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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Podcast bei MMOReporter vom 07.08.2015

    Das Original ist unter http://mmoreporter.com/2015/08/07/lo...hena-and-andy/ abrufbar (englisch).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mar-Evayave View Post
    Just thought I'd share this. I'd give a full transcript except it's after 1 AM for me and my brain is too fried to type it up right now.


    That being said, the discussion starts around half an hour in and they talk at length about what the consolidation will be like, what the progress is on Bullroarer, etc. Then they talk about naming conflicts and the reasoning behind the method they are using. Next they discuss the choice of servers for the EU and specifically talk about the RP servers vs non-RP servers. They continue on to talk about other matters, but those are some of the key ones, given the heated discussions that have been taking place on this forum since the announcement was made.

    If I can, I'll try to type up a transcript. I already have part of it done, but.. ugh... they talk a lot. xD


    Alright, here we have it. The complete transcript of the interview. It is roughly half the entire episode (approximately 45 of the 90 minutes of the podcast). I've omitted a lot of ums, uhs, ers, and repeated/rephrased text so that the text flow itself is smooth and easy to read.

    And also, in this process, I've discovered that Vyv really, really likes the world "basically". xD

    For those unaware, the podcast is by Cari and Chris (the latter of which remained silent during the interview) of the LOTRO Reporters, on MMOReporters.com, and they were joined for about half the episode by Frelorn and Vyv.

    Lastly, a disclaimer: I have done my best to transcribe this, and if any errors are made, they are mine (I transcribed this solo). Do listen to the streamed interview if you have any doubts, and if you spot any errors, let me know so that I may correct them.

    And also an apology. No color looks particularly good when there are so many lines of text. I broke up Vyv's longest portion, so hopefully that helps, but otherwise, I just hope the alternating colors helps your eyes keep track of where you are.

    Hosts and guests:
    Cari -- Cari, LOTRO Reporter cohost
    Layanor -- Chris, LOTRO Reporter cohost
    Vyv -- Athena "Vyvyanne" Peters, LOTRO Executive Producer
    Frelorn -- Andy "Frelorn" Cataldo, LOTRO Senior Community Manager

    Timing of interview:
    0:30:23 - Musical introduction
    0:30:50 - Interview begins
    1:16:20 - Interview ends
    1:16:48 - Musical conclusion

    The Interview:

    Cari: Alright listeners. We have today with us Andy, Community Manager of Lord of the Rings Online, and Athena, which is -- I've forgotten the title already, I'm sorry.

    Vyv: Executive Producer.

    Cari: The Executive Producer. So, Athena, let's start with you. Tell us a little bit about your history with Lord of the Rings Online.

    Vyv: I just joined the team late last year, 2014, as Executive Producer. Before that I was working on DDO for many years with Turbine, pretty much from the time I joined Turbine about four years ago. I've been working on DDO in production, most recently as their director. That's my history so far with LOTRO, it's fairly recent.

    Cari: Okay.

    Vyv: But I have been playing the game since beta so I have characters scattered. I even spent some time living in the UK, so I have characters scattered across both regions of our servers.

    Cari : Okay. Andy, how about you?

    Frelorn : I've been here since the game launched and actually got to play it before it was Lord of the Rings Online back when it was Middle-Earth Online. Came in and early on I was the PvMP Community Manager, and then jumped off to do other projects after a while of doing that, and just recently came back on when there was an opening. And I've been a player pretty much off and on the entire time, depending on what I was working on, but I've been pretty much a part of this franchise since its beginning.

    Cari : Okay. So, I reached out to you guys because we've got some big changes coming and I thought we'd take a few minutes and just hear from you guys about what the changes are. I know you've had some dev diaries about the world closures; can you kind of give us a verbal overview about what that plan is?

    Vyv : Sure. We've kind of come to this point at which we've gotten an opportunity for Lord of the Rings (Online) to basically move ourselves onto a much better data center, which is basically the location in which we house all the servers and the data that is our game. So we've gotten this opportunity to move ourselves into a better location, and in the process of doing that, all better hardware and software. Once we decided that we were going to go ahead and go through this effort, we really took a look at the populations on our servers.

