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Lord of the Rings Online: Interview with Jeffrey Steefel

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

Recently, Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to talk to Jeffrey Steefel, the Executive Producer behind Turbine's Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. The two talked about Session Play, chickens, numbers and more!

By the Numbers

While Jeff, not surprisingly, wouldn't talk about exact figures, the success of the game is difficult to deny, just look at the shelf of your local game store. I know the EB down the road to me has an entire shelf dedicated to the game.

While he wouldn't talk about specific numbers, Jeff did say this: "We are tracking to the plan we had for bringing this game out into the market. We know we launched successfully... and now we're looking at how we can reach out to a larger audience."

"We're growing in every possible direction," said Jeffrey, speaking about the game's success. He went on to tell me that not only did they have a simultaneous launch in North America and Europe, but that the game has been as successful with the Europeans as it was here in NA. "This IP has a native resonance with them in the same way it does for North Americans."

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

Comments

  • vulgrinvulgrin Member Posts: 12


    "This," Jeffrey said of all of the work and planning that is going into continuing to expand and grow the content in Lord of the Rings Online, "is the beginning of a very long franchise."

    And THAT is precisely why I'm not going anywhere, even with all the nay-sayers out there already talking about LOTRO's demise. There is still a LOT of Middle Earth yet to explore.

    LOTRO: Vulgrin - Dwarf Champion - Gladden
    LOTRO: Truffle - Hobbit Minstrel - Gladden

  • EmilinEmilin Member Posts: 94

    Until they add a real PVP element in the game and not the sorry excuse they for competitive gameplay they have now - not reactivating my account.

    To this day, I still believe it was a bad waste of $40.

     

    image

  • NGESUCKSNGESUCKS Member Posts: 153

    Im giving it one year but this article doesnt sound like there to positive themselves about it. They  want to be number 2? they dont want to beat wow? lol sounds like there not to concerned about there place in the market. The horses are anoying as hell with the dismount thing and im waiting myself to see there solution to it. Im not pyaing 4 gold for another horse anytime soon thats for sure. I wish they would spend more time making horse combat  work instead of playing as a chicken ? Someones been smoking to much pipeweed lol

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  • neveniasnevenias Member Posts: 48

    Mounted combat is being reserved for the Roherian expansion...

     

     

    There are 3 new horses. Each reduces the frequency in which you get knocked off your horse...

     

    2 are available through rep.

    the other is available through pvp.

  • FlummoxedFlummoxed Member Posts: 591

    sorry but i have to say Screw PvP in LotRO. Because: It is not appropriate to the gameworld mythos and has no natural place in the story arc. Monster play yes, some kind of player-as-npc play maybe, but straight up faction or realm or individual PvP NO. 

    Anyway, Steefle was wondering now we're looking at how we can reach out to a larger audience , i'd suggest finding some way to allow players to create minor quest story Content similar to NWN.  Player created scripts would have to be approved and implemented by the Live Team i guess and you couldn't have such quests impacting the obverall gameworld but there's a lot of creative talent among players who are willing to write good professional-grade local content which would make the extra work worthwhile.

  • FlummoxedFlummoxed Member Posts: 591

     

    Originally posted by NGESUCKS


    They  want to be number 2?

    The advantage of going for #2 is Specialization - you don't have to waste vast amounts of time and money and resources trying to be All Things to All People, you can narrow your focus to providing the few things that are really important to your specific customers that play your specific type of mmog.

    -----

    The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

  • porgieporgie Member Posts: 1,516

    Originally posted by Emilin


    Until they add a real PVP element in the game and not the sorry excuse they for competitive gameplay they have now - not reactivating my account.
    To this day, I still believe it was a bad waste of $40.
     
    LotRO never professed to being a PvP-centric game.  If you want an MMO with good PvP then research before you buy.

    This game was made for some of us who don't consider PvP that important.  It's the same reason they make different flavored Slurpee's for you and me.  And I'm not going to rag on you for liking your flavor of Slurpee, so why come over here and dis us for our game play preference?

    -----------------------
    </OBAMA>

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,190

    Originally posted by Emilin


    Until they add a real PVP element in the game and not the sorry excuse they for competitive gameplay they have now - not reactivating my account.
    To this day, I still believe it was a bad waste of $40.
     

    If you were looking for a PvP-centric game, then I agree you probably wasted your money.

     

     

     

    Jon, it's Steefel :)

  • WSIMikeWSIMike Member Posts: 5,564

     

    Originally posted by porgie


     
    Originally posted by Emilin


    Until they add a real PVP element in the game and not the sorry excuse they for competitive gameplay they have now - not reactivating my account.
    To this day, I still believe it was a bad waste of $40.
     
    LotRO never professed to being a PvP-centric game.  If you want an MMO with good PvP then research before you buy.

