Why The LOTRO Community Needs To Stop Being So Nice

So ten days ago Turbine announced that the Riders of Rohan expansion launch was to be delayed by a month and a half. There was naturally disappointment among some player and a degree of relief among the beta testers. They had already determined that the new content was not yet ready and conceded the practical necessity in postponing its release. However what did shock me were the amount of people who blithely smiled and thanked Turbine, like they had done everyone a great favour. I found such platitudes rather embarrassing. Here we had customers who had paid up front, thanking the suppliers for failing to meet their pre-arranged schedule. Why were they not irate and demanding some sort of compensation? Oh I know that Turbine are offering some points as a sweetener, but it really is derisory.

Then the penny dropped. Because the LOTRO player base has been messed around so many times since the game went F2P, that many of the most vocal players have either given up complaining or simply moved on. They have either taken a temporary sabbatical or jumped ships to pastures new altogether. The only people who are left are those stoic, die hard fans who will tolerate pretty much anything due to their love of the franchise. Furthermore Turbine has got wise to the fact that they have a captive audience and are pretty much able to act with impunity. You can easily think of a lot of metaphors to describe the dynamics of this business relationship, but most would be inappropriate and possibly even distasteful. Its a sorry state of affairs.

Twelve or eighteen months ago, a major delay of this nature would have been proceeded by a shit storm of epic proportions. Blog posts, podcast and twitter would have been filled with heated debates. The official LOTRO forums would be deleting posts and redacting comments like a police state on a bad day and the unofficial forums would be awash in a sea of bile and recriminations. This time round it would appear that annoyance peaked at tutting and the odd shake of the head. It’s another clear sign that the LOTRO blogging community is in a state of flux. If you don’t believe me, go check out the last months posts on the LOTRO Combo blog, then cross reference them with that of a year ago. It seems no one wants to fight any more. Turbine get to win by default and people just accept it. This is bad for all parties concerned.

When Riders of Rohan finally gets released, we will hopefully see an initial  influx of returning players. This could then lead to a resurgence of LOTRO related content in  the blogosphere. It is important that this happens, as a game that is being discussed must surely be in good shape? As Oscar Wilde said “there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”. Fan boy eulogies and trolling rants at least show that there are people out there that give a damn. The sombre acceptance of the delay to the Riders of Rohan, could be a milestone in LOTRO’s lifespan and not necessarily a good one. As for the surviving hardcore of dedicated LOTRO players who seem to endure everything that Turbine throws at them, their tolerance is both their greatest asset and their Achilles heel. Stop being so nice. Really. It’s for your own good.

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20 thoughts on “Why The LOTRO Community Needs To Stop Being So Nice

  1. Clarysta Sunshine says:

    I don’t disagree. Every time Turbine has a release there’s always this big debate between two options: release on time but buggy, or delay to get it right. The forum fanboys do not want to hold them accountable for a third option, which is the only acceptable one for most businesses – release quality product on schedule.

    The most offensive posts to me are the cloying Thank You threads. Bleah. Where’s the thank you to the players? Haven’t seen scented candles for years.

  2. Muz says:

    Guess I’m one of those that has moved on. I’ll be back when Riders is released and play that content. Then I’ll go back to whatever else is grabbing my attention because quite frankly I dont give a monkey’s what Turbine do with the game now. Its not The Lord Of The Rings anymore and ceased being so when the RK was introduced. That and F2P.

  3. Ulrika says:

    As a player who’ve played the beta I’d say that Turbine was right to make that decision. However, they shouldn’t have rushed to release it the way the did in the first place. I’m not saying it’s wrong to start the beta testing, but setting a release date that early was probably the wrong decision.

  4. roselindea says:

    You raise an interesting opinion…and while I am indeed disappointed that Rohan isn’t coming out when originally adverstised, as a beta tester — it clear wasn’t ready.

    Given some of the recent dissapointments and snafus that have occurred in the past — what struck me as different this time (and unlike the others) is Turbine gave clear communications. They have set very high expectations for the Rohan expansion — they said clearly, it isn’t ready (and way), and here’s what we are going to do about it.

    I think that what you might be interpreting as wholesale acceptance and support, might be a bit more people with jaws-open at what appears to be a change in communications. But how DO you achieve any PR success when you have to say we can’t release on time (or alternatively you release on time with a broken product)? It’s a losing proposition either way.

    Of course, I would have liked to see them release quality product on time…but faced with two evils: buggy, broken content released pre-maturely OR (hopefully) less buggy content released late; it isn’t hard to see why they community (in general) supports the latter.