    The players have been talking a lot about how they felt they didn't have enough people to play with when they would log on, on some of the smaller servers. So we really took a hard look at that and decided that, while we were doing this transition physically, that it would probably be best for the community and the service as a whole to go ahead and reduce the number of the worlds that we had down to a more reasonable level, especially with the new hardware that we'll be putting them on. So we've reduced down to 10 worlds that will be remaining. I don't have the list at hand, but it's definitely on all the articles that we've posted up. These worlds we've chosen based mostly on which worlds would be the least disrupted -- what's the least number of people that we can disrupt in this transition, so mostly these were chosen by population.

    There were a couple of other factors involved, different playstyles for example. The RP servers, I think we have two RP servers and one role-play-encouraged server that were saved, and of course we also wanted to make sure we maintained our language servers. So we have servers in which we encourage people to speak in German and in French, which are two languages that we localize in, other than English, so we made sure that we had those servers covered as well and those communities covered as well. So basically that's the summation of how we got to that place, and so we're now at these 10 worlds -- 5 world in the US and 5 worlds for the EU community -- and we started Bullroarer testing this week of the new transfer service.

    In this whole thing we decided to build out a whole new service for transferring your characters that you can do directly from the launcher, rather than the old service that was on the website, and in the process of doing that we also upgraded the things that can transfer with you. Previously, you were limited on what might actually go with you to another server, but now with our new service we've pretty much covered the entire basis of all the things that your character owns and all the things that are shared across your account, as well as kinships: We now have the ability to move kinships from one location to another. So with all of these new features we decided it definitely needs to go through a little bit of testing just in case we ran into any kinks or anything, so it is currently available on our Bullroarer test environment.

    So anybody who downloads the Bullroarer test client, once they load up their client and they see the launcher for Bullroarer, they'll see a transfer button there, and they can basically use it to copy right now any of their characters from the live service and they'll see all the things that get transferred over. They can also copy all of their account items in that selection area. So we will have that up in Bullroarer for probably a couple weeks just to make sure that there isn't anything scary on there. There's a couple of things that people have pointed out already that we want to do a little bit of polishing on, and then once we feel like that's in a good solid state, then we'll go ahead and turn on the next phase, which is basically to send out in-game mails to everybody about what's going on and then turn on the ability for the folks on those 10 remaining worlds to kind of redistribute. Basically they'll have the ability to move between each other and part of this purpose is to let players who are on the really highly-populated worlds, if they're like, "I don't really want to be on the super-populous worlds, Brandywine in particular," -- people have even said, "I would rather move off of Brandywine if I had the chance," -- so we're giving them the chance to move off, and then basically relieve some of that server load so that other people can come on to it at a later time if we get enough load moved off of it, right?

    So basically some shuffling so that we're evening out the worlds just a little bit more. And then once we've done that for a little bit then we'll turn on the next phase which will be the actual start of migrating the players who are on the closing worlds on to those 10 remaining worlds. So we'll just do that a couple of servers at a time at first to just feel it out, make sure that no one world is getting heavier than the others, and then if we see that everything’s going smooth then we'll turn on the next ones and the next. And at any point we could turn all of them on, but we just don't want to do that from the get-go until we feel like this is going smoothly.

    And then hopefully we're done with all of this within the next few months and then at the end of the year -- pretty much the start of 2016 -- what will happen to those worlds that are closing is they will basically go into a dark state so that they will be no longer available to play on but the characters on those worlds will be forever able to transfer off of those worlds for free. So basically after 2016 once those servers have closed, if you had characters on those servers, you will go to the login screen you would not see those worlds available for play but when you hit the transfer button you would see all of those characters that you had on those worlds available to move to another world.

    Cari : Okay. Currently, Brandywine is going to be closed for transfers in, correct?

