Saul Zaentz to Turbine: ``Until 2014 do us part...``
TomChick - News - 02/21/08 - Link

This week, Turbine announced that it has extended its contract with the Saul Zaentz Company for the Lord of the Rings license until 2014. Phew. Because it never occurred to me that not only do I not own my level 44 minstrel in Lord of the Rings Online, but neither does Turbine.

I can't help but think of the kerfluffle between New Line and Peter Jackson, which held up production on a Hobbit movie. There's nothing like the money that comes from a blockbuster trilogy to change the rules of the game. What if something like that happened with Lord of the Rings Online? That's a possibility, however remote, that doesn't loom over World of Warcraft, Eve Online, or Pirates of the Burning Sea.

It's actually a bit disconcerting to consider the implications of a licensing deal on a supposedly persistent world. When I ding up, I like to think it's forever, and that the Turbine servers will always store my character and her newly earned level. There's a reason I'm reluctant to invest time, money, and energy on an unproven MMO, and that reason isn't just because the game might suck. Okay, that's the main reason. But if there's one thing worse than a supposedly open-ended experience running out of content, it's that open-ended experience being shut on me before I'm good and ready for it to be shut. I decide when I stop playing a game, not someone else.

I realize this is much ado about nothing, and as long as me and the other 199,999 subscribers want to play LOTRO, someone is going to oblige us. As far as things to worry about, this ranks somewhere between pieces of that exploded spy satellite falling on my house and Hannah Montana not wearing her seat belt. But it's something to think about if you're desperate for a way to keep yourself from playing the Conan and Warhammer MMOs coming out this year.

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