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Developer Chat Log

Laura Genender Posted:
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Lord of the Rings Online - Developer Chat Log

The folks from Turbine dropped by on Monday night to answer questions about their popular MMORPG, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.

[MMORPG]Taera: Greetings and welcome to MMORPG.com's Live Chat on irc.coldfront.net! I'm your host, MMORPG.com's community manager Laura Taera Genender. Joining us today is the Lord of the Rings Online dev team!

[MMORPG]Taera: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question [1]at a time[1], and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.

[MMORPG]Taera: To send a question, please /msg MMORPGBot Yourquestionhere

[MMORPG]Taera: If you would like to talk about LOTRO during the chat, please /join #LOTRO for open discussion

[MMORPG]Taera: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question [1]at a time[1], and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Hey all, Cardell Annuvin Kerr here... I'm the Creative Director type person for LOTRO, and my hobbies include channel surfing, and training my dogs to do horrible things to visiting relatives.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Hey, Jeffrey STeefel here. I'm the EP for LOTRO which means I get delayed in crazy meetings instead of being here where all the fun is!!!

[LOTRO]Patience: Hi everyone! I'm Meghan Patience Rodberg, community manager at Turbine. I wrangle players and sometimes cause feature creep on their behalf. Thanks for coming tonight. :)

[MMORPG]Taera: jOyriDe asks, I played during Beta, and didnt see much player armor diversity, has this been added now?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, since beta we've added a great deal of armor options. Additionally, in our upcoming update, we're adding a whole system to allow folks to appear however they want, regardless of what actual equipment they have equipped.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: NOTE - the system won'y work in the ettenmoors, as not being able to see your opponent's weapons is sort of uncool.

[MMORPG]Taera: Isest asks, is there any plans of letting our alts have the house travel icon, and acess to the house mailbox

[LOTRO]Ringleader: We've definitely been hearing from players that this is something that's important. We're looking into it and should be something you'll see in the future.

[MMORPG]Taera: Nealla asks, Are there any plans for changing Auction House Sorting to cover multiple pages?

[MMORPG]Taera: bear with us - we're getting the bot un-lagged :)

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Not currently. We would like to add more functionality to our auction house treatment, but we don't have any major changes/revisions planned.

[MMORPG]Taera: Druid asks, Are we going to get new updates for areas outside Eriador, or are we going to have to buy an expansion? Any idea when this is going to happen or what the new level cap will be?

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Hmm. That sounds like a few questions :) We'll definitely have Book updates that take place outside of Eriador. There is some unfinished business before we cross over the Misties but rest assured that time awaits. In terms of expansion beyond our Book updates, we're certainly looking at expansions - just not ready to talk about that quite yet.

[MMORPG]Taera: Instago asks, What plans are there to further emphasize Tolkein's classic Good vs. Evil theme?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, it's funny that you ask this. Ultimately, the entire 'Dread' system is a nod to that, as it's the manifestation of corruption within Middle-Earth. Overall, we plan on pushing that system further in the future, though, in all fairness, we're trying to focus more on making your character a hero to rival the fellowship than the overall appeal of good vs. evil.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: (I think they are closely related, however)

[MMORPG]Taera: NOTE! To submit a question /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere.

[MMORPG]Taera: Sending your questions to me does nothing :)

[MMORPG]Taera: Isest asks, what are the next class updates and when will we see them on test

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, our next updates are to the Guardian, the Burglar, and the Champion for Book 12

[MMORPG]Taera: Erirdar asks, Hunters are the squishiest class besides the loremaster, and they have no self-heal or pet. Are there any plans to make Hunters a more playable solo class?

[LOTRO]Patience: The Hunter was recently given a pass in Book 10, and we think it's in a pretty good place right now. It's currently the second-most played class in the game. We'll continue to look at feedback from the players as well as examining the data the game produces, and make revisions as necessary - but for now, don't expect any major changes.

[MMORPG]Taera: Jorwin asks, Will we get to branch outside of eriador?

[MMORPG]Taera: NOTE! If your question is deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing before you :) never fear, it's not forgotten.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Of course! We're just getting started. Middle-earth opens up across the misties into the real heart of the War of the ring and some amazing places. Bear in mind that its only been 6 months since launch, even though we've had a huge amount of updates. We'll be on our way across the Misty Mountains soon enuf!

[MMORPG]Taera: Beorhtigall asks, will you expand and surprise us with upgrades to areas we already have? new quests and more areas to enter from the books?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, it's funny you should mention that. We completely revisited a region of the game for Book 12, and it plays wildly differently. As for more places/areas from the books, I think it is safe to say that you will be pleased with 2008... oh yes... you will be quite, quite, happy.

[MMORPG]Taera: TheBob asks, What are Turbines plans to minimize game-wide outages such as those that affected LoTRO and DDO last week?

