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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    18

    Legendary Servers: Constructive Criticism for SSG

    Dear SSG,

    I’ve been weighing up writing this forum post for a while now. I want to start by saying I love this game. I love it’s community, it’s story and world, it’s gameplay, and I especially love that you as a developer stepped up to look after it in it’s hour need. I recognise that this game has probably had many occasions where it could have easily gone under, and the fact that it hasn’t for so long is pretty astounding. I have a lot of respect for that fact, and I long to see this game continue forward into the future.
    That is the reason however, that I’m writing this post. I believe there are some fundamental issues in the way the game is currently being handled, especially regarding the legendary servers, that is doing damage to the community that plays on them. I’m writing this post out of a genuine fear of what will become of that community if these issues aren’t addressed and fairly swiftly. This is compounded by the knowledge that the legendary servers require a subscription, so I would imagine that everyone who plays on them forms a significant part of your revenue stream.

    To begin,
    1) The pace of content release is too fast.

    Over the many years that LotRO has been active, there has been a vast amount of content added to the game. The idea of experiencing all of that content, at the various level caps through the years was, and still is truly exhilarating.
    In practice however, it’s proving quite exhausting. The pace of content being released is remarkably fast. In the last 6 months, we have been fed 2 large expansions worth of content, Moria and Mirkwood. That represents approx. 2 years and 10 months’ worth of content as it was during their release.
    Now, I’m not suggesting that they should take as long as they did originally, but that’s a lot of content to get through in the space of 6 months, especially if the community wants to get the most out of it. This is also pretty far from the advertised ‘every 4 months’ cadence as originally stated when the legendary servers were announced.
    For context, I am on the leadership of There and Back Again, which is one of the largest kinships on Anor. We are consistently finding it a struggle to level our characters, raid on those characters and run any social events we’d like to do as a kin within the timeframe allowed between each release. The pacing certainly doesn’t allow us to particularly take our time with any of the above. At Rise of Isengard’s release, many of our players still had alts, and in some cases, main characters that they wanted to complete the In Their Absence questline on. They now do not have the opportunity to do so at the 65 cap. If Rise of Isengard also has a similar content cycle, the top tier of players will only be able to run around 12 times due to the content locks. For our raid teams, this will be a lot less as people take longer to level.
    These concerns are not only being voiced by those who play a lot either, we are consistently hearing this within our kin from players who play remarkably casually and wouldn’t ever reach a point of raiding, or that would come to the forums to voice that opinion. But these are all players who are paying a subscription and who are also voicing their discontent to us consistently. The players who do rush to the forums to express their opinion are generally the players who already rush through the content and probably require the faster pacing, but that is far from the majority within the player base, and I believe that majority is struggling to keep up.

    2) Give us room to breath.

    Following on from that, I’d really love to know what is considered when releasing a new piece of content onto the legendary servers. Is it based on a strict schedule?
    If so, it would be helpful if you could simply adjust it to give us some more room to enjoy the content. I believe that a 4 month cadence would be ideal. This gives us more time to play alts (a great proportion of the player base just levels and has a lot of alternate characters), it gives us more time to do endgame instances together, it gives us more time to run events and social activities within our community that build kinship unity. All of these things are really important to us, but we cannot achieve them all. Let alone if any of our players takes some time out, takes a vacation, or plays a different game for a while.
    If it’s not on a strict schedule (which I’m guessing it isn’t as the schedule has clearly changed since legendary servers were announced), is it based on the player activity numbers?
    If that is the case, is it really so bad that the number drop a bit towards the tail end of the content cycle? Many of us also play other games which we really enjoy. Most notably this time around, WoW Classic had released less than a week prior the Rise of Isengard release. Many players in the LotRO community would have also had this on their radar. I’m sure you all at SSG would have also had this on your radar. Would it have caused such an issue with your business to have given us a couple of weeks, or maybe a month to play it? If this was a factor, and perhaps you were in fear of losing players to Classic WoW, there is a key solution you can use to prevent this, which brings me onto point 3.

    3) Communicate to your player base


    It isn’t an issue for players to take a break from LotRO as long as they know when to come back. The trouble is, we don’t know anything about the release schedule, at all. The last two expansions have been released with less than a days’ notice on the forums. This is easily the biggest complaint I have, and the one that causes us the most strife within our community. We cannot plan our own kinship organisation around releases, because we are left completely in the dark. Genuinely, we ran a social event on the day of the Rise of Isengard’s release, which had more notice than the major release of content by the developer. We had kin members logging in for the event who were surprised to see Isengard now released. I cannot believe that a game developer sees no issue with that.

