Lauren Salk, a content developer for Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online, has detailed a the design process she uses when creating festival events such as the Haunted Burrow and Winter-home, and how she and the rest of the team go about getting folks to participate in the content the team creates.
Speaking with A Casual Stroll to Mordor, Salk said it was important for players to be made aware of new content, and since not all players read patch notes or developmental blogs, Salk suggested sending players and in-game mail so they would be made aware of the new content and how they can participate in it.
“I think all LOTRO’s content designers are trying to get people to play the content they make,” she said. “Accessibility is one of our biggest goals. Making sure that players are given in-game tools to find new content easily. We use every incentive we can think of or get our hands on to encourage people to play new stuff.
“Before I came on, festivals weren’t announced in game, and they were difficult to get to. Now, we give players a mail to let them know everything has begun, we give them vector quests that send them directly to a Festival area so that there’s no confusion about where it is, and we always start people off with a free small sample of the rewards so that they can at least see what they’re missing if they decide not to partake. I’ve been trained to consider these things for every festival that has new content.
“To us, there’s nothing worse than putting a lot of effort and development time into something that 99 percent of players are never likely to see. We can’t force players to enjoy every type of content we introduce, but we always try to introduce them to it as clearly as we can.
“At the very least, people will be able to make an informed decision that something new might not be for them.”
Anyone who ran through the Haunted Burrow during the Fall Festival would agree that it was something that should not have been missed. Even if they didn’t get the rare Skeleton Horse drop.
You read the rest of the interview through the link, where Salk also chats about what it’s like to be the only female content creator at the studio.