I have been playing for almost 5 years, and the tools in my.lotro were used by me nearly every day, as well as most members of kins I have led and been part of. There were some handy (I even consider them necessary for long-term players) tools on my.lotro that are not found in-game at all, and also handy when using guild-sites for kin-wide communication and planning.
For one, you could find if a kin is on a server still or if it was dissolved. This is handy when bringing new toons into a game, especially if no one from that kin happens to be online at the same time as you, so it is unsearchable in game. It also allowed you to see who were officers in the kin so you know who to look for when in-game to get an invite, something also not possible in-game without that foreknowledge. So in this area alone, it makes the work of finding a specific kin or officers in one much more difficult, and sometimes, impossible.
When it comes to stats, having them updated from my.lotro was handy for kin leader boards on guild websites. To hand-enter all the info every time it changes, having to switch from the game screen to another window constantly, is not only impractical, but tedious, and takes all fun from trying to both play the game and have current stats on the website. Very few players would long play the game and keep updates current - it is too much work. They would rather just play and enjoy the fact that their stats are updated automatically (as they were with my.lotro).
For long-term players and players in multiple kins and players with large kins, this change actually makes the game LESS desirable. Even other MMO's at least allow for auto-updating of character info for guild websites (such as WOW or SWTOR). Turbiine is one of the only ones that doesn't! And what's worse - it USED TO DO SO, and now took it away!
Seldom have I ever seen a company remove a service as they upgrade - usually they improve the service. I fully expected this from Turbine, with a great record for making improvements in the game. But this is horrible, and makes it much harder for me to play the game, since I DO need to keep my stats updated on the guild websites. By making me have to continually spend time doing this, switching back and forth between screen to enter all the data manually, Turbine is taking away my ability to do what I am paying them to do - to simply play the game and have fun, and not worry about whether my stats will be right when I finished time just focussing on the game.
Seems pretty lame to me to take a good website with actual information and turn it into this trash. Like many, I only come to the forums when I need info and completely missed this downgrade notificatino. Now I have a ticket open and looks like I can't see the status of those anymore either, unless I still have to find the "new and improved" way of checking that stuff.
At least the game didn't seem to dumb itself down in the upgrades.
Forums are great. Forums are the most democratic expression of knowledge and opinions you have available up to date. Nothing can compete. Nothing. However, having said that, a poor forum layout, structure and information gathering, will of course cause reactions. Then it has to improve. Other software, new categorization, better Moderation, all that is essential in running a forum. Any seriously minded forum moderator and administrator will strive towards building an overall integrity, where the sum of the content balances towards being in good order, Moderation firm but just and guidelines dictated by a enlightened discussion among the forums staff. This exists. The best forums are seldom run by companies, but by individuals or organisations with a passion for a particular topic/interest and a true feeling for what is an intelligent discussion.
So make your own independent sites that does not rely on anyone or anything else. I do it all the time. If you have the money to keep a site up and can muster the staff to gather info, nothing is stopping anyone from doing just that.
I admit I never got around to see my.lotro.com or anything about it, but after reading this it only proves my point, if you want a fan site with dedicated info that you can control and manage by yourself and do not want to depend on a company who is counting dollars to provide that very same info... well... But it is also true that some functionality would not be possible to achieve, if any of that would depend on direct communication with Turbines data. Because it is Turbines data. They own it, they can do what they like with it. Even delete it. Even this forum.
Last edited by Marancil; Dec 26 2013 at 11:51 AM.
You are correct in that Turbine owns it and has the right to refuse to make things convenient for their users to the point where many have left the game. They have every right to lose money by not providing what all their competitors provide. Having a right to do something and it being wise to do so are two very different things, and I care about the game and want to see Turbine succeed.
The difficulty is that keeping stats up to date on a kinship website is not accurately possible without Turbine's help, or your suggestion would make more sense. As an example, finding out who has left or joined the kin and what stats they currently have cannot be done without them being online at the same moment as you, and even the most active kins (and also the smallest kins) don't ever have everyone online at the same time. My.lotro was a means to do this, and thus provide an up-to-date means for kin leaders, officers, and suppliers to know what members' needs are whenever they log in, to craft or buy what was needed, and send it to that member in need via game-mail, so when they DO log in, they have a nice surprise waiting for them that will help them in the game. As Turbine has it set up now, this information is no longer available to anyone unless that member is online at the same time, and with different time zones and schedules, it is often impossible to help them because it is now impossible to know their current needs. Even if you had every member send in-game mail to the leaders before logging off, nothing is to guarantee they did not log on and change the info before the leader logs on again, or that the leaders' mailbox won't get full if he or she happens to be offline a couple of days.
This type of information is available to players of almost every mmo game, and most game makers like to enhance their paying members' gameplay by allowing the guild sites to update the member information from the game database at the touch of a button. Turbine used to do this as well. In fact, some guild hosting companies (such as guildportal, who owns lotrosites.com) do not allow for individual adding or changing of kin member info, but ONLY allow auto updates from the game database, which means any kin who had put years into making kin websites on guildportal (or any other host that has this common policy) now has NO means to keep up to date stats for their members to use to help each other and enhance their in-game playing experience.
I edit websites all the time, and run 3 kin sites. I can update certain info without the my.lotro data, but a great deal that was once available, and is still considered necessary for a smooth kin operation, is no longer available even in game for me to be able to HAVE the info to hand-update the site with. So IF Turbine was to provide a page or portal where I could see the info, I would be happy to hand-enter it. But not only is it not able to be auto-updated any more (as it used to be), it is not even available to manually update.
As you point out, it is their game, and forums when faulty need to be updated. When updating a service to paying customers who have learned to expect parts of that service as part of what they paid for, to remove it is asking for them to stop paying, which hundreds (if not thousands) have done. So yes, it is their product, and they have a right to keep what they used to make available to their customers unavailable. I personally already put thousands of dollars into this game, and apart from the cheap basic VIP membership, I am not wasting my money any more on someone who does not care for those who pay for the company's very existence.
Many close friends of mine have switched to other games where the makers don't make it so hard for groups to have their stats available to enhance gameplay. Turbine used to be one of the best at providing this. It is not the loss specifically of the my.lotro area that is the problem - it is the taking away the database behind it without replacing it with a working one. As you say, forums need improvement, so did the database. They improved the forums and instead of improving the database to match their competitors, they got rid of it. Bad and foolish decision, one they have every right to make, and they have every right to chase their customers away, lose money as a result, and have more budget difficulties for the next expansion. I want them to succeed, so I ask for them to give us at least the equivalent of what the competition has, so that players will return, new players will have a great kin experience both in and out of game, and Turbine can make more money. If they don't want to share the info with outside sites, make a kin hosting site for Turbine customers only, and that solves that issue.
Yup. You are right and it sucks. Again, as I type in my previous post, all gets more complex if one needs access to live game data and depend on a service for that, be that a service provided by the gamemakers for free or not. However, as also has been pointed out, if traffic to that data does not warrant the effort (whichever effort, time, resources, dollars), well, the only path left to go is to work around it and be independent and do it for fun and interest.
I have no means of corroborating this, but, maybe newer/other games developers have seen the need and appreciation in distributing different forms of stats, and just coded it in to the product, while it is much harder to do the same in LOTRO?
So, I suppose, when I become independently wealthy, I could hire folks to create a db of lotro stats-stuff just so I'd have something to query. Or, can someone point me to the bow stats forum? Even Tunnels & Trolls had rule books to reference. : (
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