Dyed-in-the-Wool MMO Health

I like alternative ways to rate things, and it is especially needed for Lord of the Rings Online because Turbine (a privately held company, mind you) does not and will not release subscriber information unless they want to.  My new alternative benchmark for peering behind Turbine’s iron curtain of server populations involves black dye. 

Lord of the Rings Online has not only a costume system to overlay your stat gear with any model, but it also has a dye system to further customize a character’s look.  Of it, black dye is by far the most salable dye that I can make.  In fact I can easily pump out 5 black dyes every day at minimal cost to me.  Here’s the thing that blows my mind: they keep selling.  I would say I sell at least 25 black dye a week at a little below market price.  My black dye is definitely not the only stuff on the block either.

Now, I understand that black is the coolest.  Even though Tolkien Inc. proscribes we are good Free Peoples fighting against the blackness…. well many want to wear black while being a Light in the Dark.  But this is ridiculous, how much black dye could this one server need?  Don’t you people know that new armor, etc. is coming with the expansion only a month and some change away?

I can only assume three things: (1) crazy raiders use black dye as some sort of elitist DKP system, (2) a heavy metal t-shirt wearing dev wants to maintain the ebony mysticism and buys it all in the auction house, or (3) the server population is really healthy and people are continuing to play even with the gear-reset button looming.   Whatever it is, I’ll take it.

when you stare at the abyss

12 thoughts on “Dyed-in-the-Wool MMO Health”

  1. Well, 4 million characters, at (n) dyable pieces of gear each…

    Actually if we don’t count character deletions, say if we subscribe to a quantum interpretation of Alting in which every character ever created always exists at some point, somewhere…. they must be up to 16 million characters by now. They all need dye.


    1. Julian,

      LOTRO does not have quantum alting. According to what I have seen, LOTRO has managed to produce a new breed of alting – geometrically quantum alting. If you combine the ability to get a life time subscription plus housing, multiply it by the crafting scheme, subtract female dwarves, and square the result by the cube root of the Legendary Item experience divided by the kinship age system, you get a 600+ member kinship (of which many are alts) with at least one person that has 4 accounts.

      Heck, I have 2 myself. And I still haven’t hit 40 in game yet.


      1. “LOTRO does not have quantum alting. According to what I have seen, LOTRO has managed to produce a new breed of alting – geometrically quantum alting.”

        I think that’s taking things a bit too far. I mean, we’re sure it has quantum alting because that’s the same problem the marketing team run into; they could either measure the number of alts or the number of accounts, not both at the same time. That indicates Quantm Alting at work, or at the very least the presence of particle-wave duality in the accounts.

        But geometrical grow in quantum alting is a myth until proven. Just like string theory, white holes and zero-grind gameplay.

  2. I deal in a few items that are pretty much a one time per character type of purchase and I never slow down. That means new characters are constantly working their way up the ladder.

    1. Yeah, I myself am pulling in all the gold ore, sapphires, and rubies I can find for my alt dedicated just to become a Jeweller. But black dye is a luxury item pure and simple. Are people really so rich that they can afford black dye for their alts all the way up the ladder?

  3. Black dye is the most popular dye in any MMORPG. It never fails that everyone thinks it is the best. Players never stop buying it. I think dying armor myself is a huge waste of money.

  4. Obviously the best way to break everyone in every MMO off the black dye addiction is to make every wearable black by default. It’s the wave of the future.

    I’m already registering “Twilight of the Dark Dusk-Shadow Gods: Obscurity. Chapter 1: Penumbra. Online”

  5. Black is the new red it would seem. Initially a full set of red armour was the coolest of the cool being as the recipe called for what might as well have been purified unobtanium.

    I was always fairly ADD about all of my characters multiple outfits and I’m sure many are. All of my characters had a black outfit, a white one and usually an obnoxiously mismatched colored one (usually all newb gear) just for fun. Those were just what I kept on the tab. At any given time I’d have 3-4 more outfits lying around in the bank.

    I’m not sure what your server economy is like but on Brandywine the only things that were really a luxury when I was playing were 1st age weapons with the proper legacies. It wasn’t uncommon to sell a hunters bow or burgs mace for upwards of 65g. This was a few months back and the economy has likely calmed down, especially with the upcoming changes.

    1. Yup, everyone tries to sell his glowing thingies of Nimrodel and prices even for excellent first age weapons have dropped to more reasonable ~10 gold ranges.

  6. Because you mentioned black dye, white dye costs 10 silver on my server… Even the brownish colors cost more. :P

    Yesterday I got the message that the server temporarily reduced my visibility range… I was really WTF?!? This had never happened to me before. The auction house in the 21st hall on EU-Morthond was also cramped full. The bank was already bad, but the auction house crashed LOTRO so many people were there.

    I think there are three reasons:

    1.) Return to LOTRO for free weeks, buddy keys, super cheap Shadows of Angmar keys.
    2.) Altitis – LOTRO offers various starter areas
    3.) besides 6 armor slots, vanity items for appearance slots also need to be dyed accordingly

    The true question is why LOTRO’s supposedly mature player base, I know many more 25 to 30+ years old players than in say Aion or WoW, still wears black.

    If I am wearing my black heavy metal t-shirt in this age I am usually special, almost unique… but in LOTRO, too many people wear black. In a supposedly mature community. As if the other colors would all be ugly. It still seems that every char has at least one black armor set, for some reason. :P

    I also blame devs for making ugly colors. Yes, that’s right. In Guild Wars I dyed most of my warrior armors yellow (aka golden), as all other colors looked like cheap plastics, and mixing them did not make things better! :(

    1. Plenty of people wear black in real life who are “mature,” and not heavy metal fans or goths. You may have come across the expression “{x} is the new black.”

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