Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoguhts on a failed return, and the future of LotRO

Hey people. I had honestly totally forgotten that I had started this thing until about a week ago, when I almost came back to playing LotRO. Before, there were a couple reasons why I stopped, but the main one was school. I wanted to really focus on college, and LotRO certainly wasn't going to help me in that respect. I finished a semester of college, but decided I like teaching guitar more than exams and papers and professors. So now school's not in the way anymore.

I had heard great things about the Siege of Mirkwood expansion, and I even had the opportunity to play it for a bit on a friend's computer. I took my friend's avatar out for a few more hours the next day just to see if it would be worth it, and by the end I was totally facing the opposite direction.

Basically, everything that had been added since I left seemed like icing on the cake. To most people, that metaphor means something positive. For me, most of the time it does, but this time I'm using it the other way. Icing is sweet while it lasts, but in the long run it's insubstantial, doesn't last a long time, and can easily make you sick if you have too much. The skirmish system was OK, I guess. It's basically an easy answer to the people whining about not being able to find a fellowship (which is a legitimate complaint). There's a bunch of new items to gander at in the AH, a lot of them to facilitate the crafting of Legendary weapons (I left before that beast reared its head). Those things (and others which I won't bore you with, you've already experienced them) left me with a very "blah" feeling.

I felt myself sinking back into the mentality I had right before I quit. The game has strayed from its roots to try to entice as many people as possible. I can't blame Turbine for this (well, maybe I can), but they need to survive as a company and in this climate that's not easy. The original goal was to experience the world of Tolkien with other like-minded players. Now with glowing legendary weapons and all these flashy new systems, the game's lost its awesome simplicity that it had in the beginning. I get that stuff needs to be added and changed to keep things interesting, but there's no reason that those things have to taint what was already a solid foundation. I've said this before, but the game is becoming a WoW clone. We already have a Wow. Give us something else.

My last thought is on the future of the game as a whole. I'd be screaming this in the forums and in real life if I could, but I can't post it in the forums becuase I don't have an active subscription, and I'd look like an idiot in real life. My dad plays the stock market game, and he watches a guy on TV, Jim Cramer. The guy's a character, but also extremely brilliant. He predicted the US stock market crash that happened late in '08 before anyone else did, and he tried to warn people (to no avail) to try to prevent it, because he saw the signs that no one else did. I kind of feel like that now, but time will tell if I'm just being irrational.

This game is going to die. Maybe not soon, but eventually. I obviously don't have subscription numbers, so maybe the number of players is growing astronomically fast, but I don't think so. Ballparking it, I think that number will stop increasing within 12 months if not sooner, and it'll be a dead game within 2 years. Turbine is throwing ideas into the game in a desperate fashion so they can have more bullet points for new features when they release an expansion. I say this with all the love in the world. I adored this game. I really did. The simplicity of it, the beauty of it (in every aspect), but now there's a whole crap-ton of unneeded...crap getting in the way of that. I want to adore it again. All I have now are the books (which is enough for now).

Maybe I'm an outlier in terms of what people are looking for in this game, but I don't think so. Anyone who wants what Turbine is serving up now is going to (if they haven't already) go over to WoW, because Blizzard has been doing it longer, they're doing it better, and their numbers are still growing after almost 6 years.

In the most arrogant and tucked away corner of my brain that I keep shut up 99% of the time, I'm hoping someone will post this message of the forums for me, because (again, arrogantly), I think this needs to be said to as many people as possible as a sorely needed wake-up call. Something needs to give, and it needs to happen soon.


  1. "it'll be a dead game within 2 years."

    Ok, where to begin. Obviously, you're an emotional person & its got the better of you here with this post (rant). You've zero data to back this claim, just your own opinion based off (& i don't know how long you played Mirkwood for, but since you're not using any facts in your statement, I'll also make up some rubbish & say) 5 minutes game-play, you say a mutli-million dollar operation with thousands of fans world-wide will DIE inside 2 years.

    There's so much one could say about this statement, notwithstanding some of the other drivel you've posted (you're comparing yourself/drawing an analogy of your fact-less opinion with a stockmarket professional who "predicted" a crash?, puhleease).

    But I'll refrain from wasting too much of my time on the ranting of someone who clearly has a lot to learn (not sure college with help you with this) & makes unfounded statements, who covets public adoration, from the forums of a game he no longer plays.