    I don’t believe I am exaggerating when I say that SSG currently has the worst community interaction that I have seen within the video games industry. It is truly appalling, especially considering it involves a product for which people are paying a significant subscription to play, and has a significant community focus.
    Please, communicate with us. Give us some notice about when you’re going to release the content. We would ideally love to know what your plan is NOW regarding Riders of Rohan. It doesn’t matter if it changes, or gets pushed back, simply update us. Talk to us, we aren’t going to judge you, or rise up in riotous vitriol if you need to change something. That’s fine, but right now we are at the end of our rope trying to organise things as we know absolutely nothing.
    Giving us a regular schedule helps everything. In his fairly recent talk at GDC 2019, Chris Wilson who is the Lead Developer at Grinding Gear Games made an incredible point about ‘Making sure users quit with a plan to come back’. You can watch this point here. If users know when the next piece of content is coming, they know they can take that break, play that other game, take their time with levelling that character, because they know the plan. Instead, with our current experience in LotRO, we don’t know the plan at all, making all that impossible, and causing our players to burn out hard when they burn out.

    4) Basic testing

    Another key area of issue that is consistently an issue is the lack of testing before releases. Whether it’s raid/dungeon balancing at lower level caps or purchasable LI symbols at skirmish camps, there’s consistently bugs, exploits and imbalance that drastically effect the gameplay for the legendary servers.
    Please do some testing, especially where loot is concerned. Heck, put up a testing server specifically for the new legendary cap a few weeks beforehand, let us help you iron out the problems before you launch it. But right now, consistently these issues are occurring and shouldn’t, especially when a subscription is mandatory for Legendary Servers. This comes essentially to my last point.

    5) This is a premium product.

    Well, apparently anyway. You are charging us a premium to play on these servers. If anyone wants to experience the content in the way provided by the legendary servers, they either must pay the monthly subscription, or have got the deal of a lifetime back in the day. Either way, these are the top tier investment players who engage on these servers, and I strongly feel they aren’t getting the service they deserve from the company, not the sort of service that a subscription model should provide.
    It doesn’t seem like the legendary servers are getting the attention or consideration they deserve from the development team. When Cord tells us on a Friday stream that the Rise of Isengard release will be ‘perhaps next week’, it doesn’t suggest that it’s been especially thought through, not nearly enough at it should be. If I’m wrong about that, I have no way of knowing as the development team are not telling us anything about the plan ahead.
    When we pay a premium, I think it’s fair to expect a premium service, and whilst I do understand that the team and resources are limited, there seems to be plenty of money enough to spend on vales of anduin, new races and new expansions, but seemingly not enough to maintain a quality legendary server experience. That doesn’t seem right to me, not when it requires a subscription.

    In conclusion, I really do adore this game. I adore all the friends and connections I’ve made throughout my time here. Heck, next year I’m likely taking a vacation to Canada in order to meet said friends. But I am seriously worried about the games future, and I’m certainly not happy with the quality of service I’m getting for my money at the moment. If you, SSG, as a developer can consider, take on board, and put into practise some of these points, I believe it would go a long way to improving your game, improving player retention and engagement, improving your companies relationship with it’s community, and improve your ability to make revenue. I want to see all of those things improve, as ultimately it will help continue the game I love into the future.

    Yours in deep love and respect,

    Eadon – There and Back Again on Anor.

    P.S. This has been discussed alot in our kinship. If you are open to the idea, I would happily arrange a time for us to discuss this further on our discord with whoever would like to, be it Cord or any other developer. If that's something you'd be open to that, please feel free to send me a private message.
    Last edited by Thymir; Sep 10 2019 at 06:20 PM.

  2. #2

    I concur!

    Well Said.

  3. #3

    The Most Imporant Points

    I completely agree with the statement and points presented above. Well said!

  4. #4

    I concur!

    I support this statement, in as much I feel it is not necessary to add more.

  5. #5

    I agree wholeheartedly...

    I look forward to hearing from SSG

  6. #6
    I have also had long discussions in our TaBA kin with many members concerning these very valid points and as part of the leadership team, like Eadon, I am concerned with how these points are directly affecting our kin members, especially those who are lacking in the time needed to hurry their toons to level up to 75. I quite agree with each and every point. Well said Eadon!!

