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  1. #1
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    Lottery

    Lotteries have now vanished, did I miss something, or was it quietly shelved?
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  2. #2
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    They were fried early last year during a particularly icky storm. So, for the foreseeable future, we will not have any more lotteries.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by watarun View Post
    Lotteries have now vanished, did I miss something, or was it quietly shelved?
    They're not as big as they used to be and are now called Hobbit Presents.

  4. #4
    The Lotteries were also broken with no ETA on any fix. I guess it's Hobbit Presents* for the long haul.


    * I don't open Hobbit Presents. A personal choice.
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  5. #5
    As someone who works in IT, I find it very hard to believe a storm "fried" the ability for them to do lotteries. There are (or should be) too many safeguards and redundancies in place for this to happen.

    I am guessing whomever was working on the system was axed, and the position that person was working was never re-filled due to the cuts at Turbine.

    IMHO, Lotteries have sailed into the west and we will probably never see them again.
    Note: My posts are my OPINION, and are NOT intended to "troll", "provoke", "bait" or "harass".
    If my posts are taken as such, then I humbly apologize in advance.


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Burrito View Post
    As someone who works in IT, I find it very hard to believe a storm "fried" the ability for them to do lotteries. There are (or should be) too many safeguards and redundancies in place for this to happen.

    I am guessing whomever was working on the system was axed, and the position that person was working was never re-filled due to the cuts at Turbine.
    Turbine like many companies did not want the expense of building a data center and hiring the humans to run it. Turbine's servers are not in a Turbine data center. Turbine pays another company to provide reliable power, air conditioning and internet connectivity. No matter how much money you spend, there is always the potential for equipment damage. Hence companies with a serious need to service availability have two sets of hardware well separated by distances. One company I worked for had three data centers with identical copies of the data - one in Europe - one in South America and the last one in Asia. Somebody asked what will your company if all three data centers are destroyed at the same time. Nobody is going to care about what we do in that situation.

    I personally have seen more two incidents of equipment damage despite our best efforts. The worst case was a data center in Florida. All the equipment is 48 volt DC powered. You have FPL connected to a switch --> to the batteries --> to all the equipment. There is a diesel powered generator connected to the switch in case FPL stops working. The battery plant is designed for 24 run time hours. One day a lightning bolt hit the ground over the FPL feed. ran into the building. burned out the switch - jumped across the battery plant - sent a huge over voltage into the 48 feed lines. Million dollars worth of equipment damage. That was in spite all the high speed breakers, circuit interruptors, sold state fuses...

    The apparent problem Turbine has is that they have no money in their budget to buy replacement hardware. Nobody is going to be fired at Turbine because no Turbine employee at fault. There maybe some unpleasantness between Turbine and the company that operates the data center. Perhaps issues with the service level agreement. Lack of insurance.

    We did not have insurance. It was felt that it was a waste of dollars to cover such an unlikely event. There is no way to predict exactly where, when and how the wheels would come off. One of our centers was crushed when the World Trade Center tower collapsed. Fortunately, none of the employees were injured or killed. The manager on site followed company policy. Everybody was out of the building - leaving the area with in five minutes.
    Unless stated otherwise, all content in this post is My Personal Opinion.

  7. #7
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    The hardware failure story is all real and true.

    The thing is, Turbine just does not really want the lotteries back anymore, and that is just how it is. If they really wanted the lotteries back, they'd have made it so already. The lotteries have little to no priority, so you might as well forget them.

    Of course the above is just my personal translation of Sapience's statement that there is no ETA on when the lotteries will be back, and nothing more than just my personal translation. He knows, I guess.

