Riders of Rohan – My Launch Day Experience

Prior to recording today’s Contains Moderate Peril podcast, I launched my LOTRO client at about midday and started patching the game. A lot of data files for Riders of Rohan had been preloaded, so there was no need to queue to log on to a patching server. I then went about my work and left the installation to sort itself out. Turbine dutifully posted a launch day trailer which was up to their usual high standard. Twitter was filled with avid LOTRO fans eagerly discussing when they would be able to log on or even giving a running commentary on their install progress. There was an excellent article over at CSTM regarding thing a player could do while waiting for the game to patch. It’s things like this that add to the excitement and make launch days special.

About 18:00 GMT I discovered that the servers were back up and I could now log in to LOTRO. I had left my primary alt parked next to Galadriel in Caras Galadhon, as that’s were the epic story kickoffs. Now for several months I have noticed that it take nearly five minutes for me to log into the game from clicking on the client to appearing in Middle Earth. Now bearing this in mind and the fact that I new I was going to spawn into a busy place, I expected this progress to take a bit longer. It certainly did. About ten minutes longer.  But as was a launch day you just have to roll with things. So I proceeded with the epic story and quickly found myself doing some session play set during a pivotal scene in the book. It was extremely well done and a good way to start the ongoing narrative. Kudos to turbine.

Actually I’ve changed my mind and would like to go to Minas Tirith. I hear the foods good there…

You know it’s amazing how goodwill can evaporate like dew in the spring sunshine. Because as I progressed further along the quest chain I found that game loading times and lag became intolerable. I eventually gave up when I reached the Argonath. There were quite a lot of other player about but I do not think that this was a case of server stress. This was an example of the stop and go lag and rubber banding that I regularly encountered during the beta test. So I logged out of the game and then spent another five minutes plus waiting for the game client to close. It didn’t and eventually I had to kill it via windows task manager. Something else I had to do during beta testing. So naturally I decided to check the official forums for further information only to be confronted with a wealth of player with these and other  problems. A lot of other problems.

I’d like to register a complaint…

So that is how launch day went for me and a whole load of other people. I know that Turbine are working their ass off trying to fix these problems and that the community team now has to do a lot of back peddling and damage limitation. But that’s not really the point, is it? This just shouldn’t be happening. The original launch date was postponed and a month and a half of additional beta testing was carried out, so this sort of shit wouldn’t happen. But it has and as a result a familiar debate once again raises its ugly head. Let’s not bother going over the respective arguments. Surely by now we know them off by heart?  However, I suspect that there may be a difference this time. I get the feeling that there is a shift within the wider player base and that they’re finally be reaching the end of their tether. That is not good for Turbine.

As for me, I can simply go and play Guild Wars 2, where groups of fifty plus players present no sort of network issue. As for this years LOTRO expansion “problems”, I’m happy to leave it to others to argue the point. Let me know if there’s another compensation package on offer. Hopefully it will be a free copy of Chance Thomas’ superb soundtrack for Riders of Rohan. You’ll find me in Tyria.


9 thoughts on “Riders of Rohan – My Launch Day Experience

  1. Kris Fruin says:

    Yup – not a banner day for Turbine. I logged in with no issues or lag the first time (as I had let the launcher to it’s thing when I went to work).

    First I rolled through my alts and turned in their crafting rep for access to the T8 crafting recipes – a few miscalcs led to too much rep with a couple alts and a couple with not quite enough.

    Then I started the Epic with my minstrel. The epic book was thoroughly engaging and I found myself taking the time to read through the text for the first time in a long time in LOTRO. However, just after I got to the Argonath (3.7.6?) and started riding to the Rohan Awaits quest, I crashed for the 3rd time in 2 hrs. That was 30 minutes ago and I am just now getting back in.

    I’ll likely try the Turbine DX9 fix, but am not holding out too much hope for today, or even the next couple of days….

    Ah well – the sun is shining and winter isn’t here yet. Time to go outside.

  2. Inge says:

    There were exactly the same problems last year in Rise of Isengard. Knowing that the servers usually cannot handle that stress, I just didn’t bother to even try updating the game.

  3. Scormus says:

    It took me five hours to update my client, most of which was spent stuck on “Examining Programs” or crashing, but eventually I did get patched. I haven’t tried to log in, though, I just can’t be bothered to try at this point. Which is too bad, because I was going to buy RoR off of the LOTRO Store (I have around 7000 TP saved up). I guess that can wait, if I even bother to do so at all.

    I’ll be playing “Rift”, “Guild Wars 2” and “The Secret World” instead of romping through Rohan.

  4. Kerry Amburgy-Dickson says:

    Switch your graphics to DX9. Turbine posted on their twitter account that they had found a memory leak with DX10 and DX11. That might help with your lag issues.

    I’m still trying to get the damn thing to patch. Going on hour 7 now and still hasn’t patche dup.

  5. Indy says:

    I let the game patch, but didn’t try to play — I spend the day reading books from the library. My rule of MMO’s is ‘Don’t buy a new game at launch, don’t log in on patch day.”

  6. Roger Edwards says:

    I can see the logic of such an approach Indy but it’s also an acknowledgement that we then expect things to be crap on launch day. That bother’s me, as we wouldn’t tolerate this level of service from any other industry.

  7. Rinvan says:

    It took me about 5 hours to finish the patch. I did not have any lag issues once I got in-game probably because I still need to finish off the level 75 content in the Isengard zones. I don’t know why everybody lost the friends list yesterday, what an odd bug.

  8. Adam says:

    Was a bit weird, Emma patched up quick and was in, I was sat waiting, so I went and got a memory stick and copied her LOTRO folder and pasted over mine. Tooka while copyign 16 Gig, but at least the progress bar moved. The content was awesome, but My FPS were shit, it was like the whole world was Galtrev, even in remote areas of Rohan. I was worried we may need an upgrade, but other than me getting lag, or hitching spikes every 5 minuites, it seems much better yesterday.

    I’ll be honest Roger, you often say we ‘wouldn’t tolerate of any other industry’, but I have always found television, phone, and internet services to be just like this when switching products, or launching new products. I have even had to attend a book launch where there was no book, more embarrasingly, it was a book we were producing!

    This kind of launch is very, I won’t say unique because it isn’t, but certainly few other services face the issues digital games distribution does, perhaps mobile phones are the closest. I agree we shouldn’t put up with shoddy service, but in this regard, I have no idea what they can do.

  9. Michael Keller says:

    I will be a lonely voice saying I left the system to patch when I went to work, it was done when I got home and I got in and played that evening with very little lag and no issues aside from the Friend’s List snafu. It’s always fun to see a new zone with toons running hither and yon all over and I thought open tapping made it twice as fun as mobs were ganked right and left around key questing points by folks helping each other and happily reaping the full xp. It was tons smoother than Isengard from my viewpoint, but I realize that MAY or MAY NOT be representative. Remember though, that happy players don’t log into the forums typically to say how great everything is going…

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