Monday, December 12, 2011

Player demands and spineless developers: LOTRO style

From the latest Lord of the Rings Online patch notes:
  • The two hostile mobs in Lower Barnavon that were put there due to overwhelming player feedback have been removed due to overwhelming player feedback."
Yeah, that's cute. Barnavon is a town in which the players are meant to feel somewhat unwelcome. The NPCs' dialogue is un-trusting and ambivalent. In order to drive this point home, there were two town guards at the gate which were hostile to players. This could indeed be a nuisance when you have to kill them to get your quests then against five minutes later when you turn them in.

I applaud whichever player came up with the idea to put those hostile guards in. They add a bit more atmosphere. I can also see why many players were annoyed with them. It's quaint the first couple of times you have to kill them but wears thin by the fifth.
The morons here are the developers. You don't implement or remove something like that just because the mindless sheep demand it. You do it because it works for that particular game situation! The guards were a good idea, and all that had to be done was to double or triple their respawn timers. Instead of actually looking at the problem though, some cretin of a public relations drone just demanded complete adherence to the demands of bigger cretins on the forums.

Regardless of how quaint it sounds, no, the customer is not always right. Sometimes developers might have to make actual design decisions. Imagine that.

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