I'll confer to my esteemed fellows forum members above.
Bluntly there is no future for the Mac client and as Valamar says, since closed beta, there was non despite the bluster in the (one & only) interview with the Mac press at time of launch from Turbine.
it still makes me cringe to re-read that TUAW article now with Greg Alexander (VP of Product Development) and Kate Paiz (Executive Producer) which was published at the time of launch at the end of October 2012, of the the then Mac beta client (becoming release apparently with no further development in early 2013) From that we are told on the Mac port;
So either it was developed in-house or a Mac developer contracted in. Given the specialist nature of a native OS X port I would surmise the second.
Turbine first considered bringing Lord of the Rings Online to Mac back when the game went free-to-play, said Alexander, but the reason it took so long was because the company decided to build a native port for the game rather than depend on emulation or other similar methods. "Trying to outsource the task just didn't make sense," said Alexander.
I must say that the decision to build a native port was a commendable one. This at a time when many others had gone down the emulation route via Wine etc. which can offer a decent experience but will always suffer the limitations of emulation. My feeling is that decision was made at a time when there was still some commitment to a long-term vision and corporate commitment to that.
If we take the quote as an accurate timeline then the earliest date for a start on the Mac port process was September 2010. It was released in October 2012. Two years maximum period.
"exact same game on the Mac as it is on the PC." really? Over half the Graphics settings do not function in the Mac client compared to the PC one from closed beta to date. Think that says it all really.
Kate Paiz is the executive producer of the game, and she said that because the Mac client is native, it'll be the exact same game on the Mac as it is on the PC. "It'll all just work natively," she told TUAW. "The Mac stuff will work through the same patcher." The Mac game itself won't have any extra features or experiences exclusive to the Mac, but Paiz said the team always tries to figure out how to best welcome new players, and was thinking about the Mac client even while developing the game's latest expansion, Riders of Rohan, released a few weeks ago.
And if they really wanted to truly consider 'how to best welcome new players' they would have properly advertised the Mac client (hardly anything at the time; one Mac article a few tiny generic advertisements on seedy sites...) and more importantly, a Mac client available for download from the LOTRO official site which actually worked! Since they switched to the current mess in early 2013 many potential Mac players can not even get it to work (due to it requiring Java not included by default on Macs for 2 years or so)
There is some big irony that the best advertising and download option is via Steam which incidentally still remains the only play to find any form of System requirements for Mac LOTRO. This type of pathetic attention to detail for the Mac client just reinforces the impression of 'get it out the door in whatever form as we have spent the money and don't commit any more time, care or attention to it other than the barest minimum to keep the Launcher working for updates"
I saw Valamar's plea for any sort of official Mac System Requirement in the recent post regarding the update to the PC one. Not even a response from Sapience. Quite unbelievably rude let alone complacent.
Let me repeat that, "Turbine expects to maintain and update that client over time, fixing any problems that users have."
The current launch of the game will be as a beta client, downloadable directly from Turbine that will simply sign into the game's live servers. A closed beta has been active for a few months, so this is essentially an open beta period starting now. Turbine expects to maintain and update that client over time, fixing any problems that users have.
Considering where we stand now 18 months after launch this simply leaves me speechless.
How did they ever think that they could "get lots of new players" or truly "We're very excited to welcome the Mac community firsthand" as Paiz was quoted with Little to no advertising to the Mac market, reaching out to the Mac gaming press and community? Offer no Mac specific technical support input to the Mac Tech Support forum ever. The Sticking of a few player created help threads and being told to submit tickets is all we ever got. Some welcome.
But Turbine is expecting both to see current players excited to run the game natively on their favorite computers, and new players interested in a free-to-play experience on OS X. "There haven't been a lot of MMOs or free-to-play games on the Mac yet, which we think is an opportunity, " said Alexander. "We're hopeful we're going to get lots of new players." And Paiz said that Turbine is happy to have Mac users on board. "We're very excited to welcome the Mac community firsthand ... We'd like to see what this IP and this game means to them personally."
I never expected to have regular dedicated CS or TS dialogue in the Mac Tech Support forum but when, after hundreds of threads by budding Mac users have issue after issue even now; Nothing. Not even a Welcome from a CM let alone from the Exec. Producer. The only official post is a rest of a thread by a player dated May 30 2007 about how to submit a support ticket.
Yes, as Mirthgar has said in the PC forum this is not the best place to get official TS help. However, just take a quick look to compare the non existent dialogue with the community on technical or just general issues here and the Blizzard Mac TS forum section here.
Note the number of blue responses even on just the first page. Now go and find just one on this entire forum section...
Blizzard offer full support ticket service too. But that does not mean they ignore the front line of the Mac player base seeking information via their official forum. No, Turbine is not Blizzard but the comparison is so blindingly cruel it rams home the attitude right from the get go of corporate attitude to their player base; despite all the (now seemingly hollow) words in that enthusiastically worded article at launch.
There is little further to say suffice to say their words have not been backed up with actions. Quite the reverse in fact. Complacency is the only view of where we stand now.
Final thing I will say (and said before) without the sterling efforts of Valamar (and somewhat myself in the past before I could not stomach it anymore) many, many more potential Mac LOTRO players would have given up at not even being able to download the Mac client form Turbine's own LOTRO site. Let alone appallingly shoddy mistakes in the Mac client which we endeavoured to workaround.
I love this IP. Tolkien provided us with a magical world and Turbine brought much which brought that alive for gamers in LOTRO. However the exciting promises of a native Mac port and ongoing development have evaporated into the grime reality of a corporate monetised showcase driven over the passionate commitment of developer and community aspiration.
In the end we have a Mac client that does work in a fashion at least and for those that persisted beyond the hurdles left in place, a way to play LOTRO on their Mac. There is that at least. But for me the broken promises, lack of any real interest or even simple dialogue led me to take the only option left which was to walk away. That was sad for me and sad for a game with so much promise and hope.
There is hope for use Mac gamers though down other paths. I am currently beta testing the Mac client for Elder Scrolls Online as an MMO in development for seven years and with a Lead Mac Developer in place for four of those years within the team creating a native Mac client.
I can say from the first beta testing weekend when the Mac client was available, the Mac game play was almost on par with the PC client which was a really pleasant surprise. This shows it can be done with the right corporate philosophy and vision which gives me hope for the future of Mac gaming.
Last edited by Toddlepip; Feb 21 2014 at 11:22 AM.
Gaspard Strongpole - Hunter on Eldar : Mac Player - iMac/27-inch, Late 2013/ 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5/ 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB/OS X 10.10.5