     

    This game was made for some of us who don't consider PvP that important.  It's the same reason they make different flavored Slurpee's for you and me.  And I'm not going to rag on you for liking your flavor of Slurpee, so why come over here and dis us for our game play preference?

     

    Ahhh this is nothing new. It's all routine with MMOs now. There's always a certain group of people who will swarm practically every MMO's forums, insisting that the game have "real PvP". They do this even if, as you pointed out, the game has never been promoted as having or planning to have it. Doesn't matter. It's a MMO and, therefor, it *must* have open PvP, or it sucks and they won't play it.

    Translated into plain English, what they really mean by "Real PvP" is a system that has no rules and no limitations, where you can PK anyone, anytime and anywhere without penalty. This way, they can hang out in the lowbie zones, gank players 20+ levels lower than them, then pound their chest and gloat about how uber they are.

    Now, that said... I don't claim *all* fans of open PvP are like that. It's really an extremely whiny and vocal minority, who are extremely loud and annoying and just can't take "no" for an answer. Most fans of open PvP are actually off somewhere, happily playing in another MMO that already suits their playstyle.

    (...awaits the inevitable response about "whiny PvE'ers who can't handle a "real man's MMO" or some other such nonsense).

     

    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • DonnieBrascoDonnieBrasco Member Posts: 1,757

     

    Originally posted by WSIMike


     
    Originally posted by porgie


     
    Originally posted by Emilin


    Until they add a real PVP element in the game and not the sorry excuse they for competitive gameplay they have now - not reactivating my account.
    To this day, I still believe it was a bad waste of $40.
     
    LotRO never professed to being a PvP-centric game.  If you want an MMO with good PvP then research before you buy.

     

    This game was made for some of us who don't consider PvP that important.  It's the same reason they make different flavored Slurpee's for you and me.  And I'm not going to rag on you for liking your flavor of Slurpee, so why come over here and dis us for our game play preference?

     

    Ahhh this is nothing new. It's all routine with MMOs now. There's always a certain group of people who will swarm practically every MMO's forums, insisting that the game have "real PvP". They do this even if, as you pointed out, the game has never been promoted as having or planning to have it. Doesn't matter. It's a MMO and, therefor, it *must* have open PvP, or it sucks and they won't play it.

    Translated into plain English, what they really mean by "Real PvP" is a system that has no rules and no limitations, where you can PK anyone, anytime and anywhere without penalty. This way, they can hang out in the lowbie zones, gank players 20+ levels lower than them, then pound their chest and gloat about how uber they are.

    Now, that said... I don't claim *all* fans of open PvP are like that. It's really an extremely whiny and vocal minority, who are extremely loud and annoying and just can't take "no" for an answer. Most fans of open PvP are actually off somewhere, happily playing in another MMO that already suits their playstyle.

    (...awaits the inevitable response about "whiny PvE'ers who can't handle a "real man's MMO" or some other such nonsense).

     

    QFT.

     

    I love PVP, that's why i own a real PVP game (and play it now and then): Battlefield 2. Oh wait, you can't GANK in there, so its not fit for uberhardcore PVP players 

    For LOTR, i love to do many, many, many many other things, alone or in fellowships, and wait for the huge and many expansions coming 

    DB

    Denial makes one look a lot dumber than he/she actually is.

  • RuthgarRuthgar Member Posts: 730

    I enjoyed the Monster Play in LOTRO.  I found it very refreshing from the current  PvP styles out there.

    Unless you have player looting and a severe death penalty, you don't really have PvP. I can find more things to complain about

    LOTRO than it's unique style of Player vs Player combat. I think that l LOTRO's lack of content is it's biggest problem. This will be solved with their content updates, but they had promised monthly updates, and haven't been able to do that yet. If DDO can continue to hang on, LOTRO will too. I'm sure that in a year their subscription numbers will start to grow, but they won't ever be number 2 behind WoW.

  • AirspellAirspell Member, Newbie CommonPosts: 1,391

      I agree , for a PvE centered game content is key, if they can keep it coming and somehow keep high level players happy there is no reason for this game not to be a big sucess.

    image

  • DonnieBrascoDonnieBrasco Member Posts: 1,757

    Originally posted by Ruthgar


    I enjoyed the Monster Play in LOTRO.  I found it very refreshing from the current  PvP styles out there.
    Unless you have player looting and a severe death penalty, you don't really have PvP. I can find more things to complain about
    LOTRO than it's unique style of Player vs Player combat. I think that l LOTRO's lack of content is it's biggest problem. This will be solved with their content updates, but they had promised monthly updates, and haven't been able to do that yet. If DDO can continue to hang on, LOTRO will too. I'm sure that in a year their subscription numbers will start to grow, but they won't ever be number 2 behind WoW.
    I don't think they promised MONTHLY updates. They promised _regular_ updates. So far, it looks "bimonthly"... which is not bad at all, especially since they are free...

