Friday, 14 November 2008


Poor old Codemasters! It really does look as though they need somebody new in charge of sales and distribution (or perhaps, just somebody in charge?)...

With the LOTRO community in a feeding frenzy over the coming of Mines of Moria, rather more than the usual distribution problems are cropping up - yet again. For instance, as of today, it looks as though anybody who pre-ordered from Amazon, and particularly from, will have cancelled their orders. Why? According to the official Amazon response one anxious purchaser posted on the forums, "Sometimes unexpected fluctuations in supply can add time to our original availability estimate. We have learned that "The Lord of the Rings: Mines of Moria - Compendium" is now back-ordered and we now hope that your order will be delivered by early December 2008". December? You have got to be joking - this is a client base which develops acute anxiety attacks if its update is more than twelve hours late, and you expect it to wait patiently for two to three weeks for the game's first major expansion? Get real, Amazon... and by the way, Codemasters, why doesn't a major distributor like Amazon have sufficient stocks on hand, eh?

More serious, if only because failure here is utterly inexplicable, is the whole question of downloading the game (or rather, just the game key) online. This would be fast, practical, cheap and far more environmentally efficient than posting large cardboard boxes full of assorted land-fill fodder around the globe. It could also be implemented by a twelve-year old with an internet site, access to a decent server and a PayPal account. Online availability becomes particularly important when retail purchase is not an option - and according to forum posters, most games retail outlets across Europe are not and will not be stocking Mines of Moria (why they won't is another issue entirely - incentives, anyone?).

So it was a relief to find that on Codemaster's own e-commerce site, MoM could in fact be purchased for download - as it says, above, "ALSO AVAILABLE ON PC DOWNLOAD". Except that it isn't, because clicking on that little promise takes you to the second screen image above - the one that says "No Results". Yes, you can't get there from here, and we don't do that sort of thing in this company, no sir!

Maybe, just maybe, it's time for Codemasters to hire a marketing manager? I can recommend a smart, savvy twelve-year old who lives just down the street from here...

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