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Your Lord of the Rings Online Questions Answered 115

Posted by Zonk
from the balin-bifur-bofur-bombur-borin-durin-farin-and-fundin-say-hi dept.
Last week we asked you for questions to pass on to Turbine CEO Jeff Anderson, about their recently released Lord of the Rings Online Massively Multiplayer Online Game. There were a ton of great queries, and unfortunately Mr. Anderson had only a limited time to spare for us. Over the phone we still managed to discuss a wide variety of topics, including: their use of the license, lessons learned from the Asheron games, World of Warcraft impact on the genre, what Tolkien would have thought, and whether or not they're working on a Linux/Mac client. Make sure to give them a look, and many thanks again to Mr. Anderson for taking the time to speak with us.
Slashdot: How do you think the launch has gone, for Lord of the Rings Online?

Jeff Anderson: It couldn't really be much better. We've had just terrific response from the community, the sales have been great, we've managed the number one position off and on; the response from the editors, the reviewers, it's racking up the rewards, game of the month, editor's choice awards ... it's really gratifying. You know a bunch of people poured their heart and soul into making this product, and so I'm enthusiastic for them that they can finally see the true value of the hard work that they've put in. We're probably now the second-largest MMORPG operating that was built in the US right now, you know, built in North America/Europe.

Slashdot: If you don't mind my asking, are you folks willing to let out some subscriber numbers at all yet?

Mr. Anderson: Well, besides what I just said probably not. I'd love to, I'd love to, because I think people would be excited about where we are already, barely a month out of the gate. We really don't, though ... it's kind of our policy not to talk about it? People always gave us a hard time; they always said we did it because our number were bad. Now that we have even great numbers we still don't do it. (laughs) So at least maybe we're consistent. When we break ten million, I'll give you a call, how about that?

Slashdot: The rest of the questions for you today, just to give you an idea behind the process, came directly from the Slashdot readers. Some of these folks had very specific things they were interested in, and I hope that there's something you can offer to make those folks happy.

Mr. Anderson: I don't know if I can make them happy, but I hope I can answer their questions.

Slashdot: Great. (Question from Mac_Daddy (21452) ) So to start from a broad perspective, there were several folks who commented in the thread who had played Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2. They wanted to know what were the lessons you took from those titles, moving forward into Lord of the Rings Online?

Mr. Anderson: Oh, I like that one. Hmm ... there was quite a few. I'll stick with one lesson each. The first lesson from AC. What I think AC did really well, was it inspired a core group of community. We saw that core group really consistently drive new players, more growth, more enthusiasm for the product. So we wanted to use that as a mechanic. The Allegiance system was in AC1, and we looked seriously at it, we utilized some of the community-based building tools that we thought about when we built in the family systems, and the fellowship systems that we have coming out. That was an inspiration for all of us. Likewise, with AC now having upwards of 80 updates since the product launched, we saw the power of continually adding new content to the game, to reward the players and to thank them. And also at the same time, it's part of the relationship we've got with them for paying us a monthly subscription, to provide episodic content. That's a huge differentiator, also in D&D frankly, and has really proven to make that community so sticky over so many years.

On the AC2 side, honestly I think that sometimes you can learn as much from the things you do poorly as the things you do right. I don't mind admitting that there were things and mistakes that we've made over the years, that we've continually learned from and grown from. On AC2 there were so many things that went well in the product, but that was a situation where we felt that we needed more time to iron out the problems that we just didn't have the flexibility (as a developer) to do. When we look at the projects we've had going forward, we really wanted to make sure that quality was a new focus for us. Quality of the launches; I think now between D&D and Lord of the Rings, we have set a new standard for expectations about what these launches should be.

You just can't get away with pretending that these games aren't competitive with single-player games. People expect them to have no bugs, expect them to have smooth launches. They don't expect you to have delayed downtimes and migration problems and all that you see oftentimes. So we set ourselves of having a much higher standard and bar for what we've seen anywhere else in the business. I hope that elevates the overall expectation in player's minds. It's not okay anymore to have crappy launches, and just say "Oh, it's an MMO."

