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  1. #1
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    Post Looking Back: The Ballad of Bingo Boffin

    SPOILERS throughout!

    ==============================
    Bingo Boffin and a Year of Adventures
    ==============================

    One year ago, a hobbit named Bingo Boffin developed a taste for adventure and did what very few of his neighbors would ever contemplate: he decided to set forth from the Shire and expand his horizons to the wider lands of Middle-earth. It was a scary prospect for a Boffin – all have heard that the adventuring spirit sometimes rises in the hearts of Tooks (and sometimes in those of Bagginses, Brandybucks and Gamgees, engaged in quests of the Utmost Importance), but Bingo did not let that deter him from his travels.

    Bingo wasn’t the only one made nervous by this adventure, though. I shared in his worries, because the development of ‘The Ballad of Bingo Boffin’ was a very unusual thing, a departure from the norm for not just story-telling in LOTRO but also for the methods by which we develop content. I’ve made long quest chains before (some of the Books in the Epic Story run to thirty chapters), but most of those are made completely in advance and release alongside a major update to the game. In the case of Bingo’s adventure, I would not have the luxury of updating the game data every time I needed the next quest to become available – we pride ourselves on reasonably frequent updates, but it would not be easy to convince Ops that pushing an update to the game every week for fifty-two weeks counts as ‘reasonable.’ Therefore, the next quest would need to be finished and ready to unlock on a schedule.

    That’s on a technical level. On a story-telling level there’s another challenge: when players need to wait a week to get the next chapter of the story, how do we ensure that each quest is satisfying on its own, and makes players want to tune in next week to get more of the story? Whether or not we succeeded at this every week is up for debate, but my metric for this involved asking this question: ‘Do players get Something Interesting out of this particular quest?’ The Something Interesting varied from week-to-week: sometimes it might have been a moment of character development, sometimes it was an unusual form of gameplay, sometimes it was something as small as a joke that made me laugh - but hopefully most of the time there was more to it than just that! There was a more tangible secret weapon as well: Bert Bartleby and the promise of more rewards also kept players tuning in.

    But primarily I had a story I wanted to tell, and I wanted to tell it in LOTRO. I wanted to prove that despite being around for so long, LOTRO can still be on the frontier, breaking new MMO ground and doing new, exciting things. It would be easy to rest on our laurels and reflect on the long road we travelled to get here, but I’m more interested in seeing what lies ahead on that road, just like Bingo Boffin when his adventure began.

    ==============================
    The Original Idea
    ==============================

    Theodore Gorse would take credit for the whole thing, and for once he might not be (entirely) wrong! Years and years ago, I wrote a treatment for a second Hobby to accompany Fishing. It would be called the ‘Treasure Hunting’ Hobby, and it would be primarily Content-driven: in every Region there would be four or five hidden treasures, and each one would require you to hunt for clues and solve riddles in order to find them. I was tremendously excited about the idea, and that excitement was only slightly dampened when everyone I showed the treatment to (including my wife, who worked in QA for LOTRO at the time) called it an unsuitable Hobby and not worth the effort of implementing it.

    Sometimes these things happen. So my Treasure Hunting Hobby went to the great Vault of Lost Ideas, but the idea for one of the characters remained in the back of my mind: the inimitable Theodore Gorse refused to be forgotten. Also refusing to be lost entirely: the idea of a quest arc progressing through multiple regions, with four or five individual quests per region advancing a story-line.

    That concept eventually merged itself with another idea of mine, of a long-running quest arc that might run alongside the Epic Story and over a long level-range, but one piece remained: how might we distinguish such a quest chain from the actual Epic Story? The answer was ‘tone’ – given how serious the Epic Story tends to get, a more light-hearted approach could make the new quest chain feel very different, more The Hobbit than The Lord of the Rings. It would be a ‘Hobbit Epic,’ of a sort, and follow an unusual hobbit on an adventure far beyond the Shire. Even better, perhaps Bilbo Baggins himself could have a role in getting the adventure started…

    After that light-bulb, pieces of a storyline began to fall into place. Theodore would take his rightful place as a supporting character, and I began to develop the characters of Bingo and his extended family. Before long, I had a two-page pitch document, an eight-page summary of the quest chain, and was fifty pages into a detailed spec.

