Token Economy

A typical looting session of the Watcher for my kin will look like this:
“OK we have a Platinum Coin of Spirit.”
“Is that shoulders or helm?”
“One sec… googling it”
“I think it can be bartered for either one can’t it?”
“No that’s the American servers. We have to wait until Mirkwood comes out in the UK for it to barter for either.”
“Spirit sounds more like it’s in your head than your shoulders. I think spirit is shoulders”
“Back. I just checked google and it’s helm.”
“So, if I need shoulders I could use my DKP on it now, and then get the shoulders for it later right?”
“Uhhhh…. need to check google. BRB”

Sometimes when it comes to exchanging tokens for things in games, its just a headache.

Why doesn’t it say on the token “+20 radiance helm token”? Why do we really need tokens for things at all? I would be perfectly satisfied if killing the watcher just made my stats go up. Instead, I have loot some randomly named token and try to hunt down the particular NPC who will exchange that token.

Ever since Mirkwood came out, the problem has been noticeably worse. After running a few Skirmishes, my inventory is packed with seemingly randomly named trinkets that have no indication in their description what they are good for. The new medallion system for radiance armor is an improvement over the old system, but its still a mess.

For example, I’ve found that I could trade in a coin which formally granted +10 radiance boots for 10 moria-medallions in the 21st, then take those 10 moria-medallions and exchange it for one Lothlorien-medallion near the auction hall in Lothlorien, then I could take that one Lothlorien token and exchange it for +15 radiance armor in Echad Andestel. If there’s a place to trade Lothlorien-medallions or Moria-medallions for Dol Guldor medallions, I have not seen it. Such a barter trader might actually exist, but damned if I know where to look.

The idea of tokens seemed to make sense at first. Everyone would hate if only class-specific items dropped because it limits the players in being free to distribute loot as they see fit. But the token system is a convoluted answer to a equipment focused advancement system. The problem isn’t that equipment is class specific, but that advancement is based on equipment to begin with.

In Star Wars galaxies all the armor worth wearing is crafted, yet tokens invade the crafting system. After running the an instance, you may loot a wing from a gackle bat. It sells to vendor for a couple credits and looks pretty worhtless. If you check google you’ll find out you can duct-tape it to a malfunctioning capacitor to create an item that improves your healing, which is worth millions. What the heck is that?

Even when a token is worth millions, it’s a pain to deal with. It’s as if I was rewarded for my efforts in an instance with an item which will remain a worthless waste of inventory space until I find out which npc will take it and complete a delivery quest to that npc.

If the developers want only my own character to benefit from killing some giant squid, that’s fine. If that’s the case, then just make my character get stronger after killing the squid the first time. Don’t give me a squid slime and force me to look up what the heck I’m supposed to do with it to get some item that will make me stronger.

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Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

8 thoughts on “Token Economy”

  1. Toekn systems are great if it’s simple and/or the naming system clearly states what it is. look, for instance, at a WoW armor token, albeit a rather outdated one:

    Chestguard of the Vanquished Defender
    Binds when picked up
    Classes: Warrior, Priest, Druid

    bam, you know it’s a chestpiece token, and you know which classes want it. and in WoW, the token vendors were always in a major city, something not totally possible in LoTRO.

    more recently, the tokens in WoW are one-for all – ANY class can buy an armor piece with a “Trophy of the Crusade”, which drops one per boss.

    I spent a few months playing LoTRO and even at low to mid levels, useless item spam did seem to be a problem. I think if they just named things like tokens more clearly, and/or labelled them with where the token merchant was, it’d be a lot better.

  2. I haven’t played LotRO above the 20th level, so I don’t know how terrible this would be at the highest levels, but why not just have a radiance trait?

    1. If they’d had a Radiance trait instead of the current system, I might very well still be playing. Neither lucky rolls nor DKP would then be involved, only willingness and time to attempt the appropriate challenges and skill to complete them. Radiance traits could be upgraded over time without requiring us to enter the lottery or burn DKP every time an expansion comes out. Radiance traits would reward exploration and completionism instead of grinding a single instance again and again. Radiance traits would allow crafted armour to remain viable at endgame, as it used to be. Radiance traits could still require some grinding, if the devs felt that was necessary for player retention, but progress would be consistent and controllable instead of random. Radiance traits would be suitable for casual and hardcore players alike.

      I argued long and loudly for Radiance traits on the LotRO forums, but to no avail.

      1. If they’d implemented something as sensible as you’re suggesting, I’d still be subscribed also, as would most of the people I used to play with who’ve since stopped playing (quite a few are lifers, which doesn’t reflect in subscription drops directly. I wonder how Mirkwood sold compared to Moria, though.)

  3. Radiance as a trait is a running suggestion on the boards. So far, Turbine has chosen Radiance-gating via raid looting.

    LotRO desperately needs a currency wallet like WoW has. There are just too many types of barter tokens available, usually two to three tiers for each barter system and sometimes more than one system per zone. They are bound items, some of them literally coins, and I want them in my coin purse instead of my backpack. (And then have the lines in the currency tab tell you where you can spend them on mouse-over; I never bothered to Google where I could spend those Venture coins in WoW.)

    The specifics of the system are not the point, but note: 10 Moria to 1 Lothlorien, yes, but not 1 Lothlorien to 1 +15 Radiance piece. That will be 10-25 Lothlorien, so 100-250 Moria tokens to get them. And you cannot trade up to the new tokens, probably to avoid having someone pre-grind and cap on the first day. Helpful guide to Radiance and tokens.

    1. “usually two to three tiers for each barter system and sometimes more than one system per zone. They are bound items, some of them literally coins”

      Ouch :/

      on the other hand, the Venture coins, much like the Honor Hold marks, are practically useless – you get them from grizzly hills daily quests designed to encourage pvp – an abject failure, i never see any horde there – and can trade them for some blue leveling gear. so WoW is hardly immune to useless currency in that respect.

      1. Though WoW’s latest expansion does have some useless currencies, at least they don’t take up bagspace. By contrast, it seems like there are 4+ currency tokens (as distinct from boss drop tokens where one token gets you the loot) for every faction in LOTRO, and they really start killing your bags.

  4. Definitely agreed. Plus, their various tokens also take up considerable bag space, as people already mentioned.

    It is always the same at the “turtle”. People taking random guesses and someone looking up for what body part this coin token is. :P

    LOTRO needs in general to be more transparent ingame. This also applies to the exchange traders – for example, people often don’t find stuff they want to exchange skirmish marks for while standing in the skirmish camp. They have to sift through all the many NPCs there till they find the right one and remember for future use.

    It is quite archaic UI design, even the TBC era WoW Token Vendors were lightyears ahead of that and easier to navigate and understand.

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