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[Interview] General: When Change Comes Knocking

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Change is never an easy thing to take though it is a frequent visitor to the MMO space. In today's Devil's Advocate, we take a look at change and how the communities of the games in question have reacted. Read on before heading to the comments.

While there are likely some other games that have garnered a negative reaction due to changes in their systems, few have had such differing reactions as the changes made in Star Wars Galaxies’ New Game Experience/Enhancements and World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm class changes (which also got changed further in Mists of Pandaria).

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: When Change Comes Knocking.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • pierthpierth San Antonio, TXPosts: 1,503Member

    Great topic, and using both Cata and the poster-beloved SWG; there are going to be some great replies. *goes to get some popcorn*

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I can only comment on cata, but I would say the early dungeon difficulty was more drastic than thetalent changes. We lliterally went from op tanks that could pull multiple "bosses" yes "bosses" to dieing rapidly from a trash mob. I personally thought it was absolutely wonderful and payed more attention to how complete tasks rather than my talent tree, but change as it was, seemed like the largest problem for people in cata was fail wiping in normal dungeons. I loved it greatly also because I don't put the time in any game to be hardcore, but for a couple days I was better geared than 90 percent of the players, it wasn't about grinding it was about reading reacting and group discussion after a wipe on how we could fix what we did wrong. It felt good again for a few weeks.
  • JRonnie1976JRonnie1976 BrisbanePosts: 14Member

    Just to clarify, Fredelas wasn't temporarily banned.  He was permanently banned:

    "You have been banned for the following reason: Violation of communtiy guidelines.

    Date the ban will be lifted: Never"

    http://lotrocommunity.com/forum/topic/2306-so-helms-deep-nda-has-been-lifted-but/page-9

     
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,931Member Uncommon

    Sapience has been pulling the same crap for a VERY long time.  One of the reasons I got tired of this site for a while was the fact that no one called Turbine out for their misinformation or censorship and unwarranted forum bans.

     

    I never got banned but all of the mod edits without any warnings to me, including modifying my sig was sign enough.

     

    Go to lotrocommunity.com to see a history of everything Turbine and more specifically Sapience has done.

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 186Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JRonnie1976

    Just to clarify, Fredelas wasn't temporarily banned.  He was permanently banned:

    "You have been banned for the following reason: Violation of communtiy guidelines.

    Date the ban will be lifted: Never"

    http://lotrocommunity.com/forum/topic/2306-so-helms-deep-nda-has-been-lifted-but/page-9

     

    Oh gosh. I didn't know that bit. Thank you for clarifying. :) I'll ask an editor to do some changes when they wake up.

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    My guess is changing an mmo or pulling the plug is a big betrayal of the fans/players.

    Something went wrong and it took a few years for the sh*t to finally hit the fan...
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon

    Another good article.  One thing you forgot to mention about the SWG debacle, they released an expansion less than 30 days prior to the introduction of NGE.  NGE was just dumped on the game population with no discussion, the vast majority of which had no idea it was coming.  It completely changed the game from a sandbox to a themepark.  They even removed item decay which impacted the crafters heavily.  To top that off, they removed one of the more popular classes, the creature handler.  

    So when you look at what was changed in SWG, comparing it to Wow or the upcoming changes in Lotro is absurd.  Neither changed the basic fundamentals of the game.  I play Lotro still, played the beta and actually like the new changes.  My characters had far too many skills to even keep track of, it was overly complex and a lot of the situational skills never got used when they should because of that.  The Wow changes just over simplified the game and made everyone a cookie cutter image of one another.  There was very little differentiation in any of the classes any more.

    Change is inevitable with anything.  Resisting such, just leaves you further behind the eight ball.  It is not always better, but does not change the fact that not adjusting to the new is not going to go well for you.

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Chicago, ILPosts: 906Member

    The nge came 6 months after what?

    Anyway,

    There are too many games out for people to bother with change.

     

    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon

    Great read, while I may or may not quibble over the statement "the 8 classes and their general play styles are all there and their fundamental play styles have not changed" specifically from a blue line guards perspective.   I won't get into that here.

     In regards to the CM team's possible recent oopsies, I'll just say; remember once upon a time when LOTRO was consistently pointed to as the pinnacle of great community, even by people who dis-liked the game itself?   Sigh, now look at it :(  By intent, or by accident they have succeeded in dividing the single most positive community in the whole genre.

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  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    Another good article.  One thing you forgot to mention about the SWG debacle, they released an expansion less than 30 days prior to the introduction of NGE.  NGE was just dumped on the game population with no discussion, the vast majority of which had no idea it was coming.  It completely changed the game from a sandbox to a themepark.  They even removed item decay which impacted the crafters heavily.  To top that off, they removed one of the more popular classes, the creature handler.  