    ==============================
    Implementation Begins
    ==============================

    In the beginning, I pitched ‘The Ballad of Bingo Boffin’ as an extension of the Epic Story. The idea was that in addition to designing the Epic for each update, I would also work on various portions of the Bingo story. This way, I could spread the implementation of the Bingo quests over a long period of time, and also use the Epic Story VO recording sessions for Bingo as well. What’s another couple thousand VO lines?

    I had broken up the whole quest chain into segments, and began implementing Segment One of Bingo’s adventure (Weeks 1-17) just as Volume IV was beginning in Western Gondor. Later Segments would be slipped into the Updates containing Central Gondor, Eastern Gondor, and Old Anórien. His story would not be completely implemented until the release of Update 18 and the Battle of Pelennor Fields.

    Because so many updates would go to the Live servers before we were ready to flip the switch and begin the Ballad, it was necessary that I use phasing and some other techniques to keep the work I was doing a secret. I messed this up almost immediately! For one, even though I had Bingo phased properly, it hadn’t occurred to me that *every* NPC would need this phasing, but it should have -- after all, you guys are intimately familiar with the existing state of Middle-earth, and even slight changes jump out to you as if they were painted in bright neon. Donnamira Took in the library of Great Smials began the conversation, but Bingo’s neighbors (one of them helpfully labeled ‘Bingo’s Other Neighbour’) also got involved in tipping our hand too early. Even Bert Bartleby got involved, showing up on the radar map for his locations in the Shire, Bree-land, and the Lone-lands before being sharply reprimanded.

    I was having a blast putting together this quest chain and giving the team weekly updates about Bingo’s progress at our morning meetings (‘He just met Bilbo, you guys! And then there was a big misunderstanding and he got his feelings hurt!’), but there was still a question whether this was going to be a successful experiment. I was playing through it as I made it, and Arbor was testing it to make certain the pieces all worked together, and our Art Director played through it to make a list of areas and characters which could use new art… but you never really know with a quest until it’s being Played For Real.

    Finally, with two Segments fully implemented (Bringing Bingo into Moria and just out the other side) and a third part of the way in development, it was time for players to play it for real. It was July 23, 2015, and it was time to flip the switch.

    ==============================
    Underway Feedback
    ==============================

    I bought a physical Lord of the Rings calendar and wrote the first quest in the box for July 23 when the day arrived, and then proceeded to fill out the rest of the calendar with quest names for each week. They seemed so far away at the time!

    I brought characters on many of the servers to Bingo’s house and waited for 10 AM to arrive. When it did, and Bingo appeared outside Boffin Manor, I felt an enormous wave of relief. I ran through the quest and watched as Bingo spent the day surrounded by veritable throngs of people. On the whole, it was a tremendously satisfying experience, and most players seemed to like their first taste of the adventure. As the weeks proceeded the throngs dissipated somewhat, but there was still a great deal of feedback coming in.

    This was a mostly new experience for me; usually I’m getting feedback on a quest chain after it has already been completed, but with Bingo I could sometimes course-correct in a fashion. I was still far enough ahead that any responses might be many months away, but it felt a little like designing with a safety net, and in some cases I knew that certain criticisms would be answered later in the chain.

    There isn’t enough thinking! Not enough puzzles! ------ Just wait until the riddles in the Lone-lands!
    You want me to climb the Stock-tower? ------ Yep… but I think that’s the last precision jumping you’ll need to do!
    Does it ever get serious? ------ Just wait until… er… hmmm.

