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  1. #1
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    LOTRO Livestreams - Notes on what was said

    I just watched the inventory Q&A with Chris Martin and there was some great info in there, so I'm going to extend my transcripting to these types of events too. I'm creating a separate thread because this could potentially continue past the hobbit runs.

    Please note: I am paraphrasing here. Anything said here is coming through my interpretation of what was said, and is subject to being corrected, so don't take this as the final word.

    If anyone who was present has any additions or corrections, feel free to post.

    Hobbits to Isengard Q&A - Notes on What Was Said

    Q&A With Chris Martin - Inventory Revamp 17/03/14

    U13 Preview Tour 03/04/14

    SHIELD Dwarf Runs through Moria Q&A - Notes on What Was Said

    For a helpful look at how Sapience gets his hobbits to level 10 so fast, view the Twitch video here.

    Q&A With EP Aaron "Rowan" Campbell 16/07/14

    Frelorn Test Stream 14/08/14

    Frelorn Regular Livestream Events Q&A

    U14.2 Preview Tour 11/09/2014


    U15 Preview Tour 30/10/2014
    Last edited by frickinmuck; Nov 02 2014 at 11:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Q&A With Chris Martin - Inventory Revamp 17/03/14

    Please note: I am paraphrasing here. Anything said here is coming through my interpretation of what was said, and is subject to being corrected, so don't take this as the final word.

    If anyone who was present has any additions or corrections, feel free to post.

    Q&A With Chris Martin - Inventory Revamp 17/03/14
    Video available here.

    Senior Game Systems Engineer Chris Martin discusses changes to the Inventory/Bag system coming with Update 13

    Chris – People may know him as Norell (sp?) on the boards. He’s been with Turbine for a little over 8 years, he’s on the Game Systems Engineering team. He does a lot of work on the UI. He also worked on the LUA a lot. They’ve been getting a lot of feedback that people want to customize their bags more. The idea behind this revamp is for those who like their bags the way they are, to be able to keep them as they are, and for those who want to be able to customize them, to be able to do that too.

    Chris demos the new system. Here are my notes on that:

    Players can now scale the width of their bags at will, so that the inventory slots move around to fill the expanded width or height. They can also access a new inventory edit mode and move their inventory slots from bag to bag, in groups of 5. So for example, if people want all one bag, they can move all their slots into bag 1. Bags that are emptied of inventory slots by this activity will no longer show when not in inventory edit mode. So when they show or hide their inventory, only the bags with slots in them will appear. When the player accesses inventory edit mode again, the empty bags will reappear and players can drag inventory slots back into them to make them reappear.

    Bag 1 is given a special role in that it houses advanced interface options such as a search bar that highlights items in the inventory as you type into it (i.e. if you type “Hide”, all the hides of all types that are in your inventory will be highlighted. If you type “Light Hide” only the light hides will be highlighted). Bag 1 also has a lock icon that, when clicked, changes your mouse cursor into a lock that enables you to toggle item sell locking off and on with a click. To exit lock mode, right click anywhere, or click the lock icon again. Bag 1 also has a gear icon for toggling inventory edit mode, and a LotRO store icon that gives players instant access to the store page where extra inventory slots will be sold. Because bag 1 now houses these special controls, it can never be fully emptied of inventory slots (or it would disappear). The bag will always have at least 5 slots.

    Q&A following the demo
    1. Vraethir has a question about a bug with stacks of items. If you intentionally or unintentionally drag a stack of items out of your bags, you get the split verification window, and then the items go immediately into deletion without a verification prompt. Is this intentional, or is it something that Nathan was working on in removing some of the verifications
      Chris – It was not intentional for this inventory revamp. One of the QA testers told him about it this morning and it looks like it’s a bug. They were also working on changes to some of the confirmations, so it looks like this might have gotten messed up along the way. They are working on fixing it
      Sapience – Just got confirmation from QA while Chris was talking, that it was in fact by design but they are taking another look at it because deleting items without confirmation is not a good thing.
    2. If you get the extra bag space but you want to keep the traditional view, what do you need to do
      Sapience – Just leave everything alone
      Chris – If you leave everything alone without ever going into inventory edit mode, bag 1 will just keep growing as you buy more slots.
    3. Question about the cost of extra bag space.
      Sapience – Says his understanding is that they will no longer be selling “bags” per se, rather they will be selling inventory slots in groups of 5. A bag is essentially 3 groups of 5, and the current plan is to keep the price of inventory slots such that 3 groups of 5 will cost roughly the same as an extra bag currently costs. You can buy just 5 slots, or 15, or 10 or whatever you want, and the price will work out to be in line with current prices in the store.
      Chris – Agrees that is the case. Everything will be sold in groupings of 5, and the cost will be set to match or be cheaper than the existing price points.
    4. Can you organize stuff so one bag has food, one bag has potions, so each bag automatically organizes by category, or is that something that’s outside the scope of this revamp
      Chris – Sorting like that is something they’ve been talking about, but in this iteration that functionality is not part of it, so you will have to do your sorting manually. But it’s something they’ve been talking about so it might be something they do in a future revision.
    5. Currently 5 slots are 333TP on Bullroarer, will that change
      Sapience – Everything on Bullroarer is subject to change. That price will either stay the same or be slightly adjusted down. The end goal is to allow players to buy inventory in smaller chunks but end up costing roughly the same amount as if you had bought a full bag. Because some people don’t like paying the full nearly 1,000TP at one time when they just want a few extra slots. Pricing should end up being comparable to live, just with being able to buy it in smaller chunks.
      Chris – Says the pricing on Bullroarer is currently still a bit placeholdery. You definitely shouldn’t see it cost more than it does now, you’ll just be able to get it in smaller chunks.
    6. What about changing the labeling of bags, will we be able to rename them
      Chris – That is another thing they’ve been talking about. He’s been talking to one of the designers about what approach they should take on that. Yes, bag renaming is in the plan right now. They are still trying to finalize how they’ll implement it.
    7. Is there a possibility of doing a sort function that would rearrange items by type, so that all the crafting items are together, all the armour is together, etc.
      Chris – That’s one of the things they’ve been talking about doing, maybe having a dropdown or something that enables people to choose how they want to sort things. That’s not going to be in the scope of this release, but that is something they’d like to get in a future revision.
    8. Can we grow only bag 1, or can we adjust the size of any bag
      Chris – Yes, you can basically put any slots anywhere you want. You can set it up your bags to be any organization you want. Everything in bag 1, everything in bag 6 if you want. The only exception is that once you get down to one grouping in bag 1, you can’t go below that. Otherwise bag 1 would disappear and you wouldn’t be able to get back into edit mode, use the search, use the lock mode or purchase more slots from the interface. So that is a special case for bag 1.
      Sapience – Says it looks like there’s a lot of flexibility in organizing things however you want. Mentions a comment in the chat about leaving a bag up, with 10 slots or so in a line and using it as another toolbar.
      Chris – That’s definitely something they were keeping in mind with this design.
    9. Question about how the slots will be filled once they are purchased
      Chris – They did get a couple questions about this with beta. Originally when it first came out people may have noticed that the items would fill into the bags in an order that used a numbering you really couldn’t see anymore. That has been fixed, and now when you acquire a new item it will go into the first visibly empty slot. The only exception to that is when you are in inventory edit mode. When you are dragging things around, the update doesn’t get sent to the server until you exit inventory edit mode. So if you acquired a new item while in edit mode ordering might not be what you expected. Once you exit inventory edit mode, things will behave normally.
    10. Will we be able to make a bag location static, so that when we hit show/hide, it will stay open, and so that we can’t accidentally drag the bag around the screen
      Chris – That is something they can try to do for a future update. Right now the only way you can have only one bag open is to close all the other ones, but when you show/hide again, they will all open and close again.
    11. Question about whether this changes which bags VIPs get, how many slots they get
      Sapience – As far as the amount of slots you will be getting with your account status as free, premium or VIP, that is not changing. Bag 6 and future inventory expansions will still cost extra.
      Chris – Everything will still stay the same with how you are getting the slots/bags you would normally get. But if you are in an account situation where you have to buy bag 4, 5 and 6, you will just be getting the individual slot groups of 5 offered in the store. But if you already have those bags, none of that will change or go away with this new system.
    12. Question about when U13 is going live
      Sapience – No exact date has been set yet. There are still additional builds that need to make it onto Bullroarer before things go live. They will be announcing a date Soon™.
    13. Question about a bug with the position of the bag affecting the ability to buy space
      Chris – Right now if you resize a bag off the bottom of the screen, it can get cut off and those slots disappear. For those who run into this problem, resizing the bag again will fix it. But the bug is being looked at. When you buy the slots you do get them, you just might not be able to visually see them until you resize your bag if you are in that bug state. There are a few other things they are fixing with resizing as well, with the way titles and graphics display at different bag sizes, and they will be setting a minimum width for bag 1.
    14. Currently the plan seems to be to enable us to move things in blocks of 5. Any consideration being given to letting us move slots individually
      Chris – It’s not in the current functionality, but it’s something they can change down the road if player feedback shows it’s something people want. The tech behind the system is very flexible in that regard, and it’s something they will be able to adjust as needed.
    15. Is there a scrollbar functionality so that if I wanted everything in one bag, but the bag smaller, I could just scroll
      Chris – No. They decided to avoid scrollbars with this design, so that no matter how they have the space organized they can always see all their items onscreen.
    16. Question about how this works with the mail system
      Sapience – This is a completely separate system and the two are not related.
      Chris – The mail revamp was done separately from this. They may interact from time to time, but they are considered separate systems.
    17. Can you tell us your computer specs
      Sapience – Chris is currently on Sapience’s work system, the one he always uses for streaming. That is a core I7 with 16GB RAM, a pair of SSDs and a GTX 650 video card.
      Chris – His personal machine is one he built himself. He can’t remember the exact details on the spot, but he has 2 SSDs, an Nvidia card (which number he can’t remember). He tends to like beefy systems. He enjoys building machines.
    18. Question about a bug on Bullroarer where items will go into overflow and disappear
      Chris – When you buy new space, currently there is a bug where unless you log out and back in, the system doesn’t see the new space and doesn’t try to put things into it. That’s something they are investigating and should have fixed very soon.
    19. Will any of these changes impact the system requirements or have a performance impact
      Chris – There is a small performance hit when you are in edit mode, but it will not affect your system performance at all as soon as you leave edit mode, even if you have all your bags open. You will not see any client performance difference vs what you had before in the old system.
    20. Did Raina give you any ribbing over Friday’s death toll
      Sapience – If you watched the stream you heard her cackling. He didn’t need any extra.
    21. HoarseDev stops by Sapience’s desk where Chris is sitting and gives a big thumbs up for the camera.
      Chris – Says apparently somebody approved of the demo. He got a thumbs up.
      Sapience – Aaron just came by to where he is sitting and says they have to get Aaron and HoarseDev together on a livestream sometime, because at that point everyone is going to need stereoscopic glasses because they’re going to think they are seeing double. The running office joke is that EP Aaron and HoarseDev once went dressed as each other for Halloween, because they look so much alike.
    22. Will there be any features for people who like to skin their UIs. Will they be able to skin this system the same way they do the current one
      Chris – Yes. The UI will have the same function that it always had, so plugins and skins should work the same. There will be a couple new elements that people can skin, and it will still be fully override-able with a plugin. The slot numbers shouldn’t affect plugins with this new UI. If anyone encounters bugs with Bullroarer, please file a bug, but they haven’t seen any issues with it so far.
    23. Question about Sapience dyeing his beard pink and green
      Sapience – The plan was to do it today, but something personal came up that precluded his being able to do it, so if not this week, he will do it next week sometime. At the very least we will be getting a picture of all the pink and green glory soon. HoarseDev has forbidden him to shave, even if the dye doesn’t wash out, so it should be interesting.
    24. What about scalability – can we change the size of individual items so they can look larger or smaller than they are
      Chris – Thinks it’s a good suggestion. It might be something they look into in the future. For now, the size is fixed at what it’s always been.
    25. Will these changes have any impact on what we do or don’t have to keep in our bags (i.e. LIs, crafting, etc), or is this just about how it’s displayed, not how it’s handled
      Chris – This pass was completely on how things are displayed and organized. Moving things away from the inventory was not in the scope of this, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be investigating that in the future.
    26. Question about Bullroarer download
      Sapience – There is not currently a Bullroarer install available for download. That is why they decided to do this livestream, to give those who don’t currently have Bullroarer installed a chance to take a look at the new inventory system.
    27. Question about plugins
      Sapience – This is going to work with plugins. If someone has The One Bag installed, they can go ahead and keep using it after U13. This will not break that.
      Chris – Yes, players can keep using The One Bag or any other inventory plugin they want to use.
    28. What is your favourite class
      Chris – Rune-keeper is his favourite.
    29. Will there be another livestream about changes in U13 before it is released
      Sapience – Yes there will be. They are working on at least one more, and he may try to sneak in a third one as well. He won’t say when the next one will be, but closer to U13’s launch.
    30. You mentioned that bags 4 through 6 are being removed from store purchase. If you don’t have all 6 bags, how will that work when people buy extra slots – will they just be added to the bags they do have
      Chris – He’s glad someone asked this question. No matter how much space you have, you will always have access to all 6 bags. So even if you don’t have the space associated with bags 4, 5 and 6, when you go into edit mode you will be able to move some of the slots you have into those bags if you wish. Even though when you buy new slots they will go into bag 1, you can move them wherever you want. There’s not really a concept of buying the bags anymore. They are just always available at all times.
    31. When will LotRO have a Linux client
      Sapience – He’s sorry, but there are absolutely no plans on the table to create a Linux client.
    Last edited by frickinmuck; Apr 04 2014 at 01:04 PM. Reason: Adding link to video

