Lord of the Rings fans were greeted earlier this week by a splash screen decreeing that the long-guessed date of November 18th would indeed be the launch date for the expansion. Along with launching this, they have also deployed possibly the most confusing pre-order system ever designed. The amount of contradictory information, including *two* official threads, which are being commented on by different people with different information. It’s a bit crazy.
So, in the interest of our LOTRO fans, I have the info after the cut as to what gets you what and where that I’ve compiled after about an hour of work and at great possible risk to me. After all, the wife said no gaming last night…
One common bit of confusing information on the boards is that bonuses stack. This is true, however there’s only certain ways you can stack them. Simple answer to a popular question – You cannot Early Upgrade AND Pre-Order without buying two or more copies PER account.
Package 1: Early Upgrade/Digital Upgrade (name varies)
$29.99 total cost, due in full immediately. You pay this by going to your account and pressing the big red button you’ll see on the page when you log on. This upgrades your account immediately with no other action by you. At least, that’s the thought. For me, it worked without issue, and a good amount of kinmates as well. Others have had to wait up to a day for it to drop. The product key you are given seems to be for your records, as if you get instant credit, you don’t need it, and if you don’t, it won’t accept it and tells you it’s already in use. Very buggy, but less so as the days go on. The good news is you will be receiving the content in patches up to launch day, so you can hit the ground running on Nov 18, which is a nice bit. You get nothing physical, ever, so if discs or maps are important to you, this might not be an option.
Toys: Immediately you get a cloak on all characters that is basically the mines image they are using, on a purple background. It’s a cosmetic item, although the NCMR might be good for low levels. You also get a title of Moria Expeditonary on all chars. I think the all character touch is nice. I really didn’t expect it. After launch, you will get 3 tokens to exchange for yet-to-be-disclosed in game toys and another cloak, graphic and effect unknown, but is already documented as cosmetic.
Package 2: Pre-order plus store bonus
$39.99 to $89.99 (roughly). This is where it gets confusing. First of all, if you pre-order, you will get a bonus from the company you are buying it from. Some people have had the codes (product keys) emailed to them immediately for the “Moria Expeditionary” title and cloak, others have been told it will be provided on launch day. Anyway, the thing to remember is this package is a combo. Turbine, somehow, will be giving you a cloak, a title, and at launch, a token for an in game item.
The next question you have to decide is if you want the normal edition, which is confusingly called “Complete Edition” or the super-jumbo addict’s version of “Collector’s Edition”. The Complete edition comes with a poster map, a few books on the CD, and a soundtrack. The bigger package, with a hefty price tag, includes the normal goodies you’d expect such as a cloth map, behind the scenes cuts, and a One Ring of your very own. It’s sad how much this tempted me… Anyway, each also gives some in-game tokens on launch – 2 for the lower version and 3 for the Collector’s one. If you’re pre-ordering from say Wal-Mart or Amazon, you would now have 3 tokens or 4 on launch day net, since they are additive. Confused yet? Hold on to your britches.
Next, certain stores have bonuses for in-game rewards after launch as well, on top of whatever you’re getting. So far, only the GameStop ones are known: a helmet (unknown stats/effect yet as it’ll show up when you get your box) and another title “Seeker of Khazad-dum”. Fry’s, Best Buy, Hollywood Video, and Game Crazy will have in game bonuses as well, but what they are is currently unknown. This part reminds me of CoH’s launch, with the run graphic debate that was at the time. I would largely expect the bonuses be similar if not the same as Gamestop’s, but we will see.
The lack of bonuses at Amazon surprises me. Even my grandmother, who is positive that the “Solitaire Machine” doesn’t like her, buys stuff on Amazon. Must be some sort of conflict there that we are never to know of.
So which packet is for you? First of all, if you’re not planning on getting the Collector’s Edition, your decision probably will “Do I really need a CD?” The paper map they are providing will be available on LOTRO’s site, it’s already been said, and the music will likely be downloadable from there as well. The extra item from the store, as it is unknown in looks, makes it hard to tell if it’s good or not. The title…well I know lots of obsessive title collectors. Is it worth $10 more? You decide. I went with the $29.99 package, as I have a drawer full of expansion pack CDs, DVDs, and assorted bling from 8 years of EQ expansions, in addition to all the other MMORPGs, their expansions, and what not.
I almost bought the CE for the Ring though. My preciousss…..