    That last one probably merits a little more discussion. I’m no stranger to writing stories full of tragedy and loss, and if I were trying to shock people with the Ballad I can think of a few different avenues by which I could have managed it (maybe Bingo falls prey to one of the Nazgul after all, and Marigold takes up his mantle and continues his adventure in memory of the fallen hobbit, vowing to finish the quest he could not) – but that ultimately didn’t feel right for the tone of Bingo’s adventure. I do think Bingo deals with some pretty serious topics over the course of his adventure as-is. For my money, ‘Through the Blockade’ shows that he’s come to an understanding about the value of life that doesn’t come up in MMOs very often, but he was always going to survive this adventure. If Hollywood can be kept from killing one of the ‘too many’ hobbits in Fellowship of the Ring, I think Bingo can safely navigate this adventure!

    I find that a lot of Bingo’s charm comes from being put in dangerous situations to which he seems oblivious, and relying on the player to get him out of it, but early feedback did indicate something that I hadn’t entirely expected: many players were actively irritated by Bingo’s inability to do very much by himself. I leaned a little heavily on the ‘Bingo forgot something!’ trope during ‘Leaving Is Not Easy’ in Week 5, and sometimes the novelty of phasing in a reading NPC while a timer ticks down got the better of me, but I did try to ease up on some of Bingo’s more annoying traits as we went along. Either I succeeded or I just got used to the little guy, because by the end of the Ballad I was sad to see him go, and it sounds as if I’m not alone in that!

    ==============================
    Particular Challenges
    ==============================

    There were a few aspects of The Ballad of Bingo Boffin that were particularly challenging from a design standpoint. The first involved the path I needed our little hobbit to take on his journey. I knew from the beginning that I wanted him to leave the Shire and move fairly in line with the increasing level ranges of the Eriador content until he arrived in the Misty Mountains, at which point he would fall into Moria and after being found again, he would end up in Lothlórien for a short detour into Mirkwood.

    If we were following the natural level ranges of the existing content in LOTRO, he would then need to bop all the way back across the mountains to Enedwaith, completing two regions’-worth of levels before jumping *back* across the mountains to Great River, as you do if you’re following the Volume III Epic. It works for Volume III because it had to, but I never particularly liked the need for approaching Isengard from the west instead of the east. For Bingo, I wanted him to remain on the Rhovanion side, which meant that there was a ten level jump between Bingo’s adventures in Level 65 Mirkwood and his Level 75 sojourn into Great River.

    As a result, I played a little fast and loose with the suggested levels for ‘First, Breakfast!’, ‘Second Breakfast,’ and the Great River quests. I think it was to the benefit of Bingo’s journey, but I do know that it became difficult for players playing on-level to keep up with the speed at which Bingo moves through the level ranges as he progresses through Great River and into Rohan.

    Early on, you guys asked for the maximum level that Bingo would reach during his travels, but I resisted telling you that information. It’s true that it might have prevented the frustration with the rapidly-increasing levels in Great River and Rohan, but on the other hand I wanted to preserve as much of the element of surprise as I could. Telling you the maximum level that Bingo would reach (Level 93, as it turns out), actually reveals a great deal about his journey – it tells you where he’s not going, for instance, and would allow LOTRO sleuths all the info they would need to determine the general shape of his adventure; I didn’t want that to happen a year in advance!

    This brushes up against another challenge with designing content that lives in the game data but doesn’t go live for months – those LOTRO sleuths I mentioned have the tools to poke around and learn a great deal about what we’ve put into the game, even when I’d rather it remained secret, such as information about the rewards Bert would have in the future and what quest items Bingo would interact with on his quest. For the most part, these sleuths were pretty respectful and I appreciate that they generally made this information available for people that wanted to see it, and didn’t throw it in front of people who didn’t. There were some exceptions, and we didn’t take kindly to people trying to spoil Bingo’s future endeavors on World chat.