    Vyv : Yes. Currently. Because in the middle of this process, while we're doing this, the hardware side of that is also happening in tandem. So basically we want to make sure that Brandywine is up on its new hardware, which we think is more than capable of dealing with the populations that that world has, but we want to prove that out, right? We want to make sure that it is there, it's up, the population is happy and sees some improvement, and then we'll go ahead and turn on that flag that says, "Okay, everybody else, you can come to Brandywine too if you want to."

    Cari : Alright. Do you know if you expect to do that before the paid transfers begin, for those who are still on live servers?

    Vyv : We are hoping that that will happen before the paid transfers end [[Note by transcriber: I believe Vyv misspoke here; based on context, she likely meant before the free transfers end and the paid transfers begin for those on the 10 remaining worlds]], and if for some reason we weren't able to do that, then we would look into extending the time to move to Brandywine if you wanted to. We'll just have to look at that as we're going along and see when exactly we're capable of turning that on and then we'll adjust those service and paid dates accordingly. So that October 1st date right now is the expected date, but we'll adjust that as we get closer and we see how things are actually [[distorted, but probably: rolling/falling/sorting/etc.]] out.

    Cari : Okay. If you're willing to share, how is the stress test on Bullroarer been going?

    Vyv : Really good, actually. We've had a lot of people come on, successfully move their characters, not have any issues with transferring their stuff. There are a few people that are running into the error which is the reason why we can't actually allow EU and US cross-transfers. Bullroarer is one central environment and we let all EU and US characters copy to it. But because we do that we create a situation where we could have those ID conflicts that are the problem between those two environment bases. So of course we having some characters that have errors, but we're making sure that that's actually what's causing the error, and then checking to see if there's anything else that might be causing failures. But so far we've seen a very small number of errors that aren't things like the ID conflict that we expected, so it's going pretty smoothly and it's looking good. Just a couple of things like there's some localization stuff for the Germans that we want to fix, but other than that I think it's going well and it's quick. People are seeing their characters come through in under a minute in most cases, maybe a couple of minutes if your character's a really old character from like the beginning of the game and has a lot of items on it.

    Cari : Alright, that's awesome. I've been looking at the forums; there are lots of questions. So what are the biggest questions/concerns that you have seen players putting forth and do you have any particular answers you want to give to some of those questions.

    Frelorn: There's been a few. The one that to me has been the biggest point of contention has really been naming. Players, obviously you have been playing the game for a long time. You get used to having an identity - your name. Players are concerned they're going to go to one of the new servers and not be able to keep their name. There were lots of suggestions -- oh do this, oh do that, oh do this. Realistically we came up with what we thought was the best solution for this that would let you keep your name -- yes you might end up with a -1 or -2, but you get to be able to rename -- and it was really just a matter of we had to come up with a solution that wasn't going to kill us in terms of dev time, engineering time, etc., to try and figure out a better solution. And really this is probably one of the best solutions I've seen, playing MMOs my whole life or most of my life, and seeing games go through this. There's been many less elegant ways of doing renames. The fact of the matter is there's going to be conflicts -- it's not perfect. We wish it was, we wish everybody could just keep their own unique name and everybody would just have something different, but when you have hundreds of thousands of players who have played the game over the years, naming conflicts are going to come up. So we just thought this was the best solution we could come up with for it and hopefully most everybody will get to keep their names. If we find that players are intentionally griefing to steal other peoples' names, that's something we can look into -- no promises. But for the most part, I think people will not -- it won't be as painful as people think it will be once they get on there. I don't think everybody's worried, "Everyone's going to steal my name because it's the best name ever!" and in most cases that's not going to be the case. I think most everybody has pretty unique names, unless you picked Bob as your name. You might have a problem there.

