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The Future of LotRO, post Turbine

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  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member EpicPosts: 5,645
    edited July 2016
    Mendel said:
    Mendel said:

    • LotRO ends.  Maybe the most likely option.  The Tolkien estate decides not to renew this license to anyone, and Turbine/Warner are forced to close the game, since no one would likely buy the game for the duration (now through Nov 2017).

    The Tolkien Estate doesn't have ANYTHING to do with the LOTR or Hobbit film or video game licenses.  zip, zero, zilch, nada.

    The license comes from Middle Earth Enterprises which has nothing to do with the estate.  JRR completely sold those rights in 1968.  The tolkien Estate can only nix products through legal battles if they feel they violate the original terms.

    LOTRO will end.  the only other possibility is that WB renews the license to start a new MMO and is able to keep LOTRO running until the new one is released.  Just like how SWG closed right before SWTOR was released.

    You're getting that from Wikipedia.  I think you might want to look beyond that source.  There have been massive legal battles between the Tolkien estate and Saul Zaentz and his various companies.  The claim of 'selling video gaming rights in 1968' is highly suspect in any case, as there really wasn't a concept of video games in 1968.  That has been an ongoing point in their litigation, with the 2012 lawsuit pertaining to explicit digital rights, which the Tolkien estate maintains was not included in the 1969 rights arrangements, claiming at one point the various Zaentz licensees “engaged in a continuing and escalating pattern of usurping rights to which they are not entitled.”

    In any case, United Artists licensed the movie, stage and merchandising rights in 1968.  Those are the rights that Saul Zaentz acquired, and the company, Middle Earth Enterprises, still licenses those. The video game rights were first licensed to Vivendi Universal Interactive in 2002 and passed to Warner Brothers in 2009.

    Now, finding information about the Saul Zaentz Company (a private company) is incredibly difficult.  I can't verify if Zaentz 'owns' the rights outright (and in perpetuity), or pays something to the Tolkien estate.  Certainly, the Tolkien estate seems to act as if they maintain some degree of direct control over the IP.

    It's a matter for the lawyers at this point.
    Also, video games for LOTR and Hobbit started well before 2002 (the 80's)- you're just using confusing wikipedia data for that yourself.  I have those games and know that it's not the estate that licensed them.  the same goes for the pen and pencil RPG

    Here it is with the licensing info - it was called tolkien Enterprises back then - which is why so many get confused with the tolkien estate.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-earth_Role_Playing

    All games and movies were licensed after Saul got his hands on them.  Regardless of what he called the company, and at no time was it the Tolkien Estate.  Please do real research and try to find any validity to what you're claiming.  Including what developers have said about their approval process.

    If Peter Jackson was working with the estate - then he'd have negotiated for things beyond the LOTR and appendices which the estate has no control over.  See why he couldn't include the silmarillion and states that he'd never be allowed to make a movie based on it.

    You clearly haven't looked into this at all and are making incorrect assumptionsd on what little you have.  Once JRR sold those rights, the estate had no power over them unless the rights holders exceed their rights.  As happened with the gambling machine MEE let WB make.

    The estate has also sued new line for profits on the LOTR films that they rightfully felt they deserved.  They may have even asked the courts for the rights back as punishment but that didn't occur.

  • MendelMendel Member LegendaryPosts: 5,512
    No I've looked into it.  And if you did you'd realize that

    1) The tolkien estate has never licensed a game for the properties they actually have rights to like the silmarillion
    2) Christopher tolkien would never license his father materials for games if he had those rights.  Never in a million years.
    3) Find a single case where a movie maker or game dev worked with the estate - you wont find it - they get approval from MEE which has no conenction to the estate

    Stop spreading misinformation.  MEE is attached to all licensed games - not the tolkien estate
    It isn't misinformation.  The Tolkien Estate contends that The Saul Zaentz Company never had the rights to make video games, as the original 1968 agreement existed before the concept of digital rights for computerized media existed.  Zaentz holds rights to make movies and stage plays and merchandise promoting the property.  So, the Tolkien Estate claims they have never licensed rights for game development based on any part of the IP, Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion or other works.