    But it did make me paranoid, and eventually I started taking extreme steps to try and keep some of Bingo’s surprises a secret. For players who completed Volume III, it’s possible to encounter Mercy when Bingo makes it to West Rohan, but I was so worried that LOTRO sleuths would learn that in advance that I gave her the name ‘Woman’ in the data files and jumped through a few hoops to hide her real name in a hidden location. I became less and less descriptive with item text as the Ballad progressed, because I didn’t want players to reverse-engineer the quest activity from the item descriptions. This is the reason that the party invitations in Week 51 are called ‘Hand-written Notes’ instead of ‘Party Invitations’ and their description is ‘These notes were painstakingly written by hand.’ Under other circumstances, I would never have allowed that description to slide, but in the interest of keeping some mystery I felt it was worth it.

    But no discussion of implementation challenges would be complete without talking about Draigoch, and he’s going to get his very own section.

    ==============================
    Weekend at Draigoch’s
    ==============================

    Originally, Bingo’s encounter with Draigoch was going to be very different, and solely in service of a joke. I planned to have him go up to the entrance of the lair in Thrór's Coomb, a grodbog would scurry out, Bingo would say something about bugs, and that would be that. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that Bingo needed to actually get up close and personal with everybody’s favorite lip-synching dragon.

    That proved a significant decision, because as often happens with writing, it is very easy to say ‘Bingo needs to encounter that dragon!’ and rather more difficult to come up with a believable way to make it happen. Theodore Gorse to the rescue, because of *course* he would enter the gold-filled lair of Draigoch the Red! But isn’t it more interesting if he goes into the Lair not in search of treasure but for some other reason? Suddenly, story decisions and plot points made earlier on come back and fall naturally into place, and now I can’t imagine the story unfolding in any other way.

    But there is a rather large, dragon-shaped problem in the way. Draigoch’s Lair is a notoriously-complicated dungeon under-the-hood, and building an instance for Bingo on top of the Draigoch raid seemed… ill-advised. So I did what any enterprising content designer would do when confronted with such a problem: I put it off. In fact, I put it off so long that most of the Ballad was implemented before I got around to designing the instance in Draigoch’s Lair. I finally resolved to come in on a weekend and dedicate the whole weekend to producing this crucial instance in Bingo’s journey.

    Feeling very smart, the first thing I did was copy the entire dungeon into a new location so I could mess around with it without interfering with the existing version of the raid. I then spent the better part of the weekend building the new instance for Bingo, and had a really great time getting Bingo and his friends into all sorts of trouble. After it was all basically done and I was full to the brim of over-confidence, I decided to start deleting some of the raid-specific elements in my copy of the dungeon in order to improve performance and make working in that space more elegant.

    Disaster struck. I deleted something (or some things) that I shouldn’t have, and my Bingo instance stopped functioning. Draigoch refused to sleep any longer; now the dragon T-posed in ridiculous fashion. Bingo’s logic no longer bounced where it should have, and nothing in the instance worked as it had mere hours before. It was 4:30 or so on Sunday, and instead of getting ready to leave I had single-handedly wiped out most of the work I had done all weekend on that silly instance. It was the closest designing content for LOTRO has ever gotten me to tears.

    But I persevered, because I wasn’t going to let this stupid accident win. I spent the next several hours retracing my steps and trying to restore what I had broken, and at the end of it I had everything working enough that at least Bingo’s instance worked properly again. Thank goodness I had copied that dungeon to a new location at the outset!

    Now I can laugh about it, and I think ‘Treasure Lost, Treasure Found’ is one of the highlights of Bingo’s adventure, but it also seems to me that sometimes maybe art does imitate life. Theodore was right: the Rothstone must be cursed!

    ==============================
    The Drawing Board
    ==============================

    The overall shape of Bingo’s adventure was in place from the very beginning – loneliness would compel him to adventure across Middle-earth, making new friends, and upon returning to the Shire he would host his dinner-party after all and invite all the folk he encountered on the way. But the details changed and evolved from conception to implementation, such as the Draigoch encounter described above. Here are some of the other ideas that ended up left on the drawing board:

    + Bingo sometimes stops at a location to spend some time writing in his book, and the idea was that there would be a forum tie-in contest where players could write passages describing the adventure to that point. This idea ended up being too ephemeral to organize in any real fashion.

