Ask Turbine: Monthly Interviews with Lord of the Rings OnlineLotRO Book 11: Pre-Launch Interview with Jeffrey SteefelAsk Turbine: Monthly Interviews with Lord of the Rings Online - RSS 2.0
As part of each update, the team always addresses two classes. In Book 11, the Minstrel and the Loremaster fell under the microscope. "Anything that makes that particular class feel unique, we're trying to accentuate that," Steefel said. Specifically, he referenced the Loremaster who had developed into a master of crowd control, which people enjoyed. In Book 11, they can expect more.
The Minstrel most notably gets some improvements to its solo-capabilities. It was a strong support class, but many players feel it needed some love when it's out alone (although one might ask if a Minstrel sings alone in the forest, does anyone hear?) and this update addresses that.
In the next update - Book 12 - Steefel promised that the Guardian is next on the agenda. Like the Minstrel, this heavily armored class has some problems on offense and is not necessarily the best choice for the solo player. They feel that this aspect has improved greatly since launch, but it could still use some tender love and care. What is the second class to get a look in Book 12? No word yet.
The real drama out of Turbine lately though was not in Middle-earth, but in their boardroom. Longtime CEO Jeff Anderson was replaced by tech guru Jim Crowley, and former EA Mythic producer Walt Yarbrough moved north to a senior position on both Lord of the Rings Online and an unannounced project.
"[Anderson's departure] hasn't affected the game at all," Steefel said. He admitted saying so is a cliché, but in this case, he insists that it's true. "Companies go through phases and transitions."
For Turbine, the move, according to Steefel, was more about the direction of the company as a whole and less about Lord of the Rings Online. He noted that for the first seven years, Turbine was a development studio, not in control of its own destiny. Anderson came on board and over the next seven years made Turbine an independent player in the MMOG space. Now Crowley takes the reigns in an effort to kick it up a notch, yet again.
Anderson himself remains a member of Turbine's Board of Directors, but the company wants to iron out his ongoing day-to-day role before speaking more about the changes.
While the new boss gets up to speed, people shouldn't expect to hear too much, but in the next couple months, Crowley will be out and about with a new vision for Turbine and the MMOG scene in general. "I think we've got a really interesting take on how to take these games to the next gen," Mersky said.
Yarbrough brings Turbine a wealth of MMOG experience. He was with Dark Age of Camelot from day one and had a senior role at EA Mythic. At Turbine, it's more of the same. While Steefel wouldn't say what exactly Yarbrough is up to, he did note that his hiring is a "huge win for me."
"[Yarbrough] is taking a senior role on a number of LotRO initiatives," Steefel said. He went on to praise his leadership capabilities and reiterated how excited he was to have him onboard.
An official announcement on the Book 11 launch date drops tomorrow, but fans should plan moving day for next week as they get comfy in their new homes.