SHIELD Q&A – Eldar Run Highlights

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Tuesday June 24th marked the first official SHIELD run (Bullroarer, being a test server, didn’t count) on Eldar server. They pulled in an impressive 22 minute and 17 second time! You can see the full transcript of the Twitch stream by Frickinmuck here, but I’ve pulled out some particularly interesting or juicy bits of information.

Some more information on swan pets. HoarseDev asked DEViled_Egg about the changes (Erika Ng, System Designer). According to them, new animations have been hooked up for the swan pets. They now waddle when walking and run whilst flapping if you run.

In the first round of Bullroarer beta testing for Update 14 we noticed a pet swan vendor in Dol Amroth. Come round 2 of testing and the vendor was gone and so were the pet summoning skills for those who had bartered for them. This little aside confirms suspicions that they were removed to tweak their animations (previously swans attempted to swim in the ground).

What does it take to create and test a raid.
Sapience – A huge amount of time and resources. It takes animators, it takes artists, it takes QA, it takes play teams, it takes repeated play testing, it takes huge and massive amounts of tech to get all hooked up and tested out. It is incredibly time consuming, most people would be shocked at how time consuming it really is.

Is the answer about time consuming true about any piece of game?
Sapience – Some things take more time than others. The question was “what does it take to make a raid.”
HoarseDev – Raids are an order of magnitude larger and are vastly more risky than anything else. They are definitely on a level all their own
Sapience – He wants to be really clear on this; that is not why they are not doing them. He doesn’t want anyone to conflate the question and the answer to an unrelated question.

It seems that there’s an unspoken rule with these runs now that Sapience must answer “Will we be getting any new raids/instance clusters?” at least once. This run answered it 3 times and he also provided the above information. It makes sense that raids take a huge chunk of development, testing and art time. I think the main takeaway here is Sapience’s last line pointing out that time/resources aren’t the reason for their decision. In fact the following answer outlines why they have no instance clusters in their plans:

If the devs and Rowan see that more and more of the player population want raids as endgame content, will they try their best to satisfy them?
Sapience – Their decision is based on nears 8 years of data, as far as what players do and don’t do, so they focus primarily on what players do. Should somehow those numbers radically change, he’s sure they would change direction. But they haven’t, so that was a key factor in deciding.
HoarseDev – Correct, they have to weigh everything on the table and right now they are looking at a heaping pile of different things.

Here Sapience and HoarseDev are reiterating that raid/instance clusters aren’t in the cards because only a small percentage of players play the instance clusters. This is hard to see or understand for many but this is the reason they are giving.

Question about integrating streamers into the community more.
Streaming is pretty new; they keep track of who is streaming. How we stream, what we stream, how often we stream. He knows some of us stream from time to time; they’ve had some conversations about integrating them a little more. For Turbine it is about making people aware that LotRO streams are happening and that information may be had by watching them.

Since we do some streams here at LOTRO Players this answer piqued my interest for obvious reasons!

Question about seeing Amarthiel runs in the moors again
Not Amarthiel in particular, for lore reasons, but similar things are not impossible. No timelines on that. Conversations have been had, not saying just what at this time.

Although there is nothing concrete here, it is definitely a promising bit of insight for those interested in PvMP or who missed out on the Amarthiel appearances back in Shadows of Angmar.

What does Sapience like most about Update 14?
The essence system is very cool. And his secret things. [Sapience chuckles] We cannot imagine how hard it is for him to keep quiet about what they are. They’re not earth-shatteringly game-breaking top-secret, but he wants to wait and reveal them at the right time, and it’s really hard to keep them quiet.

I was not aware that Sapience had “secret things” going on for Update 14. Keep your eyes and ears open!

Question about get warsteed gear and accessories made dye-able. [The rear saddle bags items ]
He’s going to pass that request along. That request has been made a few times. Will nudge a bit.

For us cosmetic lovers and especially warsteed cosmetic lovers this would be amazing. A lot of the gear/accessories that are purchasable in the store are really cool looking. Unfortunately a lot of them sport some pretty bright or bold colors (including the dreaded Yellow) that are locked in as there is no option to dye those pieces.

The next SHIELD run will be on Dwarrowdelf, Thursday June 26 at 5PM EST. You can watch it on the official LOTRO Twitch channel.

9 comments

  1. Kaleigh Starshine /

    This is my question regarding endgame content and what has been said:

    Here is the list of Moria instances:

    Dark Delvings
    Fil Gashan
    Skumfil
    The Forges of Khazad-dum
    The Forgotten Treasury
    The Grand Stair
    The Sixteenth Hall
    Filikul
    The Vile Maw
    The Mirror Halls of Lumul-Nar
    The Water Wheels: Nala-dum
    The Halls of Crafting
    Dar Narbugud

    This list, of course, does not count the many instances within the Epic Line [2.6.8 anyone? :)] that were effectively full group instances, nor all the other instances that were just a part of the normal questlines in Moria.