I look at AC2, and I think that we could have spent more time, and certainly with Lord of the Rings we made decisions a couple times and moved the [launch] date. Really it was because we thought we were close, and a lot of companies would have shipped the game. We wanted to spend a little extra time, and close some more bugs. My favorite quote in a review about our game was that 'The only thing that's missing is the bugs.' I feel very proud that we have such a quality experience to offer players. It makes me thrilled to hear people say that.

Slashdot: Just to follow up a little bit, could you point to something you might not have had time to get right with Asheron's Call 2, that you got to improve on and 'get right' in Lord of the Rings Online?

Mr. Anderson: I think we've made a lot of improvements over a lot of systems. I think some of the class balance issues got significantly better; I think we're much better at that these days. I think crafting got much better as we kind of lived with the game, so those are two pretty big systems.

If I had to target one overall thing, I'd say we're continually getting better at marrying the player's pace with appropriate level content. I was doing a demo for a reviewer a couple of weeks ago, and they hadn't played the product before. At the end of the day, after like four hours of play, he takes me aside and said, "So I'm going through this region, and I'm fighting all the monsters that are level 1. And I go through this region and I'm fighting all the monsters that are level 2, when I'm level 2. Same for level 3. Are you programmatically changing the monster levels to be the same as my levels behind the scenes?" I loved that. I said "It's just game design", but I really meant that. The team has nailed trying to present content at the right points when you should be getting it. That it wasn't too high, and it wasn't too low. That balance was something the team did a great job of striking.

Slashdot: Before we get into the nitty gritty, again in the broader perspective, you talked about how your games affected LOTRO. A question you might like a bit less: There were several users who drew some comparisons between Lord of the Rings Online and Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Could you talk about how WoW's success may have impacted your decision-making process in making Lord of the Rings Online?

Mr. Anderson: All credit to the Blizzard guys, but I really have seen their product as just taking the tried and true mechanics that those of us who had been at UO, or other products the marketplace had proven out, and they refined them and made them better. We just try to do the same thing. The vast majority of this industry is now consolidated around the gameplay mechanic, and we wanted to be sure we delivered on that. In fact, if you'd asked me what we learned from DDO that we applied to Lord of the Rings Online, one of the chief things I would say is that some of the changes we made were really appealing to players who otherwise liked WoW. Some of the instance-based content, the real-time combat, players find that very attractive who are coming from a more traditional adventure game.

That goes all the way back to Ultima Online, those are the kind of mechanics that we've all laid down and grown up with now, and I think it's become a bit of the expectation. If you're playing a first-person shooter or an RTS you expect them to play a certain way. Now the MMORPG category, having been defined over the last fifteen years, players do have an expectation around that. Blizzard did the same things that everyone else has been doing, and we kind of followed that same path of all the great MMORPGs that have come along even before Blizzard. So in that sense I think we're trying to pay homage to a lot of products, picking out the best features from all of them to make something special.

And, in some very important ways, finding ways to advance the overall body of work further. I think the deeds and accomplishment system really does that, I think the monster play system does that, I think our emphasis on story and pacing really does that. I think people have responded to that, and said "Wow, this is a special game, because it feels like a lot of MMORPGs, but it takes a really unique point of view on some elements, it innovates in some special ways."

I didn't mind that question at all, I have to say. We take a great deal of pride of being part of an overall industry that is trying to perfect the art of online games. I think we all collectively take a step forward every time a product is released. We look at things that happened in a product and we say, "Wow, that's a great idea." or "Didn't like that idea so much." That's part of advancing the art of games. Before Hitchcock came out with a film, people weren't just looking at shots and cinematography in the same way, and now I think people look at it very differently. People look at and emulate the style of directors like Spielberg, because they have points of view that they're able to express. I'm excited to see that evolve here in the games space.

Slashdot: (Question from Chief Crazy Chicken (36416) ) The license you folks are working with; Lord of the Rings is obviously a very big license, and we had a reader who was interested in what the constraints you folks are working under. Specifically he was asking if any of the content from the Children of Hurin book, or any new content in that license, would show up in the game?

Mr. Anderson: Yeah, no, that's not going to be showing up. We're really focused on the source material from Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit specifically.

Slashdot: Okay. No plans ever to tap into the license from the movies at all?