    Cari: Bob is the server that melts. I don't know if you've heard us talk about that, but we've named the server -- when he melts down, his name is Bob. *shared laughter*

    Vyv: Definitely on the name situation, we thought long and hard about it, trying to come up with a solution that would be long-term acceptable and fair for as many people and the population as we could come up with. Really the thought behind it was that players who just came into the game and started playing -- we have to treat them fairly just as much as we have to treat the people who have been playing with us for 8 years fairly. We can't look at each character and account on an individual basis, as nice as that would be -- that's a lot. So sometimes we have to err to the side that people are not griefing each other, they just honestly like the name and they took it. Or they're saving the name for themselves for when they move or whatever it is. There's so many possibilities and cases. We tried to err to the side of the character that just hasn't been logged in for a while is probably not as important to someone as a character that has just decided they needed to transfer that character. That's really where we ended up falling in, but we also didn't want to do it in general, just wiping all characters that haven't shown up in a year because, then what about a player who hears about the Turbine transfers and decides to come back and save their favorite player. There were a lot of situations to look into, and there wasn't going to be a perfect make-everybody-happy solution, but we think we did the best with what we had.

    Cari: That seems very fair to me that within a year if you haven't logged in, then perhaps somebody with the same name would get priority.

    Vyv: Yeah, exactly. I've even seen some really nice things being discussed on the forums where other players have said, "Hey, you know what, I've got a bunch of these mule characters that are just there for storage purposes, and it doesn't matter to me what their name is. So I'm going to go change their names or delete the character or whatever so that people coming in can have that name." I think that's a really nice thing that reminds me what a great, strong community we have.

    Cari: So are there any other big questions that -- the naming is one -- are there any other big issues that seem to be bubbling up with questions?

    Frelorn: There was the question of the server choices in Europe between the role-playing ones, which was they felt one English server was not enough because they have one English server and one English role-playing server, and they have this conception that, "I'm not a role-player, I shouldn't be able to go on this server, so basically if I'm an English speaker you guys are only giving me one server to choose from." So, a couple of things I'd like to clear up on that. One, the role-players are really, really nice. And if you're not a role-player, as long as you're not a jerk, they're not going to bother you if you just don't want to role-play along with them; you just want to go play the game and do your thing, they're not going to rip you apart and tear you to pieces because you are not role-playing. Most of the role-players that I've run into are amazingly forgiving and will be like, "Okay, cool, you don't want to role-play, that's fine, we're not going to force it on you. You do your thing, we'll do our thing." Second thing, and this is one of the things that even gets lost in the US side and total number of servers, is we are putting all these servers are going onto new hardware. Which means the number of players that can fit on a server, from what is on there now, is going to increase quite significantly --

    Vyv: Vastly.

    Frelorn: -- Brandywine already now has a higher population in terms of players than all the other servers do by a pretty good amount. We see it now on the old hardware; whereas on the new hardware that's going to hopefully, if everything goes according to plan, we're going to see that performance increase even more. So while yes, you may only get one non-role-playing server, there's going to be plenty of room on that server, and between that and the role-playing server for all the English speakers if they want to be on an English-speaking server. It's just a matter that we can't give, "Hey you guys, this language gets a role-playing server but this one doesn't." That's kind of not fair. We want to be as fair as possible with the process, and given what we know about what's going to happen with the hardware and everything else, we feel confident that there's going to be a place for everybody. If for some reason you do want to go to the role-playing server and are English-speaking because you think that the non-role-playing server is going to be too busy, the role-players aren't going to throw you out. If for some reason you don't like it, you'll still be in that time period that you can move off to one of the other servers. We didn't make these decisions by throwing darts at a dart board or just picking randomly. As Athena said, this is a well-thought-out process. We made the choices knowing what the hardware should be able to handle and what our populations are, and in the end it should all work out for everybody.

    Vyv: Two things on that. For one, just to illustrate how powerful we think this hardware improve is: At one point during our testing of it, our internal load-testing of it, we were considering even the ability to go down to two servers. That's it, two... we could have put all our population. We chose not to go that route, but that is how much of a hardware improvement we're talking about here. So the concerns there about the population are not as great, I think. People are basing that off of the old hardware and not the systems that we're moving over on to. And then the other thing was the concern that we chose to keep two English servers and two German servers and one French, and there are a lot of people thinking that we put too much weight towards the German servers. When we look at our numbers the population of players playing on our German servers in the EU is equivalent to the number of players playing on English-speaking servers, so that's the reason for that decision. The population really is there. We have a large German-speaking population, or people who choose to play on a German-speaking server. Cause that's the other thing. All of our flagging for different servers is mostly suggestion. When it comes to servers that we flag, English vs German, it doesn't mean that that is restricted only to people living in those regions or only to people who speak those languages, it's just a suggestion for folks who might want to play in German all the time -- this is going to be the primary language that you would see on that server, but it doesn't mean you aren't welcome there if you don't speak German.

