The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap – No Consoles, No UI Updates

The Daybreak thing now is to have an annual roadmap… and, to actually deliver on the roadmaps they publish.  I am very much in favor of that.  Not everything on a roadmap needs to be startling or new.  Sometimes a confirmation of the existing flow of events… like an annual content expansion… is comfort enough.

But if you’re waiting for a game to do something, like make their UI playable on higher resolution monitors, it also means that you get your disappointment up front and can write off another year of the game as unplayable.

And so it is with Lord of the Rings Online.  They put out a producer’s letter with a roadmap and I immediately went there to see if there was anything on the list that might make the game viable on my 34″ 3440 x 1440 monitor.

And the answer was “no,” no changes on that front at all are planned in 2023.

The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap

There is also no mention of a console version of the game, but I have made pretty clear that I felt that was a pipe dream fantasy that was never going to become reality.  But I did pin a bit of hope on the fact that if they WERE going to support consoles, they would have to at least make the game playable in 4K resolution, which might mean the PC client getting some benefit from that.

But it is not to be.  Not in 2023.

I get that they don’t have the resources that WoW has, that they can’t redo things that are working for most of their current players (and that even mentioning this in the forums gets a very hostile response from current players), and that they, above all, need to feed the content engine to keep their current players happy and spending money or the whole thing will fall over and die.

But I also know they have to keep the game viable for more modern configurations for it to survive.  They didn’t put in the effort to get the client to 64-bit for nothing.  Eventually making resolutions up to 4K viable for players is going to be a requirement for survival.

And it isn’t as though the team is unaware of this.  They they were looking into it back in 2016, but doing something is another matter it seems.  Also, its stable mate, EverQuest, is doing work on UI updates, so maybe the LOTRO team could get on board with this some time this decade.

I am happy that the game carries on, that it is getting updates and content and looks good for another year.  But I am bummed that it is literally unplayable for me as it stands.  The UI seemed poorly thought out in 2007 when the game launched… something I wrote about at the time… and it has not aged well.

5 thoughts on “The LOTRO 2023 Roadmap – No Consoles, No UI Updates

  1. Stormwaltz

    There’s still a *chance* for a UI refactor – this seems to be content/design focused.

    I caught the last 15m of their Friday stream, and Severlin (exec prod) mentioned they’re “wrapping up phase 2” of performance improvements, and about to start “phase 3.” Since those aren’t on the roadmap, it may imply they didn’t put anything largely engineering-side on it.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    As I noted, Turbine was talking about better support for higher resolutions back in 2016 and I’ve seen no evidence that they have any actual commitment to that. “Finding the right person” sounds more like a dodge to me at this point. Nobody there can work on UI? I know it is a small team, but nobody there can manage it? It doesn’t have to be everything perfect in a day. There is a bunch of groundwork they could do.

    The funny thing is that last year they were on about remastering graphics… something else you might want to do for 4K support… but the landscape graphics are still pretty damn good on my big monitor. I view that as an incentive to play. But the UI. It just drives me away.

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  3. Chris

    Regarding the 4k issue , I use 720p on 1080p display and nvidia driver for high quality upscaling. There is also an app called Losless Scaling on Steam however I do not know if using the app is allowed. Of course using a resolution like 720p is not that great but for me with high quality upscaling (AMD FSR, Nvidia upscaling), it looks OK even on 32 inch monitor.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Chris – There are a bunch of ways I could reconfigure my system to play LOTRO, including just putting my old 20″ monitor back on my desk instead of the 34″.

    The problem is that I don’t use the machine for just gaming, and certainly wouldn’t use it for just LOTRO. I’ve fiddled with those sorts of things before, but they tend to screw up window placement and other settings for every other app. For me to play LOTRO it needs to work on my machine with every other app, not be some special child that needs its own specific configuration that makes every other app less useful.

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