Producer’s Letter–January 2013

January 31, 2013

LOTRO News

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A producer’s letter by Executive Producer, Kate Paiz, was published today with some insight on Turbine’s plans for 2013 for LOTRO.

Some of the information we got hints of from the latest developer chat such as their look at revising the housing system and making some major changes to the free people’s classes (meaning not including monster classes at this time). I personally think it’s terrific that housing is getting some attention. I’m being cautiously optimistic about what is coming with the changes to class skills and traits. I always thought my minstrel had way too many skills and that I wasn’t utilizing them, I think a clean up of weaker skills is certainly in order but still hope I don’t return to the days of Isengard and struggling to do solo quests while I was leveling.

Other interesting news is the announcement of a “Player’s Council” to get more feedback from the players directly.

We are going to start a Player’s Council, a group of players who participate in more regular & structured feedback sessions with the dev group.  We want to make sure that as we grow and extend this game, that we are incorporating your likes and dislikes about what we are into what we release.

No more information has been given at this time but Kate says more information will be coming in a few weeks.

Finally the letter discusses Western Rohan.

We will be bringing you the rest of Rohan in two installments – Wildermore, a northern region between the Wold and Fangorn, will be released this spring,  after our 6th anniversary, and later in the year, you’ll be able to see Western Rohan, Edoras, and participate in battles of epic proportions. Much more on this to come…

WOOOOOOOO! Who else is ready to see Edoras and witness the Battle of Helm’s Deep? I know the obvious questions most have right now are if Western Rohan is planned to be an expansion like last year’s installment and it looks like we don’t have that information at this time.

Read the Producer’s Letter
Official Discussion Thread on the forum

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About Goldenstar

Goldenstar's primary happiness in games is anything that involves festivals, parties, cosmetics and pie. If there's any time after those things to kill bad guys, so be it.

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39 Responses to “Producer’s Letter–January 2013”

  1. Kiarane Says:

    Omg omg omg, housing revamp. I love you Kate!!!

    Reply

    • Angela Says:

      Dont get too excited just yet. I have a feeling your gonna be spending many tps to get these upgrades.

      Reply

      • Beryline Says:

        I’m sure TP will be involved, but IMO the basic system itself will be completely changed, not just upgraded. Then you will have to use TP to buy hooks/placements. I’m hoping that neighborhoods will be revisited too, so there aren’t so many empty houses taking up space.

        Reply

  2. Avatar of Andang
    Andang Says:

    Interesting…very interesting

    Reply

  3. Pasduil Says:

    “I am at this moment standing on the parapet of the Hornburg…”

    Gotta be one of the most exciting sentences I’ve ever read from Turbine!

    Reply

  4. Marolytrien Says:

    Well, we actually saw Edoras (it seems ready), for those that paid attention to epic quest line.

    Reply

  5. Indy Says:

    Since Western Rohan & Edoras (and reference to Helm’s Deep battle) is scheduled for ‘later in the year’ I have to say that sounds like an expansion. Fall is when they’ve been doing expansions lately after all.

    Reply

  6. Merrydew Says:

    :Wildermore: Does that mean the space outside the back door of Hytbold? There is a mountain range and valley space between Hytbold and the East Wall. Just wondering and most probably totally wrong.

    Reply

  7. Peter Says:

    I am concerned by these announcements. Housing I give a big thumbs up to, but they really need to rethink these class revamps they are doing. Yes it’s much easier to gear a character out when they only have to worry about 1 major stat and 1 (or 2) minor stats, but I think they are dumbing down the game too much. If you are medium armour you have to stack agility? If you are heavy then might? Power NOT determined by will anymore? Less skills but more powerful? You know balance will be an issue and I LIKE playing more complicated classes and having to think about my skill rotation. I am open minded and hope for the best, but the massive mistakes of the last few months don’t leave me optimistic…

    Reply

    • Mave Says:

      I think people are jumping to conclusions about these changes, assuming it’s to oversimplify the game. But I think that will be proved untrue soon enough. It seems clear to me that they’re actually just laying the groundwork for the larger changes that will be made to all classes and class skills later in the year. The Twitter dev discussion included a statement that all classes will be “facing tough decisions” once those changes come into play, which implies it’s not going to be easier at all.

      I welcome some sweeping changes. I think it’s good that the game is getting shaken up a bit. I want people to have to “make tough decisions” about how to build out their character. Right now it’s just too simple and straightforward, if you ask me.

