Well today has certainly been an interesting one for LOTRO. On one hand the NDA has been lifted and on the other we have been informed that the Riders of Rohan expansion has been delayed to October 15th. Well this really does not come as a major surprise, as there were some major issues with the beta and launching with a bugged and glitchy product would have been a mistake. However, while the usual suspects praise Turbine for this “brave decision”, I would like to point out that other software developers manage to have several beta tests, fix the bugs that it highlights and still meet their launch deadline.
I don’t think there was a single big issue that scuppered the initial launch of Riders of Rohan. It really come down to the fact that there were just so many problems with the current build. Lag issues, quests that weren’t working, random log outs, flawed game mechanics to name but a few. It was noted by several players that the beta played more like an alpha and although things did improve with each revision, the expansion in its current format was not fit for purpose. I’m sure the blogosphere will be swamped with images and videos in the next 24 hours. I don’t feel the need to say anything further than what I said in my previous post “Preparing for the Riders of Rohan“. Simply replace the hypothetical tone that I used and replace it with one of first hand experience.
Now Turbine have attempted to pre-empt the ill will this delay will cause, by announcing that a “gift” for those who pre-ordered. On September 5th those who have paid in advance will receive 500 Turbine points and a bag of consumables. Whether this is sufficient to cushion the blow and keep people sweet remains to be seen. For those LOTRO players who are also wider gamers, the change in launch date simply means more time to focus on Guild Wars 2. Let us hope that Turbine puts this time to good use and really does iron out the bugs, as there will be zero tolerance for any problems when the new launch date comes round.
Riders of Rohan has a lot of potential and mounted combat is definitely fun. Personally, I have a lot going on at the moment so this delay isn’t a big deal for me. A couple of years ago I would have been one of the first to whip up a restless lynch mob and participated in the “drama”. Have Turbine dodged a bullet? I’m not so sure. Most people will see beyond the rather lame “We delayed because we care” sound bite. Once again it comes down to the fact that the fan base love the franchise and will cut the developers some slack. However, it’s not as if there are any comparable Tolkien based products to jump ship to, so Turbine do have their customers over a barrel.They need to remember that goodwill is a finite commodity.