Time. The gaming industry – like everything else in the past, present, and future – exists inside of it, but often, it seems to observe time less as an incontrovertibly defining law of the universe and more as a set of loose guidelines. So delays happen right and left, and everyone cries while conveniently forgetting that their backlog can be seen from space. That in mind, I can’t really complain when developers decide to do things right instead of cutting corners en route to a quickly forgotten whimper of a release. And I especially can’t complain when said developers are super graceful about it, as both Turbine and Trion have been with Lord of the Rings Online: Riders of Rohan and End of Nations, respectively.
Unfortunately for avid LOTRO players, Rohan’s initial instance cluster has ended up decidedly less, er, clusterier than expected. December’s “Against the Shadow” update, then, will only include three three-mans: Iorbar’s Peak, Webs of the Scuttledells, and Seat of the Great Goblin. Four larger-scale instances, meanwhile, will now ride into Rohan in February. Among other things, that means 12-man The Fires of Smaug will miss its chance to hop aboard The Hobbit movie’s bandwagon and then eat it, but Turbine’s giving top priority to getting things right above all else. “We’ve chosen to honor our commitment as best we can with the limited time remaining in 2012 while still insuring the highest quality possible,” said the developer of the rather difficult decision.
End of Nations’ image in the crystal ball, on the other hand, is quite a bit blurrier. After several trillion rounds of closed beta testing, Petroglyph’s pinpointed some areas of the large, in-charge, in-charge-of-large-things MMORTS that need serious work. No, it’s not going back to the drawing board, but the planned open beta’s been put on hold “until further notice.” If, however, you purchased End of Nations early to get a head start, you’ll be offered a full refund for your troubles.
Admittedly, that may not bode particularly well for Trion and Petroglyph’s ambitious genre Frankenstein, but it’s at least nice of them to let dissatisfied customers take their money and go home. Plus, this gives me more time to rush my competing title, End of Nathans, to market. It’s a tragedy, obviously. Probably the saddest ever.