EXCLUSIVE chat with the creators of
The Lord of the Rings: the Battle for Middle-earth II
[15:07] [Xfire] matteox: Welcome to the BFME2 Dev Team
[15:08] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Hey everyone, this is Apoc, Official Community Manager for The Battle for Middle-earth 2, you guys all know me!
[15:08] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Hi, I'm Jill. I am one of the Development Directors on the team and I also ran the Units and Structures group.
[15:09] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Hi everyone, this is Jimtern, Assistant Producer on The Battle for Middle-earth II
[15:09] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Hi all. My name is Amer Ajami (not Aajami), and I'm the producer on BFME2 responsible for War of the Ring, among other modes. Nobody knows me.
 chriscorry: Hi folks. My name is Chris Corry -- I'm the Senior Development Director for BFME2.
 [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Hello! I'm Jason Bender, Lead Designer on BFME2. I worked on all aspects of the design to some degree.
[15:09] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: -^=UI=^- Praetorian: Are there any easter eggs writen in elvish script?
Answer: No Easter Eggs in the Elvish text - we just use the assets from the movie.
[15:10] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: JΛΙҚӨח: In regards to custom map creation, what support is there?
Answer: As with BFME1, we have released our WorldBuilder with the game. Fans can use that to create maps and those can be used in multiplayer and skirmish modes.
[15:11] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: Lord Traith: Did you guys take ideas from War of the Ring and implement them in this new game?
Answer: Yes, when we started designing our WotR mode, we certainly played the War of the Ring board game for inspiration, among other board games.
 chriscorry: Question: ×Mage×: Does BFMEII require SSE enabled processors?
Answer: Yes, we do rely on these instructions.
[15:13] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Gate28: The create a hero feature is very interesting. What influnced you to make it?
Answer: As a fan of Middle-earth I wanted to bring an RPG element to the field and really allow the ability to place a personal avatar in the world. Also, as an RTS we thought it would be great to create a custom unit to complement your play style.
 mverdu([BFME II Dev]MVerdu) (Moderator) has entered the room.
[15:15] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Lord Traith: Did you guys take ideas from War of the Ring and implement them in this new game?
Answer: Also, we played War of the Ring, as we play all RTS's out there. The lead designer of WOTR is now part of our design team and brings a lot of good experience, as well.
[15:15] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Hey, just joining in. This is Mike Verdu, Exec Producer for BFME II.
[15:16] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: Geiger|EAGLE|: Hey Apoc, remember my Mr. T pic?
Answer: Hey Eagle, Yes I do remember that and in fact that will be one of the winning photos. It was a team favorite! I pity the fool!
[15:16] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: [OvC]Guardian: Have any of you read "The Silmarillion" all the way through? Is the game consistant with the history of "The Silmarillion" in LOTR?
Answer: Many of us have read The Silmarillion, though BFME2 takes place during the events of the War of the Ring during the end of the Third Age, and not with the book.
[15:16] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: We wanted to anchor the fiction in the Third Age since that is the period that most people are familiar with; the War in the North dovetails nicely with the events of the Trilogy. The First and Second Ages provide fertile ground for future Lord of the Rings products. This is such an amazing universe with unbelievable depth and history... it's been a privelege to work with The Lord of the Rings.
[15:17] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: JΛΙҚӨח: From start to finish, including concept creation, how long did the game take to get on the shelves?
Answer: We started thinking about the game as soon as BFME1 shipped, which was December of 2004, although we didn't really have a full team deployed against it until February 2005. So it was a little over a year.
[15:17] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Question: =SE= Eorlas: The balance for BFME1 really came together with Patch 1.03, was it difficult to balance with 6 factions for BFME2?
Answer: We began multiplayer balancing for BFME2 much earlier in the process than we did on BFME1, which gave us an excellent head start. We also had considerable help from top community members, specifically the ones who helped create patch 1.03, who we flew into the studio from around the world to help balance BFME2.
[15:19] [BFME II Dev] Jill: To test balance, we've also had a tournament going on team to make sure there weren't any big exploits. Some of our team members are hard core, so they found some problems before we shipped. Jimtern won the 1v1 tourney on team!
 chriscorry: Question: -^=UI=^- Praetorian: Does BFME2 take advantage of duel core bit systems?
Answer: Modestly. The game engine uses a background thread for audio streaming/processing.