    Goodness knows how many instances and group content was in Shadows of Angmar. Likely more than listed here.

    So, given:

    A. Instance/Raid development takes an incredible amount of money and resources, and…

    B. “The percentage of players involved (in instances/raids) has remained largely constant (and quite small) since launch. (This is from Sapience further in the thread)

    C. There has been a determination made that,currently it is cost-prohibitive to produce a single instance or raid…

    They must have been losing money hand over fist when they were making, literally, dozens of them. If the percentage of players has been more or less the same (usually quoted as a single-digit percentage) the entire life of Lotro, why weren’t instances/raids cut out entirely right away, purely as a “stop the bleeding” business decision?

    If only a single-digit percentage was taking part in them, why not take the vast amount of resources, money, and time put toward them and move it toward the things you know more people enjoy. Why make raid/instance loot the best loot able to be found in the game? Why make special barter currency, camps devoted to end-game items, only acquirable by doing instances/raids? Why, for years, would you continually throw precious resources away, knowing from the very start that so few people were taking part in them, that they were horribly cost-inefficient, and you are seeing, year after year, only the same percentage of players taking part in them?

    It just does not make any sense.

    • It makes sense to me. Early on they wouldn’t have really known what the most popular things would be, and even after some years they’d still have to give raids a chance: trying some new things with them and seeing if interest in them might increase, since after all, raids are popular elsewhere. By now they should have a pretty good idea though.

      They certainly did give it a good try. Almost makes me feel like I should try and do a raid some time (though I probably never will 🙂

    • Kaleigh Starshine /

      Sorry, I only meant to bold ‘for years’, not that entire last part, and there is no way to edit comments 🙂

    • Elyse /

      All really good points and I wish they could be answered and while I have a lot of thoughts about lotro’s instances/raids I honestly think it’s in LOTRO’s best interests to focus on the epic story lines, figure out some kind of new end-game, and maybe produce some quality 3mans.

      I would also be perfectly fine with never having another raid/instance cluster if they also agree no more big battles lol

    • Tinybel /

      Yeah i think they would.
      If you keep in mind that back then Turbine wasn’t WB owned and did have more leisure to do things the way they wanted, even if it wasn’t perfect for profit maximizing.

      It’s probably nice to have a bit of freedom to do what you want instead of having to look at profit maximizing at every corner so you can justify your plans to the bean counters.

      • Tinybel /

        Also keep in mind that back in SOA and Moria.
        The Landscape -> Dungeon -> Raid was the standard setup that the very successful WOW used.
        It was the time of the WoW Copies and Lotro did copy alot.

      • Tinybel /

        Ok last edit really :P.
        As far as i know the single digit percentage Sapience uses only applies to raids not 3 and 6 man instances.

    • Scoedt /

      I think one part of reason for the departure from can be seen in the transcript at question #19, “Raids are an order of magnitude larger and are vastly more risky than anything else. They are definitely on a level all their own”.

      The part of that I want to focus on is the use of the RISKY. I imagine Turbine is well aware of the difficulties they have had in recent years producing instances that don’t get hindered by bugs or rendered outright unplayable by them.
      -Draigoch bugging out in multiple ways (My static groups rarely saw this, but when I joined pugs, it was frequent).
      -Flight to the Lonely Mountain rendered unplayable by many by lag spikes upon spawns of groups of adds is another.
      -Neither were resolved quickly, leaving raiders very fustrated at being unable to utilize the new raids. Additionally,
      -Flight to the Lonely Mountain closed by Turbine due to numbers of people exploiting a loophole left in it.
      -1st age symbol drops repeatedly assigned in locations where they later said they intended 2nd age symbol awards.
      -Big Battles were not warmly received by the raiders who feel unable to perform their class roles there.

      I reiterate all of the to point out that Turbine, while not in a position to discuss it, is obviously well aware of their track record in recent years in the development and deployment of raids. It it … not great. But they know they can make landscape quests with a much lower rate of problems, and when there are problems, they’ve been able to resolve and/or bypass them fairly quickly. They’re not RISKY.

      Incidentally, I think their decision to stop delivering instance clusters and raids is also the reason we’re not seeing expansions … how could they justify that additional price? I, for one, would not have guessed two years ago that I’d be about to step into Gondor without an expansion tied to it. You would not have been able to convince me of the possibility back then.

  2. Eirlog Musclegut /

    The transcript for this run made the forums explode (again). What I’ve found is that, at least on Riddermark, it’s often difficult to run traditional raid content due to the lack of players, although people are often trying.

    OD has been popular recently since it seems to have the highest chance of an Elder King Symbol drop. The Deeping Wall EB 12-man has been popular recently as well.

    Many of us don’t use computers that allow us to experience raid content without a lot of stuttering and drastically reduced frame rates, but can handle 3 or 6-man content perfectly well (as long as we don’t have our graphic levels too high).

    There is group content (although not new) available every Saturday evening at 5pm EST on Landroval in LOTRO Players Adventures! How’s that for a shameless plug!!!

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