In ROI and Great River, Quest design seems to have been so tightly scripted that if someone does quests or areas out of order, or misses a single quest, entire areas can break.
I called these "phantom quest chains" in my title, because in most cases they aren't listed as chains at all. The first time through the areas you may very well have no idea that all the quests are part of unofficial chains and that missing one may mean you leave yourself with nothing to do in the area.
It's not only extremely frustrating for those who accidentally lock themselves out of a "chain" but it also causes problems for Turbine in having to go back and patch up the broken chains so that they can be completed.
It's great that there are continuous stories and themes running through these areas; it makes them more interesting than the rather random feeling of some of the older areas where many quests seem unrelated and there just to give players something to do. But there needs to be more breadcrumb quests--"Now go talk to XXX," or more flexible design that lets you still go back and talk to XXX even if you did a detour and talked to YYY first.
Please consider designing the next area's quests to be more flexible and save both sides some of the frustrations we've seen in ROI and Great River.
The problem is that Turbine is delivering content that is not fully functional. Rise of Isengard and all the all following Updates have this basic issue.
They are getting into this loop. They don't have enough resources to do it right before deployment. Once it is deployed with defects. Now they can't get staff to fix the problems. It is done. The staff is reassigned to do the next Update. They don't have enough resources to do the next Update.
Lets do some numbers:
1) You have 100 staff months. You spent all 100 months doing 90% of Update 4. Update 4 actually requires 111 staff months.
2) You start Update 5 with management telling development to do 111 staff months again with 100 staff months of effort. Development actually got 122 staff months of work because they didn't finish Update 4. Lets say the fix all of Update 4. They only put 89 staff months in Update 5 releasing Update 5 80% complete.
By the time they get to Great River and Update 7 - Turbine is in a big hole. Typically you call this situation a vicious cycle. It really shows up vicious when you deploy new tech like the phasing tech in Dunland. Turbine doesn't have the tech, design procedures and testing protocols rock solid in time for the creation of the Great River region.
The only way to get out of this situation is for management to push the "Full Stop" button. Spend the time to fix all the problems, reduce the size of the updates, change the processes and tooling to improve the product. A lot of companies never push the button. Instead you watch them slowly going rolling over, spinning downward accelerating until they augur into the ground with massive bang like an airplane disaster.
I also play Skyrim. That game is full of bugs. The one nice thing about Skyrim on the PC is the console commands. Many of the bugs can be solved by forcing the game forward via a console command.
Last edited by Yula_the_Mighty; May 20 2012 at 04:08 PM.
Unless stated otherwise, all content in this post is My Personal Opinion.