Turbine spins LOTRO and DDO teams out to new studio, using Daybreak as publisher

Welp, didn't see this one coming.

Turbine has just announced that it's spinning off the Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online teams into a new studio called Standing Stone Games, which will use none other than Daybreak to publish around the world. Here's the whole thing:

Today we have some momentus news! The game teams responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) are now moving from Turbine to Standing Stone Games, a newly formed indie game studio. In addition, we’ve partnered with Daybreak Games to provide global publishing services. They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise.

With the announcement out of the way, I wanted to talk to you about what all this means.

We're embarking on an exciting adventure as Standing Stone Games, a newly-independent studio staffed by people who have been working on DDO and LOTRO for many years. The teams remain very much committed to both games and are thrilled to continue development and operations of these games as an independent studio. This is an opportunity for us to bring about our dreams while still working on two of the biggest licenses in video games. It's a huge honor, and for you this means your games will continue to grow and improve. We love to focus on games with a high level of depth and scope, and we can't wait to show you what the future brings.

Although a great many exciting things are happening on our end, you'll be able to continue playing the game(s) you enjoy with as little interruption as possible. Our development continues on track, and the plans we have already announced remain firmly in our future view. Again, although we are a new studio, we are also the same developers who have been and will continue to work on our games.

Our success has always been possible because of your support. As we move forward, this is more important than ever. The ultimate goal of our new studio is to continue to bring you amazing experiences. We are excited for the future, and we’re thrilled to have you with us on this journey.

Here's to great games, epic adventures, and memorable times with friends!

The official FAQ says that it's "business as usual" for the dev teams. "Turbine will no longer be involved in the development of LOTRO and DDO." It appears that very little is changing on the player end; the games will continue on with their existing data centers, business models, account system, and so forth.

"We are extremely excited by this transition into an independent studio, and we can't wait to work on the game long into the future," says the LOTRO team. "Daybreak Game Company’s role as publisher for LOTRO and DDO should have no impact on any existing Daybreak games."

We have reached out to Turbine for clarification on a number of questions, including Asheron's Call. We'll update you all when we have answers!

Source: Official forums. Thanks, Triski!
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260 comments
Union Jack
Union Jack

So Sauron finally got his hands on the ring we are all doomed goodbye LOTRO :(I now hope they loose the licence too).

Series5Ranger
Series5Ranger

Now where have I heard this before......


"The Development Team on City of Heroes have split off from Cryptic to form Paragon Studios......."  Oh yeah that's it.

g8czarle
g8czarle

we want asherons call gtfoh with this BS game

dylanh724
dylanh724

"with Daybreak Games to provide global publishing services. They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise."


Oh yea, we all see how they murdered EverQuest. Good job for choosing such a company that destroys hopes and dreams.

MewmewGirl
MewmewGirl

@dylanh724 - They ruined EverQuest Landmark, cancelled EverQuest Next, and have been destroying H1Z1 too (slowly, it's still in Early Access and *barely* moving forward at all).  In the gaming world they've gained a reputation for being a lazy, exploitative and cancerous company. What a great partner.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

@MewmewGirl @dylanh724 I wonder if it's Daybreak or their parent company The Renova Group.  Bioware stated that Mass Effect was a planned trilogy, but EA overruled them and said it would be a "long term franchise".  So it's happened before that developers wanted one thing, but the execs who write their checks said otherwise.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

@dylanh724 In fairness, they only murdered EQN.  The previous two EQ games are still chugging along.

JameZaye
JameZaye

@DrowNoble @dylanh724 And the reason for "killing it" was that they were building way too much hype and believe they were unable to meet the technical requirements for the game they intended to make.


In all honesty that doesn't sound like laziness, that sounds like a project they knew was going to fail, took a step back and cut their losses. Two games that didnt do this were Infinite Crisis and No Man's Sky. The first crippled a PC studio and has caused it to split into two (hence this article) and the latter caused so much of an internet shitstorm that the devs went silent for 3 months.


The layoff were just because with no game project, why keep them? Job changes are almost constant in video game development.

KamaKuro
KamaKuro

Daybreak.. where good mmos go to die.. (MxO)

Kaikuruo
Kaikuruo

LOTRO has one of the most confusing business models to alot of people so Turbine shot themselves in the foot. You can buy alot of the expansions and still be locked out of lower lvl zones. Its annoying as hell to see npc's with a buy content lock over their heads but if you go into a higher lvl zone its unlocked. Really dumb as hell and people just quit over it. 

Dobablo
Dobablo

I read that as Stand Alone Games.

Rebel Engie
Rebel Engie

NNoooooooooooooo!!!!

Not Theybreak please  :(

JameZaye
JameZaye

@Rebel Engie They'll only publish it. And considering theyll be busy with their own development of games... they wont be anywhere near as bad as WB was to LOTRO.


