While Turbine's engineers work hard on patching the servers and getting ready for the launch of LOTRO: Free to Play, several members of the dev team had a chance to chat with the community.
We even had Patience live from Mission Control sitting in. So what questions did the devs answer?
WarCry Welcome everyone! Anything new going on today? Oh right! LOTRO is going Free To Play! Well since we are all impatienctly waiting for the servers to come back up, the developers have taken the time to stop by and answer some questions. General Chat is available in #warcry, make sure you send your questions to [QT]Hobbitz.
WarCry And now on to our honored guests!
katepaiz hello! i am kate paiz, executive producer for the lord of the rings online.
Jalessa Hello, I'm Jalessa, the Games Systems lead here on LOTRO. I'm super excited for this week's launch....sooo many things I want to buy...with Sapience's Turbine points...
Tolero Hi everyone! I'm Tolero with the Community Team! Usually I help with DDO, but also with LOTRO during this exciting time!
Sapience Hi I'm Sapience. I'm a member of the community team and I'm currently sealed in an undisclosed quarantine location for your protection. PAX Cold FTL. :(
Ransroth Hi there, Ransroth here. I am on the Engineering team. For V3B2, I did a bunch of backend work having to do with integrating systems with F2P, and also worked on the vault. Excited about this chat :)
jwbarry Hey everybody, I'm jwbarry. I've spent the last several months working to extend our skirmish tech to create scaling instances.
Raskolnikov Hey there, my name is Tim "Raskolnikov" Lang and I am one of the System Designers on Lotro.
Victorie Greetings everyone. Victorie here as a representative of the Account Management department. Many of you may know me from the forums. ,)
WarCry Honvik: Question: Are Turbine still going to develop non-Skrimish orintated instance content where random loot will drop from chests as currently there does seem to be a trend to moving to a skirmish like system.
WarCry Is a new raid planned that hasnt already been announced and when will it be released?
jwbarry Yes, very much so. In fact we've got a full cluster, capped with a new raid, in development as we speak for a future tbd release. The plan is that spaces that scale will utilize the skirmish barter system and that spaces that don't scale will have unique random drops in chests. Since new dungeons at cap won't scale, they'll start off with random drops until such a time as the level cap has
jwbarry passed them by and they get scaling applied to them.
WarCry mptyspace: Will, in the near future, monster play// ettenmoors access become available for non-VIP people, for a fee of course.
Jalessa Not in the near future, however, ideas like this are a part of our long term planning. However, we are still updating Monster Play for our subscribers (VIPs!). We have class changes coming for MP classes in the short term.
WarCry Honvik: Question: When are we likely to see a new hobby added to the game?
katepaiz ah hobbies! all of us devs really want to make golf next, but it's a tricky undertaking, so we don't have a timeline yet, but feel free to start practicing your backswings!
WarCry TheFrank: On the soon-o-meter how soon(tm) can we expect a currency/barter item wallent to show up in the game?
Ransroth We are working on something for the barter item wallet - I don't have the soon-o-meter handy, and can't give any exact dates, but outlook definitely good for it happening in the pretty near future.
WarCry Honvik: Question: Are there any plans to introduce PvMP Skirmish instances where monster's and fight freeps?
Raskolnikov Yes, that is currently under investigation with (very) early spec'ing happening. More detail than that I can't say.
WarCry Crell: #2 What are the $->TP rates for LotrO, (Do they differ from DDO, etc.)
Victorie Crell #2 - Yes, at this time the LOTRO point prices are the same as DDO, though this could change in the future. For anyone who isn't familiar with the prices they are: 420 points for $6.50, 1550 points for $19.50, 2500 points for $29.50 and 5000 points for $49.99.
WarCry Crell: #3 Is there /Will there be a way for non-subscribers to skip the introduction/starter area? (IE, is our inability to find this a beta bug, or WAI?)
jwbarry Currently no. The way the introduction/starter areas are set up is in a specific way to help balance load and stress on the server, because they have the highest traffic and density areas in the game. The sections after that don't have as tight restrictions on them because we are more comfortable with the lesser amount of players going through them.
jwbarry To allow large amounts of characters the ability to skip ahead and start in the next area would cause some pretty nasty server perf issues. We felt it was better to have everyone have to go through that experience and keep the servers up, than risk having lag, rubberbanding, crashes, etc.
WarCry Crell: #5 To each contributer: What homages in the game exist to you? (Be it a mob in e&g, or whatever.)
Ransroth Nothing to me (yet)
Raskolnikov This one's an easy question for me: Firefly! Mostly in the funny festival consumables I've created, where I've added in several Firefly jokes. I may have even gotten in trouble once trying to get a picture of Hypnotoad into the game. ;)
Victorie I'm just not that cool (yet?)
