Yesterday’s live LOTRO Developer Twitter Chat panned out exactly as expected. A full transcript can be found on the official forums. It was an immaculately stage managed process and a broad selection of questions were addressed. Innocuous and non controversial issues were clearly explored. More problematic questions were handled in a far more political manner. Phrases such as “ongoing process” and “no simple solution” were used instead of anything definitive. It was a textbook example of contemporary public relations. Effectively we learned exactly what Turbine wanted us to learn and nothing more.
If you compare the official and the unofficial LOTRO forums, you’ll find a balance between those who were please by some announcements and those that felt it avoided all difficult questions. Overall I think it clearly shows that Turbine’s communication policy is now clearly driven by the business practises of their owners, Warner Bros. The devil is very much in the detail, or in this case lack of it. The Developer Twitter Chat maintained a conspicuous degree of plausible deniability regarding timelines on long standing bugs and technical problems. Also, as we’ve seen before in prior press releases, seeds of ideas are publicly sown but no specific details are given, often leading to catastrophic leaps of logic from existing customers.
So I will not be foolish enough to say, beware the class changes that will be coming later in the year because I personally have no data regarding what they are. I would say the same of the mooted housing upgrades for the same reason. However, what I will do and would encourage others to do is reflect upon Turbine’s past form. Both of the changes could be potentially linked to the store in some fashion. In fact from a business perspective Turbine would be foolish not to do so. It is in their interest to give the player base what they want and if that can be done at a price that players will tolerate then so much the better. So I think it is fair to surmise that positive improvements are coming to LOTRO but it may be worth considering at what specific cost?