    So when you look at what was changed in SWG, comparing it to Wow or the upcoming changes in Lotro is absurd.  Neither changed the basic fundamentals of the game.  I play Lotro still, played the beta and actually like the new changes.  My characters had far too many skills to even keep track of, it was overly complex and a lot of the situational skills never got used when they should because of that.  The Wow changes just over simplified the game and made everyone a cookie cutter image of one another.  There was very little differentiation in any of the classes any more.

    Change is inevitable with anything.  Resisting such, just leaves you further behind the eight ball.  It is not always better, but does not change the fact that not adjusting to the new is not going to go well for you.

     

    I think he was referencing it as a matter of scale.

      The thing is mmo's including LOTRO now adays are a dime a dozen, they all feel the sme.  If you happen to have a popular hook that's DIFFERENT from the run of the mill; changing it to something everyone else has seems to me to be counter intuitive.

    EDIT

    Reminds me of the old adage if it aint broke don't fix it; it's not like there isn't existing content that is poorly implemented.  If you must change something why not go after what's actually broken first?

     
     
    Gamers are not resistant to change; they are however resistant to unneeded or  poorly planned out change.

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  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,593Member Uncommon

    What you are seeing is the typical response of a studio that has gone into siege mode.  They had to know that a lot of people would be unhappy with these changes, so they are taking the approach. "You are either with us, or against us". 

    While that is a private forum, and they are welcome to conduct it as they wish, there ARE consequences.  There are some legitimate questions being asked, and the CM's are less than forth coming in their responses.  Only time will tell how this turns out. 

    But Turbine hasn't been noted for their transparency... Look at their antics during the expansion and the closing of Asherons Call2, as just one example.

  • LeafbladesLeafblades Readfield, MEPosts: 7Member

    Rick Heaton aka Sapience is a terrible Community Manager.  With the signature incident, he posted that he knew it would 'piss people off enough to change their sigs'.  Somehow, a CM admitting to trolling his own forums shouldn't be acceptable.

    The changes to the game...some like them and I'm glad for them.  Some dislike them...and I'm with them.  I spent 7 years playing Captain and skills I'd always had access to are now gated behind various walls.  Had the game not been in such decline the past few years, I might have tried to work with the changes.  But the pervasive trouble with lag, the bugs that never got fixed, the thinning of the raid content, and the areas that were neglected by Turbine just pointed toward a direction that didn't help me as a player want to put up with an ahole of a community manager and the gutting of the character that was the basis of my involvement in the game.

  • wargfootwargfoot Gramsfoot, MIPosts: 48Member

    The difference between the written policy and the actual actions of the community management team at Turbine is a wonder to behold.  You really don't know the full extent of it until the evil eye is turned on you.   For example, I was ultimately banned from the Turbine forums because I claimed to keep Canadians as pets.  It was an obvious joke in context, but that didn't matter.

     

    The community management team for LOTRO doesn't know how to build a community - In my 10 years of gaming I've yet to run across a Community Manager as destructive as Rick Heaton.  However, he isn't the core problem.

     

    The core problem is Kate Paiz and her husband Fernando don't view the game as a world but rather as a series of financial transactions.

     

    For proof, please view this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=677OoDGU0ig

     

    They don't give a rat's ass that the game is being reduced to a pay to win Korean *bling* *bling* game and they don't care that it makes you angry.   They don't care that it took you years to build your character and that it's getting trashed in Helm's Deep or that some kid with daddy's credit card can pass you up for $100.00.

     

    So the horrible community management - the attitude of not really caring about the players is not Rick Heaton's fault - he is only an extension of the Producer Kate Paiz whose vision for the game begins with slot machines and ends with credit cards.

     

    If that isn't for you, don't play it.

    Move onto developers who care - seriously, do yourself that favor.

     
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by wargfoot

    The difference between the written policy and the actual actions of the community management team at Turbine is a wonder to behold.  You really don't know the full extent of it until the evil eye is turned on you.   For example, I was ultimately banned from the Turbine forums because I claimed to keep Canadians as pets.  It was an obvious joke in context, but that didn't matter.

    The community management team for LOTRO doesn't know how to build a community - In my 10 years of gaming I've yet to run across a Community Manager as destructive as Rick Heaton.  However, he isn't the core problem.

    The core problem is Kate Paiz and her husband Fernando don't view the game as a world but rather as a series of financial transactions.

    For proof, please view this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=677OoDGU0ig

    They don't give a rat's ass that the game is being reduced to a pay to win Korean *bling* *bling* game and they don't care that it makes you angry.   They don't care that it took you years to build your character and that it's getting trashed in Helm's Deep or that some kid with daddy's credit card can pass you up for $100.00.

    So the horrible community management - the attitude of not really caring about the players is not Rick Heaton's fault - he is only an extension of the Producer Kate Paiz whose vision for the game begins with slot machines and ends with credit cards.