Mr. Anderson: Oh, you know, never say never. Who knows? There's currently nothing about them in the game. In terms of constraints, I think that was a key thing for us. We wanted to make a great game, and a great Tolkien game at the same time. We had to recognize the limitations of the franchise; whether it's the fact that there are only so may wizards in the game, or magic had to be more nature-based than fantastical, that there had to be a physical property associated with it? The fact that we couldn't have 'health', that would couldn't have people popping back to life all over the place ... there are certainly some limitations that the franchise provides, but it really helped to create the boundaries inside of which we could have a lot of creative freedom.

Slashdot: Was there a challenge there in creating something novel, within the license, that was still true to what you folks were working with?

Mr. Anderson: I think the challenges were that there were certain MMORPG mechanics which run contrary to what you want to have if you're making a Lord of the Rings game. So, for example everyone wants to have fireballs, but you can't really have (under Tolkien's world) everyone running around casting big giant fireballs from your fingertips. So, how can you integrate a design solution that gives people what they want without violating the world that Tolkien presented. So we go back and we look at things like physical representations of magic. For example, you throw a flask of oil across the room at a monster and it explodes in flames. That's the perfect example of a magical manifestation, but it's really just a physical representation of a spell.

Those kinds of challenges made it harder from doing things from scratch, but it's wonderful to use the charm of the product.

Slashdot: (Question by Himring (646324) ) Given that a lot of fans of Tolkien's work know that he was a stickler about the ways his ideas were used, do you think that Lord of the Rings Online would meet with his approval?

Mr. Anderson: I hope so. It's so hard to speak on a topic like that one. But he was very passionate about Middle Earth being a place. It was less of a series of books in some ways than it was a chronology of histories. Making that place alive and real for people must have been a very exciting concept in his mind. From a focus standpoint, we didn't want it to be a pointless grind just sitting in the landscape killing repeatedly with no purpose. We wanted to focus on creating a story, a purpose, a meaning; really bring some of the literary elements into this game. I think he would have appreciated that.

Slashdot: (Question by Last_Available_Usern (756093) ) Okay ... we're running low on time, so here are some questions that get more into the nitty gritty of the game, quickly. What was the biggest leap of faith mechanic you put into the game?

Mr. Anderson: Monster Play, without a doubt. That was because we know people love PvP, we knew it was going to be a blast playing as a monster. The challenge there was that we wanted it to be more accessible, more fun, more action-oriented PvP. We didn't want you to feel like you have to grind up to the end to get there. We saw more people enjoying that as a vision in our heads.

Slashdot: (Question by EvilRyry (1025309) ) Do you have any plans, at all, for a Linux or Mac OS X client in the game?

Mr. Anderson: At the moment, no. You never know, though. The door's not closed, but at the moment we have no plans along those lines.

Slashdot: (Question by Soukyan (613538) ) Are there any future plans for improvement of the music system?

Mr. Anderson: Absolutely. In fact, this month June we're having our big update; the Shores of Evendim. A whole new region, six million square meters of space, nine brand-new creatures, over a hundred new quests, targeted at the level 35-45 players. As part of that we're doing changes to the Champion class, we're doing epic armor sets, and we're also doing a big update to the music system. We're adding an element many musicians are familiar with; it's an ascii format called ABC notation? That will allow players to create their own songs, write it down in a more simple and readable way, and then share/integrate/import it into the game.

Slashdot: Last question. (Question by Vicegrip (82853) ) Moving forward with the new content here, you're adding elements for the higher level players. How do you see the game's story moving forward with the One Ring's journey towards Mount Doom?

Mr. Anderson: Well, with the update we're doing right now, we're focusing on sort of the epic stories. Right now the Fellowship is in Rivendell, and is just going to finish the council of Eldrond. Aragorn realizes that he needs to reforge the shards of Narsil, as his first step on the path to being king of Gondor. So you're asked, by Gandalf, to go back to his family's home in the Evendim area, back in the castle area of the Numina, to search for some artifacts that are required to reforge missing parts of the blade. You're intimately involved with what the Fellowship is doing in this area of the epic, so we're continuing to move the story forward with all of our updates in the future. That will happen not only with this update, but as we move forward into the future as well. We'll have the big summer solstice party, and then in August we'll be coming out with a big Monster Play update, and then kind of landing with player housing this October.