    Whilst the freedom of speech blogging has encouraged is for the greater good of expression & censorship, there's no filter for just plain stupid, of which this post, is 100%.

    Good Luck Sir.

  2. Its not stupid, its what a blog is supposed to be, a place for him to express his opinion. Whatever he enjoyed about LOTRO when he first played is no longer there for him. And we all tend to see the world from our own perspective and have a harder time imagine it from a different one. Only Turbine knows what their subscription numbers are doing. Definitely I can see how it can go sour, there are some grindy things I've done with my main I have absolutely no desire to do on an alt.

    Conversely, there is nothing wrong with adding elements that WoW may have implemented first - a good idea is a good idea, and using it doesn't mean one becomes a clone, especially if it makes your player base happier. It's a valid point that trying to be a WoW clone is a recipe for failure, but I suspect Turbine is smart enough to understand that.

    And part of what this chap's problem is that he only liked certain parts of the game and what he's seen of the new stuff was not more of that but only stuff he wasn't interested in. Of course, that doesn't mean the game is bad or will have problems, but it does mean it may have a harder time holding on to this kind of player.

    A good follow on post by this gentleman might be to express just what he really loved about the game when he played it in more detail (and he may have already done so, this is the first time I've read this blog and I'm posting just because the other commenter was a little too negative :). That aways he might get more useful feedback as he may have missed some new aspects he might actually enjoy.

  3. I read this entry and all consequent comments below it and I only have one thing to point out.. Is it true that 1.) any game being a WoW clone ends up doing terribly or canned and 2.) any game that INNOVATES away from WoW ends up a success? I don't think the WoW clone argument holds any water for ANYONE anymore. We all know that WoW was not the first MMO on the scene, just the one most people were exposed to as their first. As Merric & Goldenstar mentioned, Everquest and Ultima Online were the first to use these "WoW elements," yet everyone persists in calling things WoW clones. If you can name me one "WoW clone" that is still around, then argument 1.) is invalid, and I can invalidate argument 2.) for you: Tabula Rasa. In no way was that anything like WoW, yet it suffered due to internal office politics, resulting in a lack of focus when it came to players.

    Just my two cents. Have to cut this short as I'm at work.

  4. Okay, a little mixed of good and bad. You have been warned ;)

    Mirkwood, to me, is one of the least enjoyable areas in the game. It builds upon the "been an elf servant" that was in Lorien (which is the second least enjoyable area to me). I understand repeatable quests are a mainstay of MMOs but please do not use them as a way to extend the shelf life of a game.

    Mirkwood seemed to be hastily put together without too much thought (my opinion here again, your mileage may vary). Yes, the added crafting stuff and using skirmishes are nice. However, the regular quests and epic quests are sub-par. In every MMO I have played (there have been quite a few), my negative comments have applied to them.

    Okay, whew. LOTRO has some good stuff and I think they have some good things coming up. I think the numbers will continue to improve and they could attract a wider audience. Although I think the grind of Lorien and Mirkwood will turn a lot of players away who come from other games.

    *grabs asbestos body armor*


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  16. Nice blog you got here! It's a pity you don't post that much anymore. I just became your follower and would love to hear more of your thoughts.
    One thing though: LotRO is NOT going to die! It became free to play and I heard the numbers went up by alot! New people are playing and a lot of old ones are also returning. I even quit WoW to play with it.

    Anyway, even if you don't post anymore, I would love if you could check out my blog aswell. Maybe become my follower too. It's about writings and drawings of a word similiat to LotR. It's at:

    Again, great blog and I would love to see more!

  17. After testing the Turbine MMOs I decided to stay with DDO. If the system there is the same, then it MIGHT have a chance of succeeding. But really, WoW is just a rip-off of several games. Mainly Everquest. And I hate it. :( Cheers, guyse.

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  18. Have not played LotR yet, but my WoW addiction is waning, so it may happen. Hope you post again.
    My blog combines WoW, gaming, and writing romance. Hope to see you there.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. In the most arrogant and tucked away corner of my brain that I keep shut up 99% of the time, I'm hoping someone will post this message of the forums for me, because (again, arrogantly), I think this needs to be said to as many people as possible as a sorely needed wake-up call. Something needs to give, and it needs to happen soon.

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