Interview with Aaron Campbell Producer for LOTRO

We have interviewed Aaron Campbell, Producer for the Lord of the rings Online (LOTRO). He has spoken us about his work as Producer, the new look of LOTRO (the free to play thing) and the future. Are you interested?

First of all, could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Answer: My name is Aaron Campbell. I’m the Producer for The Lord of the Rings Online, based with Turbine in Boston.

Maybe you think that it’s obvious but what do you have to do as LOTRO Producer? What’s your job? Are you the “face” of Turbine, if we speak about LOTRO?

I’d say that LOTRO has many faces – for example our Executive Producer Kate Paiz, Turbine’s Communication Director Adam Mersky, and of course all our great friends at Codemasters Online who manage and operate LOTRO in Europe.

My role as a Producer covers many areas – depending on the need I could be working with our Engineering team to resolve major bugs, reviewing story and concept art with our incredible Art and Design teams, communicating key metrics from our Network Operations staff, or highlighting important features of the game with our Marketing group. My role is varied; it’s never the same day twice.

Well, we know you and your job, so let’s get down to LOTRO. Changing your model to free to play, do you expect more players?

Clearly when a game is free, more people will try it out. We expect huge populations of players to take a look at LOTRO with the Free to Play launch in Europe, and believe we have compelling options for players however they decide to play – as a Free player, a Premium player who buys content as they play it, or a VIP who chooses the whole package with a subscription.

Does it worth to pay? I mean, will enjoy the game a player who doesn’t want to pay?

If you choose to play purely as a Free player, you’ll join the game with over 800 quests on landscape, 4 races, 7 classes, the Epic story, and 50 levels to achieve as you roam right up to the gates of Moria. You’ll also have access to all the primary features of the game such as crafting, housing and fishing. On top of that, you can also earn points (to spend in the online store) by playing the game! We believe this is a great value and allows players to choose their own path and their own budget.

From our point of view, the store is not going to make things “unfair”, but it would be interesting if you give us your opinion about.

Our goal with the introduction of Free to Play is to provide the player choices. As a player, you can choose to invest time or money. In the store this often comes up as an item that provides convenience – this can include faster travel, accelerated experience, or an immediate revival after you are defeated (saving a run back). What you will not find in the online store are stat-based armor or weapons; the primary content of the game is still found by playing the game.

The new F2P model will mean less expansion packs or less content upgrades? Will be there giant expansion packs, as Moria?

Our next content update is already in public test in the US! Our intention is to provide substantial, regular updates that address a range of content for all levels of players. Regarding the size of updates, I’ll just comment that next year we’re going to Isengard – I can’t imagine that being a small place.

Leaving aside the money thing, could you speak us about new content?

You’ll find a wide range of new content with this update, but Enedwaith is definitely the most visible area. Enedwaith takes us back outdoors to the west of the Misty Mountains, into an environment inspired by Eregion and also Welsh mythology. The landscape is dominated by massive Gondorian watchtowers, but ranges from snow-topped mountain peaks and Dunlending villages to corrupted barrows and ancient forests. You can also continue the Epic story of Volume 3 in Enedwaith, traveling with the Rangers of the Grey Company.

Let’s talk about future now. It seems that it is a fact confirmed the elimination of Radiance. Does it mean that you will increase the difficulty levels or are you going to add any kind of system to replace Radiance?

I believe the community’s feedback on Radiance has been clear. Based on that feedback, we will be removing Radiance from the game. We have no plans to alter difficulty levels or replace the system with another at this time.

Are you planning to add new classes soon?

We’re always discussing options, but have no plans to add a new class soon.

Finally, is there anything you would like to add?

All of us at Turbine are very excited to be launching the new Free to Play model in Europe, and look forward to sharing The Lord of the Rings Online with former, current and new players! This is a major event for LOTRO and one I’m honored to be a part of.

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