    At this point I'd prefer the straight up 'not coming back, sorry'. Or fix the thing. Not the dangling. It sucks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrito View Post
    As someone who works in IT, I find it very hard to believe a storm "fried" the ability for them to do lotteries. There are (or should be) too many safeguards and redundancies in place for this to happen.
    While I don't doubt your word, I do find it hard to believe that you would work in position high in the IT department and still say that. I don't work in IT at all, but I have witnessed first-hand the effects that storms can have on electronics. Any time when something is shut off cold-turkey (power outage, for example, or even as simple as pulling the plug) you run the risk of ruining it. That's why you should not turn your computer off by yanking the cable. The chances are very slim, but still very real. We once had a storm here that fried one of the servers in our basement (yes... we have our own servers in our basement xD). My dad, being the technological wizard that he is, was eventually able to salvage the data (after weeks and weeks) but he said it's incredibly unlikely to manage that once it's been fried badly enough. And the dangers and chances of this kind of thing happens increases the more bad the storm is. My power can get knocked off if we have bad enough flooding. Throw in a tornado or a lightning storm, and it's even worse. Even companies like Turbine are not immune to the weather in this regard. Even fail-safes are not perfect. Once when our power went out our backup battery failed to kick in. We were lucky that time (no damage that I can remember, beyond the obvious need for a new battery) but it could have been a lot worse.

    So equipment getting fried as a result of a storm is far from unlikely. And if that does happen, more often than not it must be reconstructed from scratch. That takes time and money. Time and money that Turbine, for something as small as the lotteries, may not be willing to spend at this time. Eventually? Perhaps. But I doubt it's high on their list of things to do.

    "Fried" was merely a description. They weren't literally "burnt to a crisp" and letting off a hiss and smoke. But they were damaged and no longer work.

    Also, the time-line was off. At the time that this thread was started, I'd thought it was further back into 2013 than it actually was. In wasn't until later in the year that all of this happened.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    While I don't doubt your word, I do find it hard to believe that you would work in position high in the IT department and still say that. I don't work in IT at all, but I have witnessed first-hand the effects that storms can have on electronics.
    Burrito is right.
    You cannot lose software because of a hardware problem.
    I worked in bank/financial as PM and C/C++ developer for ~20 years, and we always had at least 2 backup servers for sensitive data like databases, source code, etc...
    Last edited by Castorix; Apr 02 2014 at 01:54 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Burrito View Post
    As someone who works in IT, I find it very hard to believe a storm "fried" the ability for them to do lotteries. There are (or should be) too many safeguards and redundancies in place for this to happen.

    I am guessing whomever was working on the system was axed, and the position that person was working was never re-filled due to the cuts at Turbine.

    IMHO, Lotteries have sailed into the west and we will probably never see them again.
    This is probably close to the truth.

    Code is being backed up, and a company like Turbine certainly has several backups in off-site locations that contains backup of code.

    The lotteries are just not a priority. What most likely happened is that with all the code changes to the website, the code that was for the lotteries didn't work anymore, and needed to be rewritten. And since there were other priorities (such as, at the time they stopped the lotteries, releasing Helms Deep) the lottery thing was just shelved for now, until someone has some time to make it a new project. I think it went by the wayside along with player/kinship information. It made many sites like guildportal completely worthless, as one of the best features was being able to approve/deny people based on their in-game character, and to assure there aren't any non-kinnies that were applying, etc.... The backend that supported all of that, also supported the lottery system I believe, and it was just not deemed a priority. And yeah, if you lay off 80 people, a lot of projects that might not add to their bottom line in sales ($ <--> TP <--> Mithril) probably got shelved.

    Then again, the Hobsnaningans festival was cool!
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  11. #11
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    All I can say is what I've said is the actual truth and facts. What you do with them is entirely your call. More than 15 years in IT prior to taking this job taught me nothing is outside the scope of posibility and the more strange it sounds the more likely it is to be true (I could share some serious horror stories and real jaw droppers from previous employers. )


    We have had initial meetings on making an entirely new system that hopefully avoids many of the major issues and problems of the old system. There is not ETA at this point and this is still very much a whiteboard project. Once/if it moves past that I'll share more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrito View Post
    As someone who works in IT, I find it very hard to believe a storm "fried" the ability for them to do lotteries. There are (or should be) too many safeguards and redundancies in place for this to happen.