  3. #3
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    U13 Preview Tour 03/04/14

    Please note: I am paraphrasing here. Anything said here is coming through my interpretation of what was said, and is subject to being corrected, so don't take this as the final word.

    If anyone who was present has any additions or corrections, feel free to post.

    U13 Preview Tour 03/04/14
    Video available here.

    On this stream – Sapience, EP Aaron “Rowan” Campbell, MadeOfLions, jwbarry, HoarseDev, Leo from the engineering team in the driver’s seat

    Brief tour of Flooded Isengard.

    MadeOfLions – We’ve been in Vol 3 for around 4 years, where the main threat has been Saruman the White Wizard. In this update we’re going to see an end to his villainy for the most part *winks*. This is where he bred the armies of uruk-hai that recently assaulted the Hornburg at Helm’s Deep. Now, in U13, Isengard looks a little different. Something terrible happened here, or something great, depending on your perspective. Much of the epic story in U13 will recount how it came to look like this, and what was going on in Isengard at the time that the Battle of the Hornburg was taking place.

    Questions about session play and access to the new content

    MadeOfLions – Wanted to address a concern that was posted on the forums, where a player asked, “What if I haven’t seen Isengard yet – does all that content just go away?” No, that content does not go away. He would be very sad if some of the work they did just vanished. Flooded Isengard is contiguous with Western Rohan, and the previous version of Isengard is adjacent to Dunland. So you can still access both in-game, you can still do all the quests and content for both after U13.

    What’s it going to take to access this new content – is it just for people who own Helm’s Deep, is it free for VIP, is it free for everyone – how do you access the content for U13
    Rowan – Anyone can travel there. As always, it’s an open world you can travel across. In terms of the content and the quests, this is an extension and in many ways a completion of the Helm’s Deep story, so you will need to own the Helm’s Deep expansion to play through the quests in this area and in the new Fangorn area.
    MadeOfLions – Because there are now two different versions of Isengard in the game, he created a waypoint to teleport between the two regions, and he very intentionally did not gate it behind any quests or anything. You should be able to use it, a chicken would be able to use it if she wanted to. So there isn’t any gating on physically getting to the new version of Isengard or getting back and forth.

    Rumour is there’s a lot of session play, but you can skip it. How does skipping session play impact the questing or the epic story, does it make it so you can’t do parts of the quests or epic story, or is it completely optional
    MadeOfLions – It is completely optional. As you are playing through the quests and epic story you will encounter characters who witnessed very interesting things, and they will offer to tell you about these interesting things if you want. If you don’t want to play the session play experiences you can just proceed onto the next quest giver and you would never know it. But he thinks these stories are interesting enough that you would want to play through them, but you can skip them if you want. He likes the “Interlude” idea of keeping session play optional. They are great storytelling devices that he enjoys making and playing, but they are truly optional.

    Sapience – Just to clarify the larger answer about U13 and how to get it, no it is not buyable via the LotRO store. If you have Helm’s Deep you will get it, if you don’t, get HD and you will have access to all the quests and everything else.

    Discussion in the chat about adding more chicken stones
    MadeOfLions – There was a request to add a chicken stone to Amon Hen, he remembers, and he resisted the urge.
    Sapience – Thinks that sounds wholly appropriate.
    Rowan – Thinks he shouldn’t have resisted.
    MadeOfLions – Maybe one day.
    Sapience – Well now they would like to go to Helm’s Deep. The Chickens have spoken.
    Rowan – Thinks Sapience can get a whole other series of streams out of that idea
    Sapience – Jokes that will be next summer’s event, thinks that would be entertaining

    Previewing of session play as Treebeard, otherwise known as “Ent Play”

    MadeOfLions – This is wholly optional, but there is something to be said for playing as an ent and experiencing one of the scenes from the books.

    Since we can only get U13 via purchasing HD, can we expect a sale on HD soon?
    Rowan – They are conscious of people’s desire to play this content, but he won’t comment on pricing for it just yet.

    If we opt out of a session play, can we come back and play it later?

    MadeOfLions – Yes, you will be able to go back. The characters who offered the sessions will remain where they are, forever. They will be there all the time and you will be able to go back and talk to them. They don’t disappear after you do the session play, or not.

    Sapience – Knows how proud MadeOfLions is of the tech that changes the names in the session from Small Creature to the real names, and points out that there is a lot of love for it in the chat.
    MadeOfLions – Vindication and joy is had. He liked that script that he made for that so much that he uses it all the time in this book. He says he thinks there are 5 different occasions in this book where somebody’s name changes, because he figured out how to do that. He probably could have asked jwbarry and he would have helped him set it up long ago, but he figured it out himself this time.

    View of the hobbits drinking the ent draught. MadeOfLions talks about how they will grow and appear larger from this point forward.

    Discussion about the next Producer’s Letter

    What’s the new class and when will it be in
    Rowan – If it was April first he could say the new class was Ent Play, but that’s being added with U13. The new class will be described in his next producer’s letter, which will come out with the launch of U13 (April 14). He thinks that letter has only had 8 or 9 revisions now, which has to be a record.
    Sapience – Thinks it seems like more than that. There have been very many emails about it.
    Rowan – We keep adding to it. There is a lot to say.
    Sapience – Agrees. There is a lot coming up, and a lot to look forward to.

