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  1. #426
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    Quote Originally Posted by FundinStrongarm View Post
    It was stated. Paraphrase and quotes below.

    Sapience: 'The license has been extended.'

    2 different people: 'For how long?'
    1 person: "You notice the question as to how long the license has been renewed was ignored. It could have been renewed for 1 years, 2 years, or all the way through 2017. No way to know unless they make an announcement."

    Sapience: [quoting all 3 people] "We have an agreement that runs through 2017."

    Take note of the comments he was responding to. I think it is explicit. YMMV
    Linking it for good measure:
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  2. #427
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Again I ask that this thread be kept on the topic of the contents of Aaron's Letter. If we've exhausted that discussion, then we can safely move on.

  3. #428
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smehcoons View Post
    1. Has the license for LOTRO been extended? If so, until when? (explicit and clear, no spin, no emotive words, no room for interpretation, no wishy-washy "agreement" or "plan" statements etc).

    2. Is there any new raid / instance content planned and currently in development? Will we see it in 2015?
    1 has been answered, as others have pointed out.
    2 has been repeatedly answered to utter exhaustion, and people still ask (perhaps hoping for a different answer?). No, there is no raid or even instance scaling currently planned or in development. We have known since as far back as March 2013 that there would be no new raids or scaling instances until at least after HD was launched, and all the Q/As, including the recent Hobbits to Isengard runs and the "Ask the LotRO Team" Q/A have restated that there is nothing currently even being planned.

  4. #429
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    Sapience - Rowan said he likes to be direct and said we can expect more along these lines as we draw close to the Anniversary. Is it possible that we could get letters like these more frequently? I could well be wrong, but so far it seems like these executive letters tend to come on a yearly basis (a sort of "looking forward into Year X, this is what we are anticipating") after which we scarcely hear from the executive level at all. What is the opinion regarding making these letters more seasonal or even monthly? Even if it's as small as a memo saying, "Hey guys, this is what stage we are at in the planning of XYZ..." so that players can get a better feel for how these things are progressing.
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  5. #430
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    Sapience - Rowan said he likes to be direct and said we can expect more along these lines as we draw close to the Anniversary. Is it possible that we could get letters like these more frequently? I could well be wrong, but so far it seems like these executive letters tend to come on a yearly basis (a sort of "looking forward into Year X, this is what we are anticipating") after which we scarcely hear from the executive level at all. What is the opinion regarding making these letters more seasonal or even monthly? Even if it's as small as a memo saying, "Hey guys, this is what stage we are at in the planning of XYZ..." so that players can get a better feel for how these things are progressing.
    This is a GREAT question! In fact, Rowan and I had this conversation and he's already thinking about his next one. You can expect it sometimes near/around the release of Update 13. In fact, I'm trying to get him to drop in on the Hobbit to Isengard run tomorrow and answer some questions. He's got a couple of meetings around that time, but we think we can sneak him in at some point during the run.

  6. #431
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    Hi Rowan interesting letter, can't wait to see this next epic book. Can I ask a question about your vision for lotro though? Do you see it as an extension of what's happened in the last two years, or more of a return to some of the original gameplay?

    More specifically is making new group content going to be a priority under yourself? We've heard nothing's in the works, and won't be anytime soon but now you're back are you confirming that road map or reconsidering?
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  7. #432
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldarian_Grace View Post
    Hi Rowan interesting letter, can't wait to see this next epic book. Can I ask a question about your vision for lotro though? Do you see it as an extension of what's happened in the last two years, or more of a return to some of the original gameplay?

    More specifically is making new group content going to be a priority under yourself? We've heard nothing's in the works, and won't be anytime soon but now you're back are you confirming that road map or reconsidering?
    I, too, am interested on Rowan's vision with regard to group play, especially considering his tenure with LOTRO spanned a time when group content was a given.

    There's no questioning that the players who liked group content were the hardest hit by the switch from a sub model to f2p. But that's only because there was such a long gap in new content during Mirkwood. The grouping community was well on its way to returning to former quality with Isengard, but someone made the decision not to maintain that momentum in RoR and now HD. I still think grouping can return to its former glory with the right leadership of people willing to let it build back up over the course of a couple years. It feels like someone looked at the numbers for RoI out of context, not realizing that it was a rebuilding year, and made a decision based on a spreadsheet. It may have been lower, population-wise, than previous instance clusters, but it was on the upslope. Then they built a brick wall in the middle of the slope and called it Erebor.

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  8. #433
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Hello all! I’m Aaron “Rowan” Campbell, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.*

    Update 13 (and LOTRO’s 7th Anniversary) are coming up soon (He said it! Not me!- Sapience). There is a long list of new features with U13, but I want to highlight some of the key items and the great folks that are working on them.