Slashdot: That's all the time we have. Thank you for giving us the opportunity, sir.
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Your Lord of the Rings Online Questions Answered

Comments Filter:
  • Softball (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raindance (680694) * <{johnsonmx} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday June 08, 2007 @01:03PM (#19439857) Homepage Journal
    Maybe Zonk played a lot of AC/AC2, and I realize questions were constrained due to time, but I was a bit miffed at the choice of questions. Some of that could be that I had 2 of the highest moderated & discussed questions in the call for interview questions, neither of which were asked (one was on virtual economies, the other on gaming addiction). But beyond that, other very highly-ranked questions about e.g., gold farming weren't asked. All-in-all, it seemed this interview was rather softball.

    I do appreciate Mr. Anderson's interview. Blizzard devs do not give interviews- perhaps due to people like me calling for 'feet to the fire' questions. But a Slashdot interview is a ton of free publicity, and furthermore, Mr. Anderson seemed to expect some 'feet to the fire' questions: "I don't know if I can make them happy, but I hope I can answer their questions." Instead, we pretty much gave him a free pass.
    • Yeah - I was a WoW player for about a year and checked out the LOTR game when it first came out. It looked like a pretty straight rip off -- but to be fair, I didn't actually sign up and play. I'm not sure what they could add over WoW.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kupan787 (916252)
        I'm not sure what they could add over WoW

        Yep. Because WoW is the best MMO ever, and nothing ever will ever surpass it, because there is just no creativity left in this space. In fact, every other MMO designer should just give up now.

        I can think of quite a few things I would love to see: more freedom to do anything; theivery (from players, shops, houses...all with appropriate punishments if caught); ability to kill anyone (player or npc), at anytime, for any reason (with bounties, or appropriate punish
        • by GearType2 (614552)
          You almost literally described Ultima Online in the old days. Although with the recent changes you can still do all of those things, you have to be on the PvP enabled side of the world which is really kinda of empty from players.
        • more freedom to do anything; theivery (from players, shops, houses...all with appropriate punishments if caught); ability to kill anyone (player or npc), at anytime, for any reason (with bounties, or appropriate punishments placed on your character for evil doing);

          That opens you up to all sorts of nasty player behavior. EVE Online is probably the closest to what you describe and it's very much a niche game as a result.

          • by Daengbo (523424)
            I think it would be cool to be able to post bounties on people or groups. Having a lawless society is not fun, but in a lawful society people choose which laws to follow and which to break. Ultimately, a character who chose to grief other characters should be punished by the community of players. A bounty would be one way for that to happen. I think it sounds like Eve excels at this kind of thing.
            • Bounties in EVE are under-used because:

              - For 100k, you can buy a jump clone to protect any expensive implants.

              - If the bounty is high enough, find a trusted friend (or use an alt on a 2nd account) to kill your JC'd no-implant body and split the reward.

              There are few people with multi-million (or billion) ISK bounties. Usually put on themselves just for bragging rights or by friends for kicks.

              It's a nice concept, in theory. Until players get ahold of it...
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Lord Kestrel (91395)
              In Eve, griefing is encouraged, but there are some limitations. Certain activites, such as taking a big battleship, sitting outside one of the starting stations, and nuking the hell out of the 2minute old noobs, is grounds for banning. Then there is about 30% of the universe that is called "high sec", where shooting someone without reason gets the cops on you within seconds, and they shoot to kill. Everywhere else is a lawless land, controlled by alliances, or roaming pirate gangs. In other words, fun stuff
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tridus (79566)
      Tell me about it.

      "Slashdot: (Question by Soukyan (613538) ) Are there any future plans for improvement of the music system? "

      You mean, other then the changes that were announced well before the interview? (His answer effectively is the change in the next patch, which anybody following the game already knows about. No new information there.)

      Only seven questions from the interview thread got asked, and at least one was a complete waste of time. Oh well, it could have been interesting.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CrazyJim1 (809850)
      If I had a question, I would say,"Why does armor do nothing until you're at least level 30?" and "I know you're adding better equipment down the line, but why does the best equipment in the game only differentiate you 5-10% from someone with store bought". Oh and,"Why are all the races fundamentally the same when it comes to their racial statistics?"