    MadeOfLions talks about the clever way they created a sense of ents being slow, by making time appear to pass very quickly, making the hobbits scurry around really quickly and having the shadows pass by really quickly. The team admires the effect.

    MadeofLions – There are a few instances and a few sessions in Book 14, which is the final book of Volume 3, and they will be starting a new volume. It will be very exciting, it will have a new story and a new direction, and will hopefully be distinct from Volume 3 and exciting in new and different ways he’s not allowed to talk about right now.
    Rowan – Says he just read through MadeOfLions’ pitch on the opening of Volume 4 today, and he thinks it’s going to be really grand and exciting, with a lot of new ideas and he’s very happy with it. We’ll be able to go to cool places, like Gondor.

    Leo takes us on a tour through Fangorn

    Discussion about quests and types of content

    jwbarry – Once we’ve gotten the epic wrapped up, we start to deal with the after effects of the ents getting a little too riled up and partying a little too late into the evening. We meet Quickbeam and once he determines that we are not an agent of Saruman, he will ask us to meet him back in Fangorn. He’s come back and realized there are problems with awakening the forest and getting it angry and ready to march to war. The ents did a really good job, and Quickbeam somewhat regrets how great of a job they did. The other ents are gone, he’s the only one who’s back, and he wants to quiet the forest back down and get things calm, relaxed and put things back to sleep. And deal with a lot of the stuff that has sprung up during the ents absence. We will be working with Quickbeam to do this.
    They’ve done this in a few different ways. Some of them may feel familiar from Hytbold dailies, where they’ve tried to iterate and take some noticeable steps forward from that design and structure, to give more variety and options in the questpacks.
    In the first part he will send us to different parts of the forest depending on when we talk to him, and ask us to help him calm things down, and there’s either stuff to collect and destroy or kill – different things at all the different spots. The forest itself will change day to day what the problem is depending on location, but Quickbeam doesn’t know yet what the problem is so he just asks us to go and quiet things, which should help preserve some of the immersion that was lost in the way that the Hytbold dailies were structured, where it was the quests that were randomized, not the world. So they’re turning that around a little bit.
    The second part is that we’ll get a Huorn pet bestower on the way through Isengard, and he will come back to the forest with Quickbeam. He’ll follow us around and bestow quests at different spots in the forest as he discovers things that need doing, so there is a big exploration aspect that is introduced there.
    The third chunk is 3 new resource instances. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a new set of these. So for the tier 9 crafting resources, wood, ore and scholar jars of dead people bits and notes
    MadeOfLions – History
    Sapience – Old stuff
    jwbarry – So those each have a standard kill the boss at the end, with a kill and collect quest inside of those, and we can do each of those every day.
    The fourth type is a new type and style of questing that they are calling “Incrementals.” Incrementals will have anywhere between 4 and 6 objectives to them, and we can only do one objective per day. We are doing some work for Quickbeam and he needs time to ponder what the next action is. So once we finish it, he needs about 18 hours, and we’ll have a buff icon that counts down until he’s had time to reconsider. They joked that it was good we got Quickbeam because Treebeard would have needed a week. That is going to drag things out a bit. It’s not purely an attempt to make things longer. It allows them to tell a different type of story, it allows them a different type of daily that changes each day and interlays with the other dailies in interesting manner to create a different pattern and experience every day that we login. It also allows them to readjust the type of rewards they can give us for something like that because it is a larger time commitment. And the incrementals, when we finish them, and they are repeatable, we have a chance of getting the first cosmetic pets. There are 3 of them, 3 different huorns with different appearances.

    Questions about group content and scaling of instances

    You mentioned resource instances, what about other types of instances will we see any scaling of instances like the Rise of Isengard instances, or maybe a new big battle, what can we look forward to from a group content standpoint
    jwbarry – Cue disappointing music; there is no group content in U13.
    Rowan – There are active plans for a new epic battle, coming out with U14, so that’s one thing they are digging into pretty deeply right now, and he feels good about. He’s not committing to it but he feels good about it right now. He doesn’t know about how jwbarry feels about scaling other stuff, he knows they haven’t committed to anything just yet.
    jwbarry – There are a couple of things that are candidates that they could do, the Isengard cluster is the closest one. However, there is significant work in scaling a space. The Isengard cluster has a pair of instances, particularly the Dargnakh instance with the troll, where if we could see behind the scenes we would be ashamed of them if we were to see how it was built. It needs a fair bit of work, and he knows the Foundry instance needs a lot of difficulty balance work. Scaling something isn’t free. They like to go back and make sure that they look at the polish, make sure they look at modern standards, the bugs, the things that didn’t quite live up to their expectations when they launched it, they redo all the loot for the space and incorporate it into the marks, medallions, seals system, so it’s not by any means something that is inexpensive or free.
    There’s also definitely a feeling out there, that they understand very much, that scaling a space, no matter how many bosses it has or how interesting it is, is not the same as a new space. So they need to balance those things together and try to figure out where to lay out their resources and what they can support, to ensure they are doing the most that will scratch the largest itch.
    Rowan – The short answer is the Isengard instances might be the best candidate for scaling. No definite plans on that yet.

    Questions about cosmetic pets

    Will cosmetic pets be usable in raids and instanced spaces, or will that be disallowed

    jwbarry – They can be used anywhere. They are working on iterating the tech. This is the initial version where the pets mirror the tech of LM pets, where they are actual server entities. The implementation for a future update, which they are currently working on, switches them over to be purely client-side, so they aren’t real, you can’t even click them and the server has no knowledge that they exist. That is changing some of their behaviors, and what they can and cannot do with them. They disappear when you mount up, but they may not disappear when you get into combat because the server doesn’t even know that they exist so there’s no need to. They won’t be targeted, they won’t have health or any of that other kind of stuff. They’re looking into a client option to disable them, so in raids if you are worried about performance. They will likely not be allowed in the Ettenmoors. Entertainingly they are currently dealing with an issue where they don’t swim. The notion of a water volume is a server type thing, so the pet doesn’t know about it, so they try to make the pets float, and the engineer who was working on it was showing it to him and he’d get about halfway into a pond and follow him about halfway and then beeline for the shoreline. And the pet is only aware of the movement path the character is taking, so the engineer has no idea how the pet is moving autonomously and knows where the shoreline is.
    Rowan – They don’t like to get wet
    MadeOfLions – Thinks that sounds amazing and he loves it.
    jwbarry – It’s a system that they’re excited about. There’s a lot of potential for rewards, for collection, for some fun bits. He says we shouldn’t expect anything sentient, they’re trying to pay attention to what makes sense to follow us around, to try not to step on the toes of captains and LMs, and what makes sense with the lore, and occasionally nudging against it if something looks and seems cool enough.
    Sapience – Just wants to clarify, these are purely cosmetic pets, they’re not combat pets, they don’t replace any classes existing pets, they are just purely cosmetic.
    jwbarry – That’s correct. In fact, Lore-masters who have existing cosmetic pets will find that they can have both their pet and this pet out at the same time.
    Rowan – Not with this update, but with the following update?
    jwbarry – Clarifies that right now the pets are in separate channels, so if a LM had their bear out, they could have the bear and the huorn out. If they had their squirrel out, they could have the squirrel and the huorn out. And with the future limitations they are not looking to change that. They are looking to preserve that behaviour. So one of the cool things about being a LM is that you get two guys to follow you around, not just one.
    Sapience – Assumes the same would be true for captains, if they had their heralds out.
    jwbarry – Confirms that is correct.
    Sapience – Asks about after U13 when these change over to client-side, will that mean other people won’t be able to see our cosmetic pets, or is that just a way of handling the load on the server?
    jwbarry – That’s really just a way of handling the load on the server. There is a little bit of server information, but rather than the server tracking basically a monster that is following you around and doing all this stuff, instead it just tracks the property of what the pet is that all the clients should use to create for you, and then all the clients do their own simulation of that pet. Everybody will see yours and you will see theirs.
    Sapience – On creep-side, can they look forward to cosmetic pets in the future, say a baby warg for war-leaders?
    jwbarry – That’s currently undecided. They want to get the system rolled out first for freeps where they understand the technology a bit better, because creeps are basically session players and they behave in a slightly different manner. A lot of it will be how the pets are perceived by the player base, how that works out, and how strong the demand and interest for it is.
    Sapience – But wouldn’t having a bunch of cosmetic pets in the Ettenmoors create a bunch of extra problems with rendering speed and lag issues in addition to the lore master pets and all the other pets that are already out there?
    jwbarry – There will be a client-side option to disable them so you won’t see anybody’s, and depending on where they go with the creep ones, up until the point where they do potentially release creep cosmetic pets, he would expect that freep cosmetic pets will be disabled in the Ettenmoors period.