[LOTRO]Patience: Hi Bob - you had to remind me. I was trying to block that out. :D Monday's outage was caused by a problem with our SAN following an upgrade, and yesterday's outage was a hardware failure; also in the SAN, but unrelated to Monday's outage. In both cases we are evaluating our response and recovery procedures to minimize impact on the customers when the unexpected occurs.

[LOTRO]Patience: I think most of our players will agree that we take downtime very seriously and will continue to do everything in our power to prevent it, and if it does occur, we'll do our best to make sure we're communicating every step of the way with our players until we're back up.

[MMORPG]Taera: Verderuso asks, Yourquestionhere Hello, I wanted to know if we are getting new hairsyles or new faces in book 12 Thanks :)

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Book 12 is all about customization... and what fun would we have without the moh-ullet, a vintage Middle-Earth haircut? (punk in the front, party in the back)

[LOTRO]Annuvin: So... yes, there will be more haircuts in the future. ;)

[MMORPG]Taera: Beloth asks, Will any lvl cap increase also include skill and trait slot increases as well?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, in a world where we were to raise our level cap (and I'm not saying this world exists for us), it would make a good deal of sense that we don't change the fundamental game too much. That said, I think you'll see more new widgets when/if that occurs, including new traits and new things you can do with traits.

[MMORPG]Taera: vilfred asks, book 12, is month of the guardian right?, if so, are there gonna be major improvements to dps and skills or are we looking at newer skills that will really help the guardian match the other classes?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Yeah, so there have been some very strong additions to the Guardian's skill portfolio (similar to the Burglar, imho). The Guardian is getting some skills that can help him with DPS, that allow him to fight with two handed weapons (well, I might add), and that allow him to tank more effectively.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: The Guardian was a solid class before, and I think the new additions will make him even more solid.

[MMORPG]Taera: deth2munkies[LoSS] asks, Are all the responses that start with Funny you should ask" prewritten? :P"

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Funny you should ask

[LOTRO]Patience: Funny you should ask...

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Funny U should ask

[LOTRO]Patience: No, they're not :D We're just glad you asked, lol

[MMORPG]Taera: Gameloading asks, How long has Lotro been in development and was it difficult working with the IP holders?

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Wewll, LOTRO in one form or another has been kicking around for some time as an IP for online, but the game people saw at launch is basically the product of 4-Mar years of development. In terms of working with Tolkien Enterprises, it really has been amazingly productive. We work directly with them and they have extended a significant amount of trust to us in building the game.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: And they really get that this needs to be a great game and that at times we will need to balance lore with gameplay.

[MMORPG]Taera: Deyvid_MMO asks, Now that housing has been active for a while, has housing turned out as you expected regarding how players have taken to it and used it? When will we see any new updates or expansions to player housing to take it to the next level, closer to your ultimate goal for player housing? I love Lotro!

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Hey Deyvid! LOTRO loves you too.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Anyhow, Housing turned out very well, in my opinion. Early on, we decided that our goal was to make houses available to everyone, but we didn't want a world where everyone was in their own little apartment.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: In that sense, the neighborhood approach was a huge win. With that said, there are still some fundamental elements we'd like to add to it moving forward, ranging from free form placement to pets that attack visiting relatives. You can expect these 'in the future'.

[MMORPG]Taera: Lore-blade asks, On the note of Druid's topic, Are the any plans for changing the level cap? I can recall numerous problems this caused in WoW.

[LOTRO]Patience: Hi Lore-blade! While we don't have any current plans to raise the level cap, I can tell you that we're more likely to raise it in an expansion pack than in any of our Books.

[MMORPG]Taera: Laire asks, This is to Mr. Steefel: in a recent interview you started that you would be making armour/graphics more colorful and exaggerated to appeal to Korean and other Asian players. How far will you be taking this? Many players do not want to see this turn into a game with WoW-esque graphics. Thanks.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: As with all interviews, things can get a bit exaggerated out of context. What I believe we discussed was whether we'd be taking into consideration the needs/tastes of Asian audiences as we go to launch in China and Korea.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: I mentioned that in lieu of using the desaturated look of the films as was an early design idea, we moved to more colorful hues in the game to make sure it was vibrant and appealing.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: I also mentioned that for higher level armour we might continue to push the color and profile a bit - but always within what makes sense in the world we have created. This speaks well to the kind of game/lore balance I mentioned earlier.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: But the high fidelity and graphical feel of LOTRO is one of our strengths - rest assured that will never change.

[MMORPG]Taera: Qelrond asks, There have been players talking about hiring NPC's for quests. Could we see anything like this in the future?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, I don't think we'll be allowing folks to hire followers... if anything, we're trying to make our game more soloable. You can expect a good deal of change to the Epic story in Book 12, in addition to more attention to our high level quest structures.

[MMORPG]Taera: SXO asks, Will a future paid expansion have an advanced mounted combat system?

[MMORPG]Taera: To ask a question please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere

[LOTRO]Patience: While we don't currently have any plans for mounted combat, it does make sense that in the future as we expand into Rohan we'll start to examine including a mounted combat system.