Tolero When I first joined the Turbine team I picked a cute fish avatar for the forums. Little did I know fishing had a whole history around here and players thought I was the herald of fishing at that point.
Jalessa The Deep Toad shares some resemblance to a certain hypnotic toad in a TV show...
WarCry Larmoth: Will there be a next tier of crafting in the near future? Will the crafting guilds get some upgrade in the (near) future?
Jalessa We are not currently planning on adding new tiers of crafting at this time. However, each book cycle has tons of crafting love and we will continue to fully support crafting guilds and add new recipes to the game. We have some very nice things coming for crafting soon! Two letters: U and I.
WarCry Eisberg77: If I own SoA, MoM and SoM, will I still need to buy the quest packs for SoA to do the questing beyond the starter zones?
katepaiz yes, the zones that launched with soa will need to be purchased by players who are not subscribers, but moria and mirkwood areas come with the purchase of those expansion packs, for all players.
katepaiz the soa zones do come as part of the subscription, though, so subs won't need to purchase them separately.
WarCry Honvik: Question: Are Turbine planning to add Player Event Support by requesting a GM to help host a server event?
Tolero We're happy to forward that feedback along to the team. One thing to always keep in mind about "in person" events is that they are like a game of musical chairs: the chairs are static. It gets less fun when you crank up the number of people all fighting for a chair
Tolero But we are always open to suggestions and input from the community!
WarCry Eisberg77: is the monthly subscription fees staying the same, meaning 3,6,12 months staying at 9.99 a month?
Victorie The subscription plans are often on sale, as they are currently. The plans available currently are $14.99 monthly, $29.97 for 3 months, $59.94 for 6 months and $119.88. The current prices are always available to be selected on the Account Management website. If you already have a subscription plan, you can stay on that plan indefinitely, as long as the account remains active.
Victorie $119.88 for a year.
WarCry Honvik: Question: The class revamp month's will we see buff's to each class or nerf's? for example currently I find my Minstrel lacking compared to the rune-keepers ability to keep the group healed for less power usage.
Raskolnikov Mostly buffs! I can't speak to specific changes for the Minstrel (as we haven't gotten to that class yet). But having made a lot of changes to the Lore-master, I can say that 90% of those changes have been buffs. Our goal is to polish each class, and nearly all of the time when we polish it's by buffing a class (because nerfing stinks, even though it is sometimes necessary).
WarCry Honvik: Question: Any plans to add challenge modes to exisiting raid instances i.e Watcher, DN, Turtle with some enhanced loot for completing them?
jwbarry The plan is to ultimately convert all of our instances over to scale, raids included. Part of this conversion includes daily quests, random quests, and challenge quests to upgrade the spaces to our new standards.
WarCry Honvik: Question: Is turbine intending to release regular updates once F2P goes live much like they did once DDO went Free2Play and what can we expect from them?
katepaiz yes, lotro plans to follow a similar release cycle as DDO has had in the last year. we've got a lot of amazing content and systems in development and will be getting them out to players as often and as soon as we can. each of you can let us know through chats like this and forums, etc, what you are yearning for, and we will be happy to consider it!
WarCry Honvik: Question: Anymore info on Isengard? When we will see it and what will it contain?
katepaiz isengard is tentatively slated for next year, and we'll be approaching the zone in the timeline in which saruman has already denuded the area, and has created his orc factory.
katepaiz players will likely have access to some of the underground areas, but obviously with saruman in the big tower, access to the upper regions is likely to be challenging :)
WarCry Honvik: Question: Could Turbine explain a bit more about instance layering and is it present in areas like the ettenmoors?
Jalessa Dynamic layering will be mainly used as a population control in high density areas, like Bree town, to make sure that server performance stays stable. It is not currently present in the Ettenmoors - although since we now have the technology, we could explore using it in other ways.
WarCry Larmoth: Can we expect some new pets for the LM class?
Raskolnikov Sort of, we're introducing new appearances for the Eagle, Sabercat, and Bog-guardian. We're also changing around how Lore-masters can change their pet appearances: instead of needing to equip a necklace to change the way your pet looks, you'll now get a new separate skill.
WarCry Honvik: Question: Any planned world event like Bizzcom to be hosted by Turbine in the near future? there would be nothing greater then to meet the team behind the game!.
Sapience PAX East is returning to Boston next year, and we'll definitely be out in force on the show floor. We'd love to get something put together for our fans, but that's it's own massive undertaking. So yes it's something we'd love to do, but we'll have to see what happens. Of course, if our fans put something together for PAX East, I'd show up! Plague and all!
WarCry Honvik: Question: Are anymore mini-games planned for LOTRO for example Tag, chicken football etc?
Ransroth You can definitely expect more fun minigames, particularly associated with festivals. I've seen some very neat specs lately.
WarCry Honvik: Question: A lot of people in my kinship are worried about addons and that it will trivialise content, how far do Turbine want to go with promoting addons?