    Epic Book: We’re going to Flooded Isengard! MadeofLions has put together an epic experience, where you finally get to experience life as an Ent.

    North Downs: This is a vast and classic region. Budgeford is digging in to modernize and improve the space, much like she’s done in the past with Moria.

    Fangorn Forest: Quickbeam needs your help! JWBarry has led the charge to build out new quests in Southern Fangorn, including a special friend you might earn.

    In addition, mail will now support multiple attachments. VIPs will be able to open mail in the wilderness through your mail alert. Inventory is getting entirely new management options. And we have a new prototype of Hobnangians that we expect to release later this year.

    As Kate mentioned, we’re pressing forward to Gondor! We’re digging in deep (but not too deep) to continue the journey through Middle-earth. I look forward to telling you more about our plans for 2014 and into 2015 in the near future.

    Rowan

    *For those that remember me, I’ve been with LOTRO since 2006. I stepped away over the last year to run Dungeons and Dragons Online. Now I’m back in Middle-earth and thrilled to be working with the LOTRO team again.
    Its nice to see new content coming out.....just not the content i am waiting for. Nothing new to do end-game wise, and nothing announced.

    Nothing new in the ettens either, so the only feature thats there to tempt me to renew my sub is being able to open mail anywhere.....yeah no thanks

  9. #434
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    This is a GREAT question! In fact, Rowan and I had this conversation and he's already thinking about his next one. You can expect it sometimes near/around the release of Update 13. In fact, I'm trying to get him to drop in on the Hobbit to Isengard run tomorrow and answer some questions. He's got a couple of meetings around that time, but we think we can sneak him in at some point during the run.
    Awesome! As I am now fully under the weather, I plan on calling in sick again tomorrow, so hopefully I can attend the run. I guess this is what I should consider the silver lining of my sickness. xD

    Now, I've seen a lot of talk about hearing more as U13 approaches and I often hear it in conjunction with the Anniversary. I know the Spring festival has also been mentioned. But isn't the Spring festival first? Does that mean we'll get the Spring festival and then shortly thereafter U13 and the Anniversary? Or the other way around? Or perhaps, as part of the re-examination of the festivals in general, will we be skipping the Spring festival?

    My cold may be making this a little less coherent than I should like, but what I'm driving at is: last I heard the U13 date was expected to be late March; the Anniversary is in early/mid April. I remember the Spring festival being before the Anniversary. What is the expected scheduling of these three events, and are there any concerns with them overlapping at all? With the new (and updated) content coming with U13, it seems counter-productive to have a festival running at the same time.
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  10. #435
    sapience can we get more information when update 13 might appear on the BR

  11. #436
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldarian_Grace View Post
    Hi Rowan interesting letter, can't wait to see this next epic book. Can I ask a question about your vision for lotro though? Do you see it as an extension of what's happened in the last two years, or more of a return to some of the original gameplay?
    In terms of schedule, this next year will look much more like the year after Shadows of Angmar launched. Regular updates to the game while we grow the world, with occasional updates to systems. I know looking back to SoA is a loaded term for many players - it's my best approximation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldarian_Grace View Post
    More specifically is making new group content going to be a priority under yourself? We've heard nothing's in the works, and won't be anytime soon but now you're back are you confirming that road map or reconsidering?
    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
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  12. #437
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    This sounds like "story" and "growing the world" was a contradiction to "challenging group content"... I do not share this opinion. How about a raid dungeon in let's say the Paths of the Dead.... This would be perfectely fitting with the story.

  13. #438
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    If you consider new group content fitting in where you can in the future I'll be a happy camper indeed. Thank you and I'll look forward to future updates hopefully as you all look at the long range ideas.
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  14. #439
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    As Executive Producer, where do you envision it fitting in? Obviously, the ball is already rolling for this year and the near future, with region revamps, smaller regions which move the story along, etc, and even the EP can only do so much....

    But do you feel that a return to a traditional instance cluster is in the cards, or at all desirable, when the next expansion hits in 18 months or 2 years? I think the question on many minds is whether your reign will have the same vision of group play as the previous. I feel like it's been said (correct me if I'm remembering wrong) that big battles are the future of group content for the foreseeable future.

