Daily Archives: June 4, 2010

Awesome Forum post with all F2P questions and answers


Ok, I thought I was done posting about this today – but one last post as I just stumbled across a great resource on the forums.  If you have any questions about the news from today, you should check out this thread from Eluros as it pretty much covers everything including the awesome news that beta starts on the 16th of June!!

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Downside to the F2P announcement


Ok, I do love the move to F2P however, this does come with a significant downside – Turbine has confirmed that there will be no new LOTRO content until this fall.  I really wish Turbine would’ve separated the Volume 3 Book 2 content out from the F2P switch as we’ll end up going almost 6 months without any new content and even that content was completed almost immediately after it launched.  I’m actually thinking we’re looking at almost a one year gap between game content as I don’t think we’ll see this update until the November time-period which would put us just about the same time as the Mirkwood launch.

For much of the player base we’ll be stuck with the same exact content we’ve been doing for the past year.  I’m just real worried that this will kill off a lot of people and really sour them on the game in general.  I don’t think the prospect of F2P will offset this lack of content for many players.  Sure some will come back, but it could be a pretty painful chunk that decide to leave.  And it will take a while for the new influx of F2P people to make much of a dent in the higher end (level 30+) player base.  Granted, this may give players like myself a chance to get more toons all geared up but without groups that may prove challenging.

Now the beta does provide a bit of a diversion for folks but it won’t compensate for playing on our “real” characters.  Certainly I’ll be anxious to see how the pricing models work and help test out the acquisition of in-game points.  The end-game content will be intriguing as well, but I’m mainly worried about the point stuff.  Of course, that’s assuming I get into the beta 😉

So unless you want to roll an alt (or a few alts) or get into the Beta, I’m guessing this will be a slow summer for LOTRO activities.  Basically my love for the F2P news is almost offset by the news of no content updates for a lengthy period.

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Loving LOTRO’s move to Free to Play


Ok, so I’ve had a chance to digest this a bit with the help of everyone on Twitter and the various blog posts so I think I have my thoughts reasonably gathered on this topic.  Up front, I wanted to highlight the work Patience (@70ms) and all the other Turbine community folks are doing on twitter as they’ve been all over this responding and clarifying all the various tweets and questions posted.

I think the first thing everyone needs to do is relax a little bit and give this time to not only sink in but time for Turbine to release information on the pricing structure as well as the in-game point reward systems.  These two will have a massive impact on the effectiveness of this change and will most likely be the focus of the upcoming beta test.  If you haven’t read up on it, there are quite a few posts out there summarizing the change including my previous post which has all the official Turbine posts in it as well as the excellent summary from CStM.  And of course, I’m sure I’m missing about 50 other blog posts out there but I’m sure everyone in my blogroll will have a post up shortly on this topic 😉

With that being said, my initial take on this is nothing but positive.  Assuming the points are well balanced (ok, that might be a big assumption) everyone wins in this move.  Just to clarify, I’m a lifetime subscriber and have been a part of this game since closed beta.  My subscription has long since paid for itself, and even better is that now I have the option to use saved up or the Loyalty Reward points for expansion packs such that I can continue in my exact play style without spending another dollar on LOTRO.  Now I will admit, for those that recently signed up as lifetime members this might be a larger pill to swallow but I do think this will pump some serious life into the game and make that subscription even more valuable.  Looking at this another way, with all the new “micro-transactions” coming out ($25 sparkle pony) one can only imagine that Turbine would’ve hopped on this trend as well and now current subscribers can get those items for free.

I love the fact that the items they’ve mentioned so far (storage, cosmetics, wardrobe, and mounts to name a few) are all fluff items that won’t impact gameplay but also are some of the most annoying aspects of the current game.  I’m tired of deleting items or selling them because I’ve run out of space and I’d love to be able to store more then 2 cosmetic sets so these will be great for me.  I’m sure as we learn more there will be more things available, but it will probably be very similar to what is available from the DDO Store.  You can get a feel for the points pricing as well, which look pretty reasonable to me.  There are some things that I don’t agree with, but it actually looks like just another alternative to the skirmish points system.  The only real questionable item for me in the DDO store would be the “Tomes” which offer a permanent stat buff, otherwise most are temporary and as such are just like in-game food.  Now the ultimate would be some way to trade or convert all the barter items we currently have into Turbine points!

There’s been some concern about DDO having items available to trivialize the game but my belief is that LOTRO is a different enough game that while those might exist it really won’t make much difference.  And honestly, in some cases I might like something like that to help level up alts quicker and easier.  At the end of the day, I envision that the only people really upset about making the game easier would be those raiding or out in the Moors.  And both of those areas are so heavily dependant on player skill that items most likely wouldn’t be able to compensate.  Seriously, do I really care if someone can get through the lone-lands easier then I did?  However, it could provide those same players an option to get other toons of theirs up to the appropriate levels quicker which would give them more reasons to play more.  The main reason I have many alts I don’t really play is that the thought of just leveling all that way is quite daunting, so any “buff” I could get would be quite welcome.

