LOTRO: pre-holiday news avalanche

I’m away visiting family ahead of Christmas so I’m behind on the gaming news enough to have missed a flurry of news items relating to Turbine and two of the MMORPGs that I’ve played on and off for years now – Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons.

So Turbine has divested itself of its MMORPG business in order to concentrate on mobile gaming in future. A new studio has been created, Standing Stone Games, to house Turbine’s two major MMORPGs – the older and smaller Acheron’s Call games will be shuttered as part of the deal. I’ve not played either of those games but it’s a shame for any active players to lose their home.

I am, so far at least, optimistic about this. I feel that, perhaps, Turbine lost some of its focus of recent years and the two listed MMO titles may have suffered as a result. A new studio with a smaller niche can focus on what matters to its core playerbase(s). Its ironic, or perhaps not, that Daybreak Games is the chosen publisher to support the new studio; DBG was itself created by a similar process of spinning off a new ‘indie’ MMO-focused studio from a larger development company (Sony Entertainment Online as was). The news beyond the initial announcement is positive so far, the devs have suggested they may revamp the character models in 2017 – a well overdue update to help attract new players to this aging but very, very rich virtual world. There’s even a new patch out to expand on the latest zone.

I’m no expert in the MMORPG business, but it feels to me as a player, that EQ2 is doing better now than it was under SOE – the game has had some focused and quality updates. Perhaps this change will see a return to paid expansions for LOTRO and DDO, I’d be happy to support LOTRO at least this way if so. These changes certainly matter to me, LOTRO alongside EQ2 has consistently been a game that I return to at least once if not several times a year.

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4 Responses to LOTRO: pre-holiday news avalanche

  1. tsuhelm says:

    Hopefully one day, new PC permitting, I will explore the new standing stones in LOTRO 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Standing Stone Gathers No Momentum | The Ancient Gaming Noob

  3. I am suspicious of any one change actually attracting more customers to an older game that has a lot of other issues. (Mostly because I hear it in every old MMO, and there are a lot of old MMOs around these days.) And to my eye, updating character models has almost been a jumping the shark moment for some MMOs. I recall Meridian 59, EverQuest, Vanguard, and WoW all getting character model upgrades, but I cannot recall any corresponding boost in new players.

    Meanwhile, as the devs spend time on a feature to attract new customers, they ignore the installed base. Sure, some of them would like new character models too, but if you look at the LOTRO forums after they mentioned character models you will see a lot of posts asking for other fixes first.

    LOTRO had its big “get new customers” play with the F2P transition. Could new character models even make a dent compared to free?

    If SSG came out and said that they had exit surveys indicating that some huge percentage of players stopped playing because of the character models, I’d be a lot happier with that idea. But this sounds like they know that people find the character models awkward… I know I do… without really digging into whether or not that is a deciding factor and, if it is a deciding factor, just how good do new character models need to be and can they even get there with the current engine.

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