Warner Bros just held onto LOTRO so they could keep everything to do with that IP. Back when they put their own ideas into it during 2012-2013 updates, they ran the game into the ground.


If anything this should see a positive effect to LOTRO, I mean, they are already announcing plans of a new expansion, more raiding content and character model updates.

ravenoc
ravenoc

Noooooooo! Not my precious LOTRO... 

Jack Pipsam
Jack Pipsam

*Wipes head*
Okay, I have updated 5 Wikipedia pages with the new information, using this article as the reference. Gotta keep Wikipedia up to date.

TR3LON1ST
TR3LON1ST

I was really never a passanger on the Daybreak hate train, but I haven't seen good community management there since the early days of EQN. If Daybreak doesn't change drastically for LOTRO or DDO, I don't consider this an improvement in any shape or form =/

Jack Pipsam
Jack Pipsam

mcI am getting Broadsword vibes from this.

Meaning it's possible LotRO and DDO will get a new amazing amount of support.
And Turbine will be very quickly closed if their Game of Thrones mobile thing bombs.

I am curious about the licencing deals and all sorts on the WB side honestly, this all seems so out of the wayside, none of it makes sense to me yet.
Also I wonder what Daybreak gets from all this, the way it's talking the accounts are the exact same, so it's not like Daybreak accounts are getting a boost or anything.

I just hope Asheron's Call survives okay.

SallyBowls1
SallyBowls1

@Jack Pipsam  Isn't what DBG gets from this is money? For every dollar they sell, they keep X% and send the rest to SSG. Perhaps no different than Trion with AA.

Jack Pipsam
Jack Pipsam

@SallyBowls1 @Jack Pipsam Sure, but how much money does Daybreak expect to actually make?

LoTRO and DDO, love them for what they are, but they're long past the peak of revenue with player bases which while stable (we assume), aren't showing major signs of increased numbers.

Of course this depends how much Daybreak has invested in. If they've invested very little into this, then sure they should be able to make it back, then a profit.
But if Daybreak has purchased the licence (to two major IPs from major corporations) along with spending money to build a whole new office and pay for the creation of this new studio, then I am skeptical of how much money they hope to receive.

Because does Daybreak own the current licence or does Stone Games? If Stone Games does, where did they get the cash from? Daybreak? I doubt Warner Brothers of all would have just given it away. If not Daybreak where?
If Daybreak didn't put in the money, then why would they need to be publisher if their account system and servers aren't being used, what role are they meant to play? Because to me the only reason they'd be playing a role is if they invested the cash or part of the cash needed to make this happen.

With Archeage, the relationship is easy to understand. Trion got the licence to the game, translated it and is now running it themselves on their accounts, their servers, so they make the money (and yeah a cut would go back to the orignal devs).

But this situation right here isn't that black and white, at least not with the lack of details we have.

Falconloft
Falconloft

@Jack Pipsam @SallyBowls1 Generally a game (MMO or not) seeks out a new studio when they're looking to expand their services into new areas (see ArcheAge or Black Desert Online), or don't want to be burdened with the advertising side of things (e.g. Cities: Skylines and Paradox Interactive).

bryanjturner
bryanjturner

Ah well I just tried reinstalling and patching the game, keeps telling me there's an error, can't be bothered to give a damn so back to games that actually want to work for me.

Zarkov
Zarkov

And that's it for LOTRO.

Cambruin
Cambruin

I do not understand the negativity around this news, but oh well.


I guess the million-dollar question will be this; exactly how 'invested' are TheyBreakGames/Columbus Nova? How big an influence have they  over the final product?

A clear and concise answer will tell us absolutely everything we need to know. This'll make or break their future.

JameZaye
JameZaye

@Cambruin People keep forgetting the difference between Daybreak Publishing a game and developing it.

When they publish games go well, when they develop, it's messy but still all goes well.

quixadhal
quixadhal

@JameZaye @Cambruin Maybe you're thinking of a different Daybreak than I am.  I'm remembering the former SOE, which Sony finally kicked to the curb for running over budget and failing to deliver on multiple games, which were cancelled and shuttered.

Or have we already forgotten Pirates of the Burning Sea, Vanguard, Wizardry Online, The Agency, and of course Star Wars Galaxies, Everquest Next, and Everquest Adventures?


There have been others, but those are the biggest named titles I can remember.  Half of them were developed in-house, the others were simply published.

To date, the only Daybreak games that continue to be profitable are Everquest, Everquest II, and DC Universe Online.  And we don't know how profitable... since they were all SOE developed, and since Sony disbanded SOE, allowing them to become Daybreak and retain their assets... clearly Sony didn't think they were profitable enough.


There are, and have been, many talented people at Daybreak.  But their leadership seems to have bad ideas, and they have a history of stubbornly pushing those bad ideas all the way to the breaking point.  I wish them luck.

