LOTRO Helm’s Deep Pre-Order Debacle

posted this on September 13th, 2013.
Categorized as beta, epic line, expansion, F2P, Free to Play, Helm's Deep, instances, isengard, lord of the rings online, lotro, pre-order, Riders of Rohan, Rise Of Isengard, rohan, store.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/09/13/lotro-helms-deep-pre-order-debacle/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

I don’t really like making my first post in a long while a rant, but I just couldn’t help it.  There are so many things I feel are wrong with this announcement that I needed to write about it.  I have been expecting this news pretty much any day since the middle of June, so I can’t be terribly surprised it came yesterday.  I’m also not surprised by what was actually in the announcement, but I was really hoping that Turbine would change its model from previous expansions.

Sure, Isengard was their best expansion ever, and one that I snatched up the legendary pack for immediately.  However, we’ve never heard a peep about how Rohan did and one can only guess that it didn’t do all that well.  I know from my own highly scientific polling, most people were either not getting the pack or using their Turbine points for it, like I did.  What Turbine failed to do with that pre-order was include items that people really cared about and wanted.  After 6 years, I think players are getting tired of titles (does anyone still care what title they show?) and have more cosmetic items then they know what to do with.  Combine that with the fact that we can only show off one horse at any given time, it makes it hard to really need all these extra things.

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Turbine’s Communication Issues

posted this on July 10th, 2013.
Categorized as Developer Diary, lord of the rings online, lotro, turbine.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/07/10/turbines-communication-issues/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

I waited on making this post as I wanted to give Turbine added time to release their next round of twenty questions, however if anything those questions further exacerbate the issue as myself and others see it.  I’m not claiming to speak for the entire community, but I know at least many, and certainly I believe the portion of the community Sapience was addressing on Monday.  In answering the posts over the weekend, Sapience was a little bit snarky in responding to the community by explaining how much they’ve pushed out to the community and failing to understand why the community continues to ask the same questions.  I think this comes down to a few things.

The classic quote “I do not think that means what you think it does” comes to mind with regards to communication.  In order for communications to be successful, they need to not only be sent out, but received in some fashion.  One way communication isn’t all that successful, and I think Sapience’s post pretty much points out that there’s a disconnect somewhere.  Turbine needs to realize not all of their players read the forums, I’m guessing a pretty low percentage actually and probably about that same amount follow sites either on the web or through some sort of social media.  However, even those following in some fashion inevitably miss items as it can be hard to catch every single item that is ever posted.  As an example, it is a REDICULOUS process to even try to obtain updates on when a dev makes a post – the ONLY way to do it is check the dev tracker constantly or use a horrendous Yahoo Pipes setup that thankfully someone put up and shared with the community.  Even that dev feed can get cluttered with things like store sales and out of game events.  Providing a way to filter those out and subscribe in some fashion would be quite helpful.

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Updates on the LOTRO Team Changes

posted this on July 8th, 2013.
Categorized as lord of the rings online, lotro, producer, turbine.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/07/08/updates-on-the-lotro-team-changes/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

Sapience did provide a couple updates out to folks this morning in response to the Aaron Campbell news, although not much more then name dropping, to clarify what’s going on with the LOTRO team.  In his brief post, he mentions:

  • Kate Paiz is still the executive producer
  • Derek Flippo still is the Design Director
  • Hannah Foell who has been a producer for a while now, will pretty much take over solo for Aaron’s communication duties.
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Who’s Left on the LOTRO Team?

posted this on July 8th, 2013.
Categorized as beta, Helm's Deep, lord of the rings online, lotro, turbine.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/07/08/whos-left-on-the-lotro-team/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

News was made last week as Aaron “Rowan” Campbell announced he is taking over as the Senior Producer of DDO, leaving the LOTRO team without a Senior Producer.  It has neither been confirmed or denied on the LOTRO forums, and similarly, there’s been no mention of what’s going on with Kate Paiz, who last posted in January as the Executive Producer for LOTRO.  There’s a couple of things I wanted to touch on about this news, the obvious and then what I found after a little more digging into things.