    Cari: We were talking last night on our show and we were wondering if you guys had plans to do any kind of world-closing events. We suggest putting everybody in boats and sailing into the West.

    Vyv: While we really like the idea of those world-closing events, the problem with those events a lot of times is that the excitement of them is giving players things that would then be unbalanced if they took them to another server. We want to make sure that players can take their characters and all of their things with them. So we won't exactly have an end-of-the-world event, but we are giving out gift-boxes that will commemorate the event and allow players to commemorate their home-world as it were with cloaks and titles, both for the regular characters as well as the Monster Player characters. And then the other thing that we really want to do is make the party more about the place that you're moving to, so that the other benefit of us moving down to this number of servers is that it gives us the opportunity to run more live events. This is something we're really excited about; this is one of the reasons that got us super excited about slimming down the worlds a bit. It gives us a chance to come in and have the GMs come in and run fun live events and parties on the worlds that are remaining. We definitely see an increase in the number of those happening as the year wraps up and we're going through this process.

    Cari: Well that sounds like a lot of fun!

    Frelorn: We hope so!

    Vyv: Yes!

    Cari: Speaking of monster players, there is a new PvMP map -- I know my cohost Layanor is ecstatic about this. How is that going? Are people mostly happy or...?

    Frelorn: I think people are mostly happy. It's always a toss-up. I've said for as long as I've been doing this, that PvMPers or just PvPers in general are some of the hardest people to please. There's always going to be something that could be better. I think that's the way with any game, but especially with PvPers because you're inherently competitive -- you always want to win. So the map came out and everybody was like, "It's a new area!" The population of the game on a couple of worlds when we initially launched we actually hit the caps of how many people could be on those worlds, so people couldn't actually even get in and play, which is something we haven't seen in a long time, which was great. It was pretty exciting when there's 300 people in one area fighting each other. No other game that does that. No other MMO does that where you can go in massive 300-person fights. That's really exciting. We're definitely seeing the excitement, we're seeing people playing out there, enjoying it. We've been getting some feedback -- Athena's been looking at the feedback -- we'll make adjustments where they need to be, but the big thing now is to let the dust settle on it, let everybody out there get playing, do all their things, and then when the time comes that we need to make fixes, we'll make them.

    Cari: With the new hardware do you expect the number of people that would be able to be playing concurrently in PvMP areas to get bigger or is that kind of capped with the way that the game is written?

    Vyv: There's a couple of factors involved there. For one, I'm thinking your original questions you even asked about, to clarify: the player cap and the PvMP is both the Moors and Osgiliath together, and so right now it's possible for players to spread out between those two but still hit the cap. That's mainly due to the way the system is built out, so there's a couple of different options we have on that. For one, the cap for how many players are in an instance at one time, some of that doesn't actually have to do with the server hardware itself, but it has to do with how much expectation we have of a player's computer being able to render all of the animations and the characters and everything that is happening in front of them. It's a lot for someone's PC to actually keep up with that much on the screen at one time. We wouldn't necessarily want to raise the cap much higher for that reason, because we don't want to put the burden on the players and their PCs and their PC capabilities. But we can also look into other possibilities after moving over to the new hardware and consolidating servers down, if we're seeing an increase in the PvMP population -- as in players just are in there all the time, they're constantly hitting up those caps. What we can do is consider looking into the possibility of instancing those areas -- basically there would be like in our other major population areas, once you get up to a certain cap you'll see like Bree-town 1 and 2, you might see the same thing with the PvMP maps. That's a possibility. We really have to look internally and talk to the PvMP community about it a little bit, because it kind of changes the way the gameplay goes, right? It can change the balance up between the two sides and that kind of thing, so it’s definitely an idea we have to stew on for a bit, try out a few times and see what might work, but it's definitely seeing the popularity of it once we've put in a second map. It's something that is at the front of our minds, especially as we consolidate servers.