    Middle Earth Enterprises is a holding company, owned by The Saul Zaentz Company.  The sole function of MEE is to license access to the 1968 IP rights.   If the Tolkien Estate is successful in having the digital rights revoked from The Saul Zaentz Company, you can be sure than Tolkien would seek to unravel all of the usage of those disputed 1968 IP rights.

    Legal contention between the Tolkien Estate and The Saul Zaentz Company has been ongoing since at least 2002, so it's not likely to be resolved immediately.  The license expiring in Nov, 2017 is the agreement between TSZC through MEE to Turbine.  TSZC could renew this agreement with Turbine, but it could easily be unraveled if the Tolkien Estate triumphs.

    If you want to see the entire chain of corporate entities involved in this, just take a look at any of the court documents describing the lawsuits.  There's plenty of them online.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • MendelMendel Member LegendaryPosts: 5,512
    so, video games for LOTR and Hobbit started well before 2002 (the 80's)- you're just using confusing wikipedia data for that yourself.  I have those games and know that it's not the estate that licensed them.  the same goes for the pen and pencil RPG

    Here it is with the licensing info - it was called tolkien Enterprises back then - which is why so many get confused with the tolkien estate.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-earth_Role_Playing

    All games and movies were licensed after Saul got his hands on them.  Regardless of what he called the company, and at no time was it the Tolkien Estate.  Please do real research and try to find any validity to what you're claiming.  Including what developers have said about their approval process.

    If Peter Jackson was working with the estate - then he'd have negotiated for things beyond the LOTR and appendices which the estate has no control over.  See why he couldn't include the silmarillion and states that he'd never be allowed to make a movie based on it.

    You clearly haven't looked into this at all and are making incorrect assumptionsd on what little you have.  Once JRR sold those rights, the estate had no power over them unless the rights holders exceed their rights.  As happened with the gambling machine MEE let WB make.

    The estate has also sued new line for profits on the LOTR films that they rightfully felt they deserved.  They may have even asked the courts for the rights back as punishment but that didn't occur.

    For your information, the 1968 rights in question were owned first by United Artists, who sold directly to Saul Zaentz, who formed Tolkien Enterprises which became Middle Earth Enterprises to deal with licensing the Hobbit/LotR IP soon after.  (One of the earlier lawsuits, I believe, Christopher Tolkien didn't like the name 'Tolkien Enterprises' -- and I agree, it's a confusing name).  Middle Earth Role Playing, the pen and paper game, was one of the products licensed under 'Tolkien Enterprises' (and probably the most well known).

    All the gaming rights, including the Vivendi games, derive from these same 1968 rights, sub-licensed to other companies by the Zaentz company through the Tolkien Enterprises or MEE holding companies.  There were also quite a few unlicensed products, too.  I remember several minor board games appeared in the late 70s and were promptly sued into oblivion.  The one I remember was entitled 'The Battle of Five Armies'.  I purchased a copy of that sometime in college (75-79), and it was subsequently destroyed in a flood.  It's difficult to research that, though, as there have been several games with that exact name, as recently as 2014.

    The lawsuit over the profits of the LotR films was pretty weak.  The Tolkien Estate's claim was that the movies substantially altered the story and lore, particularly with how the movies treated Glorfindel and Gimli.  Even though I am in agreement with the lawsuit, it all seemed a bit grabby.

    That's movies, though.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,749
    Po_gg said:
    [...]
    (sidenote, quality may drop, like the last Stable-master thingy which already needs a hotfix because it's in the game, just not working - at all :lol:  )
    Just an update for fairness' sake, the hotfix (lol, "hotfix", a near 2Gb download which takes 2 hours through the throttled F.kamai :wink: ) went up, so now the stable-master collection page is working. Actually it's a pretty cool feature, even if it uses MC.

