It looks as though things are settling down at Turbine following the layoffs and reorganization. Asheron’s Call is being put into maintenance mode (with benefits) and LOTRO and DDO have received new executive producers, replacing the Paizes.
We got a producer’s letter from Aaron Campbell, which might be a sign of increased communication going forward (which would be very, very welcome). It didn’t address the layoffs, but it did talk about what’s coming in the near and far future, offering some reassurance that LOTRO isn’t being put out to pasture as well. He mentioned the North Downs revamp, a Fangorn Forest quest line that will net us “a special friend,” another epic book to finish the Helm’s Deep storyline, mail with multiple attachments, mail that VIPers can open in the wild, and the return of Hobnangians, which is basically soccer with chickens instead of balls.
That letter was just a big pick-me-up yesterday and it definitely made me want to log into the game for a nice-sized play session. I went on my Captain and resolved to make some headway into the big battles portion of the epic storyline. On the plus side, the Hornburg is absolutely incredible — it’s just huge with so much detail and so many things to see, and appropriately fits the status that the books demand of it. On the minus side, I really didn’t enjoy my first big battle. Thematically it was fine, but practically it felt like a skirmish that wasn’t netting me XP per kill and where my actions didn’t really matter that much. Plus it was long, so long that I started to wonder when it would end. Oh well, I guess that after four more of these I won’t be forced to do any more.
The WildStar Wednesday yesterday was devoted to talking about the UI revamp. I didn’t exactly hate the old “pyramid” design, but it was very busy and forced me to pull back the camera to see my entire character.
The revised UI is really attractive, keeping most of the elements to the bottom of the screen and spreading them out. It looks appropriately techy, but perhaps the aspect that got me the most excited was the option to toggle UI elements so that they can automatically disappear when one is not in combat. It’s a simple thing, but I am definitely looking forward to using it. It’ll be really nice for screenshots, that’s for certain.
App store bonanza
It was a huge release night for the Apple app store. I was looking forward to the casual and silly Disco Zoo release, but Out There also launched. I picked up both and have only had time to build up my zoo. I know nobody cares, but I have three unicorns and no way to starve them. When will the world create a realistic zoo simulator that involves unicorn deprivation? I’m looking forward to FTL-ish outer space adventures with Out There tonight, however.