      I like Tolkien, and I love Turbine... But could I see myself playing a game where the only thing that matters is your level number and class? Sorry, but no
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 0bject (758316)
        Hmmm...That sounds like a great game to me. I don't want to have to poop-sock it 24/7/365 to be able to compete in a game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AuMatar (183847)
        The fact the best EQ is only 5-10% better than store bought is a *great* idea. It means you don't have to worry about having top of the line equipment for an even playing field. If it only had real PvP that alone would be enough to make me subscribe.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I second you're approval of the 5-10% better is great, and would like to take it a step farther. How about the most experienced level 9000 character still dies when a level 1 orc runs a sword through them. The whole thing with the story was that these complete non-warriors, these hobbits, that were smaller and weaker than just about anything else were somehow the ones to save the world.
    • Maybe Zonk played a lot of AC/AC2, and I realize questions were constrained due to time, but I was a bit miffed at the choice of questions. Some of that could be that I had 2 of the highest moderated & discussed questions in the call for interview questions, neither of which were asked (one was on virtual economies, the other on gaming addiction). But beyond that, other very highly-ranked questions about e.g., gold farming weren't asked. All-in-all, it seemed this interview was rather softball.

      I'm similarly disappointed. I would have been interested to hear the responses to your questions and I had hoped he'd address mine concerning the crafting system with respect to leveling. While I certainly appreciate that the interview was time-limited, I think that asking broad questions is a poor use of time in such a circumstance. Speaking for myself, the forward-looking "nitty gritty" questions were the interesting ones, as opposed to the rather predictable, time-consuming responses to the broad (on

      • Yeah, the interview was not really too insightful. A lot of repeating of stuff found in their own marketing materials without adding any more to it or going into any better detail.
    • It was completely worth the softball questions to give someone from Turbine a chance to call Blizzard unoriginal. While it's true, it still makes my irony-meter explode just because of who said it.

      Quick, with LOTRO out the door, they've run out of popular licenses to butcher - someone sell them Firefly!

    • I thought it was pretty softball too, but that level of interview fits the level of the game itself
  • by LordEd (840443)
    So now we just need to merge matrix online with LOTR online.

    Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.
    • Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.

      Would you like to visit the vestiges of our various vertical views?
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday June 08, 2007 @01:10PM (#19439989)
    We're probably now the second-largest MMORPG operating that was built in the US right now, you know, built in North America/Europe.

    Did I miss another war or something?
    • by 8282now (583198)
      The gaming world has to view US/EU as a region separate from Asia. In Asia (but particularly S. Korea) there are a large number of MMORPG's and other online games that the "West" never hears about.
       
        Take a look at the company that did Guild Wars/City of Heroes/City of Villains. They actually predate they have a much larger presence in Asia. A presence most of us here in the West rarely see.

      • Take a look at the company that did Guild Wars/City of Heroes/City of Villains. They actually predate they have a much larger presence in Asia. A presence most of us here in the West rarely see.
        That would be NCSoft, who publish those games. However, they don't actually make the games, Co(H/V) is made by Cryptic Studios, while Guild Wars is made by ArenaNet.
    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 08, 2007 @04:37PM (#19443781)

      We're probably now the second-largest MMORPG operating that was built in the US right now, you know, built in North America/Europe.

      Did I miss another war or something?
      I think that's a spoiler for the Republican expansion pack they announced for 2008.
  • by suv4x4 (956391)
    There were a ton of great queries, and unfortunately Mr. Anderson had only a limited time to spare for us.

    Lemme guess, he was busy flying around and dunging bullets... "Dunging" isn't what I really think it is, is it :P Oh well, I bet he'd do that too but they cut it from the movie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Do you think Mr. Anderson plays LoTR, he keeps his distance from Rivendell so as not to attract Elrond's attention.

      "Tell me, Mr. Baggins... what good is the one ring... if you're unable to speak?"

  • Welcome to Elrond, Mr Anderson. The elves have been expecting you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by spellraiser (764337)

      That's not offtopic at all, IMHO. We have a Mr. Anderson and LOTR ... so what's wrong with a little Hugo Weaving jest? My only criticism is that Elrond is the elf; the place he lives in is called Rivendell.

