Standing Stone says that new LOTR MMO will have no impact on Lord of the Rings Online

    
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Are you concerned over the announcement of a new Lord of the Rings MMORPG? Welp, you’re not alone. As we covered yesterday, Leyou Technologies, the Chinese company that owns Warframe studio Digital Extremes, has spun up a new company called Athlon Games specifically to “develop and publish a free-to-play massively multiplayer online video game” set in the Lord of the Rings universe and in partnership with Middle-earth Enterprises.

That’s got a lot of existing players of Lord of the Rings Online a bit panicked over the fate of Standing Stone Games’ licensing agreements. (Although to be honest, that’s been true almost since the game launched; licensing concerns crop up over and over, and the game trucks on.)

But Standing Stone doesn’t seem to be worried, at least publicly. “The news will not have any impact on our development plans or licensing,” SSG Community Manager Cordovan wrote to players in one of the panic threads this week. “We always welcome competition, and wish them the best of luck!”

Worth pointing out is that the new title is intended to be a prequel to the Lord of the Rings novels, so it may not directly conflict with LOTRO’s storytelling domain anyway.

Also worth pointing out is that for years SOE was adamant that Rebellion-era Star Wars Galaxies was not under any threat of Order 66ing from KOTOR-era Star Wars The Old Republic – right up until it was. So maybe it’s understandable that the MMORPG community is worried anyway. Worrying is just what we do.

Stay tuned for MOP’s LOTRO Legendarium column this weekend; you know Justin’s gonna have some thoughts on this. Yes sir.

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Roger Edwards

Assuming that LOTRO is still in existence when this new Middle-earth game arrives, because that could be 3 or 5 years from now, then consider the following:

LOTRO has an established, mature playerbase that like things the way they are. The idea that a bunch of old school MMO players are going to arbitrarily uproot and start playing a new game that will more than likely have all the latest game mechanics, is highly unlikely.

LOTRO fans are very lore savvy and may not like whatever era the new MMO is set in, or the accompanying aesthetic. If this new product takes major “creative liberties” with the source material, as did Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor/War, then once again, a lot of players will simply stay put, doing the same stuff that they’ve always done in LOTRO.

The new MMO is going to be a F2P game. Depending how egregious the business model is will further deter existing LOTRO players, many of whom have life time accounts.

I see no reason why both these MMOs can’t co-exist in the same market place, if those that control the licenses are happy for them to do so. If I’ve learned anything over the years the only thing that going to kill off LOTRO is Standing Stone Games or more to the point, Daybreak Game Company who bank roll them. The content that regularly comes out seems to satisfy the faithful, so the only thing that is likely to be “the straw that broke the Camels back” is likely to be some sort of cash grab added to the game, that finally goes to far for players to tolerate.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I know many LOTRO players who never played an MMO before LOTRO . . . and have never played any other MMO. From my experience, the LOTRO player base is pretty damn stable, with peaks and valleys as new players come and go.

Your considerations are spot on.

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Bango on Laurelin

If they’ve not played any other MMO that would explain why they accept any old rubbish as content whilst raging at those who ask for better. Bit like someone who prefers his local even though the beer is poorly kept, the landlord rude and the decor shabby.

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Brown Jenkin

Gotta say, this is one of the things I *deeply loved* about LotRO’s community. I was seriously amazed at how different the LotRO players were from the folks I got to know in most other MMOs. I was a member of a pretty big RP guild with a much older player-base than usual (several over 60 as I recall). My guild took their RPing in the world (despite its limitations) pretty seriously, it was an absolute blast playing with them and more often than not the guild was utterly unconcerned with the progression-based end-game.

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Carebear

indeed lotro community is the best by far! I have joined a fellowship almost 10 years ago and left manytimes from game and always return for 1-2 months per 2 years and I am still in the fellowship and people warmly greeting me for coming back as if I never left.. I kind of feel bad about this to be honest, as if I am not deserving it :(

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Brown Jenkin

Agreed wholeheartedly, I’m in about the same boat. LotRO is definitely the MMO that I stuck in longest due to the community. In other games I come and go pretty freely, even GW2 which has been my main MMO for years. But LotRO whenever I go back there are like *still* people around to greet me from an MMO I haven’t seriously played for years.

Honestly if not for the tab targeting old-school combat system (I just can’t anymore) I’d still be playing the game for sure.

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Carebear

same for me :( the reason I dont play lotro is its combat and character models/animations…

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Kevin McCaughey

For me, the only two relevant words in this article are “Chinese company”.

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Vincent Clark

Interestingly enough, Cordovan has wiped all threads talking about the new MMO from the Official Forums. So much for “welcoming competition”.

