Can’t Please Everyone

A few days ago I wrote about the new “Session Play” being added to Lord of the Rings Online. One of the developers spent some time adding a little fluff to the game. They explained that it is but a small part of the upcoming content patch. The comments on the forums covered the entire range from praise to complaint. I can’t imagine what goes through the dev’s mind when they read this stuff. Must have thick skin I guess, because you can’t please them all.

BEST ADDITION EVER.

Now this is funny…I like it.

Surely this is a joke. Monster Play to introduce PvP is ok. Critter play is ridiculous.

I love it!!!!!!!!!!! I CANT WAIT!!!

Greatest… update… evar!!

You should spend more time on creating “real” content, not useless stuff like this.

A total waste of your time and mine.

I think this is a GREAT addition, something fresh and different that will enhance the experience.

Give us fluff, but there were plenty and plenty of good suggestions in the other official thread that make more sense than chicken play.

I am saddenned more and more every day that I paid for a lifetime subscription.

Of all the things that I would have used developer resources on this certainly would have never entered my mind.

I really don’t want to be a complete jerk, but I don’t like this addition at all. Playing as a chicken is the type of side-quest I’d expect to find in The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon.

Looking forward to this. Sounds like a fun diversion.

So I Guess I am not getting anything from the next Patch???

Given the problems currently with the game, this seems like the biggest waste of resources ever.

I’m sorry but agree this is a complete waste of resources at this point and baffles me.

It’s too early to waste time on stupid things like this.

I think this sounds like a fun diversion and something a little different. I say great job!

Sounds like a lot of fun…love the idea!

THIS is what the dev’s have been working on?

OMG this is seriously the coolest idea I have ever seen in an MMO.

Looks wicked, and a really original idea. Can’t wait to try it!

Wow, innovative and brilliant. Keep up the good work!

Couldn’t you thing of something better to do with your time and our money?

This is “Lord of the freaking Rings!” can’t we get something better than farm animal mode?

This sounds AWESOME!!! Can’t wait to be a chicken.

It’s going to be a blast and a great diversion from the serious tone of the game.

If, as it would appear, it is for real, Its a dumb idea.

Instead of Devs wasting their time making players play as chickens, why don’t you fix the issues with our current pets!

Something unexpected and new excellent can’t wait to try this out.

Probably the best update to any MMO I’ve played. Silly, but very very cool.

It’s a complete and utter waste of time and one of your coders is getting stoned more often than usual.

The devs should’ve focused on the more important things.

That is awesome.

I’m so glad this took priority over revamping the wound system and adding in class skills for 42-50!

This is probably the stupidest thing i have ever heard of being put into a game.

Whoever thought of this idea should be fired…

This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen…really.

What a waste of developer skills…

This is an AWESOME idea!!

I wonder how devs ever come to understand what their players really want. I mean, you make 50% happy doing something and the other 50% think it was the biggest waste of time ever. Sounds like a fun job to me.

– Ethic

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Ethic

I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

17 thoughts on “Can’t Please Everyone”

  1. I enjoy reading the angst. It almost reminds me of WoW forums, except with better spelling.

    That wound comment must have come from a guardian, guardians in LOTRO cry and whine more than anyone I’ve ever seen. It almost makes me want to stop playing my guardian for shame of being associated with them.

    I think some discussions, like the difficulty of balancing raid rewards vs small group rewards, or the class balancing problems when a game has both pvp and pve, are legitimate discussions. But all the “zomg! that is dumb! Make more content I want because what I want is good for the game and a SERIOUS PROBLEM!” is just silly.

    I think forums are just worse than surveys for gathering information. They have their place, but other methods beat them. That sort of stuff is all so subjective. What would be great is if you could sign up to be monitored by webcams say for one free month, and they could conduct usability tests and record you at random during that time.

  2. I bet they included some really big nerf somewhere in the patch and use the critter-thingy to distract the raging hordes on the forums.

    Kidding – but seriously, how brilliant would that be?

  3. I think overall session play has been pretty well received. The naysayers will always be more vocal but nobody’s really come up with a reason why session play will be bad for the game. The best argument against it so far has been that they didn’t address whatever pet concern the complainer thinks would have been a better use of time.

