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So I hear all these people saying...

GaladournGaladourn AthensPosts: 1,052Member
...that LotRO was an entirely different game before launch, more sandbox etc. Anyone with hands on experience to explain a bit more in depth how was gameplay supposed to be in the version that never made it to launch?
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Comments

  • Entris38Entris38 Somewhere, OHPosts: 323Member Uncommon
    If I remember correctly it had once been "MEO---Middle Earth Online", I don't believe Turbine was even in the picture then. I do believe that was scrapped. I was in closed beta for Lotro and it has always been the same since then.
  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Yup, if I remember right that project was being worked on by Sierra and was set in the 4th Age. Not sure if they ever started Development on it before it died.
  • trancejeremytrancejeremy St. Louis, MOPosts: 1,222Member
    Yup, that was a completely different game from another company that never materialized.

    R.I.P. City of Heroes and my 17 characters there

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by trancejeremy
    Yup, that was a completely different game from another company that never materialized.

    Wrong.

     

    I don't understand why people keep making this mistake.

     

     

    Middle Earth Online was in development by Sierra in 1999. It got shut down.

     

    Vivendi and Turbine began developing a game called Middle Earth Online in about 2003 , and continued to develop it until it launched as Lord of the Rings Online.

    In Alpha, LotRO was a sandbox game being made by veteran Turbine devs. It's tag line was "live in Middle Earth". The game was very community based, sandbox and book accuracy focus. The devs hosted events once a year called Turbine Nation where people came together and got to see the game as it came along, play in various events and raffles, essentially a big party.

     

    Well, about a year before LotRO's launch, Vivendi lost the rights to Lord of the Rings, and Turbine gained entire control over the MMO. Turbine changed Middle Earth Online's name to LotRO, shuffled most of the veteran staff to other projects, and put new developers at the helm of LotRO. They quickly scrapped most of the old work and restructured the game to be a quest based WoW clone. There were no more yearly Turbine Nation gathering, the community disintegrated. The game tag line was changed to "Fight through Middle Earth!".

     

    It was essentially the NGE, but because it happened in beta, people don't talk about it nearly as much. But for those that were there, we felt betrayed. It splintered the community, kinships fell apart. Then they announced there wouldn't be any international servers, after promising the opposite, and the remaining kinships fractured again.

     

    Don't believe that Turbine was working on it? Here's the pre alpha trailer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk0ogD_HMn0

     

    Also, in before "hurp derp that looks like crap, glad they changed it".

     

     

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

  • dreamsofwardreamsofwar bangorPosts: 468Member
    LOTRO has always had a place in my heart since i first played it back in 2007 but if given the choice to play a themepark or an AAA sandbox (excluding eve) then I would want to choose the sanbox. The fact that the game could have been so much more than it is irritates me because now it feels like we got a game, as said in a previous post, much like the nge.
  • ZigZagsZigZags Modesto, CAPosts: 328Member

    LOTR would be difficult to turn into a sandbox IMHO. There's too many rules/races/history/classes that fans would demand the developers adhere to to really offer any sort of freedom.

     

    I think sandoxes are best when they are NOT based on existing IP.

    Now: Skyrim
    Later: ?
    Played: M59, UO, EQ, Runescape, DAOC, SB, EQ2, WoW, EVE, Darkfall, AoC, FFXI, FFXIV, WAR, SWTOR
    BOYCOTTING: EA/BioWare/Origin/SOE

  • GaladournGaladourn AthensPosts: 1,052Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

    Just read that ign article and, wow! (no pun intended), what a game MEO would have been! Such a pity the managers took over and decided to go for the big bucks. As always, great ideas sacrificed for the sake of quick money (still that didn't prevent them from going f2p).

     

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by ZigZags

    LOTR would be difficult to turn into a sandbox IMHO. There's too many rules/races/history/classes that fans would demand the developers adhere to to really offer any sort of freedom.

     

    I think sandoxes are best when they are NOT based on existing IP.

    But some of the best sandboxes in MMO history were based on existing IPs, Star Wars Galaxies. 

    That's just the thing, people loved the fact that they could LIVE in the Star Wars Universe, and they weren't shoe horned into linear adventures that were almost like the movies but not really.

     

     

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Galadourn
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

    Just read that ign article and, wow! (no pun intended), what a game MEO would have been! Such a pity the managers took over and decided to go for the big bucks. As always, great ideas sacrificed for the sake of quick money (still that didn't prevent them from going f2p).

     

    Yeah there were so many articles on the old Turbine MEO website detailing the more interesting aspects of the game. They did an entire 3 page article dev diary about how climbing mountains/exploration would work, with shifting snow, and hidden paths.