  5. Langwulf says:

    So you’re complaining about a mature player base not acting like asshats? I bet if they acted like asshats you’d be complaining about that too.

  6. Roger Edwards says:

    No I am not complaining about people being “asshats”.

    I am pointing out that LOTRO players are consumers and they need to take a stronger stance with regard to their consumer rights.

    The two things are totally different.

  7. Champion says:

    I agree with Langwulf, if the Lotro playerbase we’re screeching hysterically this would be an article telling us to calm down, if RoR had been released when it was initially announced it would have been a disaster and would have had a whole host of self important bloggers going berserk.

  8. Roger Edwards says:

    I’m not advocating being “screeching hysterical” as my article and subsequent posts clearly show.

    I see you are more concerned about arguing points you think have been made, rather than those which have, as well as surmising about articles that haven’t been written.

    My points are about consumer rights, but if you don’t “get that” I guess that is not my problem.

  9. Scormus says:

    I’m among those who would thank Turbine for this delay, and in fact would have done so one the official forums, were I not permanently muted there (Turbine and I don’t play well together). The reason I would thank them is that quite simply, I don’t think LOTRO can survive yet another full-priced expansion that is short on features but chock full of bugs. RoI was like that, and RoR was on the same path until this delay. No if Turbine makes good use of the extra time and releases RoR relatively bug-free, I know a lot of people will overlook that it is significantly lacking in features when compared to other major MMO expansions coming this Autumn. And that means we’ll make it another year closer to Mordor.

    I know a lot of people think I’m just some obnoxious Troll (including Turbine), but I have always wanted LOTRO to succeed. Always. That’s why I’m so hard on Turbine when they screw up, which is unfortunately far too often for anyone’s good. But this delay was the right thing to do for the game, and so I applaud Turbine for that decision.

  10. Lethareth says:

    I was pleased for the delay, because I have helped Beta test, and the extra Turbine Points would have sealed the deal, had I received them yesterday as was stated on Twitter. I checked my email and my game account all day yesterday. No extra Turbine Points, no goodie bag, nothing. And not a word from the dev’s about it after the statement on Twitter that the codes would be emailed yesterday. I’m waiting til noon to see if maybe there’s a delay because too many people getting them at once, but at noon I plan on calling Turbine and finding out what’s going on.

  11. Goreamir says:

    OK, so what is the solution then? Should Turbine stop development since they can’t put out content on the player base’s schedule, or should they rush out shoddy broken, untested content in order to make that schedule? I don’t see the point here. If peopel want to drop sub have at it, they are free to do so. I’m not sure what we are asking for here…

  12. Roger Edwards says:

    The point you’re “not seeing” is your own. I never suggested the two very limited choices you stated.

  13. John Gibson says:

    I’m sorry but I have to agree with Roger with this point.
    I didn’t buy the expansion and have actually stopped playing lotro and my reason was because Turbine continue to put out content that is broken. I can’t play the game the way it’s intended to be played so why should I sit and play an inferior product which I paid for five years ago and continued to pay for through subscribing right up until I quit.
    I obviously had no objections to them delaying the release of RoR because I had already quit the game BUT if I was still playing I would have been angry because they gave a release date and couldn’t make that date.
    While it’s a good thing that they delayed the content release to fix aspects of the game which were not working what really annoys people that I know who still play is that even after the delay they still did not have a finished/complete/fully working product. Now I’m not stupid… I know that nothing will ever be bug free upon release but the fact that they delayed it to fix bugs and didn’t doesn’t speak well about Turbine.
    How would you feel if you ordered and paid for a new couch. You were given a date for delivery and then got a call a few days before that date saying they would have to delay the delivery because they had not finished making it. Your damn right you’d be pissed. You’d also want some sort of compensation. Yes the players got a box of goodies but really, what did that cost the company? Absolutely nothing… That’s not compensation. Compensation would have been something better like 30 free days of game time.
    The fact that the player base just smiled and said “Thanks for delaying the product” lets Turbine think that they can get away with giving people information about something that’s coming up, TAKE peoples money and then not deliver on time without consequence.
    As I have said before, yes it’s important that products get delivered that work but people should still be complaining when the product is not delivered on time.
    They complained when Draigoch wasn’t delivered with RoI when it was said that it would be included with the expansion.
    They complained continually about the new pvmp area still not being created when it’s been on the cards for at-least two years.
    What’s so different about RoR?
    Turbine needs to stop mass producing and rushing out content which is just going to be buggy, or delayed due to severe problems with the game build.

