LotRO's team fields live dev chat

Justin Olivetti
J. Olivetti|12.20.12

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LotRO's team fields live dev chat
A gaggle of Turbine developers sat down this afternoon to field scores of Lord of the Rings Online questions from the community in a live dev chat. Among the topics discussed were mounted combat, earlier zone revamps, class updates, and PvMP options.

One of the burning topics concerned possible player housing improvements. Turbine said that it needed to address the vacant neighborhoods first, but was moving in that direction: "All I can say is that we have a lot of devs interested in doing some serious home improvement."

We have the full chat transcript for you after the jump, starring Senior Producer Aaron Campbell, Lead Systems Designer Matt Zimmitti, World Designer Matt Fahey, Senior Content Designer Lauren Salk, Senior Content Designer Joe Barry, and Community Manager Rick Heaton.

Q1: How do you feel mounted combat has been received?
A1: Mounted combat has been very well received so far. We're already incorporating feedback into the system. Specifically, we're looking into ways to make the classes have more of a distinct impact in future updates.

Q2: When will you make new creep appearances available in the store?
A2: I just stood over the shoulder of someone working on these this morning. We're hoping for Update 10 and Update 11.

Q3: Why did you remove raid locks from BG? Any plans to let us do the raid over multiple nights again?
A3: Raid locks don't really work well with scaled instances. We think BG is doable in a night. OD will be multiple instances.

Q4: Do you have any plans to make a new zone for Dale and Erebor, or is it just going to be the instances?
A4: Just the instances.

Q5: Do you have any ideas/plans for LotRO nobody but you knows about and you think this would be great?
A5: Yes, yes I do!

Q6: Level cap increases makes me feel like the endgame is increasingly less attainable. Why not add new content mid-game?
A6: We're working on improving mid-level content such as the Moria revamp.

Q7: Are we going to scale Rift/CD anytime in the near future?
A7: They're on the list. There's a lot of nostalgia and love for those spaces, so we're taking our time and treading very carefully.

Q8: Great work on the Bree/Archet appearance! Any plans for other older game areas?
A8: We've been discussing older game areas and how we can bring them up to Rohan quality.

Q9: Hunter class: [Is it] getting anything new in future updates or gameplay?
A9: We're doing a comprehensive investigation into ALL classes.

Q10: What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a career in game development?
Q10: Play lots of games. All games. Look for entry-level positions and work HARD. Or learn to code and how to work well with others.

Q11: When will we see some work done for housing?
A11: Hoo-ee...need to set the stage by getting neighborhoods consolidated with less vacant housing first. Working out the details of that stuff now. All I can say is that we have a lot of devs interested in doing some serious home improvement.

Q12: In a recent interview with LotRO Reporter, you acknowledged video of a landmass. Can you tell us about region's timetable? Update 10?
Q12: The next region is in the update after part two of the instance cluster.

Q13: Is there any way you can delete Hunters so we don't have to hear them cry anymore?
A13: HEY! I'm a Hunter!

Q14: When are you going to fix the forums?
A14: We just revamped lotro.com and the forums are currently in the web team's sights. No ETA. (Soon(tm)!)

Q15: What do you do for fun?
A15: Matt Fahey -- I play lots and lots of games. I have very little time, I live here. Help me.
A15b: Lauren Salk -- I work for fun. Don't help Matt.
A15c: Matt Zimmitti -- Brew beer. Make Cheese. Craft beards.
A15d: Rick Heaton -- Matt has been holding out on me...

Q16: How far down the chain is a Helegrod scaling?
A16: DONE! Go play!

Q17: Can we see something very awesome new feature in 2013? Character updates, better mounted combat, or a very new feature?
A17: YES!

Q18: Will there be mounted combat instances in the future?
A18: There's a lot of design and work going on internally to figure out how to meld mounted combat and instance gameplay in a satisfying way.

Q19: Are there plans to expand Hytbold type of non-killkillkill questing to additional areas of the game?
A19: Variety is the spice of life! Yes.

Q20: The instance finder was a perfect idea but never adopted by players. Do you plan to review it to help solo players to group.
A20: We're looking into it.

Q21: Are there plans to allow mounted combat in future regions?
A21: Yes. We already have mounted combat content in development. It's in the next region.

Q22: What are your plans to protect roleplayers from forced emotes?
A22: Plans? We're done with plans. We're testing a solution right now. In the meantime we're also putting in "serious business" locales where those emotes won't work.

Q23: Are there any plans to revamp questing in the 40s?
A23: Now that Moria is finished, we have our eye on lower levels, but no solid plans.

Q23: Hey, my house is really cold. Anyway to use some dragon fire to heat it up?
A23: Draigoch drops an animated fireplace.

Q24: What were your thoughts on releasing the Rohan cluster into two separate releases?
A24: This balanced approach allows us to focus more on individual spaces. Speed is often the enemy of quality. Cramming them all into one release can seriously bring the overall quality level down. It also allows us to work on more long-term improvements that need to simmer at the same time. It was a very hard decision. We'd prefer to release it as a whole. But it's more important to have quality gameplay.
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