  7. #7

    I agree

    I truly agree with everything you have said in this post good sir.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Port Orange, FL
    Posts
    275
    Yes, the entire reason of me switching to the server 3 months ago was to experience everything I missed when I had left the game for a while. Now I am back I am rushing just as much as I was on live, it is very pointless.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    649
    I welcome your kinfolk to the forums and echo their sentiments.

    Could be the subscriptions available: Sub for 6 months do SoA and Moria and find you have breezed through like on steroids. Mirkwood not up for another 2 months so why bother dropping another sub and not get any new content. Quit the sub and go back to main server. Bean counters see the subs have dropped and panic, we need another release. Ok rush out Mirkwood and many of the subs are renewed. Panic over (ish). Can't repeat that again, cash flow and all, so: Next release in 3 months. Renewed subs will last through and likely be renewed in anticipation for another release. Maybe the Imbued Legendary Severs will better hit the mark.
    Last edited by Ballie; Sep 10 2019 at 08:20 PM.
    If your intellect can't fathom my reasoning it's me who's unreasonable?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    16
    Very good points, Thymir

    /signed

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    308
    Agree with everything!
    It's funny how almost every issue mentioned here boils down to broken balance, itemization, and gear acquisition.

    SOA resulted in mass exodus once people realised u could 3man raids and solo instances, and that the BIS gear was landscape gear.
    Also a lot of people was turned of about this not being a true classic experience, miles from it.

    Think about it, if everything was decently balanced SOA alone could have lasted for a very long time. Such a missed opportunity from SSG's side.

    SOA:
    •Instance gear and raid gear have worse stats than quest gear.
    •Helegrod set could be bartered with skirmish marks without even entering the raid.
    •6-man instances could easily be soloed.
    •12-man instances could easily be completed in duo/trio groups. Some even solo.
    •The BIS gear dropped from random mobs(aka essence gear)
    •Landscape was faceroll easy and took no effort
    •No pvmp



    MOM:
    •3/6-man content was completely unbalanced, dps race and skip mechanics.
    •Turtle: faceroll
    •Watcher: decent challenge in pug, but still too easy for kins.
    •DN: Challenging with 6man, faceroll 12 man
    •Itemization issues, stats that made 0 sense.
    •Gear progression issues, dungeon set could be obtained in a few hours running only 1 instance.
    •Raid gear wasn't scaled properly. There where still some random drop piece that was stronger or quest item.
    •Faceroll landscape
    •No pvmp



    SOM:
    •Great balanced instances for the most part.
    •No locks on either raids, could be farmed over and over to get FA.
    •Horrible loot for t1/t2 instances along with BG.(only scaled trash)
    •They only restored loot for OD, but no other instance.
    •Raid sets for BG and OD not scaled properly.
    •Faceroll landscape
    •No pvmp



    ROI(so far)
    • FA symbol was tradeable for quite some time from skirm vendor.
    • Faceroll landscape.(completely unbalanced)
    • No pvmp
    • Draigoch gear tradeable without even completing the raid for marks/meds
    • Draigoch completely out of balance, can be 6manned easily on t2c.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by LotroVidz View Post
    Agree with everything!
    It's funny how almost every issue mentioned here boils down to broken balance, itemization, and gear acquisition.

    SOA resulted in mass exodus once people realised u could 3man raids and solo instances, and that the BIS gear was landscape gear.
    Also a lot of people was turned of about this not being a true classic experience, miles from it.

    Think about it, if everything was decently balanced SOA alone could have lasted for a very long time. Such a missed opportunity from SSG's side.

    SOA:
    •Instance gear and raid gear have worse stats than quest gear.
    •Helegrod set could be bartered with skirmish marks without even entering the raid.
    •6-man instances could easily be soloed.
    •12-man instances could easily be completed in duo/trio groups. Some even solo.
    •The BIS gear dropped from random mobs(aka essence gear)
    •Landscape was faceroll easy and took no effort
    •No pvmp



    MOM:
    •3/6-man content was completely unbalanced, dps race and skip mechanics.
    •Turtle: faceroll
    •Watcher: decent challenge in pug, but still too easy for kins.
    •DN: Challenging with 6man, faceroll 12 man
    •Itemization issues, stats that made 0 sense.
    •Gear progression issues, dungeon set could be obtained in a few hours running only 1 instance.
    •Raid gear wasn't scaled properly. There where still some random drop piece that was stronger or quest item.
    •Faceroll landscape
    •No pvmp