[15:21] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: Ķăکëý: Will you ever make a Harry Potter MMO, I think it would be fun what is your opinion?
Answer: I don't think we are in Hogwarts right now. This is Middle-earth!
[15:21] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Excal XVII: Battle for Middle Earth (One) What prompted you to give up the old camp/castle idea, to the fortress/free build "technuique"?
Answer: We wanted to give people more freedom and customization to open up new tactical situations. We learned from this and will put more focus on strategically important locations in the future.
[15:22] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: nynxer: IN THE NEW BFME I AM LEAD TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS SHIPS, WELL SINCE THERE WASN’T REALLY ANY USED IN ANY OF THE FILMS EXCEPT THE FINAL ONE DO YOU GUYS NOT FEEL THAT BY GOING OFF THE STORY LINE THAT YOU ARE RUINING IT A BIT?
Answer: We wanted to add naval gameplay to add a new element to the game, but obviously there are very few in the movies - you see some Elven ships and the corsair ships. We experimented with concept art for Dwarven ships and Isengard ships, but they just looked weird. That's why we went with just good and evil ships, not faction specific ones.
 chriscorry: Question: Cekay69: Why did you choose gamespy as the network & server host?
Answer: We've used Gamespy since Generals and have been very pleased with the results. The Gamespy guys have given us great support and they're really easy to work with.
[15:23] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: Player: What kind of post release support is planned? Will you continue to provide updates and new official content for BFME2?
Answer: We're working RIGHT NOW on a patch to address some technical issues - we hope to have that wrapped up in a matter of a few days. After that we'll do another patch that includes some balance changes, fixes for exploits, game improvements, and other goodies - that patch will follow in about 3-4 weeks. Down the road we'll do at least 3 more patches.
[15:23] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: -(ŤBŞ)-Starr: What programming language did you use to develop the engine?
Answer: We used C++ with a little bit of LUA (not LUAU), and we used # sharp as well
[15:23] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: holyone2: The war of the ring mode seems amazingly unique but what part of the game do you prefer most?
Answer: Personally, it was a great experience to work on the War of the Ring mode. In fact, that's the only mode I played for the majority of our game's development! Since we finished the game, however, I've played through the entire campaign as well as a lot of MP. I don't think it's easy to choose a favorite mode -- it's like choosing your favorite child. *cough*WOTR!
[15:24] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: ×Mage×: Moving to 'build anywhere' design, particularly with the wall system, were you not worried about overly agressive or defensive tactics?
Answer: We played with this a lot, and will continue to balance this in patches. We want to promote the strategic use of walls in the game without causing 2 hour games centered on turtle tactics. It's a tightrope act, to be sure.
[15:25] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: bloodlust69: Where can i get SOME HOT ELF LADIES?
Answer: Rivendell, of course.
[15:27] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: DarkDruid: War of the ring is realy fun but can you play with more than 2 humans in the game?
Answer: We made some early design decisions to limit the number of human players in War of the Ring to a total of two, even though the total number of player slots is six. If we're ever to do something similar in the future, we'd definitely want to increase the number of human players.
 chriscorry: Question: Geiger|EAGLE|: What inspired you to work with clanwars?
Answer: Patrick and his guys came to EALA as part of a community summit and the Dev team was very impressed with the presentation that they gave us. We -- and, notably, the Gamespy guys too -- saw a great opportunity to partner with clanwars and help us make the game at least "clan aware." We're pretty happy with the results so far, and I know that it's going to get better.
[15:27] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Mithrandir: Is the playing style with each faction really different? Did it affect balance a lot?
Answer: We wanted to create factions that each play very distinctly but are all balanced against one another. This was extremely tricky to balance, but we started balance very early in development and had a lot of help from the community. I feel that they play very differently and are true to the fiction behind each race.
[15:28] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: sanguineraven: Moving to 'build anywhere' design, particularly with the wall system, were you not worried about overly agressive or defensive tactics (eg building layers and layers of walls making it difficult and boring to attack, or agressively building out as far as possible, sectioning off the map and eventually reaching the enemy base)?
Answer: Balancing aggressive rush-based game play against effective use of walls has been an interesting challenge and we continue to look at this. Some people feel we ended up too much on the side of "rushing" vs. "turtling". We are listenting to what the community is saying and talking about different ways to tune the balance of the game to make the walls feel a little more effective than they feel right now. Stay tuned.
