I, like many others, think Turbine could do a better job in managing their priorities for the Lord of the Rings Online. Rohan is nice and all – it’s sure to make many a fanboy squeal – but the game has other, more pressing issues that they could and should be working on to increase player enjoyment and retention rather than focusing entirely on the end-game experience. I hope that they take the time after Rohan is released to work on some, if not all, of these issues. Aaaaaand cue rant.
- Allow access to the Ettenmoors for non-VIP players
- Fix the database discrepancies between former Codemasters servers and Turbine’s
- Create an open bug-tracking system
- Get rid of invisible walls
- Give us a housing revamp
This is an easy one and will greatly improve the experience for everyone in the ‘Moors. Figure out some way to let non-VIP players into the Ettenmoors on their Free People characters. My favorite suggestion is to offer access passes in the LOTRO Store the same way they offer Writs of Special Passage. Whether they be for one day, one week or one month, they would allow people to try out PvMP combat for an exchange of Turbine Points. This piecemeal approach to your LOTRO experience is essential in the free-to-play model and, in my opinion, should have been implemented long ago.
It’s been over a year since the absorption of the Codemasters servers into Turbine, and as it stands, players from those former servers can only transfer to other former Codemasters servers and the North American servers among themselves.
Since that transition, many new players have joined on both sides of the server divide regardless of where they live, but they have no idea of the restrictions of transferring when signing up. And all those players who were around from before the merge don’t have the opportunity to transfer their characters to play with their American chums. Their only option is to start up anew on one of the NA servers or convince their friends to do the same. Plus, it makes for the occasional rage posts about character copy every time beta comes around.
This is a major barrier to overseas cooperation and I only have this to say: “Mr. Turbine, tear down this wall!”
Turbine does a fairly satisfactory job at communicating to players about patch notes, but the way they handle known issues is rather laughable. As I write this, there are only two items on the list on the forums, one of which has already been fixed. There are surely more issues currently in the game even if they don’t want to publicize them, and there’s no record of bugs that have been already been fixed.
This suggestion is borne out of a personal frustration of submitting so many small and trivial bugs (i.e., typographical errors, stuck characters) and seeing these bug reports vanish into the nether regions of the Turbine infrastructure never to be seen again. I don’t always feel like my bug reports get submitted or even read sometimes, so I started to keep a record of the bugs I submit and check them periodically to see if they get fixed.
It would be so much easier if Turbine would take all these bug reports, aggregate them by duplicates and post them (minus the exploits). Then you could log in and look at your reports and see whether they were getting fixed. If Turbine implements this well, with a simple interface integrated with the rest of their services, I think we’ll see a lot more confidence in their management.
Invisible walls are immersion-breaking and the bane of my existence in LOTRO. There’s no reason to put in invisible walls other than developers being too lazy to properly close off a space or model an object. It annoys me to no end when I can’t jump on something completely within my reach. I remember when Isengard released and you couldn’t crawl under or jump over felled trees in Nan Curunír for some reason. Luckily those trees have been mostly fixed since then. But there are still lots of locations and objects (e.g., campfires in Rohan) that need adjustment. Either take it out or rebuild it, I say. Just don’t add invisible walls.
The housing system has been the same ever since I joined after the free-to-play conversion almost two years ago and probably for much longer. Since then, Turbine has continued to release more and more housing decorations while our houses and decoration hooks have remained the same size. I quickly filled up all my hooks in my house as well as my chest soon after I started playing.
Turbine has stated in a recent community Q&A that they have no plans for a housing revamp even though we often hear cries from the fanbase for development to the contrary. The players want better housing, more variety and more space.
The stagnancy of the housing system has led people to find ways around its limitations. I’ve heard of people opening multiple accounts just to purchase homes for the extra storage. Others try to force the generation of new neighborhoods by buying out all the homes in a neighborhood. There’s even a kinship on my home server that, after realizing they’ll need more space for all their members and their vocations, split into several kinships to take advantage of the space that comes with owning several kin houses. The logistics are a nightmare and people are constantly forgetting who has what.
When it comes to this vanity stuff, Turbine could make some real money by offering upgrades for Turbine Points in the LOTRO Store. Perhaps you could buy a housing expansion, more storage slots or even access to an exclusive neighborhood (perhaps Rohan-themed?).
These are just some of the many dimensions that LOTRO could improve upon to keep its players interested in the game. The game needs more breadth. It needs to mature before it continues onwards and upwards to level 85 and above.