    SOM:
    •Great balanced instances for the most part.
    •No locks on either raids, could be farmed over and over to get FA.
    •Horrible loot for t1/t2 instances along with BG.(only scaled trash)
    •They only restored loot for OD, but no other instance.
    •Raid sets for BG and OD not scaled properly.
    •Faceroll landscape
    •No pvmp



    ROI(so far)
    • FA symbol was tradeable for quite some time from skirm vendor.
    • Faceroll landscape.(completely unbalanced)
    • No pvmp
    • Draigoch gear tradeable without even completing the raid for marks/meds
    • Draigoch completely out of balance, can be 6manned easily on t2c.
    I agree with almost all your points. I don't think that these issues result in mass exodus, apart from the really hardcore crowd on the servers (here's looking at you Ramsay). But they are definitely issues and SSG aren't keeping anyone happy either way. They aren't keeping the hardcore players happy by showing the correct time and care around balance and tuning, but they aren't keeping the casual players happy by releasing the content too fast.

    They could solve both so easily by doing the following,

    1) Release content slower. This gives SSG the time to do the balance pass on raids, gear, landscape in order to get it ready for launch. It also gives the far larger casual crowd time to throughly enjoy the content.

    2) Tell us in advance when they are releasing the content. That way the hardcore crowd can go take a break when they are done with the content faster than everyone else, and they know when to come back. The casual crowd are also then able to far better plan their playtime around releases.

    It would solve so many issues if they took my post on board.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    308
    Quote Originally Posted by Thymir View Post
    I agree with almost all your points. I don't think that these issues result in mass exodus, apart from the really hardcore crowd on the servers (here's looking at you Ramsay). But they are definitely issues and SSG aren't keeping anyone happy either way. They aren't keeping the hardcore players happy by showing the correct time and care around balance and tuning, but they aren't keeping the casual players happy by releasing the content too fast.

    They could solve both so easily by doing the following,

    1) Release content slower. This gives SSG the time to do the balance pass on raids, gear, landscape in order to get it ready for launch. It also gives the far larger casual crowd time to throughly enjoy the content.

    2) Tell us in advance when they are releasing the content. That way the hardcore crowd can go take a break when they are done with the content faster than everyone else, and they know when to come back. The casual crowd are also then able to far better plan their playtime around releases.

    It would solve so many issues if they took my post on board.
    I think there was a mass exodus, server losing 50% of its population the first 4-6 weeks. If SOA was balanced(items,instances,lands cape,gear acquisition) people would have been busy for a longer time than 4months, and defenetly longer than 4-6 weeks!

    The reason the legendary server progress so fast is becuase people have nothing to do at cap, since its mostly broken. And landscape is mostly empty. Even the new areas looks empty in ROI.

  14. #14
    Agreed on all points!

    But well, its to late anyway. Rise of Isengard was the best expansion. In my humble opinion it goes down now with Rohan, and Helms Deep. The further the levelcap goes, the more uninteresting it will be to play on legendarys.

    Maybe there will be new legendary servers, if anor an ithil reach 120 levelcap.

    I would say, release new expansion in 6 month earliest, if there ever will be new legendary servers.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    308
    Quote Originally Posted by WorrBinpike View Post
    Agreed on all points!

    But well, its to late anyway. Rise of Isengard was the best expansion. In my humble opinion it goes down now with Rohan, and Helms Deep. The further the levelcap goes, the more uninteresting it will be to play on legendarys.

    Maybe there will be new legendary servers, if anor an ithil reach 120 levelcap.

    I would say, release new expansion in 6 month earliest, if there ever will be new legendary servers.
    I think the 85 cap will be really interesting since that was the cap I have done the least with. Playing epic battles on level again will be fun, and maybe we get pvp? Gondor has a great raid and instances.

    To be honest these caps have more interesting endgame than 120 anyway lol.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by LotroVidz View Post
    ..The reason the legendary server progress so fast is becuase people have nothing to do at cap, since its mostly broken. And landscape is mostly empty. Even the new areas looks empty in ROI.
    This is the real problem. They make a new release, and half the players grind to be the first to reach the new cap. These people immediately start complaining that they have nothing to do. They quit playing Legendary and go back to the other servers.