      Since we're on the subject, Machinae Supremacy did a track called Hybrid, which opens with Weaving saying 'Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson' ... this is of course sampled and spliced together.

      Oh crap, I'm gonna get modded offtopic now, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by srmalloy (263556)

      Welcome to Elrond, Mr Anderson. The elves have been expecting you.

      Done better, in my opinion, in Dork Tower [gamespy.com]:

      Welcome to Rivendell...
      ...Mister Anderson.
      You know the thing I hate about elves? It's the smell.

      "Okay, so Hugo Weaving as Elrond sticks out a bit."
      I feel saturated by it...

  • We're adding an element many musicians are familiar with; it's an ascii format called ABC notation? That will allow players to create their own songs, write it down in a more simple and readable way, and then share/integrate/import it into the game.
    Wow, it's the MIDI/MOD era all over again. I can hardly wait to hear the "Doctor Who" theme played on the game's sample set.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nasarius (593729)
      I remember such things being discussed back in the days of UO and EQ, and the general consensus always seemed to be that it was a cool idea, but would inevitably lead to a tangled web of copyright infringement issues. And as you imply...it's not going to be much fun to hear Latest Generic Top 40 Pop Song being played all around in a fantasy RPG.
  • He would have said turn off the computer, go outside and get some exercise.
    • by Sperbels (1008585)
      Wow, I got modded off topic for answering one of the questions in the summary. It was even an apt answer considering Tolkien was essentially a luddite.
  • If I ripped off _The Sword of Shannara_ [terrybrooks.net], itself a ripoff of Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_, to make my own online game, and Terry Brooks sued me because he didn't give me a license, would Tolkien or Turbine sue me for ripping off _Lord of the Rings_?
    • I am dying for a shannara game or movie.

      While much of it is a "rip" it was done in a new way, and told such that it was engrossing enough to pull it off. Really, it comes down to the fact that people who prefer the fantasy genre expect certain things to be there, and so they are.

      The Sword, Elfstones, and Wishsong are the "other three books" I'll reread in my lifetime.
    • No, because if they won, they lawyers would find a way to find an ancient Norseman who would then help them sue Tolkien / Turbine.

      It's like throwing blood in the water.
  • Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call?
  • I sincerely it is a huge mistake not to make a Mac client for Lord of the Rings Online. Please see my rationale in my blog's post I wrote some time ago about the importance of having your product ready for Mac. See it here http://welcome.blogofchange.com/?p=5 [blogofchange.com]
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Macs don't matter. I think macs are why there's so many mages in WoW. We'd be better off without the whiny little bitches.
      • by bar-agent (698856)
        I think macs are why there's so many mages in WoW. We'd be better off without the whiny little bitches. ...says the Forsaken Necro from PC. :)
      • Errr, umm . . . I'm not sure I see the connection between Mages and Mac users. (I was a Warlock on an iMac, but w/e). If anything, I remember it being slightly difficult to find mac-compatible versions of the add-ons and macro sets many casters use.

        This will probably boil down into a Chuck Norris joke anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Come on!

      You bought a Mac, and you expect to play good games?

      You chose poorly. You apparently did not connect the dots between your desires and things necessary to satisfy those desires. ... then you came here to whine about it.

      Thanks!

      I don't see any "i'm a Mac" commercials where your snobby slacker Mac guy is playing games while the poor nerdy PC guy is working on spreadsheets.

      Until they make that commercial ... Don't bother arguing about how great games are on Macs.
      • by profetes (1113169)
        Have you read my post? In fact, I don't want to play to the LOTR, i am just arguing that if you want real success in a game online you need to bring it to the Mac example: World of Warcraft...
        • Yes I did read your article ...

          But I must have been giving you the benefit of the doubt ... that no one would be stupid enough to think that a game being associated with Mac is what makes the game successful when everyone knows what a joke Mac's are for gaming.

          I just assumed that like everyone else on this planet, you'd recognize that the production qualities of the game ... graphics, storyline, mechanics, etc are what makes a game a potential success.
  • Slashdot: Okay. No plans ever to tap into the license from the movies at all? Mr. Anderson: Oh, you know, never say never. Who knows? There's currently nothing about them in the game. In terms of constraints[...]