    If that isn't for you, don't play it.

    Move onto developers who care - seriously, do yourself that favor.

    Wow, you hit the nail on the head. I've been playing the game since SoA closed beta (late in beta but there none-the-less). I was an active member of the forum (zillions of posts and all that) for many years and like Frodo, I got sick of it and left.

    I think the core problem with the company culture predates the Paiz couple but they took that nastiness to the next level. I hold them both personally responsible for the state the game is in.

    Your PAX East video link is the exact reference I had in mind.

    They don't care about making a quality game. They don't care about Tolkein's IP. They don't care about their community.

    Another sign of their desperation is that they've now gated the central epic questline behind the expansion. They've used the excuse that the questline goes through gated content, but frankly, after all their lies and half-truths over the years, I don't believe it's an accident or that they had to do this. They're desperate to squeeze every cent they can as evidenced by they pax-east keynote speech.

    I've moved on to other games now. I log in sometimes to look around. I've paid for a lot of old content (Shadows, Moria, Mirkwood, etc) and don't mind running around there. Those were the best days of the game anyway.

    @wraithone - another good post there.

    Victor - I sent you a PM earlier before you published this fully and I thought you had pulled the article.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by wargfoot

     

    For proof, please view this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=677OoDGU0ig

    Holy cow, that was new to me... (I mean I love CSTM but somehow I slipped over this apparently)

     

    Actually, it explains a few issues sadly. The funny thing is that I used BF:H as a warning sign a couple of times earlier, when Turbine introduced new things in the Store, without knowing that it is their actual guideline :) And if that's the case, we can only hope they won't sink that deep as EA did...

     

    (  For those lucky who doesn't know, BF:H could be easily the perfect example of how to add worse and worse p2w aspects in your game... and I used to cite it as an example for the playerbase change as well :) Of course the two are related, with the changes they've slowly chased away those of a faint heart (lol) I mean those who aren't accepting p2w so easily, with only those left who loves it.  If it wasn't off-topic, I could rant pages and pages about BF:H, played it as some sort of f2p study, those were hilarious times ;D  )

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Another sign of their desperation is that they've now gated the central epic questline behind the expansion. They've used the excuse that the questline goes through gated content, but frankly, after all their lies and half-truths over the years, I don't believe it's an accident or that they had to do this. They're desperate to squeeze every cent they can as evidenced by they pax-east keynote speech.

    Yep, this punched me as well...

    I don't care much about Epic Battles, (maybe I'll check it a few times but that's it, as I wrote earlier, I don't like skirmishes), I dislike the skill revamp, and I loathe the trait tree concept. So, while I love the world and the stories, this was the first time when I seriously thought about skipping an expansion. And that'd be a huge one from me, I mean I've bought legendary RoR only because the horsie session play... I didn't give a *** about the 6th bag or the crystal, but the extra questline was a must-have :)

     

    I started to yield the concept that I'll play only the epic storyline in HD, when they first said it will be expansion-only as well. Lol. It was similar to when they've erased Patience's "convenience, not advantage" post from everywhere. People started to point out, Turbine said at the f2p-switch that the story will be free. They responded "well, we never said it will be free in every expansion". Ok, so from now on, that will be the case? Then change the ads. "Oh, no, just this time, because it's unique and we couldn't manage to code it differently" Riiight... :)

  • DocBrodyDocBrody EldridgePosts: 1,820Member
    Change can be great, even a major one. See FFXIV for reference
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,191Member Uncommon

    The whiners should reread their posts.  Seriously, calling lotro pay-to-win shows you have no clue what that phrase means.  I still find Turbine to be one of the better developers.  There is not a game on the market that is free to play, they are all free to try, pay to play.  Otherwise there would be no game.  You don't want to pay for additional content, don't, but don't whine about it.  

    The nice thing about this genre there are a lot of options out there and if one game makes changes you don't like, move on to another.  The only change to date that really forced me to quit a game was the SWG NGE as it fundamentally changed the gameplay.   

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    The whiners should reread their posts.  Seriously, calling lotro pay-to-win shows you have no clue what that phrase means.  I still find Turbine to be one of the better developers.  There is not a game on the market that is free to play, they are all free to try, pay to play.  Otherwise there would be no game.  You don't want to pay for additional content, don't, but don't whine about it.  

    The nice thing about this genre there are a lot of options out there and if one game makes changes you don't like, move on to another.  The only change to date that really forced me to quit a game was the SWG NGE as it fundamentally changed the gameplay.   

    For some stat tomes are considered p2w,  I don't really agree, but it is a valid opinion.  Not a whine.