I wonder if this is a promotion for Aaron, a lateral move, or a demotion based on what has happened (or rumored to have happened) with LOTRO.  Perhaps I’m wrong, but I always looked at LOTRO as being the bigger title for Turbine as compared to DDO.  Certainly you can read all sorts of things into this move and maybe they’re looking to Aaron to pump some life into DDO or something along those lines.  But the way it was announced – nothing on the LOTRO side and just a short introduction on the DDO forums, seems a little odd.  I would think if they wanted Aaron to carry on his “success,” they would want to pump him up a bit more and set him up a bit better.  Or the flip side, Turbine’s PR does have some issues so maybe they’re just doing their normal fantastic job.  Also, as has been raised elsewhere perhaps Turbine is seeing more competition in the D&D realm with Neverwinter Online and Elder Scrolls Online and they wanted to try and confront that.

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Challenging the Status Quo

posted this on July 2nd, 2013.
Categorized as expansion, Free to Play, Helm's Deep, lord of the rings online, lotro, podcast, Raid, Rise Of Isengard, rohan.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/07/02/challenging-the-status-quo/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

I think I’ve written and deleted this post at least half a dozen times as I’ve really been struggling with this of late.  As a bit of a back-story, I was incredibly upset with how some people handled the recent “Troll” post and I struggled with how I wanted to handle it.  I’ve taken quite a bit more time then normal as I just couldn’t come up with a way to accomplish something useful, without just ranting about someone else’s work.  I’m sure some will be able to figure out what I’m actually referring to, but hopefully this is broad enough that no one takes it too personally.  And if you do, just be happy I didn’t post what I originally wrote.

The core of my concern was that the “Troll” post could (and was) be taken as either a total troll post, or as a joke and just as quickly dismissed without too much more discussion.  Taking one of those view-points and discussing it purely on that concept is doing exactly what you shouldn’t do on the internet – Feed the Trolls, not to mention wasting peoples time  However, if you actually want to dive into some of the questions that were raised in that post, then you can actually start shifting the discussion to something that could benefit the entire community.

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Saying Goodbye to CSTM

posted this on June 29th, 2013.
Categorized as cstm, lord of the rings online, lotro, podcast.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/06/29/saying-goodbye-to-cstm/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

I thought a few times on what to do for CSTM as they’re retiring from podcasting, although luckily they’ll still be gaming and on twitter so not completely gone.  I won’t be available to join the live show tonight, so I wanted to put up a post instead.  I thought about recording something, but I just have too many thoughts in my head and it is much easier to organize in writing, then worry about trying to do it in writing and THEN make it through a recording.

I have enormous respect for what they’ve been able to do in growing their community and the quality of the material they’ve been able to put out.  I know many point to their festival guides, which I’m not sure folks completely realize how much work goes into those especially now that so much of those are gated behind daily achievements.  It takes dedication on their end as well as a contagious excitement that brings in others to help offset that enormous load.  That kind of time and effort certainly can take a toll and with a family, I’m can totally see how that would become quite the challenge.

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Jumping Ship

posted this on June 7th, 2013.
Categorized as camelot unchained, Eve Online, Funcom, lord of the rings online, lotro, pvp, Rift, trion world, TSW.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/06/07/jumping-ship/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

I’ve been a bit quiet posting lately, and that’s mainly due to a lack of actual gaming.  I’ve been playing some FM13, but during the off-season of real football, my interest has waned a bit.  I’ve also struggled getting into the other games I’ve been playing, namely LOTRO, TSW, and RIft.  But my recent excitement about Camelot Unchained got me thinking about what I’m looking for in a game, and that then prompted my jump.

Back to Camelot Unchained, the Kickstarter has been funded and there’s a ton of stuff going on so far.  There have been a number of updates, including new animations and art-work, but what really got me going was the opening of the Founder’s Forums.  I haven’t been too active over there, but two things really got me thinking.  First off, there are (naturally) a ton of former DAOC players there and it really got me reminiscing about that game and the fun I had there.  I remember spending hours on end in PvP that not only meant something but had somewhat painful ramifications for death, nothing permanent, just travel time.  Then of course all the talk about what was and wasn’t going to be in the game and how various systems would work got me thinking about what I actually wanted to do in a game.