      Reply

      • Avatar of Ranni
        Ranni Says:

        Personally I’m getting tired of the big changes. It feels like everytime they do these we get used to the new in time for more new, yet so many underlying problems or issues still linger. I want that awful warsteed lag fixed for longer than a few days. The LI grind feels dismal, not exciting. Actually it feels like it’s been designed more with a push towards store items than changes made to better the system. Character models haven’t been updated, not even new hairstyles in years.

        There are some great things to look forward to but the housing revamp, as long as I’ve been looking forward to it, makes me wonder how many TPs or MCs or whatever it’s going to cost to get a decent house. Just want them to stop reinventing the wheel until after some of the big issues have been addressed.

        Reply

        • susan Says:

          qft… im curious to see how much they will pimp the housing revamp for TPs, just look at what they did with war steed dyes. ugh.

          ah well, will just have to see what pans out

          Reply

        • Cennwyn Says:

          I’m also a little tired of “big changes,” if only because I like things the way they are for the most part. Fix what’s broken, let what’s not broken stand.

          Reply

    • Avatar of Azakael
      Azakael Says:

      I’m looking forward to changes to my class. While I like the current Champion, because – frankly – we rock, I’d like to see something different. I don’t know what I’d change, but I have some ideas. Hunters… there’s one skill consolidation I’d like to see, but haven’t played enough to know what else I’d modify – perhaps a more viable secondary role, not distinctive as it stands to me? RK’s are good as it is. I don’t want to have to make ‘tough decisions’ as that was already supposed to be part-and-parcel of the class to start. If I main-line DPS, my healing shouldn’t be as good as a Mini, even if I hit full attunement. My DPS shouldn’t be Hunter or Champ quality if I trait heals.

      Reply

  8. DK Says:

    I wish they would update the character models. Cosmetics are a huge aspect of the game for many and seem to be all but forgotten. The unvaried, simple and amateur character modules are looking more and more off putting in such a detailed world.
    I would at least love to see more options for character features (hairstyles, details etc.) and cosmetic weapons. I continue to run into NPCs with options that players have been begging for a long time (braided hair in rohan, cloaks that veil the shoulders, etc)

    Reply

    • mephet Says:

      I totally agree about more options for character features (I’d love to see longer hairstyles and some of the Rohan NPC cosmetics become available to us), but am not sure about updated character models. I for one would be very scared of the idea that the characters that I so carefully created and have been looking at for over a year would suddenly change in appearance overnight. While I understand that the character models are not perfect, I think the backslash over changing them too much could be pretty big. Although, if you mean very subtle changes like better textures etc, then I agree with you. : )

      Reply

      • BarrelRider Says:

        Yeah, if I logged on and my dear old burg was suddenly unrecognizable, I’d be put off. But what about more options at the “barber,” letting us apply updated character models at will to change things like body type/weight – which certainly aren’t permanent attributes in real life? New hair options would definitely be awesome, too, of course.
        And am I weird for wishing our hobbits had hairier feet? I can just imagine a little slider under the one for “hair style,” allowing hobbits to choose their level of wooly-footedness… If only!

        Reply

      • Cennwyn Says:

        At the very least, I’d like to see older armor models made to better fit women. It’s honestly getting insulting at this point–that all the armor appears to have been designed only with human males in mind.

        Reply

  9. roselindea Says:

    i nominate Goldenstar for the players committee! Given that CSTM helps keep a voice and pulse on the community, i think tht would be a perfect fit!!!

    Reply

    • OutSpan Says:

      I think neither Goldenstar or Merric are suitable for such a position. Nice people but I do not think they have the requisite skills at all. Also their work on CSTM makes for a conflict of interest, as it would with any other high profile fan site.

      The so called Player’s Council requires a broad spectrum of people and they will need the ability to to be candid, critical and robust in their dealings with Turbine. It’s a job for individuals who are experienced in negotiations. Objectivity, acute listening skills and intellectual rigour are required.

      If this focus group is not truly representative in it’s make up, then we face the possibility of not only the indulgences of Turbine, but those of fans with their own agenda.

      Reply

      • Avatar of Ranni
        Ranni Says:

        I completely agree with the broad spectrum of people, groups that reflect from the hardcore folks right down to the casual folks. I couldn’t DISagree more with Goldenstar and Merric not being suitable. They can be critical and they will state their opinions when they feel the need. I’ve seen very specific and constructive feedback from both of them more than once.