    They even dropped a diary about it, now that it's functional :wink:
    https://www.lotro.com/en/game/articles/stable-master-developer-diary
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,749
    Sure, not an indication for the future, but Lithe festival just started, and while the letter is similar to previous ones (https://lotro.com/en/summerfestival ), there are actually plenty of new missions and activities, new emotes and consumables added for this year, and not just the regular "a couple cosmetics and a new horse" they used to do with festivals. :wink:
    (and on a sidenote, the new horse is not bad either... only a tablecloth, yes, but it looks decent, and the new cloak / shoulder pad fits for it well)


    @blueturtle13 ; since it's your first festival, just an advice: don't try to "catch them all" ( :lol: ) that only leads to burn-out, there are several years worth of stuff on the list. Just select a few pieces you like (you can check all the outfits in the dressing room), and gather the tokens for only those.
    In my experience, if you have 10-15 minutes on each day, you can get 100-120 tokens very casually, that's enough for a horse and a couple cosmetics. (and the other end of the spectrum, from heavy farmers I've heard numbers above 400... but that's not for sane players)
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member LegendaryPosts: 3,448
    I think Turbine / WB will renew their license with Saul - I imagine its a whole package deal rather than having to get a license for separate games and WB aren't likely to give up the license. So, LotRO will still have a license and will continue for as long as is feasible. My guess is they'll push to complete Mordor and then go into maintenance mode. 

    If the license isn't renewed for any reason, it'll be the end of LotRO. No other company would want to take over the project because its not profitable enough and too old to attract new people. Additionally, Turbine aren't likely to sell their code - whilst some of it will be bespoke, some of it will be code they've reused on other games (such as server-side stuff) so selling the code could pose a security risk. 


    I also don't think we'll see a LotRO 2.0 at any point. I remember reading interviews with devs around release time and they all complained about the strict terms from Saul. Turbine wanted to go multi-faction with more of a sandbox feel, so you could level up as an orc, a haradrim or whatever, as well as the good folk. They wanted to build a living middle earth. But, the license wouldn't let them. As the books were about good overcoming evil, so must the game be. The only concession is the ettenmoors, but you can't level up as a creep or interact with the world at large, you're basically there for freeps to kill, so still kinda fits with the license. 



    With the burnout of themepark MMOs, combined with the films being finished and no more coming down the line, LotR has had its day. Its done us well and the films have really helped push fantasy back towards the mainstream which is great, but that torch has definitely been picked up by GoT and others. LotRO was definitely my favourite MMO at launch and I had some great times in it, would love to see a vanilla server!
  • joeslowmoejoeslowmoe Member UncommonPosts: 127
    edited August 2016
    Lol, did you really just say LotR "has had its day"?

    lulz.

    And trying to put GoT in the same realm of quality so as to say the torch has been passed is beyond comprehension.  The other is such a tool he doesn't even know what he wants to do with his own characters and lets tv networks dictate to him.  fuckouttahere.
  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 6,919
    edited August 2016
    Tolkien died in 1973. So (currently) copyright expires end 2043.

    The future? Come late 2030s companies interested in doing LotR stuff may well decide to wait until it expires; less cost, less restrictions.

    Near future opportunities?

    I suggest the probability of a new film in the near term must be remote. Maybe around - what - 2025? At the earliest. Even then given the "success" of the Peter Jackson films a new version is going to have to be "expensive" otherwise it will be a case of "why bother seeing it, just see the PJ ones".

    New mmo - even more remote.

    A TV series? Possibly but same things as with any new film.

    VR? Maybe. Not today though. And as and when VR properly arrives it will be able to use myths, legends and so on. A title won't need a big IP until the market is saturated. And even then there are a huge number of out of copyright titles. (Although I suspect Peter Pan will get done at some point despite its copyright that never grows old!) (Wonder whether SZC own the VR rights?)