  14. Sean says:

    I usually don’t comment on articles, but this one made me laugh. The same people that would be nerd-raging about delays would nerd-rage about it being put out buggy but on time. Most people don’t seem to realize that MMO’s are huge pieces of code that can take huge amounts of time to get in a proper state. People that complain about bugs apparently don’t get that. MMO’s are going to have bugs because of the millions of lines of code, period. I would much rather have the company delay it and put it out less buggy.

    The other alternative is the route that EA / Bioware has taken with SWTOR. They generally wait a week or two before release to announce a date for big updates or their first xpac. Before then, they only say vague things like ” coming spring 2013″ or “coming Q4″. This way, they have both flexibility and the nerd-ragers can’t whine that they are paying customers and it needs to come out on time yada yada yada.

    And the argument about consumer’s rights is crap. The allegory about the couch is also rubbish. This is millions of lines of code compared to a couch. Just a hair of difference there. Players need to quit feeling so damn entitled because they pay 10 or 15 bucks a month. This kind of crap on both ends has been going on since MMO’s started Just get used to it already. Or on the other hand, get used to vague very unspecific release schedules. Probably the smartest move for the flexibility required anyway. Short of that, quit playing MMO’s cause you will never be satisfied.

    And I’m not on the outside looking in. I sub to both LOTRO and SWTOR, so I have a stake in it. I’m just mature and experienced enough to realize the difficulties involved and be empathetic. I work in retail and see the “I’m the customer and I’m entitled” attitude all the time and it’s crap. And being an asshat doesn’t help. Just like in any customer service venue, being an asshat doesn’t get you what you want it gets you passed off to someone who makes more money and let them deal with your dumb ass. And usually, you’ll get the same answer you got from the peon anyway.

  15. Roger Edwards says:

    Your reply doesn’t address the points I made and pursues standard strawman arguments. It then plays the “entitled” card, which is fast becoming the Godwin’s law of MMOs.
    Again we see this binary mentality that interprets “not being nice” as meaning “be an asshat”. Spookily enough there other options and modes of behaviour to pursue but they obviously allude you.
    The couch analogy is one pertaining to the notion of consumer rights. Something that is strong in the EU but weighted towards business in the US and thus it shapes peoples perspectives and opinion. Going back to the analogy, if you focus on the couch then you are missing the point.
    Frankly, your attitude and reasoning are part of the problem. This defeatist mentality is why the consumer gets a bad deal.
    As for being “mature and reasoned enough” it didn’t help you construct a logical argument that held any water did it? Nor did it make you right.

  16. Obelov says:

    I want a finished product I paid for… compare a computer game to other physical products just doesn’t make sense…
    The way I look at it is they r trying to giving us the fine dining experience… ill wait till my fillet mignon is done just how I like it… if u want the burger king drive thru then thats ur choice. You can go play one of the hundreds of free online games… ill gladly wait patiently till mine is done correctly, while listening tothw beta community anytime. thanks.:-)

  17. Roger Edwards says:

    Yay, How to necro a thread 101 :)

    “The way I look at it is they r trying to giving us the fine dining experience…”

    Did you say that with a straight face?

  18. Yaana says:

    I read this out of curiosity when seeing the link being posted on Facebook regarding the current down time of LotRO and I think you make a very reasonable point when writing this. In fact I can even go as far as to say that I agree.

    I will begin with agreeing with that yes, if you have paid for a product (the expansion is of course a product being paid for) and if the deadline gets pushed to later then you have the right for compensation. It is not something you have made a bet on to see if it can deliver after all – you have clearly paid for it with certain expectations and should also expect a finished product on the deadline.

    It would therefor as told, be better to have the deadline later than necessary from the start because then it will have more time to be worked on, tested and it might even surprise as being done and out before deadline! (Rather than later = yes!)

    Being rude customer and a customer knowing their rights and being able to forward suggestions in a good manner to Turbine is two very different things and as I understand it you are trying to show to the later?

    The small part I disagree with is the part of no one voicing their opinion. I have not been playing this game for years and I think you are referring to those who do, not everyone has an opinion to forward as of yet. I do not know how many new players come and go but my experience with Turbine has so far not been much. The only annoying things I have noticed is trouble with connections with the game every now and then. Then again, I am not a paying customer – yet.

  19. Roger Edwards says:

    Thanks for clarifying why this post was getting so much traffic Yaana.

    It was written over a year ago and was the result of specific circumstances at the time. Things have moved on since then and so it may not be quite so applicable now.

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