        I don’t see this site being a conflict of interest. I actually think it goes to show just how much of a handle they have on what a ton of the playerbase wants in game. They don’t speak the opinions of everyone but they never set out to, either. Your comment, to me, seemed more like thinly veiled potshots than anything else so if I misunderstood you, I apologize.

        Reply

        • Sigela Says:

          Goldenstar and Merric have displayed by the greatness they’ve build with CSTM that they are the types of people who would be an asset to a player council. They are proving here on CSTM that they are more than worthy of representing player interests. I think that the greatness of CSTM means that LOTRO is already watching this site and listening to what’s said here so they are already a voice for us with Turbine.

          But, that said, I don’t want to see them change their platform. The CSTM platform is invaluable as an observer outside of Turbine who can report the news to us players and let us speak freely as players. Put Goldenstar and Merric on the player council and that puts them on a different platform as intermediaries between Turbine/LOTRO and us players. That creates a real risk for them to be caught between a rock and a hard place as they try to serve two roles.

          I wouldn’t want that to happen to two nice people and a baby hobbit. They are so very much that kind of good person who Turbine needs to be listening to but they so much don’t need that kind of formalized player council headache for themselves and for CSTM.

          Reply

  10. Smugglin Says:

    The Player committee makes me nervous. How earth are going to choose a group of players? What are the qualifications? Turbine must have the data on who and what kins are completing what content. I guess if its about giving feedback you should probably know what your talking about to begin with. This should push out some of the more casual players, no offense.

    Reply

    • Roger Edwards Says:

      Exactly.

      Who gets to decide who’s on this council? If Turbine chooses then it will have zero credibility.

      The alternative is for the player base to nominate and vote. However, that can just end up as a popularity contest which does not necessarily mean good representation.

      I think this idea may end up as a major headache. A player council needs to be established at a games “birth”, when nobody has any axes to grind or specific agendas.

      Introducing it now may well lead to in-fighting.Especially if those on the council are not well received.

      This is potentially a poison chalice to those who accept this role. If bad decisions are made, they’ll be a whole new group for vitriolic players to snipe at.

      You’ll need broad shoulders or a monstrous ego to ride this train.

      Reply

      • susan Says:

        you do realize that it will prob be just a PR campaign with little actual input

        Reply

        • Cennwyn Says:

          Thank goodness, really. Any player base is generally split so many ways on so many issues that I can’t imagine such a Player Council accomplishing much of anything.

          Reply

  11. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    The stat changes are just coming at an odd time. Wardens got their revamp but are only now getting the stat change that would have made a bit more sense back then. Fate was reduced to the point it either gets removed from game or made useful again.

    The will&power change makes some sense for some classes more than others, I think captains might actually quite like the change given that their healing stat is might rather than will. I know my captains power pool dropped quite rapidly when I started getting higher gear in dunland and now rohan.

    Western rohan and that expansion should ideally wait until this time next year. I know turbine has said in the past they want a one a year approach to expacs but with rohan they bit off more than they could chew which has led to a release thats still not yet complete. This has the knock on effect of less time and team resources to get the game stable enough to continue expanding. Forgeting about a launch next autumn and focusing on next spring for that next one would probably produce a better product thats not a drip fed launch.

    Player council is an interesting idea but the way mmo’s work it could be tricky to have a workable unit that doesnt have a bunch of people all working to their own personal agenda for the game. Jury’s out until it’s more clear on the setup of it and it not just being a PR tool. I do think that turbine would benefit from getting more information from the global playerbase as a whole to figure out how to improve on game performance and the tech side of things.

    I know if I was in the council I’d constantly be wanting to slap people over some of the current design choices let alone future ones.

    Reply

  12. Avatar of Nevanna
    Nevanna Says:

    The player council will most definitely be their most passionate fans. I highly doubt they will pick anyone who has said a negative thing against them. Another joke if you ask me.

    Reply

  13. Sigela Says:

    Sign me as hopeful AND concerned. I apologize in advance for a long comment.

    For all the ballyhoo in advance of this letter, it really wasn’t saying much. I saw how short it was–four bullet points–and my initial reaction was “That’s it? We waited on pins and needles for this?”

    Housing changes. Well, okay. Changes have been in order but I can’t support mere change. I want to know that it’s going to be change for the better, not just change for the different. I would be much more in favor of kinships getting a look before housing but I’m biased as a kinship officer. My house works fine for me. My kinship doesn’t have all the tools it needs to serve the kinship.