    So maybe: 

    With no obvious near term demand; a possible window for getting a 10 year deal done with "someone" from maybe 2025-2030 to 2035-2040 - always assuming someone wants to remake the films, do a TV series or whatever (and 10 years because that is what EA's deal with Disney for SW was for) and a drop dead date of 2043 I think SZC will be happy if they get some more $$$ from WarnerBros until 2020 say. Always assuming WarnerBros want to pay of course.
  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 6,919
    edited August 2016
    Mendel said:
    No I've looked into it.  And if you did you'd realize that

    1) The tolkien estate has never licensed a game for the properties they actually have rights to like the silmarillion
    2) Christopher tolkien would never license his father materials for games if he had those rights.  Never in a million years.
    3) Find a single case where a movie maker or game dev worked with the estate - you wont find it - they get approval from MEE which has no conenction to the estate

    Stop spreading misinformation.  MEE is attached to all licensed games - not the tolkien estate
    It isn't misinformation.  The Tolkien Estate contends that The Saul Zaentz Company never had the rights to make video games, as the original 1968 agreement existed before the concept of digital rights for computerized media existed.  Zaentz holds rights to make movies and stage plays and merchandise promoting the property.  So, the Tolkien Estate claims they have never licensed rights for game development based on any part of the IP, Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion or other works.

    Middle Earth Enterprises is a holding company, owned by The Saul Zaentz Company.  The sole function of MEE is to license access to the 1968 IP rights.   If the Tolkien Estate is successful in having the digital rights revoked from The Saul Zaentz Company, you can be sure than Tolkien would seek to unravel all of the usage of those disputed 1968 IP rights.<snip>

    It is an argument - see @Mendel 's point above though,

    One other factor: in 1968 the copyright for (a known) author was only life + 50 years. It was extended to life + 70 years in 1995 to bring it into line with other EU / EEA countries. 

    Which introduces the added argument that the copyright that SZC now holds was only intended to last until 2023.

    Of course that could be moot if the 1995 extension is "repealed" and copyright reverts to life + 50 years.

    This "contention" though could be a factor in any company (other than WarnerBros.) wanting to acquire rights to a new LotR product in the near term. If there are any etc. 
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 30,960
    gervaise1 said:
    Tolkien died in 1973. So (currently) copyright expires end 2043.

    The future? Come late 2030s companies interested in doing LotR stuff may well decide to wait until it expires; less cost, less restrictions.


    Why wouldn't the holders just renew it?
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  • cameltosiscameltosis Member LegendaryPosts: 3,448
    Lol, did you really just say LotR "has had its day"?

    lulz.

    And trying to put GoT in the same realm of quality so as to say the torch has been passed is beyond comprehension.  The other is such a tool he doesn't even know what he wants to do with his own characters and lets tv networks dictate to him.  fuckouttahere.
    Lord of the Rings - the book - is a timeless classic and will be around for centuries. It was groundbreaking in many ways.


    But, times have moved on. Tolkien wasn't a very good writer, he just had an amazing imagination and was able to describe his creations well. Middle Earth was an amazing creation, but the actual stories set within Middle Earth were often lacklustre. 


    So, try thinking back before the movies were released. The book was popular (along with Tolkiens other work) but there wasn't much interest beyond that. Hardly any video games were made about Middle Earth. It was the films that changed everything. Since the films, there have been tons of video games. The films put Middle Earth front and centre for just over a decade (between lotr and hobbit) and brought fantasy to the mainstream. 

    But, the hobbit films are finished so we aren't likely to see anything more (film wise) until someone feels the need to remake them. LotR has made fantasy acceptable for the mainstream which is why Game of Thrones has been made. I'm not saying GoT is better than LotR (I believe middle earth is the better creation, but GoT has the better stories) just that GoT is currently carrying the fantasy torch as far as the public is concerned. 