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The Ups and Downs of LOTRO’s Update 11

posted this on May 18th, 2013.
Categorized as beta, Bullroarer, crafting, Equipment, Free to Play, gear, instances, legendary items, lord of the rings online, lore, lotro, mounted combat, Raid, Trechery of the White Hand, Update 11, Virtues, Warband.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/05/18/the-ups-and-downs-of-lotros-update-11/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

For me Update 11 has been a bit of a mixed bag.  There are a number of cool little things they’ve put into the game and of course the new epic story line, but I can’t help but be overly frustrated by the lack of quality and revision control that Turbine continues to show with its launches.  There’s also the slightly shadier aspect that I’m not sure I like or dislike, and that’s the continual push to have players log in every day.

Let’s start with the good parts, I’ve already talked about the zone and it really doesn’t disappoint from a visual perspective.  The whole footprints in the snow things is pretty darn cool!  I like the new housing tweaks, especially being able to pay for 20 weeks up front, in case you know you’re going to be gone (or forget) and that 5 weeks just isn’t long enough.  Foreclosure doesn’t impact me at all, but I think its a good middle ground way to get out of the corner they backed themselves into.  While the launcher has had issues, I do like the fact that it FINALLY respects your default browser when clicking links from within it.  I’m also quite happy with the way the epic line (not that I’ve done that much) mixes in your story with session plays to allow you to flesh out the rest of the story and allow us to check in on other areas.  The LOTRO story is quite geographically diverse, and this tech is a great way to show what’s going on without forcing us all other the map.  They also added in new craftable items for those who have maxed out not only their crafting skills, but their guild reputation.  I’m quite happy these don’t require any other reputation (like Wildermore) as it allows for folks with lower level crafting alts to still make usable items for people at the end game.  These items are a touch better then the Hytbold items, and offer quite a bit of flexibility with their multi-output options, so they’re definitely worth a look.  One other thing that I haven’t checked out, but was mentioned in the LOTRO Reporter interview was mounted fishing, and while you may or may not like the idea, the technology and concept behind it is quite intriguing and points to further growth and flexibility of the game engine, which is always a good thing.

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LOTRO Update 11 Official Patch Notes

posted this on May 13th, 2013.
Categorized as captain, End Game, Equipment, Free to Play, legendary items, lord of the rings online, lotro, mithril coin, Patch Notes, pvp, Raid, Traits, Trechery of the White Hand, turbine, Update 11, Warden.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/05/13/lotro-update-11-official-patch-notes/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

The patch notes are live for folks to check out as the servers should be up soon-ish.  I’m not going to post them in full, but a few highlights:

<Update> Don’t forget there’s a new batch of top tier guild craftables as I mentioned previously <Update>

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LOTRO Update 11 Goodies

posted this on April 29th, 2013.
Categorized as beta, Bullroarer, crafting, End Game, Equipment, gear, Helm's Deep, lord of the rings online, lotro, screenshots, Update 11, Warden.

Shorthand Link:
Full link: http://docholidaymmo.com/2013/04/29/lotro-update-11-goodies/

DocHoliday's MMO Saloon DocHoliday's MMO Saloon - LOTRO, Secret World, & Rift with an End-Game View

Of course this is all subject to change, but there are some pretty cool aspects to Update 11 that I wanted to share with folks.  I also will have a couple of suggestions for folks towards the end.  Don’t get me wrong, Update 11 isn’t perfect and it won’t keep end-game folks busy until the Helm’s Deep expansion, but this update is better then what I was expecting.  And I haven’t even done any of the Epic line, which always have good stories tied to them.

Visually, the area is quite stunning and unlike the other winter zones in the game – which is quite nice.  Turbine always impresses me with how they’re able to keep creating different and unique zones.  Adding to the beauty of the area, Turbine has stepped it up with their armor designs in this update.  The end-game sets with Rohan were honestly pretty disappointing as the Hytbold sets were incredibly un-inspired.  As some examples, check out some of the gear below:

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