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When LEGO started talking to the AFOL community, we hammered them with our suggestions, and LEGO tried many of them. We were sure that re-released LEGO sets would sell well. But the LEGO Legends line kinda flopped. We were positive that juniorization in the town theme was hurting the company, and hey! turns out we were sorta right. We thought LEGO Factory (where you could build your own sets and order them online) would be a fantastic idea. Nope. We thought there was a market for adult-targeted sets-- and yep, there was! Enough to justify a few sets per year! We thought Bionicle was going to destroy the reputation of the LEGO brand. Not so much.
What happened in the mid-2000's, though, was that LEGO started shifting gears to doing more market research before launching a new lineup, rather than just exploring a new area with a full new product line.
And as the company opened up, we learned that LEGO actually does a LOT of work behind the scenes with new ideas. For the first time, we were getting insight into what's going on behind the scenes. Just because you don't see an experiment on the shelves doesn't mean that LEGO didn't try it out.
So, honestly, I don't mind you saying that you want it to be better. That's fine. But I think you owe LEGO more credit than to say that they didn't think about it. I don't think it's fair to characterize the decisions as "moronic" or "slavish lazy thinking". I know people at LEGO-- two people from my local LUG have gone on to be LEGO set designers, two people that have done concept design at LEGO (one of them being my wife), and lots more. Opinions are fine. But please don't belittle the efforts of a lot of talented people at LEGO. Well, the whole petition thing seeks to change that, but although I think it's fine to do, LEGO made an entire framework for this-- LEGO Ideas.
LEGO Ideas was built in part for the purpose of letting people pitch their own concepts and proving to LEGO that they could work, demonstrating something's viability. If you get the support, they'll take it to the next level.
And at the next level it may not pass review, so even if you DO get 10,000 votes there is still a good chance your set won't be made. Case in point all the Zelda Ideas that have got 10,000 votes and we still have yet to see a Zelda Lego set.
Finally, we reach the grist. You simply found my choice of words just a little too colourful, because you have friends at lego. Was all the posturing, personal insults, sideways slights, and hypocrisy you've thrown my way, really necessary?
Look, if you feel slighted on their behalf, then I'm sorry. But i'm afraid you'll just have to suck it up on this occasion (and learn to separate designers efforts from corporate strategy; more on that below).
I shouldn't have to keep repeating my (very simple) opinion - but you keep misrepresenting me - I believe this theme was badly implemented. I think many of the builds are uninspired. This is hardly a groundbreaking, earth-shattering statement, that has not been said by many others before. There's nothing here to get so worked up over. But you're continually misinterpreting my position as an attack on designers, ignoring the many positives, just to fuel your indignation and making a volcanic mountain out of a molehill.
And i haven't said they didn't think about it. I just think they were less than inspired in their thinking. If i believe that they decided to stick to a tried and tested model and it failed, then by definition that is poor (possibly lazy?) thinking Because they have not sufficiently evaluated whether or not the model would actually work here - and if they did, and thought it would work, then they were wrong (hence, uninspired, unable to think beyond existing parameters).
The evidence of market performance speaks for itself.
Yes I had high hopes for the theme - why? Because i gave LEGO and their designers far MORE credit than perhaps i should. Again, the opposite of the person you're trying to paint me as. So please, for the last time, stop it with the character remarks.
If something is not optimum, then it must be less than; have a fault or a negative somewhere. Less than 100%, must by definition be missing some %age. I'm not going to tiptoe around saying 'this is not excellent', 'this is less than perfection', 'I find this not 100%'. Just to appease the thin-skinned who can't bear the thought Lego might get something wrong... sorry, not right.
If people, the consumers who pay their money, are going to feel a theme or set is below par, then people are going to say as much - and they'll use whatever language comes natural to them. It would be ridiculous to expect otherwise.
It is not belittling to say something appears half-hearted (not that i have said this, before you quote it in another attack), because the truth is we don't always do our best work all the time. Other times we bash out a brilliant design on a napkin in 5 minutes, without trying, other times we can labour on a project for weeks and the end result is still rubbish. Without trying doesn't always mean bad. But it can lead to complacency, after a string of hits.
