alt="Looking Back at 2011: An Interview with LotRO's Devs" />
2011 was a landmark year for the
Lord of the Rings Online. It saw the fourth anniversary of
the game, and the Turbine staff has been given reason to believe it will
continue going strong into the future. We sat down with Adam
Mersky, Director of Communications for Turbine, and Kate
Paiz, Executive Director for LotRO, for an exclusive interview to look back over the
accomplishments of 2011, and to get a glimpse of the roadmap for the
According to Adam Mersky, one of the biggest accomplishments of 2011 was the
migration of European players to Turbine's global unified community.
"It's been really great for us. Anything that brings us closer to our
players makes us better at what we do," he said. "They're now getting
content day-and-date with North American players. In the past, they
would have to wait, anywhere from a day or two to sometimes up to a
couple of weeks before they got localized content." In other words,
former Codemasters customers are getting their new stuff at the same
time as everyone else without the wait for licensing and other issues.
Kate Paiz remarked on the success of their first full year of F2P.
LotRO (following the business model of Turbine's other big free-to-play
Dungeons & Dragons
Online) is held up as a shining example of F2P done right,
and Turbine does what they can to accommodate players coming from social
networks and other f2p games, learning what expectations and interests
She went on to talk about the positive feedback they have gotten from
2011's revamps of older content. The Evendim region got a full reworking
- mobs were re-leveled and new quests and quest hubs were added, giving
players in the 30 - 40 level range a large, contiguous landscape in
which to work. The Volume II epic books in Moria also received a major
revamp, making them more solo-friendly as the bulk of high-level players
shifted their focus to later locations.
Of particular interest in 2011 was the introduction of the Rise
of Isengard expansion pack, the first paid expansion since
the transition to Free-to-play. According to Kate, "We had such great
results with Rise of Isengard. It was our best-selling expansion yet."
Introducing a paid expansion for a free-to-play game was something of a
gamble for Turbine. Adam explained, "We didn't know how it would do and
how people would respond to it." But the gamble paid off, and the
question of whether or not players would plunk down money for an endgame
expansion in a f2p title was answered with a resounding "yes." According
to Adam, "It was our biggest expansion ever, bigger than Moria or
Mirkwood, which was a pleasant surprise for all of us here. What we
learned was, yes, we can do paid expansions for free-to-play games,
players want that level of content, and we've learned a lot about how
they go about paying for it, how to put it in the store."
This amount of success is sure to have good results in 2012. Adam and
Kate had a lot more to say in this interview about the roadmap for 2012. According to
Adam, "This is a big year for LotRO and DDO. There should be no doubt in
anyone's mind that Turbine is firing on all cylinders right now. We like
to joke about the 5th anniversary for LotRO and the 6th anniversary for
DDO, but Asheron's Call has been around for 12 years. Everything we've
done since the inception of these projects is with that in mind, that
we're there for the long haul, and hopefully every year we'll have [an
interview] like this with you, where we sorta surprise people with, 'Wow, I
can't believe they're continuing to do cool stuff.'"
We'll have more details on the "cool stuff" next week.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Lord of the Rings Online Game Page.