     

    Speaking of a lot of options out there.  Having a lot  of competing options on the market lowers one of the barriers to exit to your game.  Shooting yourself in the face to spite your nose by aggravating  1/8th to a 3rd of ones player base to fix something that no one saw as broken, seems to me to be a questionable business decision.  I get part of the reasoning behind it was to "mainstream" it (which is where the SWG references keep coming from), however it is after all a 7yr old game with a dated engine,  I have a hard time seeing a good balance of trade.   The mmo verse is well aware of Lotro and Tolkien, those not interested will still not be interested because of Rift trees.

    Games like Wow have the freedom to explore or just screw up by the numbers and keep  on keeping by sheer inertia.   Most games however and particularly niche ones like LOTRO are always dancing close to the margins.  Big drops in the base hit their bottom line in a much more noticeable manner.

     

    As far as Turbine being a good company,  I've always been mixed.  They make good games;  they make bad business decisions.  And eventually those decisions often end up negatively effecting their games. There is a reason the WB deal happened after all, the creditors came calling.

     

    On my personal score card I usually have em running near Cryptic.

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  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 186Member Uncommon

    Hi folks!

    I wanted to thank the folks here for noting the error about Fredelas being permabanned instead of temporarily banned.

    Typhoon Haiyan hit my country (the Philippines) pretty badly just this week, so I spent most of the weekend working on reports and news monitoring for my day job. I'm fine, personally, but a lot of people lost their homes, their family members, or their livelihood as a result. :(

    I apologize for the delay in getting the error fixed, and I've contacted my editor to ask for a correction to that paragraph.

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • wargfootwargfoot Gramsfoot, MIPosts: 48Member
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    The whiners should reread their posts.  Seriously, calling lotro pay-to-win shows you have no clue what that phrase means.

     

    #1: Store bought skills which may be purchased long before anyone would ever earn them via ranking.

    #2: Store bought trackers, fall protection, run speed buffs, potions.

    #3: Store bought runes/legacies for more effective weapons.

    #4: Store bought infamy/renown boosts so that crucial ranks are achieved in 1/2 the time.

    #5: Paiz admits that is their philosophy (pay to win) - that it is a viable way to run a game.

    ^ All of that is pay to win.

     

    If you'd like to explain to the rest of the class how exchanging real life money for skills that a character wouldn't normally have (fall protection, run speed, tracking) or potions they wouldn't normally have (health, buffs) or advanced weapons legacies/runs they wouldn't normally have I'd be glad to hear it.

    It is the very definition of pay to win.

    It is the very definition of their development strategy.

     

    PRO TIP: You can always tell when one of Sapience's lap dogs  begins commenting in a thread. 

     

     
  • GjonGjon Burien, WAPosts: 18Member

    LOTRO used to be one of my favorite games, now I just check up on it to see what they've screwed up recently. Even with a lifetime account and everything available free, I can't find any compelling reason to log in.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by wargfoot
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    The whiners should reread their posts.  Seriously, calling lotro pay-to-win shows you have no clue what that phrase means.

     

    PRO TIP: You can always tell when one of Sapience's lap dogs  begins commenting in a thread.

    That's maybe a bit rushed assumption ;) and I'd add to your list the store-exclusive stuff, which you can't aquire even if you're a subscriber (ok, you can pay them from the stipend, but that's a purchase as well...)

     

     

    Originally posted by victorbjr

    I apologize for the delay in getting the error fixed, and I've contacted my editor to ask for a correction to that paragraph.

    There's absolutely no need for apologize Victor, best wishes to you and everyone in the area. I'm pretty sure that minor mistake is not comparable to the biggest typhoon since men are ranking them.... (there was an interview a few days ago when Haiyan went off the charts, the expert just scratched his head, said it's theoretically possible for a storm to grow this big, but he personally never thought it's possible in reality. Well, reality can disprove theories... :I  )

  • wargfootwargfoot Gramsfoot, MIPosts: 48Member
    Originally posted by Po_gg
    Originally posted by wargfoot
    Originally posted by Ozmodan

    The whiners should reread their posts.  Seriously, calling lotro pay-to-win shows you have no clue what that phrase means.

    PRO TIP: You can always tell when one of Sapience's lap dogs  begins commenting in a thread.

    That's maybe a bit rushed assumption ;) and I'd add to your list the store-exclusive stuff, which you can't aquire even if you're a subscriber (ok, you can pay them from the stipend, but that's a purchase as well...)

     

    Oz's comment was so off the wall I had to throw something out there - it could be he's just a troll, in which case, well played.  =)

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,609Member Uncommon

    One thing people here on MMORPG.com dont want to understand about change is that it must happen.


    MMOs must change over time.


    If MMOs remain unchanging like a rock forever then they will eventually stagnate and die in the face of newer competition.


    The article uses WoW talent system as an example of WoWs change, so could you imagine if the system remained unchanged to this day? 81 point talent trees?
    Now could you imagine if all expansions were 10 levels like TBC. So, the talent trees would actually be 101 points.
    Now imagine a brand new player coming into the game and seeing that.

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