There are times when the subject just doesn't click, other times we look back on a finished project (that people love) and suddenly see glaring errors that we'd actually like to change (despite the plaudits).
We have off days, days when our heart isn't in it (especially if you'd rather be designing something else, or you're being pushed to complete other projects, or your mind is on other matters). It happens.
Nobody is perfect all the time.
Every decision is made by someone. Sometimes that someone gets it wrong, mishandles research, doesn't get the team right, sometimes ONE small oversight that nobody thinks important at the time can snowball through a project and mess it all up. When that happens, everyone looks around for answers, thinking 'we did everything we could, all the research is there, the team is great, what did we miss?'. And sometimes it takes a casual observer from the outside, with no connections, possibly even a child or a person with a childs' innocence, who suddenly says 'why X?'. And then the penny drops like a 10tonne weight. So obvious, so simple, yet nobody saw it, none of the experts, none of the research.
And do you know what? NONE of this is even remotely relevant to my original comment that you've leapt on. Because I do not and have not belittled the designers. Besides which, I have a family full of them, so i have every sympathy for what they go through daily.
And having said ALL that. The nub of MY complaint was, as i have repeated: the strategy and implementation - which i would suspect comes from voices elsewhere than the model designers themselves. So cool off. Nobody is belittling the efforts of designers.
And equally, nobody has the monopoly on good ideas. Innovation does not tend to come from what a group thinks - if it did, it wouldn't be very innovative or original in the first place. Innovators are almost always viewed as idiots by the masses... until later, when they look back and call them geniuses.
Good grief. I'm done here. What's the point of a forum, if a simple opinion is leapt on by pitchfork-waving zealots.
Burn the witch! He says bad things about my friends!
(err, no he didn't)
Well that's what i going with regardless! BuRN!
So, I'm not saying you've offended me by insulting my friends-- I don't even know who in particular is responsible for doing the concept and design work for LOTR. But based on what I know of the people who work in similar positions at LEGO, yes, I think you're making assumptions you shouldn't be making.
Your choice of words did encourage me to post, however-- that's ... just the nature of posting strongly worded things. Saying things like "moronic" and "stupid" encourages response in general. I guess I'm not sure what more to say on that? If you had stated your opinion more casually, yeah, I might not have said anything. I just re-read my contributions to this thread, and I guess I'm missing the insults.
"I think [legomatt is] being too hard on LEGO."
"I think it's pretty presumptuous to believe that LEGO wouldn't have considered other selling formats for the license."
"I think you owe LEGO more credit"
Maybe that's overly harsh in your book, but I guess I don't see it that way.
At this point, I think my opinion should be pretty clear, which I'm just as free to state as you are to state your opinion:
1) I think LEGO tried pretty hard to give us a good lineup. I think they took kids and adults into consideration and tried to balance things to keep the line profitable.
2) I think the lineup is pretty good, though not without its faults.
3) I think you're assuming that LEGO could've been profitable with a higher-end lineup, and doing so presumptuously.
4) I think you're assuming that LEGO didn't actually consider or try to give us a better, more complete lineup. That's because I'm not really interested in the opinion part. Or, well, OK-- at first I was, because I was confused by the fact that you seemed to state that you both appreciated what we got and hated it at the same time. But I think I'm more clear on the opinion now.
Anyway, the opinion part doesn't really bother me. The part I wanted to address was that you appear to presume without much evidence that a higher quality, more complete line would have done better for LEGO. My experience with the company says differently, and I know they routinely look into a lot of possibilities that never see the light of day because they couldn't be proven profitable.
That's why I pointed to the examples from the late 1990's and early 2000's that AFOLs were making, because I think it's similar. We were basically making assumptions, and sometimes we were right, sometimes we were wrong. But LEGO meanwhile has done a lot of research, unless you're otherwise aware. Did LOTR actually fail? I wasn't aware that LEGO viewed it that way, although their lack of 2014 sets implies that they don't expect a 2014 lineup to perform. Also, I don't see any evidence that even with a different approach, that the line would still be doing well enough to be active. Basically, even if LOTR did fail, who's to say that a more complete, more intricate lineup would have made the line succeed? Maybe it simply would have cost LEGO more money, and they wouldn't have even done a 2nd round in 2013.