    Questions about epic battles, instances/raids, and rewards

    Regarding epic battles, is that replacing the classic raids going forward, or is there some point in the future where we can expect other classic type instances
    jwbarry – Any single type of instance content does not replace or obviate the need or ability for any others. When they made skirmishes, they still made other instances after that. It all depends on where they are at in the story, what they are trying to present and represent, and what is the best suitable mechanism to do so. He would expect that when they get to Pellenor and Minas Tirith that those would be epic battle style instances and structure because that is what it was built to support and built to do. When they get down into Mordor, if there is a point in time where we get to Shelob’s lair and engage with her, he’d expect that to be an instance dealing with a boss in a cave with a standard structure. It depends on where they are. Epic battles are not the new definition of instance. They are another tool in the toolbox for them to tell story and create gameplay.
    Leo – And that’s definitely the priority, to tell the story.
    Sapience – Says now we’re getting into the meat of the story, and things are really happening.
    MadeOfLions – Thinks things have been happening all along. Everyone laughs.
    Sapience – Says now it’s serious, there’s a war going on.
    MadeOfLions – Agrees that this is certainly a very interesting stretch of the story. And he thinks the section of the story we’re about to get into is under-represented in Lord of The Rings media in some form, so he’s really excited to get to this new stretch.
    HoarseDev – Says we’ve got a really interesting mix of very intimate moments with really singular characters, and then these huger moments where armies are lined up, and that’s where they are at with big battles. They’ve had, and there are a few moments coming up where the only way to do it is have a bunch of people fighting it out.

    Regarding epic battle rewards, is new jewelry coming anytime soon, or will that come later
    jwbarry – With U13 there are two changes to epic battle rewards, both relating to the platinum bar. As of right now when we fill the platinum bar, there are 10 different teal items we can get that belong to sets. There is also a chance that we may get one of 4 orange items. The orange items are upgraded versions of the 10 teal items. For update 13, the other 6 orange items will be swapped into the loot list for platinum. So the 6 orange items that we weren’t able to earn will now be the rare drops for filling the platinum bar. The 4 that we could earn beforehand will be disappearing from the list for awhile and may potentially come back in at a later point in time.
    The other update for the platinum bar is that there is now a rare chance upon finishing a platinum bar, of receiving a level 95 First Age symbol.

    Questions about PvMP

    What about PvMP, what can we look forward to in U13 for the Ettenmoors, and can we look forward to new challenges, different challenges in the future? And what about beyond U13, where are we going with PvMP
    HoarseDev – He sits right next to Jinjaah and he gets to listen to a lot of the things he’s working on and hopefully put his thumbs up on it. Right now there’s a lot of changes to how mitigations work in general, a lot of systemic stuff, and he knows Jinjaah’s been working on a lot of “oldie but goodie” bug fixes for U13. So it’s kind of a mix of both right now. In terms of long term, HoarseDev loves PvMP and would like to see it get shaken up a little bit. He knows they’ve said in the past that they’ve messed around with the idea of taking things from big battles, like siege weapons, and putting them in there, they’ve joked around about that and every once in awhile they’ll prototype stuff. But right now, mainly for U13 they’re doing a bunch of balance and a bunch of fixes so they can get things a little bit better on track. Long term they are thoroughly willing to explore new stuff.
    Sapience – Asks if ‘new stuff’ potentially includes a new map.
    HoarseDev – Says ‘potentially’ is a great word. He would love to have a new map but they’d need to see where something like that might fit in. He and Rowan joke around about places in the story where we’re at right now where that might make sense, but he doesn’t make maps so he can’t write that up for someone else. Says “We’ll see.” He’d love to have one but it is a lot of work. He’ll see what he can do, but he doesn’t actually do that work.
    Leo – Jokes that there are at least 2 days each week, that HoarseDev is not working that he could free up, Saturdays and Sundays, just to build these things.
    HoarseDev – Thinks that’s a bit presumptuous.
    Sapience – Clarifies that that means, maps sound like a cool thing but that’s a long term and potentially longer than long term hope.
    Rowan – Says that when they have that conversation they’re really talking about Osgiliath, that’s the area where that most obviously fits right now. But that is a ways out.
    HoarseDev – Says that would be the earliest they would consider it, but he thinks it would be a pretty sweet spot to have some of that go down.
    Sapience – Has a related question, what about PvMP instances, maybe creep on freep action in an instance space, not necessarily a new map?
    HoarseDev – That is essentially the same question. For them it would probably have to be something that is smaller, more contained, stricter rules, stricter objectives, which tends to lend itself off into an instance, but they’re going to wait until they are staring down the barrel of places like Osgiliath before really splitting hairs on it.
    Sapience – Says the general consensus in the chat seems to be that Leo is right, they don’t need time off and should get to work right now. Says Rick as he is sitting on vacation in Florida. Also Leo’s doing, he would point out, so be careful. He’s crafty.

    Leo – Says they’ve shown us everything they’re capable of showing us in the update, except the elusive, camera-shy huorn pet that he’s struggled to capture on camera for us.

    Rowan – Knows they have other changes coming up such as inventory changes, a lot of systemic stuff and under the covers things that have been covered in past streams, but is open for more questions.

    Discussion about Players Council

    Sapience – Says Yicky made a good point in the chat that PvMP Players Council members are our friends with ideas. So if we do have ideas for PvMP in the future, Players Council members are really good, and Yicky in particular has been REALLY good, about voicing those interests and concerns from the PvMP community.
    HoarseDev – Says they have a really close relationship with the PvMP Council folks.
    Sapience – Reminds everyone that applications are still open until April 14th for the 2014 Council. Encourages people who are interested to fire off an application and maybe they too could help direct Jinjaah or other members of the team a little bit. There are a lot of crazy ideas that come out of those conversations, but some of them are pretty interesting.

    Question about First Ages

    How can we get a First Age weapons with U13
    HoarseDev – In big battles there is a small chance to get them from filling the platinum bar. And they threw a small chance to get them into some T3 skirms he believes.
    jwbarry – Says probably the challenges. He believes they added them as a very low chance to wherever you could get second ages. He believes that was what the plan was.
    HoarseDev – Doesn’t have the exact list in front of him but says there is definitely content to go out and do to try to earn First Ages.
    Sapience – Clarifies that it’s not just T3 skirm raids, there are other ways to get First Ages.

    Questions about deeds and lootboxes

    Sapience – With the deed changes players are getting an awful lot of lootboxes, and he knows that Leo has been working on resolving the bug with people getting flooded with lootboxes that fall out of their inventory, so he knows that is being addressed, but with all of the new lootboxes coming out, is there any chance that a] the loot will be slightly different and improved and b] and are keys going to be a little bit easier to find or are players going to be stuck with a ton of lootboxes and then have to go find a bunch of keys
    HoarseDev – Says there haven’t been too many changes to lootbox rewards lately, but he thinks people will have a lot of lootboxes, and can’t speak to the key drop rate, but he can talk to the people who set it. There are plenty of people who love lootboxes, plenty who hate them, but the wanted to get them out there for the players who may not have gotten one before. They will probably be looking at U14 to maybe changing what’s in there, but he doesn’t want to spoil anything.
    jwbarry – One of the updates they did with U13 is a deed revamp, which is where a lot of players are getting a bunch of lootboxes on logging in. They looked at all the deeds, made sure all the regions had a suitable mix of slayer deeds and meta deeds that wrapped up the different categories, and then a meta that wrapped up each of the regions. There are about 70 new deeds in the game. They also looked at how well those deeds are rewarded. All of the region meta deeds reward a lootbox that is appropriate to the level range for that region. As part of an update and looking at feedback about how that goes, all of those lootboxes also now come with a key. He thinks there’s up to 17 that players can get for the new meta deeds for the regions and all of them will come with a key so players can open them immediately if we’d like to, or we can parcel them and sell them off, it’s our choice. But we’re not left with an inventory full of lootboxes as rewards that we can’t do anything with.

    Speaking of lootboxes and First Ages, in the past, First Ages have shown up in lootboxes – will we have First Ages in lootboxes with U13
    HoarseDev – Says as far as he knows, not with U13. A lot of what they try to do with First Ages is get them out first to the folks who are doing the most challenging content, so for U13, not in the lootboxes.

    Question about storage and wardrobe space

    What about storage in U13, are new purchasable cosmetic and shared storage slots being added with U13
    HoarseDev – Believes there are extra slots for wardrobe space being added – that’s on his calendar – but he’s not sure about the other storage space. He believes there will be extra bag slots available with the changes to how bags work, but he doesn’t know about shared storage, it might not be the right time for that.

    Final thoughts

    Sapience – Wraps up the preview, reminds everyone that U13 is coming in a couple of weeks and reminds everyone to keep their eyes out for Aaron’s new producer’s letter, as it sounds like there is going to be quite a bit of information in there. Thanks all of the players on behalf of the team. Asks the team if there’s anything they’d like to share that wasn’t covered in the chat so far, that they think is a big deal that players will want to hear.
    Rowan – It’s a very big year, he’s happy to be shifting to a model that gets them out more often, with new story updates throughout the year, and advances the story and advances the world, and gives MadeOfLions a lot of new work to do in terms of building out Volume 4. He thinks the arc of the year looks great, and they’re very excited about it.
    HoarseDev – A lot of what they’ve been doing lately is looking at the long term roadmap of the game and really starting to put the pieces together. Obviously they’re discussing U13 right now, but as soon as they leave the room they’ll be talking about things like 2015 as well, and how to get there. For him it makes things really exciting because having a clear path and a lot of cool things they can do makes for a nice, long view in terms of the kind of cool stuff they’ll be coming up with.

    Question about the revamped areas

    Sapience – Has one more question that got in at the end. The updated regions that were part of the update, are they still planned, are any getting trimmed off, which regions are actually getting the once over for U13
    jwbarry – They went through the Misty Mountains, the Trollshaws, and the North Downs. All three were on the initial list, all three did happen. A lot of the work has been looking at quest flow. North Downs covered 38 levels before, it was unwieldy and the flow wasn’t great, the vectoring wasn’t good, the distribution of quests needed work. They have a lot more tools with remote bestows, and a lot of stuff like that they can look at to really tighten up the regions and bring them up to as close to modern standards as they’ve been able to.