    I am guessing whomever was working on the system was axed, and the position that person was working was never re-filled due to the cuts at Turbine.

    IMHO, Lotteries have sailed into the west and we will probably never see them again.
    Having only recently retired from 30 years in IT -- I have zero problem understanding what happened.

    Yes, it is (sadly) both quite normal and frequent for a single PC to never be backed up.

    Assume the Lottery system was a "project" that was originally developed on someone's desktop. Since it took virtually zero resources to run, it was simply allowed to run in that environment -- called a zero maintenance situation. It was not a critical component, so it was never migrated into the "Machine Room." It was probably never even plugged into any kind of UPS, maybe only a power strip. Even one with at $50,000 guarantee only replaces the PC -- not its contents.

    Personally, I see the lotteries as having been replaced by Hobbit Presents. No difference. Both are pure #### shoots - or rather Slot Machines

    Other than a sales tool to get players to "Like" LOTRO on Twitter and Facebook; they really have no redeeming value.
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  13. #13
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    I know you miss the lotteries, but they were actually a bad idea from the start. Why? It was a system that required players to sign up for it outside the game. Many players did not even know that a lottery system was in place. The lotteries were not posted on a consistent and regular basis, so, most people did not waste their time logging into it to find out if a lottery was even running. It took days to end and possibly get rewards. You were never notified in game if you won unless you got an inventory item or checked.

    As someone who used to work for a lottery software company "Gail Howard's smart luck software" I can tell you that this lottery system was mostly ineffective for the goals intended. For a lottery system to work towards drawing people into it you need there to actually be a game involved. The person entering must feel as though they have won something or were personally involved. This is part of the reason that you have to pick a number and most people choose to pick their numbers instead of using the random generated ticket system (although some people like the convenience of that system). For a lottery to generate buzz it needs to be a big prize and not a small one. getting a cosmetic Halloween mask does not make people want to spend time waiting to win or call their buddies over to enter.

    I for one am glad that the lottery system is gone. I am also glad that they are looking into a better system. I would be happy to help them design a better in game system that will help bring people into the game more (not a programmer - former lottery software tech rep) instead of having them feel that it is a waste or time or too much work to enter it. A new in game system or changes to the hobbit present system would be a much better way to go than the old lotteries as they were setup before.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breeon View Post
    They're not as big as they used to be and are now called Hobbit Presents.
    I would tend to agree with this statement except you dont get "all" the same items in the Hobbit Presents that were available in the lotteries like new horses. I kinda thought the lotteres was a tool used by turbine to get players interested in new items. so that when it became available in the Turbine Store people would want the new item more. But im just guessing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yula_the_Mighty View Post
    Turbine like many companies did not want the expense of building a data center and hiring the humans to run it. Turbine's servers are not in a Turbine data center. Turbine pays another company to provide reliable power, air conditioning and internet connectivity. No matter how much money you spend, there is always the potential for equipment damage. Hence companies with a serious need to service availability have two sets of hardware well separated by distances. One company I worked for had three data centers with identical copies of the data - one in Europe - one in South America and the last one in Asia. Somebody asked what will your company if all three data centers are destroyed at the same time. Nobody is going to care about what we do in that situation.

    I personally have seen more two incidents of equipment damage despite our best efforts. The worst case was a data center in Florida. All the equipment is 48 volt DC powered. You have FPL connected to a switch --> to the batteries --> to all the equipment. There is a diesel powered generator connected to the switch in case FPL stops working. The battery plant is designed for 24 run time hours. One day a lightning bolt hit the ground over the FPL feed. ran into the building. burned out the switch - jumped across the battery plant - sent a huge over voltage into the 48 feed lines. Million dollars worth of equipment damage. That was in spite all the high speed breakers, circuit interruptors, sold state fuses...