    For us to continue seeing games get made, publishers and developers need to see a return on their investment. With MMOs being so expensive, plus the license problems for LotR, I can't see any devs or publishers bothering with a sequel. The more time passes, the more LotR leaves the publics mind and thus has less pulling power. People like us will always remember and love it, but mr joe public isn't like us. Why make a new LotRO MMO for $100m when I could make a GoT MMO for the same amount but with an active audience 10x the size? It has nothing to do with quality, only public perception. 
  • craftseekercraftseeker Member RarePosts: 1,740
    Sovrath said:
    gervaise1 said:
    Tolkien died in 1973. So (currently) copyright expires end 2043.

    The future? Come late 2030s companies interested in doing LotR stuff may well decide to wait until it expires; less cost, less restrictions.


    Why wouldn't the holders just renew it?
    Because copyright renewal is not a thing. It was a thing in the U.S. only but it didn't work the way you seem to think it did and has long since been removed.
  • JeroKaneJeroKane Member EpicPosts: 6,712
    edited August 2016
    Stizzled said:
    I fully expect WB to retain the rights. However, whether or not LotRO continues for much longer is still up in the air. Turbine is in the process of switching to mobile development, which is one step away from being dissolved entirely. If they can't make WB a decent chunk of change in that area then good-bye Turbine and all of their games.

    Barring the closure of Turbine, it really depends on how profitable LotRO currently is, and whether any of their future plans can increase it's profitability. I give the game and Turbine another couple of years at most.

    I don't see there being another LotR MMO any time soon, if ever. The IP just isn't as popular as it was. GoT has taken the fantasy crown, for now.

    I also think they will close it down next year and I hardly doubt WB will renew the License for LOTR games, as the IP has gone past it's prime time, since both LOTR and Hobbit Movies are done and have come to pass.

    There is simply nothing they can do anymore with the franchise, since any other Tolkien work is in the hands of the Tolkien Estate and Christopher Tolkien has made it very clear, time and again, that as long as he is alive he will not sell a single right to anyone.

    So any other work, like Silmarillion, will never be translated into a film or game.
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 30,960
    edited August 2016
    Sovrath said:
    gervaise1 said:
    Tolkien died in 1973. So (currently) copyright expires end 2043.

    The future? Come late 2030s companies interested in doing LotR stuff may well decide to wait until it expires; less cost, less restrictions.


    Why wouldn't the holders just renew it?
    Because copyright renewal is not a thing. It was a thing in the U.S. only but it didn't work the way you seem to think it did and has long since been removed.
    never mind, I found this:

    The 1992 amending legislation secures this second term for works copyrighted between January 1, 1964, and December 31, 1977 without a renewal registration requirement.

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  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 30,960
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  • ForgrimmForgrimm Member EpicPosts: 3,056
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,749
    edited August 2016
    Nice job with the interview, Dadi, can't wait the second part.
    Of course it won't stop the doomsayers, since there's no actual and detailed answer for when will they sign the license deal, where will it happen, who will be there, and what will be the colour of the ink... which is fine, that's why we love them doomsayers.  :lol:

    I don't have lag issues either personally (just an occasional spike here and there), but I used to hear, especially during events, that for others it is a serious issue. Since Harnkegger will launch next week, I hope the coders at Turbine keep fighting back the multi-headed lag hydra, wouldn't be fair to win just because the opponents had some lag... go, team Hobbit :waving:
  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,749
    edited September 2016
    Can't comment the raid part, since I never liked the concept of raid treadmill (and not only when game is not build around it as Torval says, don't like the concept as a whole :wink: )

    U19 in the Fall is great news.

    Class, I agree, but that is all their fault sadly, a result of the changes since HD and the trait trees. Hunter, the original single-target dps machine not needed as "not enough dps on the table"... same for burgs, and their former massive burst dps.
    FMs, a very cool and unique system, also ditched due to "slowing us down, not enough damage"... sad. My only concern that their fix to that will be something similar which caused the issue in the first place, boosting the power like they did with everything else. (I still can only /facepalm when see a mini out-dps the whole party, what a dumb change)

    Old content don't need a revamp imo, a random selected insta with some additional reward is enough (IotW), maybe they could extend it with a mechanic similar to TSW's challenge system.
  • MendelMendel Member LegendaryPosts: 5,512
    Thanks for the links to the interviews.  It is encouraging to see plans for the game beyond the 2017 deadline.

