While Standing Stone has been communicative over the past month, we wanted to dig deeper into the decision to form the new studio, its relationship with Daybreak, and plans for both DDO and LOTRO going forward. To wit, we sat down with Standing Stone Executive Producer Rob “Severlin” Ciccolini, Lead Designer Ben “DrOctothorpe” Schneider, and Community Manager Jerry “Cordovan” Snook to discuss this major transition and its possible impact for these two MMO game worlds.
The fun will begin next month with LOTRO’s Update 20, which will feature precursor events leading up to Mordor. Speaking of which, the Mordor expansion might be coming as soon as Q2 or Q3 2017 (Cordovan indicated June or after as a possibility). “We’ve wanted to do Mordor for so long,” he said.
The team has “really big” content and gift plans for the game’s 10th anniversary, and will continue to work on shoring up the technical side and reducing lag. There are also plans for a post-expansion update for later this year.
So what was the reason behind the move from Turbine to Standing Stone Games? Cordovan hedged a bit, saying that it was a corporate decision in the works for a year. “It aligned with everyone’s interests in a way that I think will be interesting for everybody involved. An opportunity came up and we were able to make this happen,” he said.
Listen to the full interview (it’s the first segment of the show) after the break.
Cordovan did say that players shouldn’t hold their breath in the hopes that premium housing will be purchasable with anything other than cash. But what about those who did spend money on a house that has an eviction date if upkeep is not paid? “My understanding is it’s not very easy to get evicted from a premium house. So that may well be something we will have to deal with if it becomes an actual issue but I’m not sure it’s a likely outcome for most folks,” Cordovan said.
One other notable topic was that of raids. Cordovan revealed that it takes between 12 and 18 months for the team to produce a new raid, which is an “all hands on deck” type of project. He said that the team would like to get another raid out in 2017 but is not making promises that this will happen.
“It looks like we will not be able to get U19 out on Monday,” the devs said, “as we found an issue with the Henneth Annun landscape that we want to correct prior to going live with the update. We’re still looking at [this] week for U19, though. Stay tuned for a more specific time frame.”
So if you’re chafing at the delay, here are four great ways to pass the time. The first is by poring over the Update 19: March of the King patch notes because you can never be too well informed. The second is to read or listen through the first part of Dadi’s interview with CM Cordovan about Update 19 and the various changes coming with the patch.
Numbers three and four concern a pair of videos waiting for you after the break, with a look at 10 reasons to play LOTRO in 2016 and a recap of the conversation between the Tolkien Professor and Jeffrey Libby.
Over a month later and seemingly little has improved. The situation has even worsened, as players are reporting that even opening up the store in DDO causes the game to crash. All of this is exacerbated by a perceived lack of communication from the studio, which has prompted the community to issue a plea for an official dialogue about the issues.