    Discussion about future livestreams

    Leo – Says he would like to do a lot more of these livestream chat sessions on Twitch, so asks us to please give feedback on the forums about things we’d like to have seen that they didn’t do, or anything we have at all on this session. They would like to make them better and more frequent, and more useful for us.
    Sapience – Says absolutely, that goes directly with a question in the chat about wanting more transparency, more interaction, more information earlier, and he thinks that’s a pretty big yes, that they are definitely going to be doing these more frequently, different formats, they’ll try out different things so he asks us to please do provide feedback in the forums about the livestreams, what we’d like to see more of, what we’d like to see less of (jokes that it’s probably him). Feedback is really appreciated.

    Sapience thanks everyone once again, and says they look forward to doing it again.

    Rowan, HoarseDev, Leo, MadeOfLions and jwbarry give their thanks too.

    Message from Sapience regarding face-to-face events

    Sapience posted a couple of reminders into chat, for those interested in face-to-face events:

    If you're in Florida, don't forget this Saturday there's a player meet and greet in Orlando! Full details on the forums.
    If you're headed to Boston for PAX East, we're having a player meet and greet on Friday April 11 at 7:30PM at the Bell in Hand! Please RSVP for that on the forums as well, there is a thread in the forums.
    Last edited by frickinmuck; Apr 04 2014 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Various typo corrections

  4. #4
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    Thanks for posting this.
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    Yeah, thank you very much!
    If the stream is uploaded on youtube or on twitch as a "past brodcast", can you link them in your transcrips?

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    Thank you so much, frickinmuck! I wasn't able to focus completely on the livestream this time, and you filled out what I missed.

    /feather in appreciation!

  7. #7
    Thank you very much for this tasty wall of text.

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    Exclamation Paging Sapience...

    Could you sticky this thread and move it to the same board as frickinmuck's delightful chronicle of your Taking the Hobbits to Isengard stream transcripts? Then we can find it easily when it's updated.

    Thanks!!!!
    Last edited by SouthernBelle0927; Apr 04 2014 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Horrendous run-on sentence *ducks in shame*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schinderhannes View Post
    Yeah, thank you very much!
    If the stream is uploaded on youtube or on twitch as a "past brodcast", can you link them in your transcrips?
    Ah, good suggestion - will do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBelle0927 View Post
    Thank you so much, frickinmuck! I wasn't able to focus completely on the livestream this time, and you filled out what I missed.

    /feather in appreciation!
    Seconded! Thank you, frickinmuck!

    Because there are now two different versions of Isengard in the game, he created a waypoint to teleport between the two regions, and he very intentionally did not gate it behind any quests or anything. You should be able to use it, a chicken would be able to use it if she wanted to.
    I'm really looking forward to Update 13, but reading this makes me ineggsplicably, eggstatically happy! *may or may not have danced like a chicken*

    We meet Quickbeam and once he determines that we are not an agent of Saruman...
    Quickbeam wasn't convinced the first time we meet him?
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    For the live stream we held yesterday, this looks good as an accurate summary. Thank you frickinmuck!
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  12. #12
    Wow! That's an incredible job of transcribing, Frickinmuck. Thank you!
    Alasse: lore-master 100 on Landroval, plus alts of every other class

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    Quote Originally Posted by frickinmuck View Post

    MadeOfLions – We’ve been in Vol 3 for around 4 years, where the main threat has been Saruman the White Wizard. In this update we’re going to see an end to his villainy for the most part *winks*.
    Anyone else reading that as a hint we're going to eventually get the Scouring of the Shire? Maybe as a South Farthing update?

  14. #14
    Thanks so much for posting this. I missed most of what was said because I could barely hear anyone but Sapience. Now I have a much better idea of what is coming out, and what isn't. Sounds like we have an exciting year ahead of us!

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    This is really impressive, thank you for your hard work.
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    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
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    As I expect there will be more of this type of livestream alongside the TTHTI live streams, I've also added this to the Archive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frickinmuck View Post
    I hope he sings Yellow or Clocks.

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    If you need a c/p of the chatroom chatter after the video stopped streaming, I did save it just to be on the safe side. I haven't found any way to retrieve those logs once it all ends, and wasn't sure if you had, so I thought better safe than sorry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    If you need a c/p of the chatroom chatter after the video stopped streaming, I did save it just to be on the safe side. I haven't found any way to retrieve those logs once it all ends, and wasn't sure if you had, so I thought better safe than sorry.
    Thanks - if you could send that to me via email that would be a big help.

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    In the mail! And it was no trouble. Glad to help out in any way I can. It sure would be nice if the chat logs did not clear. They seem to for me, and they don't have a long memory either, which doubly-stinks. :/
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    Reserved for U14 Preview Tour

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    Q&A With EP Aaron “Rowan” Campbell

    Q&A With EP Aaron “Rowan” Campbell

    In this stream - Community Manager Rick “Sapience” Heaton and Executive Producer Aaron “Rowan” Campbell

    Sapience opens the stream by saying they’re here to discuss U14, Rowan’s producer’s letter and, hopefully, a bit of what’s coming in the future. He asks the first few questions to get things started.

    Producer's Letter

    Sapience – How do we feel about U14 right now?
    Rowan – U14 has just been fantastic in terms of player response, in terms of meeting their goals, and in terms of introducing new story and a new part of the world, and getting out there with some great gameplay.
    Sapience – Says Rowan gave some hints as to what was coming later on in the year in U14, and some of the things that are changing based on player feedback. The team’s been really hard at work compiling feedback on some of the things he announced in his last producer’s letter, and they’ve changed between then and now. So for those who haven’t read the letter yet, what is changing going forward?
    Rowan – This is all part of the process, getting things out there, talking through them with the player community, with the Players Council and then ultimately making decisions around it. The big things that are changing, upcoming for U15 – first off, there will not be a second level cap raise. Which he thinks is huge. They’re going to take that energy and reinvest it in updating and – daresay – fixing the LI system.
    Sapience – Asks Rowan what he means by fixing and updating.
    Rowan – What they found when they were looking at the level cap is that a lot of players were saying they’d love a level cap raise, but they don’t want to do it with LI as it is right now. So what they’re going to do instead is focus on fixing that pain point of “I have this item, I put all this time and energy into it, and when I come to the next level cap I want to build the exact same item and I have to destroy my old one, put all the pieces together and build a new one.” Instead they’re going to say that if we love our items so much and we want to lock in its abilities, we can imbue the item, lock it in and then it will just start to earn experience and level up, and each of the attributes, each of the legacies will level up and develop as well. So they’re going to change that system at cap, which is 100 right now.
    Sapience – So basically that’s going to become an advancement and progression method in and of itself.
    Rowan – It will be an advancement method all in itself, and it will give them opportunities later to do new things with it, like introduce new legacies that are only available to imbued items. Introduce new content or aspects of content where we can go back and use these imbued items and gain new abilities or new effects for them – advance them – by completing content. Really change up the game dramatically in terms of what we can do so that when we’re at cap we’re still advancing, we’re still developing a character but we’re doing it in different directions and in different ways.

    So legendary items are truly going to be “legendary” now?
    Rowan – That is the goal. Yes.
    Sapience – Outstanding.

    Sapience thanks everyone for stopping in to hang out and ask questions, and reminds everyone that Rowan doesn’t work on classes, or on PvMP or other specifics, but he has the high level goals and plans of the game in mind, so players should try not to get too deep in the weeds with the types of questions. He says that’s the only real restriction they have except that they’re not going to tell us when we’re going to get to Mordor (laughs). Rowan says he can talk a bit about next year, so he can give us part of the route there. Sapience points out that Rowan said “part of the route,” not that we’re getting there next year (they both laugh).

    Could we decide on making our Beorning level 50 or level 1?
    Rowan – Says their answer around Beornings is, they found for a number of reasons – including player feedback on the leveling experience and how much we enjoy the earlier Eriador zones – but also simply watching MadeOfLions trying to find reasons that Gandalf would accept us, that Frodo would want to talk to us, that all of these characters would want to interact with us when we are a level 50 Beorning who’d never talked to any of them before, that was painful. So they decided not to put MadeOfLions through that process of pain, and instead let us start at level one. We still can buy a Gift of the Valar and attach that to our Beorning and jump right to 50 and get going further if we want to, in fact they’ll probably offer a bundle around that to make it easier for us. But this gives us the choice.
    Sapience – Actually now that’s kind of true of any class.
    Rowan – Sure.
    Sapience – If players want they can roll up a warden and start at level 50 right outside Moria, or a hunter – it doesn’t have to be one of the ‘additional’ classes.

    Question about glitches with certain quests
    Rowan – There are a couple of quests they were able to put in short term fixes for, and when those short term fixes don’t work there is customer service support to help us to resolve those and fix those issues. They’ll be doing a patch in the next couple of weeks to get those all cleaned up. They want to make sure they have sufficient information and compile all of the bugs so that they can really nail them down rather than trying to put out a patch a day and bring the game down.