    Do you think that the absence of challenging group content is having a domino effect on other aspects of the game, and will have a negative impact on the store as fewer upgrades are necessary or helpful to purchase? Or do traditional group players represent such a minority that it's not fiscally responsible to spend resources on traditional group content?
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  15. #440
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eruadarion View Post
    This sounds like "story" and "growing the world" was a contradiction to "challenging group content"... I do not share this opinion.
    No, it's not a simple answer. The contrast is building interior ("instance") spaces v. exterior ("open world") spaces. I guess theoretically we could build more open world group challenges. (Not committing to a path, just describing the tension.)
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  16. #441
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    In terms of schedule, this next year will look much more like the year after Shadows of Angmar launched. Regular updates to the game while we grow the world, with occasional updates to systems. I know looking back to SoA is a loaded term for many players - it's my best approximation.



    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    Thank you for the speedy reply and although not quite what I wanted to hear, it at least keeps the option open.

    I'd like to take a moment though to say just how right lotro has previously got it in group content, how it inspired me to get into the game and how I'd love to throw money at you if and when you make more quality material. The watcher was awesome, etc. please make more! there's plenty of solo story stuff to keep anyone happy to mordor and back. Grouping is kinda starving at the moment however.
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  17. #442
    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    In terms of schedule, this next year will look much more like the year after Shadows of Angmar launched. Regular updates to the game while we grow the world, with occasional updates to systems. I know looking back to SoA is a loaded term for many players - it's my best approximation.



    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    I'm hoping you expand on the "group content where we can fit it in" comment. I can appreciate focusing on world expansion and system updates, hell I can even live with the year or year and a half of such focus, but beyond that continuing to play at a regular pace would be something I'd consider no longer doing.

    Honestly it sounds like Shelob's Lair, which is about as ready made for an IC/Raid as the lore has at this point, isn't even a sure deal. I'm really hoping you mean "can fit it in" in the where lore allows or we can find wiggle room context and not in the, if we find the time and get around to it context.

    I can always log in and see what's been added due to my lifetime account, but with my major draw, group content, relegated to only possible maybe, for the duration of the game, logging in to look around once every 3 months or so becomes a distinct option. Which is a sad thing, for me.
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  18. #443
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    No, it's not a simple answer. The contrast is building interior ("instance") spaces v. exterior ("open world") spaces. I guess theoretically we could build more open world group challenges.
    Careful. You know the LOTRO crowd. This will turn into "open world group challenges promised for 2014" within the hour.

    I am actually pretty hopeful for 2014, even without details. I tend to be a slow leveler through content, so the year after SoA I was probably still trying to get to the end of SoA, but considering one of my favorite areas to experience in LOTRO came with the first expansion, taking time to expand the story and the world now could end up being the best thing for the players down the line. Good luck with it.


    Edit: ok, I see you already modified your post to disarm the trap a bit

  19. #444
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    I guess I should clarify that I don't include open world as group content, I was thinking specifically interior raids/instances that are not open to the public like a war band would be. I miss raiding and I would really like it (and am willing to open my wallet for it) if you created another cluster like Mirkwood/Moria/Enedwaith/RoI content. The open world content a la Great River/Limlight Gorge and newer areas with war bands have no more appeal than current content.

    Thank you for talking to us. I say enough when I am unhappy, so I want to be sure and say that your participation is really appreciated.
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  20. #445
    Quote Originally Posted by Beaniemooch View Post

    ...

    Thank you for talking to us. I say enough when I am unhappy, so I want to be sure and say that your participation is really appreciated.
    Very much agreed
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  21. #446
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    If instances are not possible, what about group questing sub-zones like those in Enedwaith and the Great River? That will at least give groups and kins something new to do together. I don't think most players expect group content to dominate, but rather to just be part of the overall selection of content on offer to players.

    I like the sound of the year ahead being similar to the post-launch year of SoA. I'm looking forward to Update 13 and hearing about future content.

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  22. #447
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaniemooch View Post
    I guess I should clarify that I don't include open world as group content, I was thinking specifically interior raids/instances that are not open to the public like a war band would be. I miss raiding and I would really like it (and am willing to open my wallet for it) if you created another cluster like Mirkwood/Moria/Enedwaith/RoI content.
    Yes, it need not be a full expansion. I am sure most of us would gladly throw money at an instance cluster somewhere along the way, that is not connected with a larger expansion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Belnavar View Post
    If instances are not possible, what about group questing sub-zones like those in Enedwaith and the Great River? That will at least give groups and kins something new to do together. I don't think most players expect group content to dominate, but rather to just be part of the overall selection of content on offer to players.
    True. Great River is still one of my all-time favourite regions.

  23. #448
    Quote Originally Posted by Eruadarion View Post
    This sounds like "story" and "growing the world" was a contradiction to "challenging group content"... I do not share this opinion. How about a raid dungeon in let's say the Paths of the Dead.... This would be perfectely fitting with the story.
    With the long lead times to create instanced content, how about Pelargir and battling the Black Fleet? As much as Paths would be awesome to see, I think we need to move the story forward faster. Better yet, maybe an IC could start in Paths and end with a nice battle in Pelargir?