    The apparent problem Turbine has is that they have no money in their budget to buy replacement hardware. Nobody is going to be fired at Turbine because no Turbine employee at fault. There maybe some unpleasantness between Turbine and the company that operates the data center. Perhaps issues with the service level agreement. Lack of insurance.

    We did not have insurance. It was felt that it was a waste of dollars to cover such an unlikely event. There is no way to predict exactly where, when and how the wheels would come off. One of our centers was crushed when the World Trade Center tower collapsed. Fortunately, none of the employees were injured or killed. The manager on site followed company policy. Everybody was out of the building - leaving the area with in five minutes.
    I have had some hardware losses and I still managed to pull the data off. Corrupt Sectors, power surges. The only time I was unable to save the data was when the circuit board on the hd itself went out. but learned much later when a friend on mine had the issue had taken a duplicate HD and swapped components around on the hds. it ran long enough to pull the data off his HD. Not to mention Turbine is a professional company so I would imagine they have a routine in place of backing up all their data. So if someone did blow up the primary data center or it was completely flooded making it un retrievable they could just implement the back up copy. Making the data loss still minimal. Its just a matter of how much money a company wants to spend on trying to update, save or retrieve data from broken equipment. Especially since according to some the data centers are not at turbine so that would mean the company that owns the data centers would be the ones waiting on turbine to decide if they want to pay for that kind of in-depth data retrieval. If it was a storm that did it, then The owners of the data center could pay their workers to actually retrieve data then turn it into their insurance company, if they were insured properly.


    And yes it might take the devs a very long time to code something into the game, like an hour just to get a little box. However, Im gona guess and say that the Devs who work on the game content are not the same folks who work on the web site. The lotteries were a Turbine web site item and not visible or accessible from in game. While i also do believe the devs are good at their jobs writing code, I would hazard a guess and say that they would not be touching the Web site code or forum code as it is 2 a different animal from writing or dealing with game code. While not an expert Once the main framework of the web site data is compiled. After a couple weeks of updating the web site daily the folks doing it would almost know right where to go in the web data index file for what they want changed. I used to do this when i had my own web site. Write the new code in notepad. Open the index file find the data i want to replace, highlight it, and copy /paste the new data right over the old. its not as difficult as say a dev trying to find 1 line in a million lines of game code. Yes back then Things were not as complicated back then as they are now, but still web site code is only so much vs game code which is ever growing.

    I would also hazard a guess and say since they have not been fixed by now that they are gone. It could be that WB / Turbine decided to just not spend the money to pay the web designers to keep it going or any number of reasons.

    If they were to come back im sure Sapience would let us all know.. However, I would say it would be a good idea to assume they are gone for good, at least for now.


    Besides, if they did come back then we would all be oh Cool! Their back I forgot all about them!.
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  15. #15
    The lotteries were the only reason I followed lotro on Twitter. I miss the lotteries, but I don't miss getting woken up in the middle of the night because Turbine decided to retweet someone's stupid message.
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  16. #16
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    A new form of the lotteries is in the works. I think Sapience announced it in a live feed. I don't think it's coming SoonTM but it is on the official list of things to do.
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  17. #17
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    I too miss the lotteries, and have pretty well given up on ever seeing another one, but I still have a small amount of hope. After all, we got Hobnanigans back in the game, and I sure as heck never thought that would actually happen.

  18. #18

    Lottery given way to Hobbit Presents...

    As much as I enjoy the Hobbit presents (I guess this is supposed to be the new lottery) in-game, I think I rather miss the old lottery system. Why not have both?

    The Hobbit presents can be fun and as well, can be quite costly for more often than not... junk (not sure how many more Universal Tools I can really handle getting at the cost of mithril or even on my free spins - disappointing)! The old Lottery was based out of the LOTRO community forum account login, the prizes were often quite good and there were quite a few good things you could win. The Hobbit Presents is an obvious gamble that typically has a terrible ROI. They are fun for the entertainment value and occasional cool trinket, buff or coin; I think the lottery is missed.

 

 

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