The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is one the titles featured during NetEase Connect 2022 that has grown tremendously in popularity. Since its global release in September last year, the game has amassed over 5 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone.
We met with Lucis Bi, the Marketing Lead of The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, to learn more about the success of the game in an interview.
GamerBraves: How much of the game’s story is in line with the books and movies? Is it canon to the LOTR universe?
Lucis Bi: Set in the 3rd age of Middle-earth, the game introduces a great war between the powerful factions in search of the One Ring, which has re-emerged hundreds of years after its disappearance, just like the beginning of the original stories of the trilogy. We are devoted to recreating Middle-earth as faithfully as possible to stay true to the books and movies that are loved by our players from all over the world.
GB: Could you share more about the in-game Seasons and how does your team create the content for them?
LB: A campaign season is a new season with special settings. After their 1st and 2nd season, players will enter Bag End, a place where they can choose the next campaign season to play, instead of being automatically merged into a new season. We are developing new seasons with new lore-focused settings or new gameplay. For example, United Factions was introduced in the 3rd season to offer a larger scale of social interaction to the players in different factions.
GB: With such a large player base, what are the challenges in keeping the game accessible to new players who’ll be competing with players who’ve been playing since day 1?
LB: Our season system ensures that new players will be competing with other new players in the 1st and 2nd season. Same as the 2nd question.
GB: Are there any plans to include content from The Hobbit and The Silmarillion into the game?
LB: We will stick to the LOTR trilogy.
GB: Could you share more about the Fearless Pioneers programme and how it has helped the game grow?
LB: The program aims to recruit talented and creative players who would like to produce interesting content related to the game. Since the game contains lots of strategic gameplay, many players find it difficult to get to grips with the game in the short term. That’s where the Fearless Pioneers come in. Their straightforward and amusing guidance to the game is quite helpful.
GB: The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy came out almost 20 years ago. How do you market the game to younger players who probably never watched the movie before?
LB: By staying faithful to the trilogy and inspiring imagination. LOTR is a masterpiece and we believe in its magical ability to attract young players even if they haven’t watched the movies. All the characters, races and factions are iconic and fascinating. And the spiritual power of LOTR is also important. It’s a story of fellowship, courage and love, which are always the things that touch us.
GB: Since September 2021, the game has been installed over 5 million times on Google Play Store. What’s your secret to having such growth and reach?
LB: Same as the previous question.
GB: What are some of the challenges you faced when working with an IP as large as the Lord of the Rings?
LB: We did take great efforts to incorporate many of the famous characters and iconic locations into the game in a visually faithful way whilst keeping the game accessible on mobile platforms. It’s not just the look, but also the way they act. We are truly motivated when we see that lots of LOTR fans like our recreation of the LOTR world.
GB: How many players are there in each of the game’s factions?
LB: In the first season, there is a maximum of around 1000-1500 players in a single faction. The number is relatively small in the later seasons as the players become more active.
GB: Is there anything you’ll want to share with your players/potential players or want them to know about?
LB: We find it truly motivating when lots of LOTR fans tell us that they like our recreation of the LOTR world. It’s what really keeps us happy to be working on this game.
That’s pretty much it for this interview. Our heartfelt thanks to NetEase Games and Lucis Bi for this opportunity.
To stay updated, follow NetEase Games on Twitter. You can also check out our interview on Naraka: Bladepoint, another title that appeared in NetEase Connect 2022.
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