How Should Gamers React to DDO and LotRO Leaving Turbine?
The end of the year is typically a slow news time for mmo games. Developers and gamers alike are looking to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family, but this year has seen a big announcement come out concerning the future of Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online. There has long been speculation that the games may eventually shut down due to Turbine wanting to focus their attention on the very profitable arena of mobile games and then there were some layoffs in the last year at the game company as well. Now the news of Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online leaving Turbine for a new game company has sent a shockwave through both online communities. How should gamers react to DDO and LotRO leaving Turbine?
Part of the statement concerning DDO and LotRO leaving Turbine reads, "Today we have some momentous news! The game teams responsible for The Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) are now moving from Turbine to Standing Stone Games, a newly formed indie game studio. In addition, we’ve partnered with Daybreak Games to provide global publishing services. They’ve had a long, successful history developing and publishing MMOs, and we’re happy to lean on their expertise." So what does this exactly mean and how should players respond?
The first response for players about LotRO and DDO leaving Turbine should be a sigh of relief. There's been no doubt that Turbine has been a leaking ship recently. Both games are getting a little long in the tooth, and I (along with many others) have thought that the games would eventually be cancelled. The last major project by Turbine, a DC-themed moba, was a disaster and was promptly shut down. Then there's the fact that both games are licensed properties, which adds an extra expense to keeping them running. However, in the FAQ discussing the Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online leaving Turbine situation, it was stated that the licensing agreements have been updated without issue. So we can assume that both mmorpg games will continue for at least another year or two, at the very minimum.
Another aspect we should look at concerning DDO and LotRO leaving Turbine is that the new game studio, Standing Stone Games, is comprised of the development teams of both games. This is good news as both teams have proven themselves to be highly dedicated to their games, and we've seen a fair amount of content released for both games over the last year, despite the layoffs and Turbine looking to ditch their mmos. Heck, Dungeons and Dragons Online (which you can play for free here) has added a new race (gnomes) and some classic adventures (Against the Slave Lords and The Temple of Elemental Evil) within the last year alone. Lord of the Rings Online just recently had their March of the King update that added over 90 regional quests and deeds along with other additions. For games that are as old as DDO and LotRO both are, they're still chugging along quite nicely.
The other important feature of LotRO and DDO leaving Turbine is that Daybreak Games will be handling publishing duties. While the company recently cancelled EverQuest Next, there is no concern on my part about their association with both Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Daybreak has proven to be quite capable in continuing to run older online games without issue, so I don't expect any issues here. Plus gamers should be happy to know that the new Standing Stones Studio won't have to handle that part of keeping both games running, which means that they can just focus on making content.
In the final analysis, the news of DDO and LotRO leaving Turbine for a new game company is actually good news. Turbine has not been putting a lot of resources into either online rpg and their focus has been on mobile games for the last year. You knew that when push came to shove, both Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online would be left out in the cold while Turbine would be promoting their flashy new mobile game. According to the developers, nothing will change for players as they still have their cash shop points (which will be renamed) and the same servers will still be used. The fact that the development teams of both games have left Turbine and will continue to work on the games is great news. Overall, players should feel pretty good about LotRO and DDO leaving Turbine.