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Halla-Zayeron

Way to spread misinformation. There was a bunch of duplicate threads that got deleted, and the main thread was moved to the Off-topic section.

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J

A great many Eastern MMOs never make it to the NA market. Fewer still are successful here. F2P has become synonymous with pay2win. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve come to the point where a great many F2P titles do not get a second glance from me. I want a sub, I don’t want an intrusive shop and I know that subscription games (typically) means higher quality.

They have a fairly cemented player base. Though I am still upset with their inability to work something out over Asheron’s Call, which is probably going to end up as abandoned ware.

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Halla-Zayeron

WB probably refused to relinquish IP rights in case they ever wanted to make a mobile game out of it.

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agemyth 😩

Since this is coming in the wake of a new Amazon series, I kind of assume this is going to be something more like Game of Thrones Ascent and Star Trek Timelines (mobile/web/Steam games) by Disruptor Beam. I don’t know anything about the developer of this new LOTR game, so I’m basing that on nothing.

For a game to have the appeal Amazon would be interested to tie in with a hot new TV show I think a mobile game with persistent online features sounds likely.

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Halla-Zayeron

Athon has specifically said PC/Console style MMO and the studio has been setup specifically for this one game. Should probably expect to be a long-form project instead of quick cash grab (Despite the corporate announcement sounding as such).

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Roger Melly

I think Lotro will keep going for a while yet , there is a bit of a dip in the playerbase at the moment but it’s “that time” in between one expansion and the next . I’ve recently decided to take a break from the game for that reason and the fact that I just can’t get through Mordor because of its difficulty and while I love challenging content I am coming to the conclusion that completing Mordor is something I am only going to achieve by being in a group with someone else ( and people are thin on the ground doing that content ) or waiting till the next expansion comes out so I can go up a few levels and attempt it them . First time I have stopped playing an mmo because the content is too hard and I am not finding it fun anymore for that reason , it’s usually the other way around ( I have even been known to downgrade my gear in other mmos or take it if off completely to make quest content more challenging for me )

I hope the new Tolkien mmo will offer something similar to what Middle Earth Online might have been with factions where you can play a member of Morgoth’s army as a main character .

I doubt it will stop me playing lotro and I am sure I will return in a couple of years to finish off Mordor and continue the story .

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Bango on Laurelin

Fans of the SSG game are long in the tooth and will support that game if it served up a turd on a plate as content. For the rest of us it will give us a new rendering of middle earth in which to explore and adventure in – and that can only be a good thing.

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Akagi

A good Middle Earth MMO has to be very authentic and can’t be more casual than no premadeath, no loot drop on death and no grind. It has to have a very cohesive storyline and no modern day bullshit, like inappropriate comic relief and political agendas. Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War are good games, but are horrible Middle Earth games. Those are the things this MMO should avoid.

But I’m somehow skeptic and feel like it will focus on all the wrong aspects – it will be a mediocre game, for a large audience and it will fail at everything – being a good Middle Earth MMO and being a good MMO in general, so it will not capture the attention of neither casual players or Middle Earth fans.

I hope I’m wrong.

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Joe Seabreeze

This announcement has the Everquest Next vibe. I just get that… feeling.

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Bango on Laurelin

How did you arrive at that with so little information? Remember Daybreak owns SSG…

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Niss

I hope this announcement of a new game based on LotR will actually push people at SSG to upgrade the game engine a little bit. I can’t believe that this game runs better on my 7 years old laptop than on my gaming PC.

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silverlock

SSG stands for Strategic Studies Group, Standing Stone has not earned the right to take that from them.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

You have to remember that most of the folks here weren’t even born in SSG’s hey day. They have no clue and just like to abbreviate things instead of writing them out.

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Melissa McDonald

there is a .001% chance that this game will be anything close to the level of complexity, detail, and true-to-lore game that LOTRO is.
But I think SSG either struck out, or were too stupid to cozy up to Amazon to be the “game of record” for Amazon’s new TV show.

A pity. We shall never see the like of LOTRO again, I fear. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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Bango on Laurelin

Have you got any evidence to support your assertion? Thought not.

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Melissa McDonald

Spoiling for a fight? Look elsewhere. Pitting a game developed over 11 years against something fledgling? I’m quite confident I’m right.

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Bango on Laurelin

If you consider asking for some evidence to back up your assertions then please do and I’ll happily concede. As for “because it’s fledgeling it’s going to be rubbish” is just plain stupid – if you judge the contents of a film by a 2 line announcement and not by watching the finished product at the cinema then that’s your inability to deploy reasonable judgement. So please, do try harder.