[15:28] [BFME II Dev]
Answer: As of right now there are no plans for a 3v3 or 4v4 ladder, but I do plan to run tournaments and promotions around our 1v1 and 2v2. We'll see down the road, but generally 1v1 and 2v2 are far more popular than 3v3 or 4v4 ladders. Never say never!
[15:29] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: DarkDruid: Have you ever eatin swedish fish they are tasty?
Answer: Yes, they are one of my favorite candies.
[15:29] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: rogerrhino: What other games do you enjoy playing?
Answer: The variety of games that the team plays is actually staggering. I don't think that there's a single genre, no matter how obscure, that someone on team doesn't play. Personally, I'm currently playing Black, Burnout 360, BF2, Lumines, Earth 2160, and Castlevania DS.
[15:30] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: [iPwn] Rankinator: In the next update, will structures be made more stable? At the moment they fall far too quickly.
Answer: The structures are meant to be vulnerable to attack in order to promote fast-paced battles, but we continue to look at this for balance. We might beef them up a bit once we get some more feedback from the community.
[15:30] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: This is a common theme we're hearing from the community. We're looking at this right now.
[15:30] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: [iPwn] Rankinator: In any of the updates, is it possible to change the view distance? I find that it's way to close to the floor to be ablt command a large number of units at any on time.
Answer: Unfortunately, doing that slows down the framerate quite a bit with our engine.
 chriscorry: Question: Do you guys still enjoy playing the game?
Answer: You know (and this is not just "spin"), I am amazed at how much the Dev team is still playing the game, even though most of us have moved onto the next project. We are all very proud of the game, but I think we're particularly thrilled that the game is just a total blast to play.
[15:32] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Question: Grand_Master: What were the driving factors on combining Rohan and Gondor into the Men faction?
Answer: Essentially in BFME1, Rohan was all about awesome cavalry, while Gondor was all about strong heroes and castle defenses. To have more depth in our factions for BFME2, we decided it would be better to combine these strengths into one faction, which also adds more versatility to the strategy you can use with the Men of the West.
[15:32] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: jovan0: It seems like single player is taking a back seat to multiplayer. How come?
Answer: I wouldn't say SP took a back seat to MP - but I do think the SP experience comes in three flavors. We think of Campaign, War of the Ring, and Skirmish as important parts of the SP experience. Personally, I love spending time with WOTR mode - and I think it makes a nice complement to the campaign. Skirmish with created heroes is also cool. With hindsight I do wish we had added some additional missions to the campaign. The campaign was just a bit short. Something we need to take to heart on the next game.
[15:32] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: rogerrhino: What other games do you enjoy playing?
Answer: You name
it, we play it. Our team plays board games, card games, paper-and-dice games,
games for PC and all consoles. I'm playing City of
[15:33] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: [EG]YkudzA: Apoc said that BFME-2 at World Cyber Games - on of the main objective (I can get us in WCG). How is it possible? What is your plan, TEAM?
Answer: (Hope, I`ll see BFME-2 at WCG 2007) I think the multiplayer aspect of BFME 2 has fantastic potential to get in to the ranks of WCG 2007. I expect after a couple patches the balance will be very competitive. This is one of my biggest goals.
 chriscorry: Question: -=X-Miles-DL=-: Are there any future projects your team is working on that you can reveal?
Answer: It goes without saying; we're not talking about our next project yet. All will become clear soon enough... ;-)
[15:34] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: nynxer: Do you guys play WoW?
Answer: The more important question is, does anyone NOT play WoW?
[15:34] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: Kurzon Samulatis: About how much time did you spend planning, with concept art and text based structuring before you started the physical modeling, level creating etc.?
Answer: Because LOTR has so many characters built in, we started modeling some guys that didn't get into BFME1 right away, like Haldir and Galadriel. While we did that, we were also doing concept art and paper design. We worked on paper for 4-5 months before everyone was working on coding, modeling and making levels.
[15:34] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Design spends over a month on paper design for missions before rough implementation in-game. After that it takes a while before the art assets come in, but we spend maybe 2 months scripting and many more months tuning.
[15:34] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: [EG]YkudzA: What is the funniest moment at the development this game?
Answer: Its all funny!
