to announce that Radiance gear will no longer be a requirement for any of our instances or raids. In fact, with the release of our Q1 update next year, we will be removing Radiance from the game entirely. It will not be present in the new Instance Cluster or Epic Book and will be removed from all current instances. You should get your first look at a Radiance-free LOTRO on Bullroarer in early February of next year.”

My thoughts:  This is exciting, and I think a bit needed.  Although there will be gating of instances (it will just be player based now) it still opens raiding up to a lot more people.  I personally can’t wait!  Plus, for those who aren’t into raiding there are a lot of dungeons coming that are probably both 3 and 6-man orientated.  I am psyched.

Next Steps with Legendary Items

image012-420x500Full Quote:  “We’re planning on doing two upgrades to Legendary Items next year – one in the Q1 release, and one later in the year. The goal is to respond to a bunch of your feedback and to incorporate some more versatility, flexibility and less randomness into the system. We’ll certainly be releasing a dev diary on the Q1 changes as we get into next year.”

My thoughts:  Thank the Lord!  I personally have been bumping up my whole “LI Lottery” game, and it’s tedious to say the least.  I finally have 3 Third Age and 1 Second  Age that I like, but I’m still trying to boost up my relics; and it’s a pain.  I’m interested in seeing what they’re going to do and why they plan on breaking it up into two releases.  However, if it’s anything like they did with the Bank update (one was a basic update and the second refined the new system) then all aboard.  That strategy worked out really well and the Bank is better than ever.

Other stuff that we’ll be seeing

The Cosmetic system is getting some improvements by getting more dedicated space though a Character Panel revamp more outfit slots for purchase (we have confirmed with Turbine that this means that instead of just Outfit 1 and Outfit 2, that there will be something like Outfit 3 and Outfit 4 as well).  Cosmetic pets are still slotted as being “on the way”, but unlike LI’s and the Cosmetic system which are slated for a first pass in Q1 and a second pass later in the year pets have no current (public) timeline.  She also refers to the raid and Instance Cluster in Q1 as well as more instances coming with the Anniversary Update and that First Age items (level 65) will be coming in those raids.  Also, expanded and revamped Monster Play is of course coming with the Rise of Isengard Expansion.  It sounds like a lot of stuff is coming up, and I’m sure there’s more that she didn’t or couldn’t talk about as well.  So if you think that Turbine’s well is running dry as far as upcoming content

My only real objection to any of the letter’s content is the wbshop.com mention.  I can understand her plugging this in case people didn’t know about its existence.  And really my objection isn’t so much to the mention of the store as it is to the WB’s decision to launch the shop with just 2 mugs and 3 mouse-pads.  I feel that LOTRO is a bit more deserving than just that meager presence.  No posters?  No maps?  No t-shirts?  No overseas shipping?  Boo.  WB, your product deserves a bit more than that.

Overall it’s a good letter and again, I’m very appreciative she took the time to write it.

,
Avatar of Merric

About Merric

Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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15 Responses to “Producer’s Letter, December 2010”

  1. Osiran Says:

    Good improvements coming down the line, for sure. I see the Tasks system as just another in game money sink. Far as I could tell all of the items needed were vendor trash. Now, you can basically swap coins for XP. The lvl 40 tasks I did in Aughaire were worth 1000 to 1600 per. Decent, but not awesome in exchange for a few dozen silver.

    When, though, are we going to have the ability to select a server without completely exiting the client?

    Reply

  2. Bryandt Says:

    Good news all around, though hearing the next update will be on Bullroarer in early February kinda stings. That places the next content update in late February/early March. Lots of people are gonna be unhappy about that one.

    Reply

  3. Alphaman Says:

    You may have seen this already, but downtime this upcoming monday to fix some bugs brought in with the latest update. (yay, shouldn’t have to worry about my RK freezing up anymore, probably)
    Downtime : http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?370636-Scheduled-Server-Downtime-Monday-December-6

    Notes for update: http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Release_Notes_November_2010_Update,_Patch_1_Official

    Reply

  4. Aeled Says:

    The Lone-lands deal seems kinda weird. Since F2P launch you no longer need those 10k Eglain rep to continue the Epic line, they simply trust you right from the start. On the other hand Lone-lands (thanks to nothing else than the major revamp) is the first zone where reputation actually matters and enhances your gameplay. This lets Free players get familiar with the system.

    Reply

    • Avatar of Merric
      Merric Says:

      Interesting, the way she worded it, it sounded like they made it free because you needed rep (I got through that part of the story before the changes) so I’m a bit confused as to why they made it free then.

      Reply

  5. Tadgo of Landroval Says:

    ./ramble_on

    The thing I saw tha was surprising was about the cosmetic pets:

    “adding cute and fun creatures that may add small buffs to combat, but won’t be combat-oriented in their use”

    First, cute. I don’t want cute. If I see a sparkle pet or anime eyes I’m gonna Tolkien nerd rage like a SOB.