    As for me, I think it’s a brilliant nod to the spirit of whimsy that pervades the Lord of the Rings literary works. It’s good to see Turbine paying attention to their source material in more ways than just Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves.

  4. “Give us fluff, but there were plenty and plenty of good suggestions in the other official thread that make more sense than chicken play.”

    “Given the problems currently with the game, this seems like the biggest waste of resources ever.”

    Those two sum it up for me. And yes, it’s true: You can’t please everybody. But at least you can do better than try to please half.

  5. I’m with Zubon. Also, big waste of resources? Kudos to Turbine for pointing out that it only used one, 1, uno, eins, un, ena dev resource to create this. A lot of the naysayers also make no mention that the same mechanics are behind the PvP version of session play – namely the part where you get to play a troll or a ranger.

    Read that again: you can get to play a troll or a ranger. In a game of Lord of the Rings.

    Troll.

    Ranger.

    Turbine have managed to find a way of letting players become one of the iconic ‘classes’ of the Lord of the Rings mythos (I’m thinking Ranger more than Troll here) without it potentially impacting on everyday gameplay in the same way that, oh, I don’t know, player Jedi did in SWG. They looked for ways to make the PvP a little more interesting and to give the players a little more diversity.

    Oh, and as a nice little side effect, they probably found that they could use the same game mechanic in the PvE world and decided that rather than limit the functionality to being available solely to those who do PvP, they’d let PvE players have a go too.

    And one person spent their time on this which means that other members of the dev team are probably working on the other problems with the game and things like player housing, lvl 42 quests, expansion content and the rest.

    Of course, this is hypothetical thinking but does it sound so outlandish?

  6. “And one person spent their time on this which means that other members of the dev team are probably working on the other problems with the game and things like player housing, lvl 42 quests, expansion content and the rest.”

    Announce that then instead of the chicken.

  7. They DID announce it. They announced it over and over. It was even linked to from here. But people would rather complain than read.

    “Give us fluff, but there were plenty and plenty of good suggestions in the other official thread that make more sense than chicken play.”

    “Given the problems currently with the game, this seems like the biggest waste of resources ever.”

    Both of these are mere variations on “I don’t like this, you should be spending time on something that I want not what other players would like” and are no more valid. They spend one person only on all their teams, so that sounds like a reasonable amount.

    I am not saying I am going to even try the chicken play, but seriously, people need to lighten up and get a grip.

  8. I simply do not understand “why”. You can play as a chicken and run run around talking to people including cats and wizards but you can not play a dwarven female because that would be “inconsistent with the lore”. Maybe I skipped that chapter. Anyone able to reference where chickens were in LOTR?

  9. Announce that then instead of the chicken.

    Link to Dev Chat from end of last week.

    Notable points:

    – Minor region additons in Book 11 (fall release) plus new region in Book 13 or soon after.
    – Jewelcrafters get earring and bracelet recipes in Book 10
    – Some NPC campfires to be able to be cooked on from Book 10, others addressed later.
    – Weaponsmiths & Metalsmiths able to create “repair anvil” for use away from towns
    – Upgradeable bank space in Book 10
    – Next two updates focussed on getting more 40 content in game

    Other parts of the chat only highlight areas they’re “discussing” and “investigating”.

    Another quote to highlight is that “Session Play” is “only a small portion of the Book 10 update.” (Rhidden).

    I don’t remember there being this much fuss over the addition of the summer festival quests (one of which was a pub crawl for crying out loud!) that didn’t give any xp or loot beyond a new title.

  10. Keen – you can play as a Dwarven female. The character creation screen doesn’t explicitly say Dwarven male, just Dwarf (from what I remember – I could have embarrassingly just got this wrong). The lore, as I understand it, simply says that Dwarven females are bearded too and hard to distinguish from males. To play as a Dwarven female, create a dwarf, give yourself a female name, hey presto!

    As for the reference in LOTR to chickens, it’s not about the chickens but about the existence of animals in both LOTR and The Hobbit which appeared to have sentience and the ability to talk. An example from LOTR?