[15:34] [BFME II Dev] Amer: When Mike Verdu was made the Executive Producer on the project, all the team members in this chat room (along with the rest of the leads) got drunk off of champagne in our main meeting room...at 3pm in the afternoon.
[15:35] [BFME II Dev] Jill: As for funny moments, we also have foam darts that we shoot at each other. We occassionally have epic dart battles.
[15:35] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: DarkDruid: Are you going to give heros some type of skill to shoot over walls with there bows?
Answer: Anything with the bombard ability is meant to shoot over walls
[15:37] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: █▓▒ҳҲҖ●Lλmλrr●ҖҲҳٿ▒▓█: How did you celebrate when the game was gold or shipped or whenever you celebrated :p?
Answer: Well, I
am personally going to
 chriscorry: Question: holyone2: Epic dart battles? What the...?
Answer: Hell yeah! We are a bunch of game geeks, after all.
[15:38] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: rogerrhino: What kind of training did you take before you were employed at EA, and how long were you employed there?
Answer: I have a psychology degree, so I have no real training that prepared me for games. I started with EA in 1999 as an administrative assistant, then I worked as an Assistant Producer on our Supercross games before moving onto the RTS team during Generals.
[15:39] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Many team members come from varied backgrounds. I have a poly sci major from UCI in 1997, and then worked at GameSpot as Senior Editor until 2002. I joined EA in late 2002, and have worked on Generals, Zero Hour, BFME1, and most recently, BFME2.
[15:39] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: I majored in Film and Communications in college and also did marketing research in video games thru college. I've been with EA for two years now.
[15:39] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: ×Mage×: A single unit of infantry is quite large, and the units in the rear don't seem to do much. Was it really necessary to make a unit of people so large?
Answer: This plays into balance and simulating real field battles. We focus on fun, but larger units felt beefier and allowed for battles to "breathe" when armies became engaged. It's also much easier to balance units that can survive trampling.
[15:41] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: Geiger|EAGLE|: Did John Howe do the art of BFME II?
Answer: He did some concept art for us for locations and he also designed the dragon that appears in the regular edition. We had a lot of great concept artists on the game, including Warren Fu and Feng Zhu, who also worked on the Star Wars movies.
[15:42] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: In your opinion: do you think J.R.R Tolkien would like the game? :)
Answer: We love Tolkien's fiction and his world and we aspired to make a game that was true to the spirit of The Lord of the Rings. It's been a true honor to work with this fiction. I hope that Tolkien would have approved of what we created and I like to think that he would.
[15:42] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: sanguineraven: Was there a reason behind the small selection of available appearance customisations in create-a-hero or was it kept brief with hopes that the community would create quality custom content after the game's release?
Answer: This was a challenging feature to create content for. We added as much as we could provided the time we had, and decided to go with more classes than fewer, deeper classes in order to facilitate the broadest possible range of characters.
[15:43] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Question: TAW_Gamegreak [WW]: What are you indiviudal playing styles?
Answer: I play online under the handle TheJimtern (Feel free to say hi!). Currently I love playing as Mordor and microing the Black Riders with the Mouth of Sauron. I tend to prefer focusing on fewer units and having them gain expereience to unlock their high end abilities. There's nothing more satisfying than casting the Mouth of Sauron's Dissent to have an entire enemy army fight each other :)
 chriscorry: Question: sanguineraven: Were you aiming for smaller games (ie 1v1 or 2v2) or is it just due to the size of the map that would need now that there is "build anywhere" possible?
Answer: The fact of the matter is that 1v1 games are (by a surprisingly wide margin) the most popular types of games online (about 75%). 2v2 is about 25% and then is goes way down from there. Knowing this we just wanted to make sure that we were making the largest number of people happy. :-) There was not much about build anywhere that required us
[15:43] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: [NER]Jupiter: What was the biggest challenge from BFMEI to BMFEII?
Answer: We had already explored almost all of the fiction from the movie, so we had to figure out what the game would be about. Luckily, we got the rights to the books so we were able to explore that territory. Without that, it would have been hard.
[15:45] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: Lord Traith: Are any of you from what used to be "Westwood"?
Answer: Yes, our team is essentially the ex-Westwood Pacific/EA Pacific team. Many of our team leads have worked on Red Alert 2, Yuri's Revenge, and Generals, which were all developed under the Westwood Pacific and/or EA Pacific labels.