    But then they went full WoW clone route. And I'm glad it didn't go well for them. They sacrificed a great game and an even better community for a quick buck and it did not pay off. They sit on the worlds biggest IP and they STILL were forced to go FTP.

  • ThenextbigthingThenextbigthing NuneatonPosts: 104Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Galadourn
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

    Just read that ign article and, wow! (no pun intended), what a game MEO would have been! Such a pity the managers took over and decided to go for the big bucks. As always, great ideas sacrificed for the sake of quick money (still that didn't prevent them from going f2p).

     

    Yeah there were so many articles on the old Turbine MEO website detailing the more interesting aspects of the game. They did an entire 3 page article dev diary about how climbing mountains/exploration would work, with shifting snow, and hidden paths.

    But then they went full WoW clone route. And I'm glad it didn't go well for them. They sacrificed a great game and an even better community for a quick buck and it did not pay off. They sit on the worlds biggest IP and they STILL were forced to go FTP.

     

    Didn't go well for them? I've been playing for five years since launch and it's a brilliant game with plenty of exploration. It's not a sandbox but it's less linear than SWToR or TSW. It's head and shoulders above the crap that's been released in the past year that i've also played and binned within a month in boredom and then gone back to lotro.

     

  • ThenextbigthingThenextbigthing NuneatonPosts: 104Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

     

    This is just complete rubbish, everything isn't instanced in LOTRO and if you don't have the quest chain then go away and do the quest to get in! How hard is that? If an instance is generated specifically for the quest then of course you need the quest, so what?

     

    It makes me wonder if anyone on here actually even plays the games they slag off, or at least beyond level 10.

  • CyraelCyrael VA, USAPosts: 89Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Thenextbigthing

    Didn't go well for them? I've been playing for five years since launch and it's a brilliant game with plenty of exploration. It's not a sandbox but it's less linear than SWToR or TSW. It's head and shoulders above the crap that's been released in the past year that i've also played and binned within a month in boredom and then gone back to lotro.

     

    Before Mirkwood I would have agreed with you. However, in its current state, it's good as far as other F2P games go, but it's pretty far down the list when compared to the genre as a whole right now.

     

    Originally posted by Thenextbigthing
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

     

    This is just complete rubbish, everything isn't instanced in LOTRO and if you don't have the quest chain then go away and do the quest to get in! How hard is that? If an instance is generated specifically for the quest then of course you need the quest, so what?

     

    It makes me wonder if anyone on here actually even plays the games they slag off, or at least beyond level 10.

     

    The point is that it's a cop-out to avoid fleshing out the world more fully. Try the cities in EQ2 sometime - most of the buildings in the game you can enter, and it does amazing things for immersion.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,931Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by trancejeremy
    Yup, that was a completely different game from another company that never materialized.

    Wrong.

     

    I don't understand why people keep making this mistake.

     

     

    Middle Earth Online was in development by Sierra in 1999. It got shut down.

     

    Vivendi and Turbine began developing a game called Middle Earth Online in about 2003 , and continued to develop it until it launched as Lord of the Rings Online.

    In Alpha, LotRO was a sandbox game being made by veteran Turbine devs. It's tag line was "live in Middle Earth". The game was very community based, sandbox and book accuracy focus. The devs hosted events once a year called Turbine Nation where people came together and got to see the game as it came along, play in various events and raffles, essentially a big party.

     

    Well, about a year before LotRO's launch, Vivendi lost the rights to Lord of the Rings, and Turbine gained entire control over the MMO. Turbine changed Middle Earth Online's name to LotRO, shuffled most of the veteran staff to other projects, and put new developers at the helm of LotRO. They quickly scrapped most of the old work and restructured the game to be a quest based WoW clone. There were no more yearly Turbine Nation gathering, the community disintegrated. The game tag line was changed to "Fight through Middle Earth!".

     

    It was essentially the NGE, but because it happened in beta, people don't talk about it nearly as much. But for those that were there, we felt betrayed. It splintered the community, kinships fell apart. Then they announced there wouldn't be any international servers, after promising the opposite, and the remaining kinships fractured again.

     

    Don't believe that Turbine was working on it? Here's the pre alpha trailer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk0ogD_HMn0

     

    Also, in before "hurp derp that looks like crap, glad they changed it".

     

    OMG. herp derp.  y u no realize that Turbine work on Middle Earth Online with Sierra?

     

    Overreact much? geesh.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Thenextbigthing
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Galadourn
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

    Just read that ign article and, wow! (no pun intended), what a game MEO would have been! Such a pity the managers took over and decided to go for the big bucks. As always, great ideas sacrificed for the sake of quick money (still that didn't prevent them from going f2p).

