Turbine has two mounts on sale in the Lord of the Rings Online cash shop only until Thursday night. Mechanically speaking there is nothing special about the Blue Roan Steed or Springfest Steed. They act like every other normal mount in the game. What is special is their exclusivity, and not to the cash shop.
As one can imagine, the Springfest Steed, as well as the Blue Roan Steed, can be gained (cue trumpet fanfare) during Springfest! Normally players compete for Festival Run Tokens in the horse races during the many Lord of the Rings Online festivals, and a Springfest barter NPC will gladly exchange the Festival Run Token and a few other trinkets for the horses on Springfest.
On vacation or dead during every Lord of the Rings Online Springfest? No problem. According to our buds over at A Casual Stroll to Mordor, a player can get their reputation with the Inn League or the Ale Association up to kindred in order to barter for a Festival Run Token. Of course the barter NPCs for the tokens and the mounts are not up all year round.
For a short time Turbine is allowing about $10 or so to bypass all that frivolous gameplay. I’ve already discussed the t-shirt memento found in so many MMOs where players get an exclusive item for playing during a festival period. Usually the item is akin to a t-shirt. It’s a mask, a cape, or in this case a special mount. Sometimes they are never available again, and sometimes, like with the Blue Roan, they will be available every Springfest.
If a game company wants to erode a little exclusivity for convenience/profit, I think this is a pretty decent way of going about that. The item is only available for a short time in the cash shop, which compresses the retail action. It’s also an item that is not meaningfully exclusive because it’s two mounts in a stable filled with mounts and goats available to the common player. And, honestly I am seeing very little concern for this, sarcastically, erosion to all things holy and true.
I still think it would be better if the cash shop purchase was different from the “earned” item in some menial way. It could be called a Bleu Roan Steed or have a green-colored name instead of a purple-colored name to signify, you know, it was paid for with cash. Regardless, I would love to be a fly on Turbine’s wall and see how well this one-week only item does on the charts.
an allotrope by any other name