Sapience recently announced that he’d rolled a Hobbit Hunter on every single LOTRO server and that he’d be running an event that involved escorting his level 10 character to the Gap of Rohan and beyond. Dubbed Taking the Hobbits to Isengard it was Gilrain’s turn last night, so I decided to log in and tag along, as I thought it would make for a blog post. Despite being a some what arbitrary activity, it was actually good fun and proved to be quite an attraction. Due to the number of participants, some players found themselves in a different layer of the game.
Right form the outset, the lag was severe. Leaving Bree proved to be a somewhat lengthy process. Let is suffice to say that it took many requests in regional OOC before people got off their mounts and switched off their cosmetic cloaks. The lag did drop to more manageable levels once the zerg reached the Lonelands. However, a substantial amount of players got separated from the main group when it took a surprise short cut in the Trollshaws and headed towards Echad Candelleth. The transition from Tâl Bruinen to Hollin was also when some of the lower level players started to vanish. The lag made clearing some of the higher level mobs a little tricky.
The zerg ground to a temporary halt in the Gravenwwod as Sapience’s internet connection went belly up. The time lost waiting was deducted from final total. Unfortunately like so many things in gaming, if there is to be a problems it is more often than not due to “people”. As the main zerg escorting Sapience approached Grimbold’s camp, some “individuals” went ahead of the main group and killed the trolls, outside the gates of Isengard. As this was part of the criteria for completing the event, the group ended up having to wait for the trolls to respawn. Eventually it was decided to dispense with this requirement and it looks like it will be removed from future runs, as it is too much of an invitation for griefers.
Irrespective of this particular incident, what last nights event has proven is that there is an appetite among the playerbase for activities such as this. To be honest that hardly comes as a surprise. Many folk on Gilrain have fond memories of the various events that were held in the Codemasters days. I hope that Turbine and the community team capitalise upon this and hold more activities. A few trinkets and such like wouldn’t go amiss either. People like to be involved and included and such undertaking are good for community relationships.
The other positive thing that has come from this event, is that during the live streaming, Sapience was happy to answers players questions and it proved to be quite informative. Fredelas AKA Brandywine Fred collated the following from the chat room:
No new traditional instances and raids are being planned at this time.
Update 12.2 may be on Bullroarer next week. The developers have made some changes that should help alleviate the skill macroing issue in PvMP. Some changes in balance (including landscape mob difficulty) will need to be tested. This update is not expected to have as many changes as update 12.1, although they may have a broader impact.
A revamped SoA region is a possibility to include in one of the updates in 2014, although no region has been picked yet.
We should not expect housing to expand to other regions (e.g., Rohan) any time soon. The team wants to focus on improvements to the existing systems. If any discussions about housing happened in 2013, it seems like they’re starting over completely in 2014 in deciding what’s desirable and what’s possible.
No changes to basic kinship functionality are planned for now. It’s possible there may be some incidental changes to kinships when changes to housing are made.
Some devs have expressed interest in being on future livestreams. The most enthusiastic among them so far are jwbarry, RockX, and Jinjaah. Sapience may also just grab random people to chat.
Turbine employees enjoy free VIP subscriptions for the duration of their employment, and also receive a small quarterly stipend of Turbine Points.
Changing the “Recommended World” in the launcher is usually done during a maintenance period, because additional login server hardware is dedicated to that world. The next “Recommended World” for new English-language players is likely to be Gilrain, later this month.
Turbine will never release official player population or participation numbers. “Unless we can say we have 10 million players and are bigger than WoW, what’s the point?”
The art department is shared across LOTRO, DDO, AC, and IC. LOTRO may have as few as 6 or 7 artists dedicated at one time, or as many as 15 to 20. Several other teams at Turbine work this way.
Sapience is unaware of any plans to add more content specifically related to the Hobbit films. In his opinion, the game is primarily about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“There are absolutely no plans to merge any servers.”
A “fairly significant technical issue” prevents players from transferring between original Turbine and former Codemasters servers. It is unlikely this issue will ever be overcome
For those who are interested, The Hobbits were taken to Isengard in 1 Hour,22 minutes,55 seconds.