    I don't see how this can be... I've played the game and the use of visuals from the movie is pretty obvious (if for nothing else their visualization of the Eye of Sauron), but how Rivendell looks, how the Nazgul look, etc etc are _really_ obviously taken from the New Line Cinema movies...

    • by Yaksha42 (856623)
      Or maybe it's possible that both the movie and the game take their descriptions from the same source material? Maybe?
      • by Knara (9377)

        See my reply below. It's not that it's similar, but rather that it's almost exactly the same. And again, not that I'm worked up about it or something, just that my initial impression of "did they license stuff from the movies" was "yes" when I played the game, and the interview's answer to the question being the opposite stuck out for me.

    • by Disseminated (1022915) on Friday June 08, 2007 @02:43PM (#19441809) Homepage
      Actually...

      The guys who did the art direction for the movies have long been (arguably) the quintessential illustrators for Tolkien works in general. So those visual stylings predate the movies in Tolkien history.

      Of course that just means their artwork in general was ripped off instead of "the movies" ;-} But it is to be expected since their work is somewhat definitive of Tolkien.
    • I'm pretty sure the fiery Eye of Sauron is part of the general LOTR license. At the very least I remember seeing it used as a graphic for the old LOTR CCG back when it came out, so I don't think the movie interpretation would be considered unique enough to require rights for a similar interpetation. (Fair warning: I haven't played the game so I have no idea how similar it is.)
  • by EvilRyry (1025309)

    Slashdot: (Question by EvilRyry (1025309) ) Do you have any plans, at all, for a Linux or Mac OS X client in the game?

    Mr. Anderson: At the moment, no. You never know, though. The door's not closed, but at the moment we have no plans along those lines.
    Another year of WoW it is!

    Either that or maybe I'll brush up on my java and build that killer IT management app I've been thinking about...
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by RiffRafff (234408)
      Yep. That decision just saved me some bucks.
    • by antdude (79039)
      Yeah, but WoW doesn't have a native Linux port. Only Mac OS X and Windows ports.
      • WoW works perfectly in Linux using standard Wine. The WoW developers are very well aware of Wine and cooperate to fix or not introduce bugs that would prevent WoW working in Linux. In fact WoW in Linux is mch better then in Windows - it is about 5% faster and you can have you software on one virtual desktop and WoW on another and switch between them in an instant. That is why I am usually the one in the guild that looks stuff up on the Web - in the Windows it is painful to Alt-Tab from WoW to Firefox, in Li
        • by fractoid (1076465)
          For those of us that run WoW on Windows, you can ease the pain of alt+tabbing out by going into video options and enabling full screen windowed mode. This lets you have chat/web windows in the foreground and your maximized game in the background (albeit with clipping/backbuffer errors on my PC, but it works fine on others I've tried it on) and removes the context switch delay that you get with fullscreen non-windowed mode.
    • by LDoggg_ (659725)
      Thanks for asking the question this time. And count me out of LOTR online as well.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by SnapperHead (178050)
      Even though I have heard some great things about LOTR, I won't even waste my time until a Mac version comes out. WoW is doing fine for me, and runs well on the Mac.

      In the MMO market, it looks like Blizzard has the right answer.

    • Step 0) If you have an old Mac, go buy a PC and install Linux.
      Step 1) Buy windows, or download it from bittorrent if you prefer
      Step 2) Do something with bootcamp. I'll let you figure that as you guys are the Mac people.
      Step 3) Install windows. This part takes a while -- go outside. The vast part of a Vista install requires no user intervention thanks the amazing invention of the DVD.
      Step 4) Reboot into Windows
      Step 4) Install LOTRO.

      Seriously, I installed new RAM and a video card to play LOTRO (which
  • After buying an playing this game, I asked for a refund first from Turbine who said go talk to the distributor then from Midway. The number I was given for Midway didn't give me a good option to ask for a refund. I picked one and I was sent to voice mail! I left a message. Someone eventually called me back (a few days later) and left a message telling me I need to provide the original receipt and that I could only do an exchange for another midway game (WTF). They also said I only had 30 days from purchase
    • You thought you'd like the game, so you bought it. You didn't like it.