    Cari: You had quite an excited group of people because, what, they've been playing on the same map for seven and a half years?

    Vyv: Yeah!

    Frelorn: It was something that various... had we been here so long... there were various forms of the LOTRO team had always wanted to do, it just for one reason or another never worked out. The timing was just right this time to be able to get it done and we're really happy with how it turned out and that most of our players are enjoying themselves and getting out there and fighting on it. That's the whole idea, to get people out there and playing.

    Cari: Awesome. Well, as a role-player I want to thank you very, very much for cosmetic weapons. I'm very much enjoying hitting things with a beer stein instead of a... I'm curious if you have any data on how many people are actually using cosmetic weapons, like how many people have killed an orc with a frying pan now that they can.

    Vyv: I don't know that we really have data on that.

    Frelorn: We may be able to look that up, we haven't. I'll take it as anecdotal data as just going out and playing. Seeing people with their beer stein or frying pan or whatever, seeing them, they're getting used quite a bit, and everybody was very excited about the system. That's another system that we're going to continue to improve, evolve, hopefully make a little bit better as time goes on.

    Vyv: Yeah, we had to put a lot of restrictions on it. That was one of the things that we noticed when we first released, was players being disappointed by some of the restrictions on it, but that was because we just put it in and there were still a lot of bugs that we needed to work out. So basically every update we should be able to tweak it a little bit here and there until it is really the system that I think we'd all love to have. Definitely in the next patch we'll have a couple more bug fixes in there. But yeah, I was super excited when we figured out how to get it working and it turned out as well as it did, cause it definitely feeds into the feel of Lord of the Rings and the community and the love of role-play in this game, so we needed it. Especially with, "If I have an entire wardrobe, why can't I also have an armory?"

    Cari: Exactly, exactly! I know your big push right now is world closures, moving the hardware, but can you share anything about the upcoming areas, any upcoming future plans you have, are you ready to talk about any of that yet?

    Vyv: Minas Tirith! That's next, that's next! We're in the middle of building out this amazing, gigantic city right now. Like, every day, the team is carving out more and more of this several-level -- there will be seven levels, I think. So many actually said they finally got it hooked up, so it was just the other day in a meeting somebody was like, "Today it became possible to literally run from one end of this city to the other, across all seven levels." So, yeah, no, it's super exciting! We're really excited over here about the story that we have to tell about the siege battle. This is one of the biggest moments in the books and we get to tell it! It actually there's two giant events. You have the siege and then you have the battle on Pelennor Fields itself. We're actually splitting these things into two. In Update 17, you will see the siege, and then coming along later in Update 18, then you'll see the battle from the fields as well. This is really great. We've come up with some creative solutions -- that I will not go into -- to let you see this epic occurrence from many [[distorted but sounds like: different sides]] which is exciting.

    Cari: Yeah, I'm very excited to see this. I can't hardly wait. Now we've been chatting for about thirty minutes, do you guys have a few more minutes to answer a few long-standing questions we've had or do you guys need to head off and do other things?

    Vyv: Nope, we're good.

    Frelorn: Yep, we've got the time.

    Cari: Okay, so these are some questions that we've had that have kind of gotten buried in the, "Hey, world closures and PvMP map!" So we understand Rift and Carn Dum are considered classic instances, but are you going to have plans to scale Moria or Isengard up to level 100?

    Vyv: Not currently. I think it's something we definitely think about and we keep in the backlog for things to consider, but I think right now we're more focused on pushing the storyline along, because we still have a lot of the main storyline that we want to cover. But it's definitely something that we look at every time we are in-between these major world and story pushes, so it's not necessarily off the table but I wouldn't expect it in the short term since we have these other giant things to tackle at the moment.