     

    Yeah there were so many articles on the old Turbine MEO website detailing the more interesting aspects of the game. They did an entire 3 page article dev diary about how climbing mountains/exploration would work, with shifting snow, and hidden paths.

    But then they went full WoW clone route. And I'm glad it didn't go well for them. They sacrificed a great game and an even better community for a quick buck and it did not pay off. They sit on the worlds biggest IP and they STILL were forced to go FTP.

     

    Didn't go well for them? I've been playing for five years since launch and it's a brilliant game haha, no with plenty of exploration. The exploration is awful. The zones are funnels with invisible walls and mountains all around (since when were their impassable mountains in The Shire?) There are dozens of doors and caves that say "STOP YOU CANNOT ENTER HERE WITHOUT X GENERIC QUEST" and if you try to explore certain zones the game insta kills you without warning. No mob agro just, lightning from the sky. I haven't seen a more exploration unfriendly MMO in all my years.  It's not a sandbox but it's less linear than SWToR or TSW. That's like saying rotted card board tastes better than vomit.  It's head and shoulders above the crap that's been released in the past year That says nothing. that i've also played and binned within a month in boredom and then gone back to lotro.

     

    Well, I guess that's good for you that you're entertained by simple fetch quests enough to keep doing them for 5 years. The very few good features that LotRO has going for it are relics from the Middle Earth Online days. Too bad they only make up about 4% of the game. It's a shallow, bland, lifeless WoW clone. And it was so much more in alpha.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Thenextbigthing
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

     

    This is just complete rubbish, everything isn't instanced in LOTRO and if you don't have the quest chain then go away and do the quest to get in! How hard is that? If an instance is generated specifically for the quest then of course you need the quest, so what?

    Haha so what? Not being able to walk into a cave because I "don't have the quest" is a good system? (hint, its not).

    How would I know which quest I need to walk into the random cave I found while attempting to explore a very gated linear game world?

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by FrodoFragins
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by trancejeremy
    Yup, that was a completely different game from another company that never materialized.

    Wrong.

     

    I don't understand why people keep making this mistake.

     

     

    Middle Earth Online was in development by Sierra in 1999. It got shut down.

     

    Vivendi and Turbine began developing a game called Middle Earth Online in about 2003 , and continued to develop it until it launched as Lord of the Rings Online.

    In Alpha, LotRO was a sandbox game being made by veteran Turbine devs. It's tag line was "live in Middle Earth". The game was very community based, sandbox and book accuracy focus. The devs hosted events once a year called Turbine Nation where people came together and got to see the game as it came along, play in various events and raffles, essentially a big party.

     

    Well, about a year before LotRO's launch, Vivendi lost the rights to Lord of the Rings, and Turbine gained entire control over the MMO. Turbine changed Middle Earth Online's name to LotRO, shuffled most of the veteran staff to other projects, and put new developers at the helm of LotRO. They quickly scrapped most of the old work and restructured the game to be a quest based WoW clone. There were no more yearly Turbine Nation gathering, the community disintegrated. The game tag line was changed to "Fight through Middle Earth!".

     

    It was essentially the NGE, but because it happened in beta, people don't talk about it nearly as much. But for those that were there, we felt betrayed. It splintered the community, kinships fell apart. Then they announced there wouldn't be any international servers, after promising the opposite, and the remaining kinships fractured again.

     

    Don't believe that Turbine was working on it? Here's the pre alpha trailer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk0ogD_HMn0

     

    Also, in before "hurp derp that looks like crap, glad they changed it".

     

    OMG. herp derp.  y u no realize that Turbine work on Middle Earth Online with Sierra?

     

    Overreact much? geesh.

    <FACEPALM>

    No. They didn't. Turbine worked with VIVENDI on Middle Earth Online.

    The Sierra MEO was an entirely different project that never saw the light of day.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Any other questions? As someone who was in the most well known MEO kinship, and lived 15 minutes from Turbine offices, I have quite a bit of info from that time.
  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight

    Here is an early article on it before they decided to get rid of PvP.

     

    http://www.ign.com/articles/2003/12/18/middle-earth-online

     

    Also note that the instancing was going to actually attempt to be immersive, rather than just instancing everything with a giant "YOU DON'T HAVE THE QUEST TO ENTER HERE, TOO BAD." message you have in current LotRO.

    Wow... I remember the first time I played LotrO and was so hugely dissapointed as Tolkiens Lord of the Rings is easiest one of the most immersive fantasy books ever written and the MMORPG was some WoW clone drivel. Good to hear that it atleast started well but as usual you get the bean-counters and other trash, ruining IPs for the promise of profits profits profits.

    Does anyone think profit was first in Tolkiens mind when he created that amazing world? NO!

