Tuesday, 30 June 2009


There's another two hours or so to go before Book 8 comes available in Europe, and probably between thirty minutes and two hours of downloading the patch after that... If, in less than a week, Turbine and Codemasters have managed to catch all the horrific bugs which were reported after Book 8 launched in the States, they deserve congratulations.

So before we launch into the eagerly-awaited "Scourge of Khazad-dum", this seems like a good moment to take pause briefly and take stock. LOTRO, it seems is on its way to China... According to a timely post on MMeOw, "Turbine has apparently teamed up with CDC Games to release the title in China... CDC Games will be the MMORPG’s exclusive distributor in the country. As you might expect, both parties are excited about this: CDC has 13 million active users for the games it currently handles and expects LotRO to get a piece of that". A new client base of thirteen million customers, or even a small fraction thereof, isn't to be sneezed at by any means.

There has been much grumbling in the ranks of late, and the forums are full of people swearing blind that LOTRO is on the skids, that the player base is crumbling and that at this rate we'll be lucky to see Rohan, never mind Moria. The fact is that that none of us, myself of course included, have the figures to back up our views of how LOTRO is doing from a commercial point of view - so everything you read is merely opinion, sometimes reasonably well informed but mostly based on little more than the writer's prejudices or desires. For what it's worth, I don't go along with the prophets of doom, and I certainly don't think LOTRO is in any serious danger of folding. Granted, there have been several bad design decisions since the launch of Moria - I've highlighted several of them in these pages - as well as a certain amount of bad luck, but none of them are terminal. There are many reasons for optimism. First of all, the unique Middle-earth environment, no matter how much it may have been knocked about in the process of transformation; secondly, the much larger than usual mature audience, many of whom are happy just enjoying the scenery; thirdly, the fact that two good years into the project, neither Turbine nor CM have found it necessary to merge any servers. And finally, of course, there are those millions of Chinese players just a boat journey away...


Tony said...

Great write up.

Certainly things happen that I don't agree with, but I also think it's worth noting that Turbine DOES do many things right as well. It's a two way street and I find that some people, particularly when aggravated
(and on forums haha) tend to ignore that.

Thallian said...

good points, both of yas.