      You chose poorly. Big deal! You are an adult aren't you? you know how software purchases (and purchases of most other things) work don't you? Carry on to something new. ... or, you can do what you did ... whine like an immature little baby on slashdot.

      Way to go! Stand tall and proud!
  • Having fun (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CaptScarlet22 (585291)
    I'll tell you after years of raiding WOW's end game instances and farming mats for those raids, LOTRO is breath of fresh air.

    I'm having the time of my life playing this game.

    The deed systems is the right choice for all future MMOs. At least with this system you can achieve SOMETHING, beside endless days hoping for an epic drop. And with the epic quest line it gives you some kind of direction to go in.

    Class makeup really emphasizes base class skills/spells, instead of traditional "Talents" like WOW. Meaning
    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      I'll tell you after years of raiding WOW's end game instances and farming mats for those raids, LOTRO is breath of fresh air.

      Yes, LOTRO is a fresh game for me as well. I can progress a character again, without repeating content and waiting (for groups). That pretty much sums up why I'm playing LOTRO now.

      cheers,
      Fozzy

    • by pyite (140350)
      I'm having the time of my life playing this game.

      Games can be a nice diversion... but how can it be the time of your life?

  • So, are they really automatically matching the monster levels to the player level?

    If so, then meh, I'm definitely not going to get LOTR. Monster levels should be fixed: if my wimpy lvl 2 toon wants to commit suicide and take on the nasty lvl 18 monster, that's my challenge. If my lvl 18 toon wants to rampage through some lvl 2 monsters, that's my decision.

    IMO, automatic monster level matching just means that the devs are too cheap/lazy to design good, challenging areas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MontyApollo (849862)
      >>So, are they really automatically matching the monster levels to the player level?

      No.
    • by penp (1072374)
      Did you even read the interview?

      Monster leveling like that only works in single-player games, like Oblivion.
      • by darrylo (97569)

        Did you even read the interview?

        Why, yes, I did. ;-)

        I read it again, and the article is actually ambiguous. He doesn't seem to say, one way or the other, and you can read it either way. However, after re-reading it, I'll concede that, in all probability, LOTR probably doesn't have level matching.

        Monster leveling like that only works in single-player games, like Oblivion.

        I agree -- and that's way I won't even look at LOTR if they do level matching.

    • by FlyveHest (105693)
      This wasnt what he said at all, what was said was that if you follow the natural flow of the quests when you start the game, the mobs you kill will be at a level so to give you a challenge always.

      The mobs are not magically changing levels when you attack them, ala Oblivion.

      If you want, you can just run to higher level areas, and get your behind handed to you on a silver platter, or, if higher level, run to a lowbie area and kick the everliving crap outta the little orcsies
    • He was implying that they *don't* do that, and that their design is so good, you naturally go to the right places for your level, and, in one guys case, he actually started thinking they did that.
  • The website, particularly the FAQ area, is all pre-release stuff still. Why isn't it updated?
  • So I buy LTRO. WOW was getting a little boring and I'm ready for a change. My wife and I both play WOW, both have level seventy characters, yada, yada, yada. So I'm rolling through the shire with my minstrel hobbit. I roll a healer class because I know how needed healers are in these games and I just knew I'd get into fellowships all the time and be all kick ass. So I got the sound turned up and I come across a boar. I attack! "Bada ling bada ling bada ling", goes my guitar. With each strum of my guitar I
    • You had me at Bada Ling! I have to try this game out now just to see the chords of hades :)

    • Damn, your wife has a foul mouth. When did she find time to get a level 70 WoW character, what with all the truck driving she must be doing?
    • by flitty (981864)
      Ha! I tried this during the beta phase, and I rolled a minstrel also (because of the unique play mechanics), my wife said the exact same thing.. along with "doesn't that little tune get annoying every time you cast it?"
      "so, you are attacking with... music?"
      "Your bright red pants and pointy hat... Gay."
  • My question: can the game be played in Australia and New Zealand? None of my local games have it on the shelf, and I'm hesitant to buy online in case it arrives but says I can't play because of where I live.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Obyron (615547)
      I play on the Nimrodel server, and I seem to remember reading a post on our server-specific forum at forums.lotro.com that there is an all Aussie/Kiwi kinship (guild). This would seem to imply that you can. :)

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