Greetings all, here's my useless comments.
1) I own a WOZ standard on location, beautiful game but its a ball drainer and while the bling keeps its earnings up a common complaint I get is that its just too damn complicated. Casual players have a steep learning curve. Kind of like the Twilight Zone syndrome but no where near as bad of course. What I see with this game is a wide open "just hit shots" layout that could easily provide that instant gratification that you need to get a casual player hooked on a game and pumping in money. I LOVE those big a$$ ramp entrances right in the middle that will provide for easy, feel good shots. I want my customers to feel good playing pinball. This game might provide that.
2) Barrels in the pop bumpers is an obvious "duh". Of course that's there, that makes sense.
3) I did a search through all the pages of this thread and (unless I missed it) still haven't seen a good reason for the upper flipper other than just to have one. IMHO upper flippers need to be there to provide access to a shot that can't be hit from the lower flippers (aren't I a genius). My other concern is shots from the upper flipper hitting the upper bash toys at odd angles from the side and causing additional wear and tear. They can be dropped by software of course on a switch hit coming out of the pop bumpers but....... (insert concerns here) And its just one more damn flipper to keep working. One of the main reasons I bought an AC/DC pro vs the premium was the lower playfield (and the existence of the Helen sticker to cover up that face). Cool, but it doesn't do much and it's just more crap that can break.
SO JUST WHAT THE HECK IS THAT UPPER FLIPPER FOR? Someone must have explained that in a thread somewhere that I missed.
4) I'd give the art a great big "OK", but I'm not blown away by it. Good components, blah components, and if there's any way to brighten up the playfield I'm all for it.
PEOPLE ARE LIKE RACCOONS, THEY LIKE SHINY STUFF!!! It's too late now but its a bummer that they couldn't have incorporated Smaug sitting on his pile of gold into the playfield art and really lit it up. That would have really been a great attraction feature. I remember walking past LOTR machines back in the day (and before I got back into pinball) and just moving on because they were so dark. Shiny sucks money out of people's pockets, dark doesn't.
All this being said I'll wait til they are built, and probably buy a standard model.