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Any other questions? As someone who was in the most well known MEO kinship, and lived 15 minutes from Turbine offices, I have quite a bit of info from that time.

    What happened to Asheron's Call? Why did Turbine go from creating one of the best sandbox MMO's to create WoW clone ThemeParkish drivel?

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Yamota
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Any other questions? As someone who was in the most well known MEO kinship, and lived 15 minutes from Turbine offices, I have quite a bit of info from that time.

    What happened to Asheron's Call? Why did Turbine go from creating one of the best sandbox MMO's to create WoW clone ThemeParkish drivel?

    Well they were moving in that direction with Asheron's Call 2, which was very themeparky.

    Then they saw how big WoW became, and like almost all veteran MMO companies, they tried to copy it. Most of their veteran designers and devs that were working on MEO got shunted to the AC2 or DDO team, and a bunch of young folks came in to convert MEO to LotRO. There must have been some sort of change higher up, because Turbine went from having yearly conventions and being very active with their community, to being very removed/hands off, and never having another Turbine Nation.

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Yamota
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Any other questions? As someone who was in the most well known MEO kinship, and lived 15 minutes from Turbine offices, I have quite a bit of info from that time.

    What happened to Asheron's Call? Why did Turbine go from creating one of the best sandbox MMO's to create WoW clone ThemeParkish drivel?

    Well they were moving in that direction with Asheron's Call 2, which was very themeparky.

    Then they saw how big WoW became, and like almost all veteran MMO companies, they tried to copy it. Most of their veteran designers and devs that were working on MEO got shunted to the AC2 or DDO team, and a bunch of young folks came in to convert MEO to LotRO. There must have been some sort of change higher up, because Turbine went from having yearly conventions and being very active with their community, to being very removed/hands off, and never having another Turbine Nation.

    That is so sad man, Asheron's Call was one of the best sandbox MMO's ever created and that was 10 years ago. Imagine how good a sequel would be with current technologies and staying true to the concepts of Asheron's Call, i.e. skill based system, open world, allegience system and so on.

    But as you indicate, Turbine is not the same company it was back then. Probably the suits and bean counters took it over and transformed it into a commercial, purely profit based companies instead of people who just want to create good MMORPGs.

    As for Asheron's Call 2, I almost forgot about that horrible garbage. Good thing that they got rid of that garbage atleast.

  • skydiver12skydiver12 burgundPosts: 432Member

    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/middleearthprev.html

    http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/06/21/the-game-archaeologist-and-the-what-ifs-middle-earth-online/


    Screenshots from 2003 to E3 2006 (beforethe wowification) Newest first:

    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/screens/middleearthss051206.html

    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/screens/middleearthss032106.html

    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/screens/middleearthss073005.html

    http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/middleeartholdss.html

    Most stuff you see is just that, a pretty early alpha missing placeholders like trees and grass. The graphics are mostly on paar with lotro by the middle of 2007.

    Most art assets have been reused, some glady didn't. The white tabard was still in bree during beta 2007 and then sadly changed. It even shows why lotro looks so horrible wrong and out of place sometimes, the pilgrim herald is the original going all the way back to 2003 (!), making even vaniall wow humans look modern :)

    Some great concepts have been worked on, like dark and light side, funny when you see today URUKs do all the animations and have some armor textures which had been supposed to be "evil" Human Player.

    What buzzles me is the armor had more polygons than todays lotro models and was more realistic (patterns, layers) than the skintight body paintings some Armor / leather / "Robes" have till today in lotro. And these cloaks, not flapping "attached" abominations of today.

    And look at the hobbit clothing and appearances http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/middleearth/screens/middleearth075.jpg (Hotlinking disallowed, copy & paste).

    Well some things have been just too advanced i guess, but i'm glad we got at least lotro. :P

  • MaelwyddMaelwydd CrawleyPosts: 1,123Member

    If tolkien had writted his masterpiece today, and in todays climate of game design....

    It is a shame that games developed today do not keep the spirit of the genre in mind when being made. Perhaps then they might have something that is 50/100/1000 years would still be seen as a clasic. Instead we get the equivalent 'clasic' of...

     

    Frodo would have bought gold with real cash to allow him to fast travel using the Eagles to mount doom and stop all the other crap from happenning by dropping the ring in Mount Doom while same was botted in the shire to pay for Frodo's trip!

  • 9ineven9ineven Posts: 160Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ZigZags

    LOTR would be difficult to turn into a sandbox IMHO. There's too many rules/races/history/classes that fans would demand the developers adhere to to really offer any sort of freedom.

     

    I think sandoxes are best when they are NOT based on existing IP.

     

     

    Any MMO is best when it is not based on existing IP, I feel...

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