    + The daring plan to rescue Bingo from the Dourhands was originally going to be a stealth-focused instance, but it was scaled back and changed to be on landscape instead. That took away much of the daring from the daring plan, but since it would have immediately followed the instance in ‘A Dangerous Detour’ it’s probably better this way. Now only two weeks in the Ballad have back-to-back instances.

    + The two Breakfast quests changed a great deal over the course of implementation (which I know will be unwelcome news to all the many, many fans of ‘Second Breakfast’ out there!). Originally Bingo was going to cook a hearty breakfast to justify the big level increase in Mirkwood, and when it wasn’t enough he would cook another one. Responding to feedback wanting more ‘thinking quests,’ I changed ‘Second Breakfast’ to incorporate the scavenger hunt for Willem Whisker… and we all know how that turned out.

    + As originally written, Bingo was going to become a hero to the children of Cliving, and you would help him act out some of his adventures to that point for their entertainment. It felt a little redundant (and also somewhat derivative of a couple LOTRO quests), so instead this section was replaced with seeking the Blood-eye Cultists, a loose plot-thread from the Epic that had been looking for a home.

    + Similarly, instead of going up to Wildermore, Bingo was going to go south to Snowbourn and indulge in too much drinking (as presaged by his encounter with Milo Goodbody in the Prancing Pony). You would need to help him procure the hangover cure that you got for Gléowine during Volume III… but when it came time to implement it felt less like a reference and more like a straight-up copy, so I excised Snowbourn from the journey entirely.

    + I struggled pretty substantially with the Gap of Rohan. In-game, if Bingo were to travel from east to west, he would pass through two versions of Isengard: one flooded, and one not. Originally I was going to hand-wave this away with a Deju Vu gag, but it never felt great. So instead Bingo teleports a very long way from Grimslade to the Dunbog, in the process missing out on an encounter with the Ranger Amarion and an evil Warg-counterpart for Willem Whisker.

    + This one is a little weird, and while I think it could be textually-supported, the more I thought about it the more unsure I became about including it; I basically chickened out. But here it is! In the forest of the Mournshaws, nearing the final leg of the journey, Bingo would encounter a familiar face from early in his adventure: Tom Bombadil, skipping merrily about the woods! It was supposed to add to his mysteriousness and to the feeling of otherworldliness that permeates the Mournshaws and most of the forests in Middle-earth… but I blinked and backed away from that encounter. I then thought about letting Bingo encounter the Huntsman in his place, but that idea didn’t turn into anything substantial.

    ==============================
    Easter Eggs, Bugs… and the Future?
    ==============================

    For the most part, the Ballad of Bingo Boffin went pretty smoothly, but there are still a few issues I’d like to clean up. Some of the phasing with Willem Whisker in Rivendell doesn’t turn off properly, so it looks like he just spends all his time sleeping in the Hall of Fire – which is very rude after Bingo gets all emotional in the Dunbog! Also, many of the later pet rewards from Bert have the wrong icon and are pretending to be horses. I’ll be keeping an eye on bug reports too, so I can fix anything else that pops up.

    There are a few details that you might have missed over the course of the Ballad. Here are a few:

    + Characters involved in the Ballad often have unique VO for their blue-ring quest comments. Sometimes these are amusing!

    + Occasionally Beornings can talk to animal characters. Similarly, Langhár frequently has different dialogue if she’s your sister.

    + If you have completed Volume III, you can encounter Mercy at a few different points.

    + The guests in Week 52 can vary somewhat.

    + There is more to Bert than it seems at first.

    + Adolinda is the ‘oldest’ human female that Bingo encounters, and therefore she has the original ‘default’ human female appearance in LOTRO.

    + Bingo’s slow progress across the bridge in ‘Bingo’s Burden’ is a tip of the hat to the slow-moving hobbits in ‘Frodo’s Burden,’ for which I received many raised eyebrows over the years.