If the Tower of Orthanc flew off the shelves, which was targeted at a higher age range, I could see using that as evidence. Or (say), maybe you have some sort of evidence that LEGO was required by contract with New Line Cinemas to make the sets according to a certain age group that restricted LEGO's design capabilities? I don't know, I'm just throwing out possibilities.
Anyway, if you've got evidence to suggest that a more advanced set design (I assume you mean on par design-wise with modular town buildings or something) along with a fuller lineup would do better, that's great. And if you don't, that's fine too, feel free to state your opinion. But if you want to state your opinion vociferously, then you should either expect a response, or should present more evidence.
Your entire post history in this thread is built around the following format:
*First misunderstand, but presume to...
*Creat false impression by re-interpreting and misrepresenting, and then
*attack the false presumption, based around the false argument you create for yourself.
It is impossible for me to discuss anything with you, as you routinely ignore everything i say, but instead conduct a one-man-show. You repeatedly misrepresent me, purely to set up your own argument to then attack. It is so easy to sound correct, when you're arguing in the mirror. Almost every word or opinion you attribute to me is completely false or twisted out of context.
I have made more than enough effort to correct you, not that i should even need to, as a forum is for posting our own opinion, not our opinion of each other, but each time the same pattern then repeats. It is futile my continuing to explain anything, when you refuse to understand (but persist with 'this is what you're saying' bull). Do NOT presume to tell me or others what i am saying.
You wrongly accuse me of belittling others, yet repeatedly belittle me with your posturing. All that posturing does is attempt to present a hierarchy of authority, i.e. to undermine, belittle, others so to disregard out of hand their points.
You wrongly accuse me of being presumptuous, whilst repeatedly (and every post is full of it) take it upon yourself to tell everyone what it is I am saying, would think, or know, without any evidence whatsoever. I will speak for myself. The only reason I have been forced to respond to any of your posts, is in order to continually correct your twisted translations of my words, and to prevent you misrepresenting me. I will speak for myself.
If you want to say 'I think lego did lots of research, made every effort and did a great job'. That's great. Is anybody demanding you explain yourself? Is anybody twisting your words and then posting 'what he really says is lego can do no wrong, whatever they do, he's happy with and worships every decision as sacrosanct'.
No they aren't. That's because people have the decency to allow your opinion - whatever they think of it - without re-interpreting it into what they wish to present, in order to deny it. I should not need to explain why i dislike anything. The only evidence that matters is the range of product we see. If i find that range to be lacking, if i feel that range is uninspired i have every right to say so without having to say anything more on the subject, or be subjected to two pages of misrepresentation designed to blacken my name.
If i were to cut out all the words from your posts which where personally directed at me, based on falsely re-interpreting, and attempts at misrepresentation, there would be almost nothing left to read from you.
If you have anything further to say about me or my posts, send a PM. I'm sick of having to defend myself publicly from your personally-targeted posts. Otherwise I will have no choice but to report you to admin.
If you were any kind of decent person, you would apologise for any insult (intended or otherwise), as i have already done, and respect public order by being willing to move on with nothing further said.
I actually don't have a problem with the sets that were produced, especially with price, piece, and time constraints. The problem, when we get right down to it, is that LOTR is so deeply loved as a world and story by its enormous fan base, and to miss out on some major characters or scene representations feels like someone who had a chance missed out on what is loved by so many. It's like owning all of the animated shows from a few decades ago and realizing that there is a huge section of The Two Towers and Return of the King missing that we will never get. A glaring gap that will not ever be filled.
We have all of these nice sets, but still no official Balrog or Witchking, no Edoras or Minas Tirith, and it just feels sad, because there are these glaring holes in the finished series. Also, because there won't be another go around in a few years like with Star Wars, or a chance to revisit like we might get for Harry Potter sets in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie(s), what we get is all there will be.