[MMORPG]Taera: sunshineandflowers asks, Hi, I would like to know if you guys have any plans to add more critter play in the near future

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Why, are the chickens getting lonely?

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Seriously, It's a fun mechanic and we'll certainly explore utilizing it further in the future. It really depends on how many players are drawn to it. As with music, any feature we see our players adopting alot we'll get behind and make even better.

[LOTRO]Patience: I [heart] chicken play :D

[MMORPG]Taera: Nealla asks, Can we look forward to sea/water monsters in the future?

[LOTRO]Patience: Well, this is going to be a lot like the answer about mounted combat, so I'll nutshell it: Yes, probably at some time in the future. :)

[MMORPG]Taera: Ssmoimo asks, Are there any plans to add more detailed descriptions to abilities for many of the classes, and explain better what certain effects do such as Disperse Shadow?

[MMORPG]Taera: We are no longer accepting new questions at this time; we will continue answering the questions in queue, though! :)

[LOTRO]Patience: Hi Ssmoimo, I don't think we have current plans to update the descriptions in the game, but you might want to post your thoughts about it in our Suggestions forum at http://forums.lotro.com. We do pull suggestions from there. :)

[MMORPG]Taera: Qin asks, Hunters get it very easy to travel around, are there any plans for the other classes, like more quick travel routes at certain levels to make it a bit more equal?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: To re-word your question: Do you plan to water down the Hunter's class role?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: In a nutshell? No. We do plan on adding some travel routes to locations, however, in order to minimize people's horse time.

[MMORPG]Taera: Daesan asks, I'm curious if we'll be seeing any other large areas like Evendim opening up in further updates, or if the next few updates will only consist of adding small areas with instances. I could assume that Rohan will most likely be released as part of an expansion, but what about Moria?

[LOTRO]Ringleader: You will absolutely see new regions/areas added to LOTRO during upcoming updates. In fact we are working on such a region as we speak.

[LOTRO]Ringleader: To your other question, Moria is someyyrow985-243876-2kndvjali6]n[uwbvgc;xoir7y1-yfvbnaskjhvbhla

[LOTRO]Ringleader: [Our sincere apologies - this message has been altered by Turbine MarketBots]

[MMORPG]Taera: Detana asks, How will the appearance changes being introduced in Book 12 affect what is seen when you inspect another player? Will you be able to see what they are really wearing or only what they want you to see?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, funny you should ask. On initial inspect, you will see their actual gear. From there, you will be able to look through the outfits (cosmetic) that the person has equipped as well.

[MMORPG]Taera: Sqigmond asks, Will they be adding more storage capabilities in game? More Bank space or bigger Bags to carry?

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Sqigmond, bought a house yet? One of the priviledges of home ownership :)

[MMORPG]Taera: Vallenar asks, I know a lot of people are asking for outside of Eriador but there is still plenty of new land opportunities inside Eriardor as well. Can you give us any kind of sneak peak?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, we do have plenty of story left to tell in Eriador, so you can expect more landmasses to open up. For book 12, we're looking to release the Ettendeep, a large addition to the Ettenmoors... so long as it passes our super secret quality standards.

[MMORPG]Taera: Dordrac asks, Any new zones being released in books 13, 14 or 15? And what about any small instances in book 12?

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Funny you should ask..

[LOTRO]Patience: Funny you should ask...

[LOTRO]Ringleader: Funny you should ask!

[LOTRO]Ringleader: YES!

[MMORPG]Taera: Koolaider asks, Hey Devs! I started playing LotRO in November when the Beta was still pretty young, started playing again around launch. As the months passed, I found my self at level 50 with not much to do! What will the team be bringing to the table for us that are looking for end game stuff to do?

[LOTRO]Patience: Annuvin is typing.

[LOTRO]Patience: Slowly. :D

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Well, it's funny you should... ah, screw it.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Anyhow, there comes a time in all MMO's where the passionate subscriber finds that the game that they love doesn't have that 'sheen' it used to have. We pride ourself on the quality of our release, as LOTRO was a labor of love. With that said, you (subscriber) consume content at an amazing rate... and you don't all like the same things.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: We have added elements post launch (2 Raids, some high level instances) and we've unveiled more of our epic story and plot line. We've added housing, and now we're adding a whole cosmetic system for folks to have complete customization of your character.

[LOTRO]Annuvin: All I really want to say is; we will keep adding things. When/if we ever do an expansion, you can expect it will be largely aimed at our endgame.

[MMORPG]Taera: MMORPG_Taera asks, Is the chat done?!

[LOTRO]Patience: Yes! :D

[LOTRO]Annuvin: Phunney u shuld asc.

[MMORPG]Taera: Thank you for joining MMORPG.com and irc.coldfront.net for the Lord of the Rings Online dev chat! Round of applause for our awesome developers, and thank you all for coming!


Laura Genender