    Group Content

    Why is there no new group content with U14?
    Sapience and Rowan – But there is.
    Rowan – There is an entirely new area, and all the feedback he’s been getting about that is that the quests are actually challenging, and for the most part require a balanced group. He recommends we gird up our grouping skills and make sure we have a healer and a tank and have a good time.
    Sapience – There are lots of questions about group content.
    Rowan – Says he’s not going to try to sidestep the base question that comes up, which is, “When are we getting new small group, large group content, when are we getting new raids, etc.?” He just wants to reemphasize that their primary focus is to build and deliver a story. So they’re putting a lot of energy into delivering that story. They do it in many ways (he assures the audience that he’s not sidestepping, and will get there). One of those ways is by delivering epic battles. He knows people have criticisms about epic battles, they have a lot of changes going in for their next epic battle for U15. This is an offensive battle. It’s a battle where we are at Pelargir and we take the role of being Aragorn’s special operations crew. We’re the “Delta Force” that opens the gate and allows Aragorn and the Army of the Dead to get in and take on this Corsair army that’s occupied the city. We’re going to be retaking the city in stages and having those roles of being the center of attention and the center of focus while having this great cinematic experience. Because epic battles are about having a cinematic experience. About being able to have this wide view and see the army of Oathbreakers sweep out over the sea and wash Corsairs into the ocean.
    Sapience – Says they actually do have an outline for this, and they’ve given it to the Players Council.
    Rowan – The Players Council is working through it right now.
    Sapience – It’s the overall vision of what they imagine the next epic battle is going to look like, how it’s going to progress, changes to the system, changes in how we play through it. So the Players Council is already providing feedback on it. He thinks they got it yesterday.
    Rowan – Yep.
    Sapience – So he just wanted to point out that development doesn’t stand still. They launched a major update – he read somewhere in the press they were calling it a “pocket expansion” because there really is that much stuff in it – and then they immediately went into “here’s what we’re working on next.”
    Rowan – And they have another one of those planned before the end of the year. So they’re going to be delivering U15 – Central Gondor, 3 new areas much like we have here, a lot of new quest content, epic book, epic battle at Pelargir, Haradrim, half-trolls, mounted reavers, all kinds of things. And they will continue to support landscape group content, they’re going to build out a 6-man version of this epic battle, and they hear the call for traditional instance spaces. They will continue to keep that in mind. They’re listening to player feedback and he thinks they’re showing that right now.

    The Dead Marshes

    Question about the update coming between U14 and U15
    Rowan – The Dead Marshes are well in progress right now as a space that we can go and explore. It’s not connected to the rest of the world, not contiguous, because it’s a bit off the beaten track and it’s pretty barren and nobody really goes there, except for Frodo and Sam. So they’re putting in some storyline there and they’re looking at it basically as an interlude. A storyline that’s short and sweet. He thinks MadeOfLions is only putting four or five quests in there. But they want to have a surrounding environment to it and make it a way that they can continue to tell the story of the fellowship and give us a view of what’s going on with Frodo and Sam.
    Sapience – Because at this point in the story there are really two stories, and they’re kind of diverging more and more. So to catch us up on what’s going on over there.
    Rowan – Even more than two if you start following all the (unintelligible).
    Sapience – If you follow everybody, now you’ve got a lot going on. But two main arcs with Aragorn and Frodo’s journeys and how they eventually circle right around. So the interlude is to check in on Frodo.
    Rowan – And a stretch goal they’re working on is – one of their goals of Dead Marshes is to give us a first view of the Dawnless Day. Of a mass of darkness coming out of Mordor and streaming out across Middle Earth. Something that will play out much more heavily in Central Gondor, but they want to give us that first tease and get us excited about it.
    Sapience – There was a lot of talk about something that Rowan said in his producer’s letter about something that he said was not going to be in Central Gondor, and that was oliphaunts. Why are we not getting oliphaunts?
    Rowan – Because they really don’t fit on the ships. That’s all. That’s the whole reason. They definitely have mounted outriders, but the Haradrim that came up here very specifically did not have their oliphaunts. They’ll deal with those later on. They have to be true to the books and true to the story.

    U15

    Are Beornings a U15 thing?
    Rowan – They are a U15 thing. Yes.
    Sapience – So update 15 will have Beornings in it.

    When is U15?
    Rowan – All he’s going to say is, before the end of the year.

    Should you have a best dwarf beard contest?
    Sapience – Thinks Rowan would win.
    Rowan – Says there are people in the building who far exceed his beard.
    Sapience – Agrees. There are some people who are truly epic, and anyone who was at GamesCon a few years ago has met The Beard.
    Rowan – Yes.
    Sapience – “The Beard.” It is its own thing. Actually, if you watch Infinite Crisis you can see the beard. He’s on their streams.

    Scaling Older Instances

    Question about scaling some of the older instances and raids and making them more accessible to people at cap
    Rowan – They would love to do it, not planning on that for U15.
    Sapience – Not on the map for this year.
    Rowan – No, not for this year. “Let’s start there.”

    Hobnanigans

    Question about smoothing out Hobnanigans
    Rowan – They’ll keep bug fixing. They had an initial version that launched – he can’t remember if it was 2007 or 2008…
    Sapience – It launched at launch.
    Rowan – That’s right. And he can remember that version of it. And they have more tools now to make that experience better, which is why they rebuilt it and relaunched it. But they’ll keep smoothing it out. It’s not so much fun when your chicken goes flying way outside of bounds and won’t come back.

    Female Dwarves

    Will we see female dwarves added to the game?
    Rowan – Female dwarves are already in the game. As far as he can tell (laughs).
    Sapience – The expanded answer to that question is that Tolkien was very clear that when dwarves ventured out, it was pretty much impossible for anyone, including other dwarves, to distinguish a male from a female, because of their mode of dress, and their beards were so similar. So when you go into the character creation window, you will notice there is no gender selection for dwarves. It’s whatever you imagine it to be. If you want to put your dwarf into a dress he’ll assume you’re playing a female dwarf. And that was actually brought to their attention by players pre-launch – that there shouldn’t be a gender selection for dwarves, because you shouldn’t be able to tell just by looking, who they are.

    Dead Marshes and Monster Play

    Question about Dead Marshes and monster players
    Rowan – They’ve had a lot of discussions about where to open up the world to monster players, primarily because we’re getting so close to Mordor and there is so much opportunity for expanding that type of play, contextually. The Dawnless Day, endless night, trolls are on the loose. This is a really frightening time in Middle Earth and war is heating up. The place that their conversations about this has almost always centered around is Osgiliath. So they’ll continue talking about that and seeing where it fits.

    Beornings

    Will Beornings be free or will they be purchasable?
    Rowan – Nobody gets them free. It’s a brand new class, so please go out and buy it.
    Sapience – So it’s a lot like wardens and rune-keepers.
    Rowan – Exactly. If U15 was an expansion pack, Beornings would probably be part of the expansion, because it’s not an expansion pack, they’re going to make it an offer in the store.

    Are you allowed to disclose the price of the Beorning?
    Rowan – That’s not decided yet. They’ve had ideas of range but they don’t know the number yet.

    Any idea of when we can expect the Dead Marshes?
    Rowan – Between updates 14 and 15 (they laugh).
    Sapience – Was afraid he was going to say Soon™.
    Rowan – Doesn’t know which version of Soon™ to use.
    Sapience – And it’s very hard to speak the many different versions of Soon™.
    Rowan – Exactly.

    U15 Epic and Epic Battle

    Is the next epic locked behind epic battles?
    Rowan – The epic story in U15 is free, the new epic battle in U15 is free, and the epic battle within the epic story will be part of that storyline. They’re focusing on ways to make this a fun experience, something we will want to be playing, something we’re going to enjoy. And they’ve taken a ton of feedback on that from inside the team, because they play too, from the Players Council, and from what they’ve seen in play behaviour and feedback that’s come from the players.

    Gift of the Valar lets us level to 50. Have you given any thought to having a Super Gift of the Valar that lets us level to 75, or end game?
    Rowan – They’ve thought about it, but people like to play the game too, so they’re balancing that.
    War Steeds and U15

    Could you talk about war-steeds for U15?
    Rowan – They’re not looking at a systemic revamp or anything like that. They’re pretty happy with where that’s gone. But there is the idea of telling a story, and different tools for different parts of the story. Epic battles are their tool for telling cinematic parts of the story, with these massive encounters. If they’re going to have a siege at Minas Tirith, they need to represent thousands and thousands of soldiers. It’s just necessary. Similarly, when you have mounted raiders pillaging the landscape outside of Pelargir, that’s a good place to use mounted combat, and give us that feeling of momentum and power and impact. So each of these have their own space.

    Beorning Starter Area

    You mentioned starting experience for Beornings – does that mean a whole new area for them to start in, or will there be storyline that takes them into one of the existing starter zones?
    Rowan – This means one of the introductory instances that will give us a storyline and give us context as to where we are and why. MadeOfLions is heading this up. They’re hoping to introduce some new cultural dynamics and relevance for us as Beornings so we understand where we come from, but they’re not introducing those parts of the world as an open landscape or anything.

    Class Balance

    When will the classes be balanced again?
    Sapience – It’s kind of an evolving thing.
    Rowan – Always and never. That really is one of those things that almost comes down to, when half the players are saying they’re overpowered and the other half are saying they’re underpowered, they know they’ve gotten it right. It’s a target that they play with, and there are points as well where balance has to take a backseat to fun. So where are they going to find the fun in the aspects of what they’re doing, and make sure that we enjoy playing the class.