    A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.
    ‘Hobbits!’ he thought. ‘Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There’s something mighty queer behind this.’ He was quite right, but he never found out any more about it.

    Why is it chickens? Why not? There are already a couple of quests featuring them.

  11. I simply do not understand “why”.
    Why have pie deliveries?
    Why have postal deliveries?
    Why have music?
    Why anything?

    I don’t know why people like some things I don’t like, but they do. I really don’t care. Asking “why” is the wrong question. Asking “Will enough players enjoy this to justify this level of effort” is the correct question. Will they? I have no idea. I think the whole hubbub is funnier than the chicken play itself will be.

    Dragon you are right. You can play a dwarf female. There is no sex attached to the dwarves unlike every other race. I am rather tired of everyone complaining that you can’t play a dwarf female. Dwarves in LOTR are not WoW dwarves or any other dwarves. In LOTR no one can tell the males and females apart, so in LOTRO it’s up to the players to decide if they are male or female. They aren’t “locked away” somewhere, nothing is stopping you from playing a dwarf female.

  12. Jewelcrafters get earring and bracelet recipes in Book 10
    Weaponsmiths & Metalsmiths able to create “repair anvil” for use away from towns

    Those are really cool. I hope the anvils not ridiculously expensive to create like the engineering repair bot in WoW where you had to tip your engineer a gold to repay her.

  13. I *am* getting a grip. I don’t go burning forums anymore. I wish I had the time to go burning forums. I never asked for anything unreasonable when I was asked to give them my opinion on things. I didn’t say things like “Oh, I really wish for far more variety in the zones”, or “Oh, I think we really need a mage class proper”, not because I wouldn’t like those things, but simply because I know they can’t do it. Things like that are completely out of their design and will never be included. No point in asking just to be loud.

    Did they announce other things? Yeah, sure they announced other things, but with this game I’m still getting the feeling that it’s as if I went to the movies and they kept showing me ads and previews over and over again, constantly delaying the main feature.

    Fluff is nice, and this certainly qualifies as nice fluff, but it would have gone down the stomach of the playerbase much better if the heavy, real issues that the game is having would be paid attention to, instead of putting it the ability to play a chicken. And yes, I know (I hope) they are paying attention to the heavy issues, but when you bury the plans for these issues in a dev chat somewhere, and then turn around and make a page on the official website about the chickens then it’s a problem of priorities.

    Designing for the majority is a no-no because we all know how that ends. But on the other extreme you just *have* to be a little more in touch and maybe refrain from adding things *no one* asked for. The chicken may or may not be a nice addition. I’m not saying that. Maybe it is, maybe it’s boring and tiresome after five minutes. Who knows. But the point remains that items like these are being added when no one remotely asked for them, while more serious concerns and requests range from not listened to all the way to being considered and will be announced at a time TBD maybe somehow.

    If this deal with the chickens is meant to be just that, and it’s simply fluff to add color to the game, then it can be tolerable even if you disagree with its inclusion. But if someone in Turbine is thinking that this passes as honest to god ‘content’ to keep players occupied, it’ll be hugely myopic on their part. For the sole reason that the players that right now are hungry for more content (or even *anything* to do) are precisely the same players that won’t give a damn about playing like a chicken. Those who are jumping up and down at the chance to play a chicken, most likely still have gobs of content they haven’t gone through.

    It’s not a problem of ‘oh, waste of resources’ whether one guy worked on it or a hundred. It’s a problem of priorities. Get the game going well, get the basics done, refine it as much as you can and *then* start with the fluff. Of all the classes, only the Champion was reviewed/fine tuned, all the others are still running ‘as they came’… but you put in chickens? It’s not resources, it’s priorities.

    All that, or I’m perfectly willing to admit that I just don’t “get it”, and be on my way. Both are good.

  14. Dev resources aren’t fungible like that. If you’ve got a couple spare quest and level designers, they aren’t going to be fixing your class balance, just like your server guys aren’t going to be re-arting your high level gear.

    There’s room to prioritize, but it’s not as fine-grained as all that.

  15. Well, point taken then. I guess then time will tell and we’ll see how long this feature remains used at all by the playerbase.

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