    I'm still a bit leery about the rights renewal though, after all, lawyers and international law are involved.  I hope it happens as smoothly as most rights renewals do (and the developers' expect).  I think this renewal period has some extenuating circumstances, though.
    • The Tolkien Estate has had a relatively contentious relationship with the Zaentz companies.  This will be the first renewal since Saul Zaentz' death.  The Tolkien Estate may see this as an opportunity to simply walk away from this business relationship and negotiate more favorable terms with another holder.  Turbine / WB would (probably, there are no absolutes in law) be free to reacquire the rights from the new rights holder.
    • Declining worldwide sales of printed media may push the Tolkien Estate to try to supplement the licensing revenues generated by rights to the conventional publishing industries.  One avenue to do this may be to increase revenues from other rights, specifically from derived works, such as movie and game licensing that the Zaentz rights cover.  The costs for the Zaentz companies to retain their rights to the IP may increase, and it would not be unlikely that cost increases would be pushed down to Turbine / WB.
    • One of the most recent court cases involved Zaentz's companies 'extending' their IP rights to produce gambling games, something the Tolkien Estate is very much against.  The Tolkien Estate may try to unravel any unfavorable court decisions by discontinuing the Zaentz companies access to those rights and reissuing them to a different company.  I see this as slightly different from the first case, as it might provide a legal means for the Tolkien Estate to pursue damages for prior misuse of the IP.
    I hope that the situation never devolves to these levels.  I really don't see any issues between Turbine, Warner Brothers, and MEE / Zaentz.  That will probably come about as business-as-usual.  It may be that the rights renewal between the Tolkien Estate and the Zaentz companies will be equally as smooth and hassle-free.  That is certainly the best case for the LotRO and its players.

    Any issue, if any does arise, will be initiated by the Tolkien Estate.  I can't see any scenario where Zaentz (or Turbine or WB) would initiate any legal actions.

    I really do hope that all sides manage to come to satisfactory terms that won't severely impact my ability to play LotRO.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Member LegendaryPosts: 9,772
    edited September 2016
    You know this topic comes up every few years and every few years the company buys in for a few more years for rights to the IP. Whats different this time?

    EDIT: NM read above post. I dont think things will change. No one else is making a LotR MMO we know of and the game has been built to follow lore rules and what is expected by the owners of the IP. On both sides of the fence it would be turning away money for no good reason. 
  • waynejr2waynejr2 Member EpicPosts: 7,768
    gervaise1 said:
    Tolkien died in 1973. So (currently) copyright expires end 2043.

    The future? Come late 2030s companies interested in doing LotR stuff may well decide to wait until it expires; less cost, less restrictions.

    Near future opportunities?

    I suggest the probability of a new film in the near term must be remote. Maybe around - what - 2025? At the earliest. Even then given the "success" of the Peter Jackson films a new version is going to have to be "expensive" otherwise it will be a case of "why bother seeing it, just see the PJ ones".

    New mmo - even more remote.

    A TV series? Possibly but same things as with any new film.

    VR? Maybe. Not today though. And as and when VR properly arrives it will be able to use myths, legends and so on. A title won't need a big IP until the market is saturated. And even then there are a huge number of out of copyright titles. (Although I suspect Peter Pan will get done at some point despite its copyright that never grows old!) (Wonder whether SZC own the VR rights?)

    So maybe: 

    With no obvious near term demand; a possible window for getting a 10 year deal done with "someone" from maybe 2025-2030 to 2035-2040 - always assuming someone wants to remake the films, do a TV series or whatever (and 10 years because that is what EA's deal with Disney for SW was for) and a drop dead date of 2043 I think SZC will be happy if they get some more $$$ from WarnerBros until 2020 say. Always assuming WarnerBros want to pay of course.