    DB

    Denial makes one look a lot dumber than he/she actually is.

  • LynxJSALynxJSA Member RarePosts: 3,190

    Originally posted by Ruthgar

    This will be solved with their content updates, but they had promised monthly updates, and haven't been able to do that yet.


    They said the updates would be every 3 months, and recently bumped that to every two months. They have adhered to that schedule rather well. They never said monthly.

  • KyanMehwulfeKyanMehwulfe Member Posts: 9

    Their approach to content updates is an interesting one, and ultimately will be quite wise I believe. Many of the folks that just want end-game content are fickle. Turbine will have a hard time keeping them as their core audience, regardless. But LOTRO has a very strong core casual base of folks that love social and roleplay features. By catering to them, they can ensure that they have a strong base for a long time to come since very few-to-no other MMOs really do pay much attention to them. It's where Turbine can set themselves apart.

  • WSIMikeWSIMike Member Posts: 5,564

     

    Originally posted by Ruthgar


    Unless you have player looting and a severe death penalty, you don't really have PvP. I can find more things to complain about

     

     

    I realize this is a popular mindset, but it's a mistaken one.

    PvP on its own is a very generic term that means, literally, "Player versus Player". There is no one system or style it implies or is specific to. As long as there are two or more *players* competing against each other, in any context, it's PvP. Be it a MMO, professional sports or a game of chess.

    What you describe is one specific style of PvP. You could say that without what you listed it's not "open" or even "hardcore" PvP. But it is PvP, nonetheless. If it were true that PvP meant specifically what you said, then there would be different terms for the other types, but there aren't. No matter how it's implemented, it's referred to - by developers and otherwise - as PvP.

    This is similar to the whole fuss people made about the first Metroid Prime when it didn't have death-match. It didn't have DeathMatch and so, to many, it wasn't "a real FPS", and would "suck" and would "fail miserably unless they added DM". The arguments made were not at all unlike the ones given for hardcore PvP in an MMO. Meanwhile it went on to win awards and accolades up the wazoo.

     

    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • TheoTheo Member Posts: 242

     

     

    Originally posted by NGESUCKS


    Im giving it one year but this article doesnt sound like there to positive themselves about it. They  want to be number 2? they dont want to beat wow? lol sounds like there not to concerned about there place in the market.

    Sounds more to me like they KNOW their place in the market. WoW has what? 7 million subs? 8 million? NO other MMO even comes close to that. 200,000 is a good number for MMOs. Most have less. None, other than WoW, even breaks a million.

    So for Turbine to say they want to be the second most popular MMO on the market isn't defeatist, it's optimistic. They won't be getting 8 million subs for LotRO, and they know it. To say they will would make them look foolish and put them on the defensive when every interviewer asks them if they consider their actual numbers to be disappointing. Of course they WANT to beat WoW. Who wouldn't? 10 million subs means $150 million a month! But you have to know your market and know where you fit within it.

  • TaramTaram Member CommonPosts: 1,700

    Originally posted by Theo


     
     
    Originally posted by NGESUCKS


    Im giving it one year but this article doesnt sound like there to positive themselves about it. They  want to be number 2? they dont want to beat wow? lol sounds like there not to concerned about there place in the market.

    Sounds more to me like they KNOW their place in the market. WoW has what? 7 million subs? 8 million? NO other MMO even comes close to that. 200,000 is a good number for MMOs. Most have less. None, other than WoW, even breaks a million.

    So for Turbine to say they want to be the second most popular MMO on the market isn't defeatist, it's optimistic. They won't be getting 8 million subs for LotRO, and they know it. To say they will would make them look foolish and put them on the defensive when every interviewer asks them if they consider their actual numbers to be disappointing. Of course they WANT to beat WoW. Who wouldn't? 10 million subs means $150 million a month! But you have to know your market and know where you fit within it.

    Actually there are several which have broken, and still are, over 1 million subs.  Other than WoW, however, you could honestly say no other MMO has broken, and stayed above, 3 million subscribers.

    2 or 3 have broken the 2 million mark but have then dipped back to the 1-1.5mil range. 

    Several have had, in their day, over 300,000 subs but, yes, as you pointed out, most are under 200,000 :)

     

    As to LOTRO?  I'm glad they're not trying to 'beat wow'.  I'd rather they try to 'make it the most tolkienesque game ever made' and stick to that plan.  If it winds up beating WoW?  cool... But to be honest I'd rather they just stay true to the path they are taking.  It's a good one and it's already proven to be successful.

    image
    "A ship-of-war is the best ambassador." - Oliver Cromwell

  • TheoTheo Member Posts: 242

    Thanks for correcting me Taram, and I agree with you. The goal shouldn't be to simply make the single most commercially successful game on the market, but to make a game that best represents Tolkien's works. Do that, and the subs will come.

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