    The other half of the players take it easy, but more and more they notice the population going down, until they're soloing everything and it feels just like the other servers. Still they slog on at their own pace- but WELL before they hit cap, SSG announces another new release to please the cap-grinders.

    Every release has diminishing returns, because the cap-grinders are only happy for that first 24 hours, or until they hit the new cap- and every release pushes slower players further and further behind, making it less rewarding. Not to mention the bigger and bigger world dilutes the community of players more and more, just because there's more room to move around and less chance of running into people.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    308
    Quote Originally Posted by Halphast View Post
    This is the real problem. They make a new release, and half the players grind to be the first to reach the new cap. These people immediately start complaining that they have nothing to do. They quit playing Legendary and go back to the other servers.

    The other half of the players take it easy, but more and more they notice the population going down, until they're soloing everything and it feels just like the other servers. Still they slog on at their own pace- but WELL before they hit cap, SSG announces another new release to please the cap-grinders.

    Every release has diminishing returns, because the cap-grinders are only happy for that first 24 hours, or until they hit the new cap- and every release pushes slower players further and further behind, making it less rewarding. Not to mention the bigger and bigger world dilutes the community of players more and more, just because there's more room to move around and less chance of running into people.
    I think the xp debuff should only be applied on each new level cap increase or completely optional on the login screen, It's stupid to not let new players be able to catch up to the endgame. The xp debuff should be optional all the way up to the latest level cap range IMO.

    There are many solutions, but SSG wont even communicate with the LS community, since when did we get an update from them?

  18. #18
    No disagreement with any of this, but something I've found especially disappointing is changes to the personality of the old content. For example, replacing the distinctive orc camps in Mirkwood with generic hut clusters. Taking the Malledhrim crafted armor and removing the distinctions between the three variants so it no longer matters which you craft. I realize it's not a classic server so it's not a copy of what came before, but I had thought there was still some notion that nostalgia was an important part. Making the content more generic doesn't make much sense to me, other than in service to the live server by streamlining the content new characters will be going through there later on.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    14
    Can't disagree with anything in here. I came in hoping that being a VIP-only server that some extra attention was going to be paid to it. Turns out the VIP-only status was only enough income to cover the costs of running a new server with the bare minimum attention given to its well-being.

    I was totally wrong in my opinions over the years. I thought that nostalgia for this sort of server would last a week before people got bored, but in my time on the LS, it was a much more static community that I expected. If content and itemization had been on point, I could see a lot of people staying on the LS even through less-popular content. But I think that ship has sailed.

    Moria had decent itemization, but content was poorly scaled. Mirkwood had good content, but itemization was all but ignored. RoI content seems to be a decent compromise from what I've heard (3 and 6-mans fairly easy, ToO difficulty increased, Draig more of a mechanic/coordination fight), itemization was not done terribly well (but at least most of it is an upgrade from L65 gear), and then a simple mistake leads to a huge bug/exploit that has the potential to ruin the economy. I think even with that, though, RoI would've been enough to keep people around if there were still people to keep around.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Thymir View Post
    Yours in deep love and respect,

    Eadon – There and Back Again on Anor.

    P.S. This has been discussed alot in our kinship. If you are open to the idea, I would happily arrange a time for us to discuss this further on our discord with whoever would like to, be it Cord or any other developer. If that's something you'd be open to that, please feel free to send me a private message.
    Dear Eadon - thank you so much for the time and thought you put into this post. Whether I agree with all or some is not important. The fact that you make your case so thoughtfully and with respect for SSG's efforts is really what I appreciate.

    Let's all try to rise to the standard that the OP has set here!

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Will any of you even drop your subscription after having those poor experiences for months ?

    You do realise this 'Legendary' thing was a clear cashgrab from the start right ?
    You thought the fact it's sub only would provide you with quality content ? In most other games maybe , but not in Lotro , PVMPers learned that lesson ages ago : D ( most of them at least )

    The only real thing you got when legendary launched ,compared to a progression tortoise stone kin on live , was a gold wipe.
    I don't even know what you pay for in the first place.
    They even kept the store open on a sub only server , does that not annoy anyone ? No hints ? Nothing ?

    And no , i doubt SSG is afraid of losing players to WoW anymore. They lost that battle a long time ago , around siege of mirkwood.
    They are not even a real competitor anymore.

    They simply know the few players left are way too fond of middle earth , most of them adults with jobs and thus wallets and very unlikely to try any other game..
    So they just milk you dry.
    THEY DON'T CARE about gameplay.