    + The page-collecting in ‘Bingo’s Scattered Thoughts’ is a reference to the proud MMO (and LOTRO) trope of collecting pages from monsters and the landscape

    + Bingo’s dialogue in Langhold can vary dramatically if the town has been destroyed.

    + You can see either one or two Eagles depending on your quest completion in the Great River, and everybody’s dialogue changes to accommodate the number you see.

    + Hand-delivering the invitations in Week 51 does not make a difference in the outcome, but I did add the option to skip the deliveries as a result of player feedback to some of the big travel times earlier in the Ballad. Bingo asks if you hand-delivered them just so I can make you feel badly about it.

    + W.W. will respond to a number of different emotes when you say goodbye to him in the Dunbog.

    + Once the Ballad is over, Bingo has at least one unique line of dialogue for each Week of his journey.

    As for the future, I think there’s a place for Episodic Content in LOTRO, and I enjoyed making and playing the Ballad of Bingo Boffin so much that I would love to do another one. But the caveat I’ve been saying all along is that I would need the right story for it, and I wouldn’t want to just do a retread of Bingo’s adventure with someone else, in different places. It would need to be very different.

    But with that all said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see some of the characters introduced in the Ballad again. There are a lot of adventures out there to be had!

    ==============================
    Thanks All Around
    ==============================

    Like Bingo, I’ve let my words get away from me, so I’m going to wrap this up. I have some people to thank!

    + Arbor for testing the Ballad and ensuring that everything worked as it should every Wednesday; it didn’t stop me from worrying about it at 9:59 AM every Wednesday, but she really took a huge task and made sure we ironed the bugs out.

    + World Master Pierson for making two versions of Boffin Manor: a perfect place for a hobbit to live and in which to throw a dinner party; also for sprucing up some of the older regions Bingo’s journey took him through.

    +Art Director Todd and Artists Evan and Mark for so many unique cosmetics, maps, NPCs, and in general all the art love necessary to make such a big adventure as this look as good as it can; thanks also to Todd for taking the time to play through the first passes of some Bingo quests and providing some much needed feedback early on in the process

    + Edgecase for making the rewards and providing lots of systems advice and Bingo Badge costing guidance; also for being an enthusiastic supporter of Bingo!

    + Ransroth for providing some early Engineering support to ensure the ‘Ask Bert Bartleby where Bingo is’ feature works properly; also for playing Bingo every week and giving me his honest feedback about it. Sorry again for the timers and some of the riddles!

    + Tybur for providing some necessary support for getting Bingo to advance every Wednesday at 10 AM, and for her calming words whenever I would get nervous that it wasn’t going to work

    + My wife Istien, for telling me so many years ago that the Treasure Hunting Hobby was a waste of time. After all, the Ballad of Bingo Boffin probably wouldn’t have happened if I had used up those ideas already!

    + And finally, you guys: every single player of LOTRO, whether you played all of the Ballad or none of it. We do all this for you. Thanks so much for everything you do!

    Love, MoL
    Last edited by MadeOfLions; Jul 20 2016 at 08:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thank you for everything you have done in LOTRO from the epics to Bingo's adventures (and probably many other things we don't know about).

    You are a passionate, professional and skillful person in this MMO world we live in. You will always be remembered as one of the pilars (if not THE pillar) of LOTRO and the lore of LOTR. For that I thank you.

    Turbine, give this man a raise (or a bonus).

    Cheers,

    Ric
    Ricardofurriel 115 Champion Edved 105 Captain Roovery 105 Minstrel Galathriell 105 Lore-Master EddieVedder 105 Rune-Keeper

  3. #3
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by MadeOfLions View Post

    + And finally, you guys: every single player of LOTRO, whether you played all of the Ballad or none of it. We do all this for you. Thanks so much for everything you do!

    Love, MoL
    This is what makes LOTRO so special and unique.