On the one hand, I remember being grateful in the first lineup of LOTR sets, that we were getting any such acknowledgement of the series at all was, in itself, a fantastic treat. But, on the other hand, it feels like they just need to go a little further to the finish line, and they aren't going to make it, and that is dissatisfactory.
If done properly, such sets would have gone down as instant modern classics, regardless of the theme which spawned them.
Agreed, but they also would have been big and expensive.
I don't think Lego understood who they were making these sets for. For kids? For fans? Honestly, many kids didn't see the movies, and many have not read the books. Characters... On the few clearanced sets I bought for my son, he built the sets and left the characters unbuilt. My daughter who read the books, missed the few female characters she wanted, so the sets held far less appeal. The sets often did not appeal to fans, because they missed so much.
If they are making It for kids, then they missed the boat on some of the scenes. I agree, why on earth no Balrog? My son would have wanted such a set for a cool creature.
Color. I am perplexed why lack of color was dismissed. I definitely saw that come into play for my 7 year old. The color choice may make the scenes realistic, but they do make things a bit boring looking for someone unfamiliar with the story.
Really, the biggest area I fault them is not knowing who their audience was for these sets, but instead they tried to straddle creating lines that would appeal to fans and to kids, and I do not think they were necessarily successful with either. There obviously were set exceptions.
I definitely agree with your comments about the confusion of audience for the sets. I can see that playing a part in the uneven set realizations.
I just do not think the theme did as well as it could have because Lego did not determine the audience it was going after. Perhaps part of that is the material is so deep. Whatever the case, I just struggle to see how they missed such iconic scenes and characters. How can you release LOTR and not have Gandalf vs. the Balrog? That scene is huge. How can you not have Eowyn? I do find it sad that much is left unfinished, but I guess for me, by missing the mark on who to sell to they impacted sales, that impacted sets and sales. I just do not see this line continuing, and I am not sure I want a line to continue that has missed such iconic items. I get the heart of wanting this to continue, but for me logically I just do not see this line continuing. The reality is that Lego failed to convert this line into a core line. It had potential, just as HP does. I would argue, though, that HP had and has higher potential in part because they really understood who they were marketing to, and the last wave of HP did a marvelous job at hitting key iconic structures, despite other scenes I would have desperately wanted more of.
If I look at this from a historical perspective, I have heard over and over on this board how Star Wars saved Lego. When I delved into it, I found it was definitely not that simple. The reality was Lego had diversified into areas they should not have, and what was selling for them was Bionicle, Star Wars and Harry Potter. The problem was that both licenses, including Star Wars, saw a huge die-off in sales when there was no movie out. When Lego began to remake themselves, core sales again came from these same lines (when movies were out), bionicles and City type lines. What happened, though, is that there was a gap in the HP movies, that may or may not have impacted momentum, while at the same time Lego finally saw a year where Lego Star Wars sales did not fall as much as expected for a non-movie year. In fact Star Wars sales did fairly well. The following year, they saw a similar thread. Now... What happened that particular year to finally cause a theme to not dip without a movie? Who knows.. But this was around 2007 if I am remembering correctly. Those 5-10 year old kids that watched Star Wars in 76 were now in their 30s, having families and kids they wanted to share those classic movies with. That may not have been it, but as Lego phrased it in their annual reports, Star Wars looked like it was on its way to becoming a core product.
It is not a matter of how deep the LOTR, HP or Star Wars universe is, and how many amazing sets they could make or did not make. At the end of the day it is about those sales. I presume LOTR/hobbit has seen the same sort of fall off in sales after the movie is out of site, as almost every other theme has had. In the case of LOTR/Hobbit, though, the lack of not understanding who to target these sets for, I think also impacted the line.
The point... There are multiple reasons, but LOTR has definitely not transitioned to a core product. The petition becomes useless.
On the other hand, the gold melting over Smaug scenes they added are tied with the most stubborn creatures on earth quitting their quest and life purpose and turning around to go home after trying a key for about 5-10 seconds and it not working as the some of the stupidest things put on film.