    Now give each other a hug and go play this atrocity : - D

    Since WoW classic was mentioned , i just logged out to go to bed , here's a fun fact.
    The player queue on each of the pvp servers ( those who wait to login because the servers are full ) is higher that Lotro's entire playerbase.
    We are talking several thousands players , on a bloody QUEUE , on EACH server , and yeah , there are several...!
    But legendary doesn't even have pvp , not even that abandoned 1.5 zone version we have on live , ROFLMAO.
    Last edited by BotLike; Sep 11 2019 at 06:16 PM.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    308
    Quote Originally Posted by BotLike View Post
    Will any of you even drop your subscription after having those poor experiences for months ?

    You do realise this 'Legendary' thing was a clear cashgrab from the start right ?
    You thought the fact it's sub only would provide you with quality content ? In most other games maybe , but not in Lotro , PVMPers learned that lesson ages ago : D ( most of them at least )

    The only real thing you got when legendary launched ,compared to a progression tortoise stone kin on live , was a gold wipe.
    I don't even know what you pay for in the first place.
    They even kept the store open on a sub only server , does that not annoy anyone ? No hints ? Nothing ?

    And no , i doubt SSG is afraid of losing players to WoW anymore. They lost that battle a long time ago , around siege of mirkwood.
    They simply know the few players left are way too fond of middle earth , most of them adults with jobs and thus wallets and very unlikely to try any other game..
    So they just milk you dry.
    THEY DON'T CARE about gameplay.

    Now give each other a hug and go play this atrocity : - D

    Since WoW classic was mentioned , i just logged out to go to bed , here's a fun fact.
    The player queue on each of the pvp servers ( those who wait to login because the servers are full ) is higher that Lotro's entire playerbase.
    But legendary doesn't even have pvp , not even that abandoned 1.5 zone version we have on live , ROFLMAO.
    Yeah I agree that it has been handled like shieet, but all caps have been more fun than the 120 cap.. So either way, I rather pay each month than playing on the p2w 120 cap If they won't re-release a true classic version or improved legendary servers with pvmp after this has run out, I'm not coming back to the game. I am slightly interested in Minas Morgul, BUT im also 99% sure that they keep the freaking lootbox p2w gear progression... If that is the case, im NOT buying it.

    And the 10 instances we had in SOM on LS was more fun than Gondor/Mordor/Ered Mithrin combined really, it had true quality still after all these years. And it was really challenging, it took months for the top kinship to clear OD.

  23. #23
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    Jun 2011
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    Under Bridge
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    Quote Originally Posted by LotroVidz View Post
    And the 10 instances we had in SOM on LS was more fun than Gondor/Mordor/Ered Mithrin combined really, it had true quality still after all these years. And it was really challenging, it took months for the top kinship to clear OD.
    Great to hear that was the case :- D

    If legendary was actual vanilla Lotro i would be having a blast for sure , among many others.

    One can always hope , maybe 1 day , assuming they have the man power to do so.
    And no , i don't think the fact they launched this farce 'legendary' thingie removes all chances of a real vanilla Lotro.
    There will defo be changes in many MMOs after companies see the success classic wow has atm.

    Because have no doubt , WoW had always been the king in the genre , no matter how declined retail is nowadays compared to the glory days.
    So many titles that tried to be WoW killers , don't exist anymore , not even on maintenance mode.
    Most games are nothing more than WoW clones , simply take a look at your Lotro UI and talent tree. We are literally talking copy paste here.
    Never mind when it comes to future planning decisions , all studios would love a small piece of the nostalgia $$ pie , even if it's just the crumbs.
    Last edited by BotLike; Sep 11 2019 at 06:38 PM.

  24. #24
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    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiverBirch View Post
    Dear Eadon - thank you so much for the time and thought you put into this post. Whether I agree with all or some is not important. The fact that you make your case so thoughtfully and with respect for SSG's efforts is really what I appreciate.