Ransroth The intent with Lua is to make it possible for players to create custom interfaces for information that's already available to them, not to give an actual advantage.
Ransroth Jwbarry is threatening bodily harm if we make addons that trivialize his content
WarCry Laddergoat: Any plans to have a recruit-a-friend type of program with F2P?
Tolero We've had a lot of great response to our referral efforts on DDO side, and we continue to expand these programs because we feel it is important to allow our users to connect to their friends in our games. Being "free" doesn't mean that we can relax our efforts to help our fans reach their friends and share the joys of the game together!
WarCry Crell: #8 Please disccus Challenge modes. #8a, Why tell us challenge mode exists in the GB via a deed that pops at 50, when we can't do challenge mode at that level? #8b Why does the challenge mode mechanic operate even at prior levels (GB Maze-with the arms buff), even when you can't do the challenge quest because it isn't bestowed and get credit?
jwbarry 8a - The deed is meant to encompass everything you can do in that dungeon, challenge mode being one of the things. We don't have tech that hides that, or changes it's description to say "Get level 65 and then I'll show you what to do." We'll monitor the feedback on that and if players feel strongly may change it to remove it from the deed.
jwbarry 8b - For some of the challenge mechanics it's a lot of work to restrict the gameplay. The quest and the dungeon are only loosely connected in code, so it can be difficult for certain things to trigger or know, and actually create a far more complicated setup to try and restrict parts of the mechanics to only cap. Plus, it creates an upkeep nightmare of having to go back through every space
jwbarry when cap is raised.
jwbarry As to the specific challenge quest, the arm buffs are part of the regular difficulty and intended that way. It adds a layer and depth of teaching target focus.
WarCry mptyspace: @KatePaiz how do you like your new job with the whole lotro thing
katepaiz it has been amazing working with the lotro team - we've got a group of really dedicated and creative developers who have real love for this game and for tolkien's story.
katepaiz with the introduction of so many new players coming this friday, our focus is going to be listening hard to the feedback of our tenured players and new players alike, and balancing development to make sure to extend and enhance the game in the way you, the players, will enjoy the most.
katepaiz we have a lot of story to tell, and are very excited about expanding the world into south, past enedwaith, and east into the other classic areas of rohan, gondor, and of course, mordor, in the years to come!
WarCry fieldmedic: Question: With the new layering are there any plans to move to a WoW style "phasing" to begin to move the landscape forward in time, or will parts of ME always be locked in time?
Jalessa The answer here is similar to the earlier question about the Ettenmoors and layering. The current technology for dynamic layering does not currently allow this, however, we can possibly look into advancing the technology so that we can give you unique content experiences like the "phasing" you see in World of Warcraft.
WarCry Hobbitmeister : Are there any plans on adding vanity pets for non Lore-masters, non-Captains?
Raskolnikov Vanity pets are something we've always wanted to get into the game. And thanks to the additional resources from F2P, we're starting to investigate how we can make vanity pets a reality!
WarCry Crell: #4 To each contributer: What one question would you most like to see answered publically (and its answer!)
Ransroth Are we getting any improvements to the vault any time soon? Yes! Not sure exactly when it will go live, but I'm pretty happy with the changes we were able to implement. Just hoping that QA won't find any terrible problems with it.
Sapience I want to see the answer to the next question. :)
Tolero If you could see one thing added to middle earth, what would it be? Answer: bacon. More bacon.
WarCry And as our devs need to get back to making sure we are good for launch, we will end with one last question. The full chat log will be available at www.warcry.com shortly.
WarCry Honvik: Question: What enhancements are turbine looking at adding for radiance/LI's?
Jalessa We took Radiance outside, tied it up to some railroad tracks, and...well...I think you saw the end of this in Red Dead Redemption. Look for this in the future - we will be removing Radiance from LOTRO.
WarCry Jalessa: Can we have a launch party without Sapience today? And will there be beer?
Sapience Oh now that's just mean.
Victorie Lets have one with him today, and another one on Friday.
Sapience I know where you work! All of you!
Patience I'm with Victorie on that.
WarCry We want to thank the devs for taking time to visit us today. Oh and about 5 little birdies told me the Patch Server is UP!
Jalessa mmm beer :)
Patience Two parties are always better than one. ;)
katepaiz well, friends, it's been great chatting with you, and we'll see you again soon! have a great day - i know we will!
Raskolnikov Careful man, I've got a beverage here!
Sapience Thanks for coming everyone! Go patch your clients!
* Patience waves from Mission Control.
Jalessa Thanks for the fun folks!
Patience Go patch! :)
Tolero Thanks everyone! Enjoy Free To Play!!
Patience Just keep in mind the servers may not open once you're done, but we're one step closer!
Ransroth Thanks all
Victorie So long, and see you on the forums.