[15:45] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: TAW_Gamefreak [WW]: How much creative license were you given? Could you come up and put just about anything into the game or were there limitations and restrictions?
Answer: First and foremost we had to be true to the spirit of the fiction and stay consistent with everything in the movies and books. We also worked very closely with our partners at New Line and Tolkien Enterprises. We took our responsibility to the author, the world, and the fans very seriously.
[15:46] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: =SE=Eorlas: What do you guys enjoy doing in your spare time?
Answer: I actually run the EALAP Soccer League. Its a league I have organized over the past year and is comprised of 15 entertainment soccer teams including an EA team, Warner Bros, FOX, etc. Our next season starts April 1. Check out our league page at http://ealap.com
 chriscorry: Question: ۞ T R U C K ۞: Was anyone on the team not a fan of the LOTR books/movies or was that a requirement to work on the project?
Answer: We have a ton of LOTR fans on the team, but it certainly was not a requirement. What was a requirement? The desire to work with talented people on a good game.
[15:47] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: Kurzon Samulatis: In your Collectors edition Bonus DVD you talked about the new structure you used to create the game. Why did you try this structure?
Answer: What made it a better structure than the way you normaly do it? A: Rather than splitting up the team by discipline, we found that it worked better to have people split up based on what they worked on - all the UI engineers and artists worked together, for example.
[15:47] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Geiger|EAGLE|: Do you think BFME II mainly appeals to Lord of the Rings fans or all RTS gamers?
Answer: We are very fortunate to have appealed to both groups very strongly, as far as we know. Most of us are fans of both the fiction and the genre, so we were very vigilant about tending to both sides of the coin.
[15:47] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: Double Iris: In War of the Ring mode, why did u decide to not have the armies and resources made in the real time mode not affect what’s on the board?
Answer: For several months during development, the War of the Ring mode actually let you build as many units in an RTS battle as you wanted and bring them back to the Living World map. However, we quickly realized that players used RTS battles to "farm" a number of units in one turn that would take ten times longer to produce otherwise.
[15:48] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: Cekay69: Why are the Servers of BFME2 actually down ? when will it be fixed ? If you want to log in you always get a "timed out" It is since more then 1 hour now :-(
Answer: This is an excellent question. I apologize to everyone for today's outage - I know it's frustrating when you want to play and can't get online. We have a technical issue with the "front door" authentication servers that we're working on right now - it's actually the highest priority for our Network Operations team. Unfortunately some other EA games are down as well. We will get the servers back up as soon as possible.
[15:49] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: rogerrhino: Would you prefer to read LOTR, or watch the movies?
Answer: I am a huge fan of both. I absolutely loved the movies, but the depth of the books remains my favorite.
[15:49] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: AngelaStar: Will you consider having more female characters in the future games besides just a woman hero? like maybe female trolls, female dwarfs, and etc?
Answer: I am all in favor of this! With the LOTR fiction, we tried to stay within the realm of the fiction, which features mostly male characters. We did try to include as many female characters as we could, but those ended up all being heroes.
[15:50] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: In addition to Jill's comment, YES. RTS's tend to take place in a "man's world" because they are war games and most war fiction involves male combatants. Increasing the presence of women in games, regardless of genre, is always an important issue to me.
[15:50] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: [EG]Ykudza: What happened after false alarm at EALA (HeXetic`s joke)?
Answer: Ykudza, you must have a friendship with HeXetic, as do I. Well, its just a scare tactic.
[15:51] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Another note about the team structure - being split up based on feature gave people a lot of ownership over a feature. We had a group that worked on the War of the Ring feature the entire time and they were really committed to it and worked as hard as they could to make that feature great. If we had split that work over a lot of people, they might not have had as much passion for the feature.
[15:51] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: cowkiller67: Do you guys play any of your own games?
Answer: Hell yes! Most of the team still plays BFME2 everyday, and some of us even play Zero Hours with each other.
[15:52] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Yea, if you see me in the BFME Online lobby, my nick is KingAPOCDain
 chriscorry: Question: jovan0: Will you abandon BFME engine now?
Answer: Certainly not! (abandon is such a strong word!). The SAGE engine will continue to evolve but for each new title there are often significant (in many case dramatic) upgrades and rewrites done to various technical systems. At some point we will likely prepare a more aggressive reconstruction effort (SAGE 2?) but that's a little ways off.