    Second, buffs? What kind of buffs? I’m interested in this one. Does the pet have to be out during combat? Or just slotted? I wear a cloak but have it hidden for cosmetic reasons and to help lower lag in raids.

    Obviously The Store is going to be involved somewhere with this but I hope that there is non store option for getting a pet.

    Could be some neat things done with these.

    ./ramble_off

    Reply

    • Adam Says:

      “First, cute. I don’t want cute. If I see a sparkle pet or anime eyes I’m gonna Tolkien nerd rage like a SOB.”

      This made me laugh so hard, but I am totally with you on this one, I shall be the herald to your nerd rage captain.

      If its item XP, monster kills xp fine, if its is something that buffs our armour or dps i.e desirable in instances or raids or even worse skirmishes… could be a bit poo. 12 players, 12 soliders, 12 pets… man that could be chaos! :D

      Reply

      • Avatar of Merric
        Merric Says:

        Agreed on all counts. The last I heard they were testing a squirrel or something along that kind. Hopefully Kate just thinks squirrels are cute. :)

        I’m not too hot on the buffs either, but we’ll see where that takes us.

        Reply

  6. QynetheGuard Says:

    I’m a lifer and was happy to hear they released Lone lands as free now. Seems like it really should have been. Kinda got me thinkin, LOTRO goes free to play, then they pick up tons of players. Those players enjoy the game and play through the free content and one of the first quests packs they can get is the lone lands. So all those people who liked and wanted to progress with lotro bought the lone lands and then Turbine says we’re gonna give that content away free as well after all those people spend they’re money. Wonder if they gave a refund for those points. For example, you go to a store and buy a TV for 1000 dollars. Next week you see that that same TV , at the same store, is now on sale for 500 dollars. You would go back to store and want to be compensated for the difference.

    Reply

    • Malyk Says:

      That’s over-simplifying it quite a bit. I know my point of view isn’t going to be popular but I hope that common sense will provide the reasoning behind it.

      I came to Lotro as a F2P player in September. The only thing available to me were the 3 starting zones, 2 bags, no traits, and the promise of free Turbine points to expand the game, for free I might add. So I played, and was lucky enough to have enough points to buy Lone Lands at 50% off. Am I bitter that it’s free now? Heck no, because I’ve since gained levels, content and ultimately enjoyment from a game that I’m getting much more value from than I’m giving it.

      It’s astonishing to me that some people will receive something for free, and then complain it’s not free enough. For those that purchased Turbine Points to get the quest pack for Lone Lands, it’s not as if Turbine tried to hide the discounts. Turbine actually stated almost 2 weeks in advance that LL was going to be free. It was posted on this site as well as the Turbine forums. Would a personal email help?

      To compare 495 Turbine Points to a $1000 television going half price just makes no sense. Really, read that statement again and ask yourself if you’re just trying to use extremism to make a point. So in line with that reasoning, everyone that missed the one day sales that Turbine offered should be compensated as well.

      Really, with all the content that players are receiving for free, there is still cause to complain? By the time you hit LL on one toon, you’ve earned enough to buy one quest pack. Why is everyone complaining. Because all the guides online tell you to choose LL over North Downs due to solo questing for leveling.

      Almost every site pushes for getting LL first. Now Turbine is the bad guy for making it free?

      Like I said, I’m probably going to catch a lot of flack for this post, but I’m still appreciative for the content that Lotro provides me. I need points, I grind deeds. I’m not going to complain about something that I’m getting for free somehow ripped me off.

      Reply

  7. Angel Says:

    “See you out there”

    Really? I’d love to know what server she plays on…

    Reply

  8. Alphaman Says:

    Qyne, maybe you would want to be, but what store would actually give you the money? Especially when most of those stores wouldn’t announce the sale/lower price ahead of time

    Reply

    • Avatar of Merric
      Merric Says:

      Some stores do something like this within a time frame, though. I think Best Buy does for 10-15 days. Don’t quote me, though. :)

      I think what happened is that they saw a sudden decline in players when people were hitting the Lone-lands and they’re trying to resolve the issue. There’s going to be a lot of growing pains in the first year or two of the store like this.

      Reply

  9. Tirnel Says:

    Merric, you kind of trailed off at “So if you think that Turbine’s well is running dry as far as upcoming content” in the third-last paragraph. ;-)

    I do think the “well of content” is running dry, but I guess I define “content” differently. Content for me is primarily quests and epic storyline, with dungeons and raid instances coming in closely thereafter.

    And while we do get several instances and raid soon-ish, the next storyline chapter if one is to believe the Isengard press release… well is with Isengard itself and new quests or quest-zones haven’t even been announced or so much as hinted at… so yep for me the “well of content” is running dry indeed.

    Reply

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