    Chance Thomas

    Any chance of bringing Chance Thomas back in the future?
    Rowan – He talked to him recently.
    Sapience – Actually got an email from him today.
    Rowan – It looks like there may be some of his music going out in traveling orchestra form, which is very exciting. They haven’t come to any conclusions around including Chance for future updates. He’d love to do that if it comes up.
    Sapience – If you’re in the Salt Lake City area, Chance will be conducting the Salt Lake City Symphony Orchestra for Video Games Live concert which is part of the Salt Lake City ComicCon. It’s September 6th and there are two shows, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and he’s doing Theme for Rohan, so you should check it out if you can because it’s even better live.

    Minstrel Changes and Bullroarer Notes

    Questions about Minstrel changes and lack of Bullroarer notes, changes going up untested etc.
    Rowan – He would contest the ‘untested’ part. He’s guessing that they probably put a lot of those changes in but they didn’t do a good job of documenting them out in the patch notes. They had some issues getting those patch notes out and validated this time around. So that’s a process thing they can improve on. In terms of the actual changes to minstrel, that’s a conversation he had with HoarseDev today, and he’s going to go back, as lead systems guy, and take a look at this and make sure they’re making the right choices. They’ll take the feedback.

    Purchasing LotRO Music

    How about the ability to purchase Rohan, Gondor or Edoras music?
    Sapience – He knows that the Rohan soundtrack is available on iTunes, he knows there were some conversations around SoundCloud and possibly putting more music up there.
    Rowan – They were looking at potentially doing that with some of the Gondor music, actually.
    Sapience – So if they get it up on SoundCloud they’ll let us know and we’ll be able to get it there. He’s almost positive the Rohan soundtrack is still available on iTunes, at about $10 for the entire soundtrack.

    Monster Classes

    Will you be creating monster classes to match the new Beorning class?
    Rowan – Wonders what they would shapechange into.
    Sapience – Says now the chat is going to explode into 10,000 things they could change into.
    Rowan – Doesn’t know what a monster skinchanger would be.

    Will there be any instances related to Paths of the Dead?
    Rowan – Paths of the Dead has already been launched. What they tried to do with Paths of the Dead is try to focus on the capstone quests – some of the repeatables there. So he’s pretty sure there are some story experiences in there connected to the epic book, and as well they’re sending us back into that space as a part of the ongoing capstone repeatables.

    Question wanting to clarify that the new epic battle is going to be free
    Rowan – That is correct, it will be free. As is the epic book.
    Sapience – So whether you’re a free player, premium or VIP – free.
    Rowan – Yes.

    Suggestion for creating flashcards for various Soon™ definitions to be used in livestreams
    Sapience – That is a genius idea. He’d have to put up whole screens because there are lengthy definitions for each one.

    Someone suggests that creep skinchangers should turn into werewolves
    Rowan – He’ll take that back to the team.
    Sapience – Tolkien mentioned werewolves. So there is maybe a possibility..
    Rowan – Doesn’t know if they actually have access to that source material. If that’s in the Silmarillion, they probably don’t.

    Minas Tirith

    It’s a little ways down the road, but what can we expect from Minas Tirith?
    Rowan – Says he’ll map out the arc for us. We’re headed right now for Central Gondor and Pelargir. From there Aragorn sweeps away the Corsairs with his army of the living and the dead, takes their ships, and travels upriver, coming to the aid of Eastern Gondor – Minas Tirith and Osgiliath. With the story line, they plan to go to Osgiliath next year, probably around the time of the LotRO anniversary. That’s their hope right now. And by the end of next year move to the siege of Minas Tirith, which would be the army that advances upon the walls of Minas Tirith, and that story would end with the breaking of the gates and Gandalf kind of holding off the armies there. He’s very specific about that because they’d want to follow that with another storyline, which is the battle of Pelennor Fields, which would be much more out on the fields themselves, on the open landscape. And by that point, now that would be 2016 – the end of the following year.
    Sapience – Now you’re going way outside the question of 2015, we’re two years down the road.
    Rowan – Just wants to be specific about that because Minas Tirith is such a huge story that they’re breaking it into pieces. And then again this is all about the tools they’re using. So he could see an epic battle there, he could see landscape quests there, he could see epic story instances. When he starts thinking about large-scale instances and raids he almost always goes to Shelob’s lair, but they continue find the right tools for the right job.

    Race Restrictions on Classes

    What about loosening the race restrictions for certain classes?
    Sapience – Obviously Beornings are going to be restricted to Race of Man because Beorn was a man.
    Sapience and Rowan – Tolkien was extremely clear about this.
    Sapience – Tolkien said he was a bit magician, he may be many things, but he’s most assuredly Man.
    Rowan – He was related to the men of the North, he’s related to the men of Dale, he was related to the men of Rohan, etc.
    Sapience – But what about other classes? Currently we have restrictions where certain races can’t be Rune-keepers, and other races can’t be wardens, what about dropping those kinds of restrictions?
    Rowan – He would be happy to. He thinks they have work to do to make that happen, though.
    Sapience – So file that one under “maybe later.” Not a U15 thing, definitely.
    Rowan – Is sure they’d discover new work they’d need to do as they were doing it.
    Sapience – We always seem to find more work.

    Question about getting a naming guide for Beornings so that people could start thinking about names for their characters
    Rowan – They’ll talk to the lore guys about that. They’re going to have to build a name generator anyway.

    Druidsfire makes a comment about Sapience and Rowan rapping
    Sapience – Thinks we do NOT want to see them rapping. Ever. No. Bad bad bad.
    Rowan – Is just enjoying Weird Al this week, he doesn’t need to rap.
    Sapience – Says for those who don’t know, Rowan is a very big Weird Al fan, and the new album has him very very happy right now. Admits he likes Weird Al too.

    Extra Life

    Request for Extra Life updates
    Sapience – So far going very well. We’re almost at $23k, a couple thousand more toward the $25k goal, which is still $75k away from forcing him to get pins and needles shoved into his arm, but it’s obvious we are working hard at that goal. So he’s getting a bit nervous – still quite a bit of time left in the year. He has every confidence we’ll get there.
    Is class balancing a constantly evolving thing, or is it something where when it’s done it’s done? And how does it relate to group and solo play? How hard is that?
    Rowan – Very hard. Part of the goal of the class revamp – whether you agree with the changes or not – was to help specialize the classes and give them more distinct roles. So we have our baseline roles, where we do damage or crowd control or healing and so on. Having those individual specialized roles that only they can do. They haven’t achieve that yet, it’s still something they are working towards – making sure that we feel that need, and making sure that each class is going to bring something different.

    What about other soundtracks?
    Sapience – Those are a little harder to get ahold of because they were never released outside of special collector’s editions. Some of the most common ways you can come across those is at meet and greets, or through contests and competitions. What few they have left they sometimes give out. But other than that, there’s really no mechanism for getting them. And he thinks there’s potentially a licensing problem there as well, with making them generally public.
    Rowan – So find Sapience when he’s carrying a duffel bag.
    Sapience – Says every time we see him carrying stuff, he’s probably got one or two or more.

    Are there any plans to change the crafting system so that we automatically use ingredients in bank or shared storage?
    Rowan – Great idea, he’s seen that in other games.

    Suggestion to make a drinking game out of Soon™
    Sapience – Supports this idea.

    Requests for more info on what else is coming
    Rowan – Obviously he’s not going to be sharing every piece of content in every update moving forward – he’s just giving us some highlights (chuckles).

    Hytbold and Gondor Housing Items

    Question about Hytbold and Gondor housing items that are flagged to slot into the wrong housing slots
    Rowan – He knows that HoarseDev is going back and working on that.

    “Side” Regions

    Question about sidetracking into side areas such as Grey Havens and Tower Hills
    Rowan – Right now they’re not measuring time even by the day, they’re measuring it by the hour as we ramp up toward these incredibly important events in Middle Earth. So not right now, we’re kind of busy. Grey Havens and places like that are fantastic candidates following the destruction of the ring. There are a lot of places we could go. Aragorn has vast expeditions into neighbouring Harad, there’s Minas Morgul and places like that which deal with “after the fact.” Right now, they’ve referenced the Havens with Edhellond, but they’re really focusing on that path into Mordor itself.
    Sapience – Says Rowan just answered the next question which was, “What happens after Mordor?”
    Rowan – Scouring of the Shire is an obvious thing.

    Epic Battles

    Is there a plan for offensive big battles?
    Rowan – The next battle is an offensive big battle, in the sense that we are retaking a city. Now what timer mechanism that uses – they might use that for sort of “raiding,” they want to be sure there’s difficulty levels so that iron is a completion, and platinum is “wow, you destroyed that thing – you really rocked it!” But ultimately for the most part we’ll be setting our own pace and taking back the city. And they want us to have the opportunity to take a moment to look down and see Aragorn and the Army of the Dead passing through the gates that we’ve just opened, and kind of giving us a thumbs up and saying, “Way to go.”

    LI Revamp

    One the LI revamp is worked out, is there any possibility of extending it below 100, to other levels (level 50)?
    Rowan – They’ve talked about other levels and changing where that is available in the system. As always, they’re taking a starting point that they know is achievable and they know they can deliver with quality.

    Hairstyles and Cosmetics

    Any possibilities for new hairstyles and cosmetic appearances in the future – near or far?
    Rowan – He’s not going to say for this year. The art budget right now is really focused on Gondor. But he hears the need. Maybe there’s a Gondorian hairstyle they can pull together.