    After the Epic quest Bingo's adventure was the best quest line I have done in game so THANK YOU kindly to MoL and all those that worked so hard to make it happen

    Love from me
    Amorey
    Laurelin Archives Webteam

  4. #4
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    Thank you MoL, It was a wonderful/nice/funny/etc adventure
    Sirannon: Yaolendil - Oay - Eithelonnen - Hergo - Yaobald - ... Landroval: Rybnick - Yahon - Ryb
    Blogs : D&Co du Milieu: All about Housing & host of the "French Housing Week Contest" + LesBalladesDeYao: A little man, in a big unexplored world.

  5. #5
    really nice to have you in the lotro-team, MoL
    Your part of creating an immersive world in lotro has always been great.
    Thanks for everything.


    If only there was someone for basic game stuff like stats, mechanisms and balancing that was as good in it as you are in storytelling...
    Diskutierer, Fragenbeantworter, Twinker, Händler, Handwerker und Anführer der 'Gemeinschaft der freien Völker' auf Belegaer.
    Deutsche Guides für nahezu alles, was Casuals interessieren könnte, gibts hier: http://gdfv.forumo.de/guides-f24/

  6. #6
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    The Bingo quest has been my favorite thing to do on lotro.

  7. #7
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    Sadly I had to derail Bingo for a while due to some medical issues which are now 4reolved and I am catching up. Jusr got to Wildermpore and I must say they are still fun quest.

    Thanks MadeofLions for doing this
    I saw the light fade from the sky
    On the wind I heard a sigh
    As the snowflakes cover my fallen brothers
    I will say this last goodbye

  8. #8
    This needs putting in the Articles/Developer Diary Section as well, People need to see this and understand the love and care and attention that is still being put into this game after all these years.

    Nice Insights and Writeup , Thanks MoL and Lotro Team!

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    I haven't finished them all as yet, but they are fun so far.

    Hopefully we can have something similar down the line.

    Well done MoL *gives a thumbs up*

  10. #10
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    Thank you so much for the insight and explanations. I've greatly enjoyed Bingo's story and I'm thankful you created it!

    Personally, I love the idea of a treasure-hunting hobby I loved finding all those treasure boxes scattered around for the deeds.
    If you give away gold bars, someone will complain they're too heavy.
    .: Dannach, 113 WDN :.: Daire, 85 LMR :.: Gyrefalcon, 93 CHN :.: Brandon, 75 CPT :.: Honey, 72 GRD :.: Griffon, 70 HNT :.: Kaelenea, 73 RNK :.
    .: Iryth, 58 WDN :.: Baye, 61 WDN :.: Samtal, 65 WDN :.:Dunnock, 57 WDN :.: Sedgewald, 69 LMR :.: Breyon, 45 CHN :.: Totes, 113 HNT :.

    I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.
    Might as well face it, I'm addicted to WDN

  11. #11
    This was a very interesting read. Thanks, MoL. I enjoyed the Bingo quests to begin with, but have even more appreciation now that I've seen things from your perspective. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  12. #12
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    MoL, Thank you for the effort you put into Bingo. I enjoyed The Ballad of Bingo Boffin. The only thing that would have made it better would have been the choice for a warg puppy pet! Also, there were so many choices for rewards I ran out of badges. Alas, and had to bring another of my alts through the quest chain to get more. I may have to do another character yet again, as I still have not gotten all of the 'treasures' that I want.

    Hannariel, Landroval server

  13. #13
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    Thanks, that was an interesting read! It also gave explanations for many of the things I noticed along the Ballad

  14. #14
    MoL, Thank you SO much for this fun, humorous, and sometimes touching adventure. My family does a social 3 hobbit group every Sunday morning, and Bingo became the highlight of the day for the past year. We'd always start the day with "What is Bingo up to today?" Some of the best parts were the LL puzzle, Willem Whisker, taking us to old lands where we'd reminisce, and Spalvi's adventures. We'd always try to pick out the little jokes and always clicked on blue rings to find them. THIS is why we started to play Lotro so long ago--for stories, comradery and FUN.