    It's a pleasure seeing you post here +Rowan.

  24. #449
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    We'll consider new group content where we can fit it in, but the team's priority is definitely moving the story and growing the world. Update 13 is the close of Volume 3 of the Epic, meaning yes... Volume 4 is on the way.
    I interpret Rowan's statement as one of priorities being set under a very tight resource budget. I interpret it as a 'no' in a general sense, though leaving the door ajar for an opportunity to include group content if it fits the primary direction, without stealing resources from the primary direction.

    What's the "primary direction"? Rowan flat out says it: telling the rest of the story (think the books' Volume III, Return of the King) ... and filling out the world (in conjunction with the story, that's primarily: Gondor --> Anduin River valley east of Gondor incl. Ithilien, etc. --> Wall of Mordor (Gates, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, etc.).

    It's like being in a bomber limping home from a mission, three engines are out, the last one running on fumes, trying desperately to get to base and a successful "Mission Accomplished" before the last of the resources (and your luck) run out. Turbine/LOTRO's "base" is the end of the LotR tale. That's job #1, everything else is a potential bill-payer. Including group content that doesn't help finish the story.

    I intend this neither as criticism, nor as cheerleading, simply as an interpretation of Rowan's statement in light of what we know.

    -- FACT: Turbine does not have enough resources (devs, artists, engineers, builders, time, energy) to do everything. This is a prima facie fact.

    -- FACT: Turbine has fewer resources devoted to LOTRO than a year ago. STRONG POSSIBILITY: Turbine has fewer resources devoted to LOTRO than at any time since the launch of Shadows of Angmar.

    -- FACT: There is still quite a ways to go. Based purely on relative dimensions, North Gondor, the Fields of Pelennor, and Minas Tirith alone are either one HUGELY large zone, or two/three relatively normal-sized zones. The vale of the Anduin between Gondor and Mordor is a zone of its own (incl. Osgiliath, Ithilien, Faramir's hideout). The Gates of Mordor and area north (Dagorlad, Dead Marshes) is a full zone. And Morgul Vale, including Minas Morgul and Cirith Ungol, is probably its own zone, though a small one. So purely in equivalent terms to the world that already exists, it will take the equivalent workload of four to six fully new zones to "move the story" and "grow the world" to a successful (if limited) conclusion.

    -- SEMI-CONCLUSION 1: At lower resource levels than "the old days," it will take longer to build new zones (assuming the same quality and quantity of activities in each zone) than it used to take. Not counting what the game launched with in 2007, we've seen 11 new zones over seven years...but Moria and the two main Rohan zones are huge, so round it up to 14 zone/7 years = 2 zones per year. So maybe now we only get one zone a year: but that only gets us to Mission Accomplished in 2018, and no telling if we have that long. So maybe squeeze five zones into four years (14, 15, 16, and 17). Finish up the story by 2017 with North Gondor, Minas Tirith/Pelennor, Vale of Anduin, Morgul Vale, and Black Gate zones added. And get the story to its finale.

    -- SEMI-CONCLUSION 2: I wonder if the devs considered breaking the epic tale into two simultaneous and parallel storylines after Volume III ends, the way Tolkien divided readers' time between Frodo+Sam and Gandalf+Aragorn+the Rest. It might be very cool: Volume IV sticking in the general area of Gandalf-Pippen, Theoden-Eomer-Eowyn-Merry (with possible side trek alongside or behind Aragorn-Gimli-Legolas) ... and Volume V somehow keeping track of Frodo+Sam from afar. But that latter is very tricky without tickling up against lore problems....

    -- CONCLUSION: This is doable...just. Assuming no more serious resource cuts from WB. We might get there. But everything that isn't central to building new zones and populating / questing / deeding them out in a way that gets the story told is going to be left aside. My suspicion is that serious (hardcore) group content is largely a lost billpayer. Maybe some SF or Fellowhship stuff along the way, to help with the tale.
    Last edited by Angadan; Mar 04 2014 at 04:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eruadarion View Post
    This sounds like "story" and "growing the world" was a contradiction to "challenging group content"... I do not share this opinion.
    It's not an opinion. From a development time, and player accessibility standpoint they are contradictory. Group content would need to occupy spaces that need to be designed for it, and for it to be challenging requires a lot of time and effort and testing and revision of mechanics, likely that would need to be created from scratch. And what % of the player base would ever be able to see this story?

    So they can spend a ton of time on a few bosses in an encounter that 90% of the players would never see, or they can spend that same time opening up multiple regions of the world and giving it story that 100% of the players would have relatively easy access too.

 

 
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