    Let's all try to rise to the standard that the OP has set here!
    Now that's a complement! Thank you. I hope SSG listen. The game is great, but it could be so much greater with a little more care and attention.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Formenos
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thymir View Post
    Dear SSG,

    I’ve been weighing up writing this forum post for a while now. I want to start by saying I love this game. I love it’s community, it’s story and world, it’s gameplay, and I especially love that you as a developer stepped up to look after it in it’s hour need. I recognise that this game has probably had many occasions where it could have easily gone under, and the fact that it hasn’t for so long is pretty astounding. I have a lot of respect for that fact, and I long to see this game continue forward into the future.
    That is the reason however, that I’m writing this post. I believe there are some fundamental issues in the way the game is currently being handled, especially regarding the legendary servers, that is doing damage to the community that plays on them. I’m writing this post out of a genuine fear of what will become of that community if these issues aren’t addressed and fairly swiftly. This is compounded by the knowledge that the legendary servers require a subscription, so I would imagine that everyone who plays on them forms a significant part of your revenue stream.

    To begin,
    1) The pace of content release is too fast.

    Over the many years that LotRO has been active, there has been a vast amount of content added to the game. The idea of experiencing all of that content, at the various level caps through the years was, and still is truly exhilarating.
    In practice however, it’s proving quite exhausting. The pace of content being released is remarkably fast. In the last 6 months, we have been fed 2 large expansions worth of content, Moria and Mirkwood. That represents approx. 2 years and 10 months’ worth of content as it was during their release.
    Now, I’m not suggesting that they should take as long as they did originally, but that’s a lot of content to get through in the space of 6 months, especially if the community wants to get the most out of it. This is also pretty far from the advertised ‘every 4 months’ cadence as originally stated when the legendary servers were announced.
    For context, I am on the leadership of There and Back Again, which is one of the largest kinships on Anor. We are consistently finding it a struggle to level our characters, raid on those characters and run any social events we’d like to do as a kin within the timeframe allowed between each release. The pacing certainly doesn’t allow us to particularly take our time with any of the above. At Rise of Isengard’s release, many of our players still had alts, and in some cases, main characters that they wanted to complete the In Their Absence questline on. They now do not have the opportunity to do so at the 65 cap. If Rise of Isengard also has a similar content cycle, the top tier of players will only be able to run around 12 times due to the content locks. For our raid teams, this will be a lot less as people take longer to level.
    These concerns are not only being voiced by those who play a lot either, we are consistently hearing this within our kin from players who play remarkably casually and wouldn’t ever reach a point of raiding, or that would come to the forums to voice that opinion. But these are all players who are paying a subscription and who are also voicing their discontent to us consistently. The players who do rush to the forums to express their opinion are generally the players who already rush through the content and probably require the faster pacing, but that is far from the majority within the player base, and I believe that majority is struggling to keep up.

    2) Give us room to breath.

    Following on from that, I’d really love to know what is considered when releasing a new piece of content onto the legendary servers. Is it based on a strict schedule?
    If so, it would be helpful if you could simply adjust it to give us some more room to enjoy the content. I believe that a 4 month cadence would be ideal. This gives us more time to play alts (a great proportion of the player base just levels and has a lot of alternate characters), it gives us more time to do endgame instances together, it gives us more time to run events and social activities within our community that build kinship unity. All of these things are really important to us, but we cannot achieve them all. Let alone if any of our players takes some time out, takes a vacation, or plays a different game for a while.
    If it’s not on a strict schedule (which I’m guessing it isn’t as the schedule has clearly changed since legendary servers were announced), is it based on the player activity numbers?
    If that is the case, is it really so bad that the number drop a bit towards the tail end of the content cycle? Many of us also play other games which we really enjoy. Most notably this time around, WoW Classic had released less than a week prior the Rise of Isengard release. Many players in the LotRO community would have also had this on their radar. I’m sure you all at SSG would have also had this on your radar. Would it have caused such an issue with your business to have given us a couple of weeks, or maybe a month to play it? If this was a factor, and perhaps you were in fear of losing players to Classic WoW, there is a key solution you can use to prevent this, which brings me onto point 3.

    3) Communicate to your player base


    It isn’t an issue for players to take a break from LotRO as long as they know when to come back. The trouble is, we don’t know anything about the release schedule, at all. The last two expansions have been released with less than a days’ notice on the forums. This is easily the biggest complaint I have, and the one that causes us the most strife within our community. We cannot plan our own kinship organisation around releases, because we are left completely in the dark. Genuinely, we ran a social event on the day of the Rise of Isengard’s release, which had more notice than the major release of content by the developer. We had kin members logging in for the event who were surprised to see Isengard now released. I cannot believe that a game developer sees no issue with that.