    Difficulty Level in Tarlang’s Crown

    What was the purpose of having high spawn rates in Tarlang’s Crown?
    Sapience – It’s supposed to be challenging, it’s supposed to be difficult. You’re not supposed to waltz through it.
    Rowan – They want to make sure that when they put something out that’s labeled as a group space, that it is challenging and requires a group. He thinks they dialed back too far to the point where people were able to take some spaces that were labeled as group and solo through them, and that’s not really the intention, so they want to make sure that the challenge is there, the fun is there, and also that the reward is there.

    Have you ever considered having a playable monster class in the regular PvE area instead of the PvP area with maybe a starter area for orcs in Goblin Town?
    Rowan – He thinks the challenge there is that they’ve never invested in monster players as that full experience. So they’ve never established an evil side of the game. And it’s always been about the hero and we can sort of have this glimpse into the world of evil. The other thing he thinks would be challenging about that is that it’s pretty clear in Tolkien that the forces of evil don’t really make choices. They get orders and complete orders. So it would just be a variety of cruel and horrific things that Saruman or your Lieutenants tell you to do.

    Would it be possible in the future to be able to auto-combine a lot of relics at once?
    Rowan – That’s a UI thing, a quality of life thing that they can do to make the game better. Asks Sapience if he’s taking notes.
    Sapience – Next time we’re bringing a pen because there are some really great ideas coming out.

    PvMP

    Why are you killing off PvMP?
    Sapience – They’re not. They actually just got done making some changes out in the Ettenmoors because they just changed the level cap. There’s new gear out there, too. He knows he sees Jinjaah slaving away in the corners on secret things. Asks Rowan if there’s any tiny bit of a hint that he might be able to share on what’s to come.
    Rowan – He would have to go to Jinjaah to see what kind of evil schemes are lurking deep within his brain right now. But they continue to invest in it. In one of his earlier producer’s letters he introduced the idea of maybe putting catapults in the Moors. They tried that and experimented with it a bit. They didn’t really like the results. They want a better solution. So they are continuing to look at ways to play with this, invest in it. One direction he can see them going in, is giving monster players a place to play around Osgiliath. So they’ll see what happens.
    Sapience – There is definitely a very engaged discussion between Jinjaah and Yicky and other members of the Players Council around PvMP and what it could be in the future, and what can be done to improve and enhance it, and he knows Yicky in particular has made some really fantastic suggestions that he thinks, generally speaking, Jinjaah is pretty excited with. If time and opportunity allow he thinks we’ll probably end up seeing some of those.
    Rowan – And to give context to that, they’d want to do something that was available but not mandatory. Something that made sense within the context of the space, but if you were questing through and you didn’t want to get involved with that area of content you wouldn’t need to. The city that the orcs have overrun seems to be an appropriate place for it.

    What’s after SHIELD?
    Sapience – Somebody come up with an acronym for SWORD and they’ll go there. We’ve had TTHTI, we have SHIELD, he thinks we should do SWORD and figure it out from there.
    Rowan – Next it will be the elite version of this, a level 1 chicken without dying.
    Sapience – Witchypoo always shows up with a chicken at every run, so Sapience thinks Rowan has just made her day.
    Rowan – Maybe run a level 1 chicken through the Ettenmoors.
    Sapience – “Oh god, didn’t we do that once before, to resoundingly poor results?”
    Rowan – Too many chickens. Too many chickens.
    Sapience – It was basically a mass chicken slaughter. It was very bad.

    What about catapults in the Moors?
    Rowan – Just mentioned that. They had performance issues with it. It wasn’t functioning the way they wanted it to, and it wasn’t as useful and interesting and, frankly, as fun as they wanted it to be. So they’ll keep playing with it.

    With essences, why not give the ability to overwrite essences that are already in place on a socketed item?
    Rowan – They’re going with the simplest implementation of essences right now, and then looking at options for it as they go forward.

    What kind of ideas do you have for Shelob’s lair and Minas Morgul?
    Sapience – Ideas, not locked in stone.
    Rowan – They have a lot of very specific places that are already laid out. The settings are all very clear. So Osgiliath is a very clear setting. Ithilien is a very clear setting. The Black Gate is a very clear setting. But what they do in those content spaces, he doesn’t want to prescribe to the designers to go in there and build something (unintelligible). So he’s not going to share too much around that.

    What do the grey numbers in the corner of the essences mean?
    Sapience – This is a question for HoarseDev, but he’ll make sure he gets that question.
    Rowan – He thinks it’s a tier thing based on the level.
    Sapience – He will verify that and respond here in the transcript thread when he has the answer.

    Someone talks about how they wish they could get a longer timer on horse session play so we can wander around more, and Sapience asks Rowan about the possibility of getting more types of session play, or additional horse sessions
    Rowan – Tool for the objective, what are they trying to achieve? He’s thought it would be cool to have more, longer chicken play sessions, and heading down into the Gondor area, but they need to think about what kind of fun they’re trying to make. The horse session was a very specific thing related to Rohan.

    Have you considered taking the essences/slotted armour to PvMP armour?
    Sapience – It’s a hot topic right now.
    Rowan – It’s a hot topic for good reason, which would be affecting the balance for creeps, and wow – that’s a firestorm.

    More Character Slots

    With the new class coming, can we get more character slots?
    Rowan – The brief answer is, they want to do more character slots. Yes.
    Sapience – Picking a number is apparently the challenge. How many more? There’s technical, engineery stuff in the background that needs to be answered. So the answer is yes, but in terms of a number, not yet.

    What about adding new homesteads, just like the currently existing ones, in Rohan or Gondor?
    Rowan – They’re focused on building the world, so that’s where they’re going to put the effort first.

    Could the essences system be added to jewelry or weapons?
    Rowan – He thinks if it works and players enjoy it then they can potentially expand it.

    Can we eventually buy more than one house per character?
    Sapience – There are some really wealthy players who’d like to own 3 or 4 houses, maybe a whole neighbourhood.
    Rowan – He doesn’t see any reason not to have the conversation. He’s open to trying to figure it out.

    Question about DX11.1 update
    Sapience – Isn’t all that sure about what’s in DX11.1 that’s all that different from DX11. DX11 is in the game. Maybe if it was 12 they’d have that conversation, but .1 seems to be kind of a small bump.
    Rowan – He knows they did pretty major jumps for 10 and 11.

    Question about adding stables to housing?
    Rowan – There is no intention of a housing update right now.

    Unique or Custom Ruleset Servers

    What about unique or custom ruleset servers, such as a PvMP only server, or a frozen in time server where the level cap is only 50 – what are the thoughts about that?
    Rowan – LotRO is not a young, spry chicken anymore. The game is 7 years old. It has a really established set of rules and communities and gameplay and so on, so right now he’d focus on those players that are out there, those worlds that are out there, and not so interested in trying to set up a custom ruleset or a PvMP world or something.

    As players yourselves, what’s the one thing that you want in the game?
    Rowan – He wants to stand on the top of Mount Doom, and look over it and hear a screaming Sméagol inside.
    Sapience – He just wants to be at the gate with Aragorn, and the whole Mouth of Sauron experience, and go through that entire event in the story, he thinks that would be pretty amazing. To be at the Black Gate when the ring is destroyed and chaos ensues.

    Sapience thanks the players and Rowan for joining the livestream.

  23. #23
    Rowan's Avatar
    Rowan is offline Executive Producer
    The Lord of the Rings Online™
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    Jan 2007
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    299
    As always, thanks for all the effort frickinmuck.
    Executive Producer
    The Lord of the Rings Online™

  24. #24
    Sapience is offline Former Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    9,518
    Quote Originally Posted by frickinmuck View Post
    Q&A With EP Aaron “Rowan” Campbell

    In this stream - Community Manager Rick “Sapience” Heaton and Executive Producer Aaron “Rowan” Campbell


    Questions about Minstrel changes and lack of Bullroarer notes, changes going up untested etc.
    Rowan – He would contest the ‘untested’ part. He’s guessing that they probably put a lot of those changes in but they didn’t do a good job of documenting them out in the patch notes. They had some issues getting those patch notes out and validated this time around. So that’s a process thing they can improve on. In terms of the actual changes to minstrel, that’s a conversation he had with HoarseDev today, and he’s going to go back, as lead systems guy, and take a look at this and make sure they’re making the right choices. They’ll take the feedback.


    Suggestion to make a drinking game out of Soon™
    Sapience – Supports this idea.



    What do the grey numbers in the corner of the essences mean?
    Sapience – This is a question for HoarseDev, but he’ll make sure he gets that question.
    Rowan – He thinks it’s a tier thing based on the level.
    Sapience – He will verify that and respond here in the transcript thread when he has the answer.
    On the minstrel issue, I just spoke to Egg, she's in the process of checking in some Minstrel changes for update 14.1 and she'll be posting them once she's finished. Most likely today, maybe Monday.

    On the drinking game, my game my rules so I hereby mandate RUM be the drink of choice.

    Finally, on the numbers in the corner of essences I spoke to Hoarsedev and he confirmed the numbers are a tier ranking value.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Sapience View Post
    On the minstrel issue, I just spoke to Egg, she's in the process of checking in some Minstrel changes for update 14.1 and she'll be posting them once she's finished. Most likely today, maybe Monday.
    This is the best news I've heard all week. Cheers!

    P.S. Sapience, the minstrels are apparently having a southern-style garden party in the minstrel forum. I've brought you some nice sweet tea up from the party to show our regard for the effort "all y'all" are making on our behalf.

 

 
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