[15:52] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: Gate28: Are there any developer Easter Eggs in the game?
Answer: Yes, if you purchase ten copies of the game, and tell everyone you know to do the same, then you'll be treated to an AMAZING Easter Egg. Actually, no, there aren't any Easter Eggs in the game as EA keeps a pretty tight lid on unapproved content, especially on a licensed game such as ours.
[15:52] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: [NER]Jupiter: Were units like spider riders and mountain giants the natural solutions for the evil "army" or did you think about other solutions?
Answer: Certainly the idea of Giants was interesting to us right away. We considered other options, like maybe adding an evil Wizard, but in the end we wanted a faction that made sense. All the creepy creatures of Middle-earth seemed like the best option because they are a lot of fun.
[15:53] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: The goblins were fun to make. We explored a wide variety of units but settled on these as the most logical given the fiction and balance issues. I'm sorry we didn't get to include the bat-rider. :-)
[15:53] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Question: Mithrandir208, I heard you play online, how do you compare to the pros?
Answer: It would be cool to say I'm one of the best BFME2 players out there. But in all honesty, if I log on and get matched up against a top player, I will get utterly destroyed.
 chriscorry: And Jim is the best player on the team.
[15:54] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: TAW_Gamefreak [WW]: Many gamers have certain stigmas, namely, against licensed games and sequels. This game appears to be both. What can you say to reassure us that this isn't simply a movie-spinoff or a hashed out sequel?
Answer: "The proof is in the pudding." We think we made a great game, and the book license was actually a great boon to the project from the standpoint of creating a world that people love.
[15:55] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: sanguineraven: pirates or ninjas? :P
Answer: We do have a lot of ninja fans on team, but I would say the team overall prefers pirates. We actually celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day last year, with a bunch of us dressing up like pirates and talking like pirates all day. We still have an Aragorn statue on the floor that wears an eye patch and a pirate hat!
[15:55] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Question: [EG]YkudzA: Russian distributor of EA`s games (SoftClub) officially said that “BFME-1 servers will be discontinued in the immediate future”. Is it true?
Answer: Unless you hear it from us, I wouldn't take any information as official. Never heard of that, don't worry.
[15:55] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: jonsc1: Was there any exchange of ideas between you and the "film team"?
the development of the
 chriscorry: -=X-Miles-DL=-: Question: Babies or Rhinos?
Answer: Penny Arcade rocks. :-) Babies -- I'm a father.
[15:58] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: holyone2: BFME2 has an original resource system in which it is theoretically possible to get almost infinite resource growth, do you feel that this system involving 'building' resources should be used more in other RTS's rather than the usual 'harvesting' resources?
Answer: Every game calls for a different resource system. This one had some advantages, but we learned a lot from it. I would have tweaked a few things if we had more time.
[15:58] [BFME II Dev] Amer: Question: jovan0: Which game do you like more, GENERALS or BFME?
Answer: Asking to choose a favorite between two of our games is like asking to choose a favorite child. We love them both equally. *COUGH*Generals*COUGH*
[15:59] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: ░▒▓█ Xgenamd █▓▒░: Do any of you play games other than those by EA?
Answer: Absolutely yes. We love this medium and we play great games regardless of who makes them - from blockbuster games that everyone would recognize to homebrew games you only get directly from their creators.
[15:59] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Question: AngelaStar asks about our female audience. I think it's great that women play this game - the LOTR fiction is especially popular with women. We talk a lot about how EA in general can reach out to more women and we don't have a concrete answer yet. Obviously The Sims is big with women, but RTS's don't tend to have a lot of female fans. Having a strong female presence in the community would certainly help get the word out. Maybe we need a big all female clan!
 [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: Geiger|EAGLE|: With the release of Star Wars: Empire at War, do you feel in a little bit of competition?
Answer: I've enjoyed playing EaW. Several of their designers worked on BFME1, and are buddies of mine.
 [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: As an RTS gamer and fan of both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, I think it was awesome to have two epic games released.
[16:01] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Was very cool to have games from two epic universes available at the same time
[16:01] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: It's a great thing for the game industry
[16:01] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Its been an interesting dynamic with the EAW, BFME, and C&C community all combined between Empire at War, C&C The First Decade, and of course my beloved favorite The Battle for Middle-earth 2 all coming out within a month of each other.
 chriscorry: I will go on the record as saying that goatsex is inappropriate in the workplace.