This move will open the game up for more people and also provide folks with a more casual option to play, which will allow people to come and go as they please.  This will overall boost the general player base which is always a good thing.  You’ll be able to bounce back and forth between the tiers as you please without having to worry about losing anything, some months you might stay at the free option and others you might pay for.  Sure there will be some people that we wish weren’t in the game, but with user channels and such you can pretty effectively block that crap out.  Plus, notice that on the chart chat is limited for non VIP players, so perhaps user channels will be a VIP feature only?  I’d much rather have the option to block the annoying folks, then not allow the “good” people the option to experience more of the game.

They’ve also set up a nice balance such that people can customize their account how they want.  So if you want to just have one toon experience everything you could stay on the free model and upgrade with in-game points to see the different content as you level.  If you absolutely love the shire and just want to check out all the class, you can do that too.  If you want to buy a horse, you can earn off your gold cap such that you can save up to buy your pretty mount.

Overall I”m very excited about this shift, sure there will be some growing pains, but hey that’s what beta’s for!

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Turbine announces LOTRO going Free to Play


Ironically we were just having this discussion over on Mordor of Bust but Turbine made it official today with the official announcement that they’re adopting the same pay model as they recently implemented with Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Needless to say, twitter has just exploded today with all sorts of discussions and comments.

I’m still a bit conflicted about it, but so far I’m leaning more to the positive side but more on my thoughts later, I’m just going to make this a news and summary post.

I’d suggest reading the new LOTRO Executive Producer’s post on this subject as she not only explains her background and some of the goals but also gives us a few teasers as well.  This will be launched this fall with the second book of Volume 3.  Towards the end of the year into 2011 there will be enhancements to the Legendary Item system, radiance, DX11 support, and Monster play.  Now interesting enough, she does break out Item advancement as a second mention so possibly there’s something else in the works too, but we’ll have to wait and see.  She also hypes the beta signup which existing subscribers are already opted in to the chance to be selected but signing up again will boost your chances.  This obviously answers my concerns over the Isengard program, as they’ve been building all this new stuff for the F2P switch.

Now on to the meat, there are 3 different account Tiers, free, premium, and VIP.  All current subscribers are automatically given VIP status so that’s a nice perk.  For a pretty good chart on the explanation of the differences check out this link. One thing that Patience has already confirmed is that if you already have 7 character slots unlocked you will not lose those, these charts are just assuming you have the core Shadows of Angmar game not the expansions which unlock new slots, classes, and the higher level cap.  For the most part, I like the way they’ve broken things out and I really like the fact that things like storage slots, shared bank slots, and the new cosmetic wardrobe are all purchasable.  For all of us starved for slots, this is awesome as the wardrobe is 20 slots, shared storage is expandable to 50 (currently 20), and I’m assuming you can buy additional bank slots too.  Tons of information in the FAQ although most of it concerns what happens when you swap between Tiers.

For those of you (like me) that are Lifetime Founders there are some additional bonuses.  Lifetimers are automatically VIPs and get the 500 Turbine points for free ever month (just like if we were paying a subscription fee) but also get additional bonus points for being a Founder as well as veteran reward points for a total initial bonus of up to 3500 Turbine Points.  In addition, since it appears that the expansion packs are now part of the store it is possible that you’ll be able to buy those with Turbine Points such that you could save up and not have to spend actual cash if you didn’t want to.

One other point that’s mentioned in the chart but not really expanded is how players earn Turbine points through gameplay.  This will really drive how free it really will be to play as the chart shows that free players only have access to the 3 starter areas (Erid Luin, the Shire, and Bree) so there’s no way they can even approach the level cap.  But if through normal game play you can earn enough points to buy the other zones, everyone should be fine.  You’ll still need to buy the expansion packs, but in theory you can now use your in-game points as opposed to actual cash.

A couple of points I picked out:

  • Max characters per server is now 11
  • It looks like for the most part, downgrading account Tier means you can’t get new stuff but the old perks you had are still available.
  • Monster play is restricted to VIP level only
  • Quest regions are broken out per Tier, VIPs have full access others need to buy the packs
  • Limits on Gold and Inventory bags for the 2 lower tier accounts
  • Rested XP only available for VIPs
  • Can’t spend Destiny points unless you’re a VIP, but you can earn them at any tier.
  • Trait slotting is limited on 2 lower tier accounts
  • Points cannot be transferred between LOTRO and DDO

I’m going to reserve my thoughts on this for a little bit to let this all sink in, but wanted to get a quick summary out there.

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