    The new region and the interim region. Cool. Sounds like it will be the Rohan equivalent of Great River which was fun. This was already in the stars so it’s nice to have names on places but it’s not really anything that takes me by surprise. Still, I’m pleased here.

    Class changes. Those frighten me as much as they excite me anymore. Changes seem to be made as much for the sake of change as for the better reason of improving gameplay. Changes seem to be made to rush new players to the end game (and more store content) with the result that the end game is becoming more populated with people who don’t have as deep an accumulation of experience wealth. And changes need to be made in a much more holistic manner, in my opinion.

    By way of an illustration, massive changes to one class without reaching out far enough to also manage the repercussions on other classes massively affect gameplay and very often it’s not for the better. As an example within my illustration, you nerf a warden for survivability and you’ve just tossed a fellowship burden on all your healer classes. Give in to the cries that “Oh my class needs more DPS” and your tanking classes just got the bar raised on what a tank has to do for his fellow.

    I’ll ask a question here because it’s something I don’t know but would appreciate learning more about: When a dev announces changes to the class he is overseeing, I don’t recall ever seeing them mention how they worked with other devs to integrate these changes with changes made concurrently in other classes. Putting it another way, show me clearly how this class change is supporting a big picture improvement to the entire game. How much do you think this happens? My own initial thought is that if this were happening as much as I think is necessary in the game, the dev letters would have to address it. Since it’s not addressed, I am going to assume that it’s not a priority.

    Finally, the player council. Others have posted very good posts about fundamental concerns with it. I’m mostly concerned about two problems.

    First, who gets to be on that council is going to make that council good or bad. I don’t want to see it all a collection of hard-core players because the game itself isn’t full of hard-core players but those would be the easiest names to tap. There needs to be a voice for the large company of casual players but how do you find them?

    Second, I’m afraid of backlash from failures and misperceptions of what Turbine can and will do with this. Turbine should be aware of the voice of the player and a company serious about its brand and its future will try to satisfy its market. On the other hand, Turbine doesn’t need to make players think that a democracy runs this ship when that simply won’t happen. It’s bad business and will kill LOTRO faster than anything else. So I just fear that the end result will be more people polluting the forums with “Turbine suxx” garbage because I predict that the player forum will raise hopes more than it changes Turbine.

    I think that this is just a duplication of effort for the sake of publicity of what should already be accomplished within the forums dedicated to the Bullroarer test server, the dialogues that should be happening with devs in the various forums, moderators observations from within the game and the support queue, and Sapience’s crew observing the forums as a whole.

    I end with great love for LOTRO and the utmost respect for everyone associated with the game. May God bless her and all who sail in her.

    Reply

  14. Celondur Says:

    Goldenstar, this is a bit of a tangent, but I haven’t heard you say anything about the housing decorations available from Hytbold. I thought that might be a bigger motivation for you to complete Hytbold than the armor sets. ;)

    Reply

    • Avatar of Goldenstar
      Goldenstar Says:

      I’m very time limited and I’m getting the armor first. I honestly don’t have the room to get all of the new furniture. I’d end up buying it and then having to delete it which is pretty much the crappiest thing i can think of doing. If someone has something for me to take pictures of, I will.

      Reply

      • susan Says:

        im done with hybolt and have been running dailies in order to get all the cosmetics and sell them on the AH. they are really nicely done cosmetics, especially the ‘rich rohan’ series of items, wall hangings and chandeliers. I sell them because I dont have room to store the almost 100 new items. I bet they are going to introduce a housing item wallet with the new update. they just have to, there is no room anymore what with bound rep items, festival items and now rohan.

        Reply

  15. Strunto Says:

    I really like the LotR movie’s depiction of Edoras, in that it’s nowhere near as grand as Gondor. And it gives Saruman’s insult all the more sting. “What is the house of Rohan but a thatched barn where brigands drink in the reek and rats roll on the floor with the dogs? The victory at Helm’s Deep does not belong to you, Théoden, horsemaster! You are a lesser son of greater sires.”

    I think some of the halls we’ve already visited in Rohan have equaled or surpassed the grandiosity that I think Edoras should have, so it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like. (The halls are beautiful, by the way, and rich with detail. If anything, I think they’ve erred too far in that direction.)

    Reply

  16. Merrydew Says:

    Hmmmmm… If they’re making BIG CHANGES to Classes may I put in my request now for a Hobbit Lore Mistress, Runekeeper and Tiny Blender (Champ)?

    Reply

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