If we all vote for the LOTR ideas and get several past the post Lego might just produce some more sets. Might. If they still have a licence?
Personally, I don't vote for any set I wouldn't buy. So I vote for very few.
I would not suggest supporting the worst projects.
However supporting just the ones that you might buy now, does not support the ones you would buy at a later date, for various reasons that might apply later.
So I do suggest supporting the medium quality ones, just to show lego that there is strong support for the LOTR as a whole.
I don't really see the point. It is minifig heavy, for figures we already have. The whole Fellowship in one set. It's a nice MOC though.
Unless LoTR shows up back in the theaters, or there is another video game by LEGO, then no more sets are likely. You have to have some sort of main stream buzz, and whether people like it or not, the movies generate the buzz, not the books. Otherwise LEGO probably would have been getting a license for LoTR a long time before now.
Just like I'm sure people want Indy, Potter, PoTC back too, but again, there is not enough publicity of these lines to warrant it.
But as an example, I'm pretty sure if PoTC 5 is made there will be a LEGO line for it (as long as Disney and LEGO are 'buddy buddy' anyway), AND PoTC is another line that can easily be considered 'half finished'.. One could argue that Batman/Marvel is still missing a ton of stuff (but that could change). However, Batman, Superman, and Marvel as a whole are all in the mainstream right now. Do you have fans for LoTR everywhere? Yes, but LEGO also wants to catch those who see it now and what to impulsively buy the toys for it. Or they risk sets sitting around waiting to go on clearance. The best thing that could happen for LEGO SW was the 'rebels' and clone wars, and now 7,8,9 being made, otherwise I would not have been surprised if LEGO decided to stop doing SW for a while (though that probably would be unlikely).
Nothing wrong per se with the sets made, just hard to match the scale of the scenes in the book/movies in LEGO and keeping it cheap, without losing detail anyway. And Designers are constrained by the price points as much as the design, whether people like that or not.
For keeping this line alive or rather likely bringing it back, it goes back to the Legends debate and if old lines of other things that should be redone or brought back or keep being made continuously, and that is whole other discussion (in its own thread as a matter of fact)
Even with Ideas, they want something they can sell and sell and sell if possible (with the exception of two specific sets) And I have yet to see an 'Ideas' set that is more than 49.99 USD for all of those voting on huge projects solely to see them made that would cost 100's of dollars if LEGO built it.
People can always try, but do not get your hopes up, or we will likely see you railing on about how unfair Ideas is later if they do not get made.
It's going to be a shame if they come up with a huge set with a single army builder. I supported it, but only at the $10-50 level.
However, a Gondor army builder near the $40-50 range would sell like hotcakes. Yes, it is pricey for an army builder, but with the news of no more LOTR, all of the fans are up in arms about it and are willing to buy anything LOTR to keep the theme going. If LEGO was smart enough to play it to their advantage, they could play it up like this, and THEN release something Gondor related and make out like bandits...
Otherwise everything would be at least half the RRP that TLG start with.
If they do make a Minas Tirith it will be similar to the one that has reached 10K but much more streamlined for strength and playability.
Then they will adjust the minifigs to fit with their own RRP guidelines.
It is not necessarily a suggestion of what you'd pay for the set as shown, but what you'd pay for a set based on the ideas project. If everyone suggests a price at half of what the rrp would likely be, I'd imagine that they'd aim the set at that price point, halving the piece count.
Minas Tirith would be great and cover a lot that was missed from LOTR but I don't think its good timing with the new show coming out but not out and that could make things more complicated. I also think its been a bit long to have Lego now fill in the gaps. Sadly I don't see it given it wasn't a top seller the first time around but I would love to be wrong and would buy it anything they put out.
Unrelated but Jaws is coming up in review too and this along with Minas Tirith are too of my big Lego wants. But I think Jaws is way more likely now given it was a option on the brickheadz poll. If Lego wanted to revisit LOTR it would have been a good option in that poll a Gandalf brickheadz would have been great.