You know what’s worse than no information at all? Giving only sketchy details about something people are already nervous over. Half-information leads to wild speculation, and when that’s aimed at a major change, the results can be a stampede of panicky, anxious gamers.
That’s what I feel may be happening in Lord of the Rings Online right now. There’s a LOT coming with next month’s Helm’s Deep, but when you look at the forums and read the comments sections on related news posts, the subject everyone keeps bringing up are the sweeping class changes. People are nervous and scared about massive changes to their beloved classes, and the way Turbine is handling it isn’t helping at all.
In short, Turbine is doing two things that, coupled together, spell disaster:
(1) The studio keeps trumpeting these huge changes through glossed-over dev diaries and a somewhat defensive post about its reasons for these changes.
(2) The studio is not, however, simply releasing the full trait trees and specifying what skills are going to be consolidated.
Now, I know that we’re in beta with a month to go before launch, and since things change all the time in beta, the devs could be holding back the specifics of these class overhauls until testing is complete. But it’s a mistake to do so because it’s freaking people the heck out not knowing (unless they’re in the beta, of course).
This makes Syp feel dismayed. I’m actually really excited for class changes because they’re things I’ve been asking for for years: fewer skills, faster combat animations, and more defined and interesting builds. But when you say “Massive changes are coming but we’re not going to specifically tell you what those are yet, you just need to get on board!” it’s too little to avoid tipping the scales from “excited” to “fearful.”
I’m not saying the community should panic, riot, or trample over Farmer Ted and eat his blueberry pies. Calm and patience are always in short supply, but oh-so-needed. I am saying that the best thing Turbine could be doing right now is to stop pussyfooting around these changes and give us solid, specific details.