[16:02] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: [OvC]Guardian: If Tolkein was alive today, what would you ask him about middle earth?
Answer: "Where would you live in Middle-earth?"
[16:03] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Question: ×Mage×: Why did you combine Rohan and Gondor into one faction? What advantages/disadvantages does this new, combined faction have over the two separate ones?
Answer: Part of me wanted to keep Rohan. We could only have 6 sides and we needed to make room for the goblins. For a while the dwarves and elves were going to be one side, but the fiction really doesn't support it.
[16:03] [BFME II Dev]
Amer: Question: [EG]YkudzA: BFME-2 Dev Teams, are you wanna visit
Answer: In Soviet Russia, city visit you!
[16:03] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Also regarding what non-EA games we play, our team has become somewhat obsessed with Guitar Hero. We rock out a lot.
[16:03] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: I am obsessed with Pong
[16:04] [Xfire] matteox: 2 minutes left
[16:04] [BFME II Dev]
Jimtern: Question: Eternal
Answer: Absolutely, we had an awesome team tournament at the end of the project, and would display the games down in the theater on the big screen for everyone to watch. We also consistently play games together after work hours (And sometimes during work hours, but don't tell Mike).
 [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Question: -=X-Supreme-HC=-: I am. I think it's a fun game and one that I enjoy playing. Ultimately this is a very personal question: Have you created something that you are proud of, that you would feel good about people spending their hard earned money on and play for hours and hours? The answer for this game - for me - is yes.
[16:05] [BFME II Dev] Jill: AngelaStar - you should be sure to get involved with our official forums and our community manager - Apoc. He can help set things up. I'm sure the male fans of the game would also be glad to have more female presence in the community!
[16:06] [BFME II Dev] J Bender: Thanks a whole bunch, ladies and gentlemen! I wish there was time to talk to each of you individually, but we pay very close attention to the message boards. Post your concerns and questions to keep APOC busy! Thank you all so much for playing BFME II.
[16:06] [BFME II Dev]MVerdu: Thank you for the opportunity to chat with everyone here - I really enjoyed it. And we're working hard to get the servers up ASAP - I feel terrible that people can't play right now. We'll have the servers back on line as soon as we possibly can.
[16:07] [BFME II Dev] Jill: Thanks to everyone for coming out to chat. It was fun!
[16:07] [Xfire] matteox: We want to thank the BFMEII team for their time.
[16:07] [Xfire] matteox: I will raffle some games in a couple minutes
[16:07] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: After playing hundreds of games of BFME2 throughout development, I'm still having fun playing the game online and against the team members. I think that in itself proves how proud I am of the final product.
[16:07] [BFME II Dev] Amer: I'd like to chime in to Mike's last point. This is the fourth project that I've been involved with at EA, and this is easily the one that I've felt the "closest" to. I feel prouder to have worked on this game than on any other. I hope that all of you have as much enjoyment playing it that I've had working on it.
[16:08] [BFME II Dev] Amer: (Hi GR.org staff)
 chriscorry: I'm very happy with the way the game has come out. There's always something that you wish you had time to squeeze in, but on this project there were far fewer of those feelings. More than anything I appreciate you guys -- we have some of the best fans around and you have been tremendously supportive of us. Thank you, we love making great games for you.
[16:09] [BFME II Dev] Apoc: Hey everyone, thanks for participating in this development chat, this was awesome. I'll be posting tons of updates on our official message boards and site at www.bfme2.ea.com, for the latest on our next couple of patches and plenty more, make sure to visit the site every day. I'll see you guys on the boards!
[16:09] [Xfire] matteox: Okay THANKS!!!!
 chriscorry: See you online.
[16:10] [BFME II Dev] Jimtern: Thanks everyone, see you online!
[16:10] [Xfire] matteox: Okay time for some giveaways
[16:10] [Xfire] matteox: 1. AngelaStar
[16:11] [Xfire] matteox: 2. OMEGA
[16:12] [Xfire] matteox: 3. xMagex
[16:12] [Xfire] matteox: 4. Metus
[16:12] [Xfire] matteox: 5. LemonTaste
[16:13] [Xfire] matteox: Those will be signed copies!
[16:14] [Xfire] matteox: Winners please pm me
[16:14] [Xfire] matteox: Thanks everyone !