    Frelorn: Yeah and from another standpoint, as easy as it sounds to just scale it up, just make things harder, that's not actually how our system works. It's a bit more complicated. We came down to the same things with Rift and other things. It's just not a matter of putting harder NPCs in, that's just not how our system -- unfortunately or fortunately, however you look at it-- how it works. So to go in and do scaling on this is basically like, "Do we make new content or do we spend time scaling this old content?" because basically it comes out to about the same amount of work. To reiterate on what Athena said, right now our goal is moving the story forward, so we think it's more valuable if we're going to spend that amount of time working on content, let's making it new content and stuff that progresses the story.

    Cari: And I thank you for that.

    Vyv: And you know, we have a lot still to tell. I think once we get to the point at which we've made our way all the way to Mount Doom then we'll go back and see, like, "Okay, we have other places, other new places to explore, and other stories to be told within Middle-Earth -- there's lots." But I think that's also the time when we have to say, "Okay, what do we want to go back and extend or renew?" or whatever that might be.

    Cari: Okay. When the latest instances came out, it seemed that the loot system had gone back to the original system and not the everybody-gets-something system that had come out of some of the instance clusters. Do you have plans to switch that system at some point or not?

    Frelorn: We're always looking at the loot system and to be fair the loot system is a very broad term because in quests and dungeons it's one way, and in an instance it's another, and in a skirmish it's another, and in an epic battle it's another. So, we are constantly looking at what the players want from loot system and what we can do with it and the capabilities of the team, and right now there are no plans to change it back to the everybody-gets-something system, as far as I know. But we are looking at obviously improving the system and adding better rewards, higher-tier rewards, things like that, as the game is progressing. But we did just make the change before so we don't want to be flip-flopping back and forth. So for now it’s going to stay the same, as far as I know, unless somebody has said something different and just didn't tell us. But we are looking. I do know that some members of the team are looking at the loot system to scale up some of the loot and some of the rewards and some of the existing and newer quests and instances that are coming up.

    Cari: Okay.

    Vyv: It's definitely something that we look at every update when we sit down and look at, "Okay, what part of the story are we telling now? How are we going to tell that story?" we also look at the rewards we want to give away for those doing that quest and those quests and parts of the story. Every single time the loot system is looked at and so, "Okay, what's appropriate here in this situation?" And then it's just a matter of the tools to create that, so sometimes it's about time and capability and sometimes it's about appropriateness for the content that we're putting out. But yeah, I don't think it's in the plan currently to completely switch back over, but it doesn't mean it's out of the plans. I think we might just see more of a change on an individual basis, than game-wide.

    Cari: Okay. And of course, not that you're not busy enough with Update 17 and 18 and world closures, but as soon as the beornings came out, everybody's like, "New class!" Do we have any plans in the works for that that you want to share or...?

    Vyv: We don't have any other new classes on the design table currently. It took a little long time for us to even get to the beorning. Classes and races in Middle-Earth are a very particular thing, and it's not like other fantasy settings where there's just an enormous... like you could just do all kinds of combinations. The lore here is very specific and it takes a lot to work with it and make sure that we're staying within what's appropriate to that world. I don't see us jumping over to a new class any time soon. It might be something we can consider down the road a little bit, but I think we've got a lot of the bases covered. I think right now what we're focusing more on is how do we expand what we have now and give you more things to do to advance those classes that are there now. But we love the beorning and I think it was definitely a valuable addition to the game and players seem to really love it and have a great time with it. So we're happy to do it but I don't expect us doing another one any time... definitely not in the next year.

    Cari: Okay. Well that's the [[distorted, but sounds like: advancement]] question. That's the end of the questions I had. Did you guys have anything else you wanted to share? Something I might have missed? Something you're excited to talk about? Anything like that?