    I don’t believe I am exaggerating when I say that SSG currently has the worst community interaction that I have seen within the video games industry. It is truly appalling, especially considering it involves a product for which people are paying a significant subscription to play, and has a significant community focus.
    Please, communicate with us. Give us some notice about when you’re going to release the content. We would ideally love to know what your plan is NOW regarding Riders of Rohan. It doesn’t matter if it changes, or gets pushed back, simply update us. Talk to us, we aren’t going to judge you, or rise up in riotous vitriol if you need to change something. That’s fine, but right now we are at the end of our rope trying to organise things as we know absolutely nothing.
    Giving us a regular schedule helps everything. In his fairly recent talk at GDC 2019, Chris Wilson who is the Lead Developer at Grinding Gear Games made an incredible point about ‘Making sure users quit with a plan to come back’. You can watch this point here. If users know when the next piece of content is coming, they know they can take that break, play that other game, take their time with levelling that character, because they know the plan. Instead, with our current experience in LotRO, we don’t know the plan at all, making all that impossible, and causing our players to burn out hard when they burn out.

    4) Basic testing

    Another key area of issue that is consistently an issue is the lack of testing before releases. Whether it’s raid/dungeon balancing at lower level caps or purchasable LI symbols at skirmish camps, there’s consistently bugs, exploits and imbalance that drastically effect the gameplay for the legendary servers.
    Please do some testing, especially where loot is concerned. Heck, put up a testing server specifically for the new legendary cap a few weeks beforehand, let us help you iron out the problems before you launch it. But right now, consistently these issues are occurring and shouldn’t, especially when a subscription is mandatory for Legendary Servers. This comes essentially to my last point.

    5) This is a premium product.

    Well, apparently anyway. You are charging us a premium to play on these servers. If anyone wants to experience the content in the way provided by the legendary servers, they either must pay the monthly subscription, or have got the deal of a lifetime back in the day. Either way, these are the top tier investment players who engage on these servers, and I strongly feel they aren’t getting the service they deserve from the company, not the sort of service that a subscription model should provide.
    It doesn’t seem like the legendary servers are getting the attention or consideration they deserve from the development team. When Cord tells us on a Friday stream that the Rise of Isengard release will be ‘perhaps next week’, it doesn’t suggest that it’s been especially thought through, not nearly enough at it should be. If I’m wrong about that, I have no way of knowing as the development team are not telling us anything about the plan ahead.
    When we pay a premium, I think it’s fair to expect a premium service, and whilst I do understand that the team and resources are limited, there seems to be plenty of money enough to spend on vales of anduin, new races and new expansions, but seemingly not enough to maintain a quality legendary server experience. That doesn’t seem right to me, not when it requires a subscription.

    In conclusion, I really do adore this game. I adore all the friends and connections I’ve made throughout my time here. Heck, next year I’m likely taking a vacation to Canada in order to meet said friends. But I am seriously worried about the games future, and I’m certainly not happy with the quality of service I’m getting for my money at the moment. If you, SSG, as a developer can consider, take on board, and put into practise some of these points, I believe it would go a long way to improving your game, improving player retention and engagement, improving your companies relationship with it’s community, and improve your ability to make revenue. I want to see all of those things improve, as ultimately it will help continue the game I love into the future.

    Yours in deep love and respect,

    Eadon – There and Back Again on Anor.

    P.S. This has been discussed alot in our kinship. If you are open to the idea, I would happily arrange a time for us to discuss this further on our discord with whoever would like to, be it Cord or any other developer. If that's something you'd be open to that, please feel free to send me a private message.

    Remarkable post, I have read it all.The boat sank. Legendary servers have had the chance to be unique but it is over. The post is well written, honest, detailed and constructive indeed, but replying into details will be in vain for its far too late ,Randir. You expect and hope for impossible. It was beautiful when you say you love the game, but game you knew once is gone, ruined beyond repair, A shadow.

    All of these excellent points you have stated are distant memory and one of the what "if" what could have been. Legendary servers are near disaster that should end right now if you ask me sincerely. Sad, truly as for point 3) You have to realise community has changed and filled with massive amount of rude posts,fighting,complaining and even bashing the company, would you reply often and communicate to your players if they slam you in the face often and no it is not become constructive criticism, the posts such is yours are extraordinary rare.

    As for 1,2,4 and 5. Bye Bye Birdy,It matters not anymore. Do not waste your energy. The damage has already been done.

 

 
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