Suikoden
Suikoden

I guess it's good in the fact that I do believe that Lotro and DDO will be around for a while.  It sucks in the fact that Daybreak is nothing more than a shell of a company that is now owned by some investment firm that knows jack about games.

JameZaye
JameZaye

@Suikoden So... the same state that most major AAA publishers are in now? I mean WB Games isnt doing too well either.
And since they made EverQuest and Ultima Online. The 2 big MMOs before WoW can around, At least Standing Stone Games will be working with a business partner actually interested in making MMOs (unlike a mobile game transitioning Turbine).

thraay
thraay

@JameZaye @Suikoden I can reassure you that Ultima Online is not made or even published by Daybreak Games.  EA / Mythin Entertainment is now the developers and publishers of UO.

And btw Daybreak had nothing to do with the making of Everquest or Ultima Online.. Zero to do with it exactly.  Anyone that made Everquest was long since gone before SOE was sold off and bought up / name changed into Daybreak.

Grakus
Grakus

They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise.


Those people were fired in 2015. The one's that are left there now are the inept and lazy employees that don't care about anyone but themselves. 

JameZaye
JameZaye

@Grakus You mean the developers of Daybreak's own games?

Nah, they mean the people like the Marketing team or the Press machine of Daybreak - They wont need advice on how to make a MMORPG from people who make a multiplayer zombie survivor or a Space Battle Multiplayer.

Jnaathra
Jnaathra

I feel a bit sick to my stomach, both from hearing the word "Daybreak" and wondering where this leaves their legacy titles "Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2" both of which are still running and are housed in the same data center. 

ddocentral
ddocentral

@Jnaathra No word on Asheron's Call or Asheron's Call 2 yet. However, those games do not appear on Small Stone's new website along with LOTRO and DDO.

breetoplay
breetoplay moderator

@SallyBowls1 @ddocentral @Jnaathra We did ask specifically about them yesterday (among other things conspicuously absent from the FAQ) but have not gotten a response to any of our questions. Though ofc now we know.

SallyBowls1
SallyBowls1

@ddocentral @Jnaathra  The article on this site from July 7th got the Turbine quote "Turbine is transitioning into a free-to-play, mobile development studio, and as a result we are eliminating some positions. The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons online games will continue to operate as they do now."  


AC & AC2 were noticeably not mentioned there. (I assume MOP followed up and did not get a response.) Nor did they get mentioned this time ...

JameZaye
JameZaye

@Jnaathra Asheron's Call is a Turbine specific IP so I doubt they would have been allowed to take it with them.


And as expected.... just got announced that both Asheron's Call 1 & 2 are closing Jan 31st forever.


So much for private servers, although I blame WB and Turbine specifically for that one.

bryanjturner
bryanjturner

Guess I better play this game before it goes extinct, I only own up to Riders of Rohan how much would it cost me to get current?

MEGALUS
MEGALUS

@bryanjturner Even though you didn't get the launcher in working order, I would like to mention that it will cost you $10 to buy Helm's Deep on LotRO's marketplace website thing.  It's on sale for 75% off for the holidays.  After that, all you need is a subscription and you won't have to buy everything else piecemeal.  Realistically, you could get away with skipping Helm's Deep, but you'd miss out on some of the gameplay as well as the deeds and two trait points that are earned through questing.  Helm's Deep was LotRO's biggest shame.  It's where they broke their promise on the epic story.  The end of volume 3 is locked behind a paywall.  That is to say, you need Helm's Deep to do the Helm's Deep epic story.  This is because the epic battle system is part of the epic story.

SeedEve
SeedEve

"The probability that this doesn't end well is high....very high".

Sargonnax
Sargonnax

I was at work when this news story popped up on my phone. My first reaction was hey that's a great April fools joke. Then I remembered its December and my next reaction was what the hell.


I haven't seen anything out of Daybreak that would make me confident they are capable of doing anything.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

Well those people that think Daybreak is on the verge of collapse... another company doesn't ask you to publish for them if they think you're going to fold soon.


The question now is with DDO and LOTRO be better or worse without Turbine?  Time will tell....

thraay
thraay

@DrowNoble Or it could be that it was the only option  that had. Fold up and move on themselfs or go with the shell of Daybreak and hope that it doesnt fold up as well.  I predict 2017 to bet he year that Daybreak bites the dust.

DrowNoble
DrowNoble

@thraay @DrowNoble As soon as SOE went away and Daybreak emerged, people have been predicting the fall of Daybreak.  So far, they seem to be doing well. EQ2 just released a new expansion, something difficult to do if they company was about to fold.

Tolkien is a huge license and you don't have another company publish for you if you think that company is going to close.


Of course if their parent company decided to shut down that's a different story.  Despite City of Heroes consistently turning a profit, NCSoft shut them down anyways... for vague and/or contradictory reasons.  So there could be some corporate reason the public isn't privy to that could get Daybreak shuttered.