    Frelorn: I guess I just want to reiterate, if players haven't at least jumped on Bullroarer to help us test out the transfer system, hopefully just help us spread the word. If you have people you haven't played with in a while and want to let them know, "Hey this is happening!" And there's a ton of people on these servers, let them know. We're not jumping into this just for the sake of doing it. We honestly feel like this is going to make the experience better for most everybody. We do call these MMO's for a reason, and we understand there are some players who like smaller populations, but it's one of those things where we think for the good of the game, for the good of the players, this is really going to be a great move for everybody. We're looking forward to seeing everybody on these ten worlds and being able to jump in and do live events and just go in and talk to people and see the joining of communities. As Community Manager myself, it's going to be very exciting to watch. And seeing these two different worlds or three different worlds or four different worlds all coming together on one, and how they come together to form a new place, a new community so to speak. We really, really think this is going to be something awesome and we're looking forward to when it's all done. So yeah, we're just really excited. Don't worry, we're not going to mess with anybody. We don't have some evil motive of doing anything bad here. We're really are doing this because we think this is what's best for the game.

    Cari: But... but my favorite server...! *shared laughter*

    Frelorn: Hey look, I'll tell you something, and I saw this conspiracy theory and I actually thought it was really funny, is that we saved X server because that's the server that all the devs play on.

    Cari: Oh! That one's in our system.

    Frelorn: I tell you for a fact, when we all started playing, all the developers on some various older teams were all on a server -- and I'm not going to say which one -- it's one of the servers being closed. So the quote unquote "dev server" is one of the ones that did not make the cut. So all the people who used to work in the game, many that still do, all have to go through the same move that all the players are going through as well. Myself included.

    Vyv: Yeah, we were actually discussing how to move our kinship today.

    Frelorn: Yes. So, it's not something that we were just like, "No, we're just going to randomly save this one because it's the one we all play on." No, our server didn't make the cut either. I have to do the same thing, I was sitting there going, "I have to move all these guys, you know how many, I've got like, five accounts." So, it's not some conspiracy thing. It really is what's best, based on the research that we did.

    Cari: Well, Landroval will welcome you.

    Vyv: And all in all, I think I'm just really excited about this year. I feel like: we have all of this. It's a painful process to go through, but by the end of this year we're going to have what I feel like is a newer, shinier LOTRO, and after eight years of a game, it's hard to say. It's hard for anybody to say that, so I'm super excited about what this means for the future of this game. And yeah, the end of all the painful bits, we get to go defend one of the most iconic cities in all of fantasies. Who doesn't want that to wrap up the year with?

    Cari: That's exciting.

    Vyv: It's going to be a good one.

    Frelorn: It's really exciting to get to this part of the story and just see... even just walking out through the Pit [[Transcriber note: Dev/team pit]] and you look at some of the work the guys are just doing now, and you go, "Ooooph, I can't wait to see that when it's fully fleshed out and come to life." It's going to be pretty exciting.

    Cari: I can't wait, I was on one of your press streams when they took us to Gondor. It's like, nobody has ever made it this far in a video game and now we're going to hit Minas Tirith this year, I'm so excited.

    Frelorn: It is really exciting and again all I can say is, kind of to jump on a few points, is yes, it's going to be a little stressful for a while for people, but I'll be blunt: We went eight years before we made the decision to bring some of the worlds down and consolidate some people. Not many games make it that far before they make this decision, so I think that says a lot about our player base and the work that various teams have done, that we made it eight years before we finally had to make the decision, "Okay, given the hardware that we're going to get and given everything else, let's make this situation just a little bit better for everybody." So yes, it's going to be a little bumpy, a little painful, but in the end we are very confident that this is going to be a much better experience for everybody in the long run.

    Vyv: For it to pay off.

    Frelorn: Yes.

    Cari: Wonderful. Well, thank you guys so much for taking the time to talk to me today, I really enjoyed it, and I'm sure that our listeners are going to enjoy hearing some of the reasoning behind and some of the questions that you answered, so thank you again so much for talking to us.

    Vyv: Thank you!

    Frelorn: Thanks for having us!
    Last edited by Thodorin; Aug 16 2015 at 05:35 PM. Reason: durch besser lesbare Version ersetzt



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