    Let's wait until TPP is decided and then we can see if there is a new date.
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  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member EpicPosts: 5,645
    Torval said:
    Thanks for posting the second link. That interview highlights exactly why progression raiding is bad for a game unless that game is built around doing that. WoW is built around progression raiding. Rift is built around it. Progression works well in that system. It does not in LotRO.

    Progression raiders want the best loot for T2C which would invalidate and trivialize all other progression outside of that. Raiding obviously isn't for the challenge. They don't want cosmetics as a reward (there have been forum discussions around that). They want better loot for bragging rights and to trivialize all the other content.

    Turbine should do away with T1, T2 and T2C. They should have a raid and then a challenge mode to the raid that awards extra, but not superior.
    LOTRO WAS built around progression raiding from the start.  But when they spent all the money the lifetime subs gave them, they didn't have enough monthly subs to pay for the development of raid tiers.  This happened during the first expansions lifetime and led to a mini expansion Siege of Mirkwood.
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member EpicPosts: 5,645
    edited October 2016
    Mendel said:
    Thanks for the links to the interviews.  It is encouraging to see plans for the game beyond the 2017 deadline.

    I'm still a bit leery about the rights renewal though, after all, lawyers and international law are involved.  I hope it happens as smoothly as most rights renewals do (and the developers' expect).  I think this renewal period has some extenuating circumstances, though.
    • The Tolkien Estate has had a relatively contentious relationship with the Zaentz companies.  This will be the first renewal since Saul Zaentz' death.  The Tolkien Estate may see this as an opportunity to simply walk away from this business relationship and negotiate more favorable terms with another holder.  Turbine / WB would (probably, there are no absolutes in law) be free to reacquire the rights from the new rights holder.
    • Declining worldwide sales of printed media may push the Tolkien Estate to try to supplement the licensing revenues generated by rights to the conventional publishing industries.  One avenue to do this may be to increase revenues from other rights, specifically from derived works, such as movie and game licensing that the Zaentz rights cover.  The costs for the Zaentz companies to retain their rights to the IP may increase, and it would not be unlikely that cost increases would be pushed down to Turbine / WB.
    • One of the most recent court cases involved Zaentz's companies 'extending' their IP rights to produce gambling games, something the Tolkien Estate is very much against.  The Tolkien Estate may try to unravel any unfavorable court decisions by discontinuing the Zaentz companies access to those rights and reissuing them to a different company.  I see this as slightly different from the first case, as it might provide a legal means for the Tolkien Estate to pursue damages for prior misuse of the IP.
    I hope that the situation never devolves to these levels.  I really don't see any issues between Turbine, Warner Brothers, and MEE / Zaentz.  That will probably come about as business-as-usual.  It may be that the rights renewal between the Tolkien Estate and the Zaentz companies will be equally as smooth and hassle-free.  That is certainly the best case for the LotRO and its players.

    Any issue, if any does arise, will be initiated by the Tolkien Estate.  I can't see any scenario where Zaentz (or Turbine or WB) would initiate any legal actions.

    I really do hope that all sides manage to come to satisfactory terms that won't severely impact my ability to play LotRO.
    The Tolkien Estate isn't likely to expand what they do while Christopher is in charge.  He won't budge.

    The Estate is NOT getting the movie/TV/merchandise rights back for Hobbit/LOTR.  Those rights have been gone since 1968 - they won't magically get them back now.  Licensed video games for those works have been out since the 80's.  If they wanted to claim the rights didn't cover video games they've waited far too long.

    I think even if WB renews LOTR/Hobbit licenses they have little motivation to waste their resources on LOTRO.  But, ideally they will allow LOTRO to go into maintenance mode while they let another developer create the next middle earth MMO.

    Turbine's multi-year plan means nothing if WB decides not to fund it or renew the license.  MMO development is a risky business these days.
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member EpicPosts: 5,645
    edited October 2016
    --- why can't we delete posts? ---
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