Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Potshot on LotRO

Potshot has a very readable and nice series of impressions from the Lord of the Rings Online beta here, here, and here. He calls LotRO "WoW for adults", and I think he could be right in that the game might have a bigger appeal to a slightly older set of players. Starting from the fact that the younger players probably never read the Lord of the Rings. But also because LotRO is more about living in Middle Earth than about pwning mobs and other players. Being no spring chicken myself any more, the idea of games targeting another audience than kids appeals to me. People like me grew up with games, but we'd like our games to mature with us.

Thanks for your blog in general, and thanks for this entry. One of the best statements you've ever made.

Geronimo Caduff

ps: I grew up with vinyl too...first LP Boney M *blush

You said that you'd like the games to mature with you, and sure as heck, I'd like that too (I'm 22 so a little kid still compared to some of the gamers). The real tricky part is that even though LotRO LOOKS more mature and FEELS more mature, big part of MMORPG is the community, and I don't know if you can really call LotRO "WoW for adults" if the player base is under 16 years old (could be just my bad luck or something).

Unfortunatelly for you and me and a lot of gamers out there, kids are the segment that plays (and buys most) games. I don't think we'll ever get around that and MMORPG being so strongly influenced by the community maybe games will be kids games for kids even if you can disable general and out of combat chat >_>.
younger players probably never have read the Lord of the Rings
I agree... but how many of them do you think have seen the movies?! :-/
Yeah, LotRO is only a small step towards more maturity in gaming. But I do think that game design influences community. For example the totally peaceful (on the surface) game design of A Tale in the Desert with no monsters to kill goes a long way towards *not* attracting players under 16 years old.
@Sare: kids are the segment that plays (and buys most) games

Actually that is incorrect. Customer surveys and various other marketing researches have revealed that the biggest market segment is the 25-35 age group. Those are people who grew up with games and have dispensable cash.

The WoW Guild I am in largely consist of people 28+ in age, we don't have an minimum age policy. I have characters on both a RP server (my main) and a PvP server. I certainly notice a difference in population behaviour on these servers. The PvP servers aren't as mature as the RP servers (even the game is the same). Note that young is not the same as not mature.
Since the RP tag seems to attract a more mature audience I can certainly see LotRO attract a more mature audience because the gameplay isn't focussed on PvP and isn't a as fast paced game as WoW.

Another case ofcourse is Eve Online- where PvP is a big part of the game, but it is implemented in such way that it's too hard too master quick enough for immature players to enjoy. Another aspect is the political nature of the game that attracts a mature audience.
I'm sort of hoping the bit about WoW for Adults is how it goes. From my now 7 months in beta, I've seen testers come and go, and the majority of those that seem to stick with the game and enjoy it, are the adult and mature types. This is not to say all adults are mature, far from it, but the adults who just want to "pwn hobbitz" or the teens who got in by lying about their age are not sticking around.

It's not just a PvP thing either I don't think. It seems to me that the overall tone and mood of the world, the art, the story, and all of that is leaning towards a more casual but mature crowd.

I think you just gave me a topic to write about today, Tobold. Thanks. :)
Well all I can say you guys who are jumping to LotR for a more mature crowd is: Good luck.

Personally I enjoy having fun with the kiddies, nothing more ammusing then raiding scholo on vent with a 12 year old. The high pitched, pre-pubesent voice pierces your ear canal. Everytime you wipe the kid freaks out and starts yelling at your healers.

What to do now? Have some fun, invite this guildless kid to your guilds run of MC. Whisper him before hand and let him know that this is a try out and your guild loves people who are vocal and commanding on vent. It shows leadership and confidence.

Make sure your guild knows not to heal this kid so he can die a few times. Then when the first piece of mail drops(the kid is always a hunter, who keeps his pet out for mc) tell him he can't have it because this mail is shaman gear, even tho shamans wern't on the alliance at that point.

Now thats fun.

You aren't gonna have fun like that in the LotR.

You should of heard this kid cussing us all out, we let him go on for 10 minutes. WOOT WOOT SUCKAS!
Go to the armory and look up how many Night Elves are called Legolas. I fear many many children are well aware of the Lord of the Rings, regardless of whether they have read the books or not. I think they made the books into talkies or something.
There are probably countless reasons that we could all point out as to why Blizzard (that's who we're implying in the comparison) struggles to hold a more mature audience, but you're right.

Although I must say, I don't know if WoWs problem is that the people who play it are younger, or that people act more immature when they play WoW.

I have been in many guilds, and we have had our kids, but it never seemed that many. In fact, most players I have ever played with were 20+. I have also caught many of those players acting like they were 12. May be just my experience.
If the kids haven't heard Leonard Nimoy crooning "Bilbo Baggins", they don't know LoTR well enough =)
I'm curious as to why people think LotR will attract a more mature crowd? What is so different about this game that sets it apart from the rest?

WoW gets a lot of flack for having an immature playerbase, but I think a lot of that stems from the sheer number of players involved and the fact that many of them are experiencing their very first MMO.

IMO, the features that attract a more mature crowd revolve around social interactions. Things like player housing, more control over your avatar's appearance, lots of non-combat-oriented things to do. Does LotR offer these sorts of features?
The bigger something becomes, the more flack it will receive. WoW is big enough that you could create some flack from jsut about anything..

I dont mind playing with younger crowds on MMO, however when it comes to people you spend alot of time with ingame/vent/teamspeak you generally hang with people of the same maturity level.

This is a self-perserverance tactic making the game more enjoyable for yourself and partly the reason stemming towards "l33t and noobs" lifestyles and arguements. WoW is a great game, sure it deserves some fingerpointing but when it comes down to it, WoW stands up well to its criticisms and is a solid game (anygame that offers more than 24+ hours of gameplay under $50 is good imo, and multiplayerwise offers many many months of stuff to do).

I read this today. And frankly, having played the LOTRO beta (and for a good entire weekend of 20+ hours), I agree. The game just lacks depth, and I don't think that it's as good as it has/had the potential to be.
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