    Thank you so much! (Please write more!)

  15. #15
    Thank you for sharing your creation process - very interesting!! I've so enjoyed the Bingo Boffin questline (I still need to finish up the last few weeks due to not-enough-time-in-the-day) but I too shall miss him! Thanks to all involved for taking us on such an epic adventure. It was fun to revisit all of the places Bingo travelled through! I'll be playing it through on at least another character or two, as I need more rewards and love how it can go along with the main Epic! Huzzah!!
    The Lonely Mountain Band
    :: Lhinnthel :: Laerelwen :: Wrenlhin :: Avlina :: Briare :: Iaroel... and many more (=
    Far Apart, Never Alone!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ered Luin
    Posts
    730
    thank you, MoL! It has been a great year-long adventure, and it is interesting to read the behind the scenes, now that it is over. I will miss Bingo a little bit for sure
    My Lotro blog :)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Wales, United Kingdom
    Posts
    7,723
    Awww, this is just beautiful. It's so nice to read a little into the thought process and find out what compelled you forward on this idea, as well as how it originated (Thanks Mrs MoL).

    I said to myself this morning, Oh, it's Wednesday, but quickly remembered that Wednesday would be different today - from the Wednesdays of the last year. And then, when I logged into the forum, I saw this Turned out, Wednesday was fine after all

    Thanks MoL. And now, I'm going to go read all that again.
    Monkeys are superior to man in this . . . . When a monkey looks in a mirror, he sees a monkey.
    Edited, because some folk just can't do wordplay.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Sarasota, FL, USA
    Posts
    3,256
    Thanks MoL, you're the best.
    << Co-founder of The Firebrands of Caruja on Landroval >>
    Ceolford of Dale, Dorolin, Tordag, Garberend Bellheather, Colfinn Belegorn, Garmo Butterbuckles, Calensarn Nimlos, Langtiriel, Bergteir


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    207
    Thank you for the Bingo adventure, and thank you for this inside look. Can't wait to see your next project.
    ~*~ Rîn of Paur en Mellyn ~*~ Landroval ~*~
    ~ Originally of Silverlode ~
    ~*~ Zeirlynn, Minstrel ~ Zeirneth, Champion ~ Zeiramethyst, Guardian ~*~

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    2,262
    Thanks so much MoL for this and everyone else involved too!

    I'm way behind in the Bingo stuff, but really looking forward to what's in store!
    Today is a good day for Pie.

    Do not meddle in the affairs of Burglars, for they are subtle and quick to shank you.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Canterbury, UK
    Posts
    149
    Great read, and great work too. You show serious love for your work (if I can call it work). Get this on your CV.

    Please, I really hope there is something else up your sleeve in a similar vein, perhaps something Dwarvish?
    Jobbing musician that resides in Bree. Frequenter of Taverns and places of ill repute

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Somewhere
    Posts
    1,365
    Well we love you too MoL : )
    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."
    J.R.R. Tolkien

  23. #23
    Revive the treasure hunting hobby as a new set of episodic content. Theodore and Haley could offer clues and riddles every week at the treasure hunter's guild that point to treasure long forgotten and probably long-since looted, but he'll reward you nonetheless with titles for every tier of riddles you solve as well as cosmetics, decorations and pets to boot. It would be like those Gondorian Treasure Caches but with some story behind them. A new tab on the collections panel couldn't hurt either. Throw in some Humfrey Rumming and you've got yourself a winning combination.

    Pretty please?

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    1,847
    Thanks for the ride MoL! Looking back I can't believe I missed the "Draigoch's Lair is full of bugs" joke, but well played. Having someone willing to give up their Sunday night for the sake of the game gives me hope for the future of Lotro. Here's to the next adventure!

  25. #25
    I have to add my thanks here as well. It was so nice to take a break from the doom, death, and darkness of the later events in game and get to go back with a sometimes light hearted look at earlier areas!
    Please let your muse loose and discover a new series for us to play!

 

 
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