[LotRO] Help Me with This One

Is this LotRO’s community being typically atypical, F2P players displaying entitlement, or something else I’m missing?

LotRO recently added (character level) experience for crafting, which is the sort of thing we like around here. As with any change, forum-goers announced they are going to quit. It is “More then ridicules. It’s underhanded,” “a deal bracker,” and it will not “do anything aside from discouraging people from doing crafting.” Oh, you laugh now, but “I hope you feel the same when the game is shut down from everybody leaving and Turbine not making a profit.” (One poster took the interesting tactic of replying until he had 10% of the posts in the thread then declaring, “Good for you u like the idea but sorry to say your out numberd.”) (sic on all those)

Some players do not like outleveling content or leveling too quickly. Except there is more content next zone over, and you can run an alt through that level range rather than doing everything from that level range on every character. Except if you are not paying anything and want to avoid running out of free, level-relevant content. Except your opinion does not matter if you are not paying anything, so pushing the free players through the free content faster is a good business decision. Out of alt slots, out of quests? Oh sorry, that is not a problem for subscribers, $$ button’s over there.

Logging on a level 30-something alt, she needed to farm 2.5 stacks of blackberry (master tier) seeds to get one level, and that is with rested xp. Given the leveling curve, this must be a significant amount at the F2P levels but virtually nothing near the level cap. Festival quests now give scaling xp, I’m told, which will also help F2P players level to paid content more quickly.

Turbine also added an xp disabler to the cash store (although not as a consumable as originally designed). Sure, you can stay in F2P levels all you like, but you’re paying for it. I have sympathy for the argument “this should be free for VIP players,” because there are several things in the cash shop that you would expect as part of your paid account rather than monetization monetization, but I’m also sympathetic to “if you think this game is worth playing for months, how about paying us for it?”

: Zubon

My sympathy for that argument does not extend as far as $70 expansion packs.

13 thoughts on “[LotRO] Help Me with This One”

  1. Although I don’t like the scale of monetization in this game, on
    e thing that is important that they absolutely don’t force you to subscribe, and you have point discounts and content discounts often, so – although you are still required to pay – you can set the pace, and you can be very selective about what you buy. This is much better than, say, the SOE games, where you have much less flexibility.

    I think part of the outrage is that people have a feeling that turbine would like to monetize everything now. (Just think of the $50 toy horse) From that perspective, this move is just one more step to that direction. In a way I agree. But there are a lot of other ganes out there..

    1. No, no one has to subscribe but many people have for years and would like to keep the service the same (ie unlocking the whole game whilst subscribing) that they’ve been paying for. That’s the main problem.

  2. I’m not sure what Turbine’s motivation behind that change was. Was it to push people to higher levels faster? I’m not sure I buy the “need more alts because I level too fast” argument. (Unless I misunderstood you there.) Do people roll more alts if they level faster? It’s not the case for me, at least. Unless, of course, I reach the level cap, and don’t know what to do with my character after that, but it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen from crafting alone. But maybe there actually are people who exclusively play level 1-20 so they never have to pay anything. But would they not be constantly deleting characters and rerolling anyway, regardless of that change?

    I havee to admit though, one thing that always irked me a bit about LotRO was the wonky leveling curve. At the higher levels, you level quite slowly. On the other hand, at the low levels, you just level way too fast! Even if I only focused on quests and killed as few goblins-bears-boars-wolves as possible, I outleveled every area until around level 30. It’s so bad that at lower levels, I actually *dread* the rested experience you get as a subscriber. There is absolutely no question in my opinion that an XP freeze option should be free-of-charge as long as you’re subscribed. Even better, of course, would be an EQ2-style XP slider, but I digress…

  3. I have no problem with Turbine adding XP for crafting, it is yet another feature they borrowed from Guild Wars 2 that works quite well there. I know there have been times I was leveling in Moria – back before all the revamps and nerfing of the Great Undergrouund Frustration Pit – that I would have loved to get XP from crafting. It would have not only gotten me out of the Pit faster, it would have given me something more for my time as I spent half an hour processing crafting mats in 21st Hall.

    I think Turbine just added this at the wrong time, because they added it at the same time as they added the new XP Disabler. With many players very distrustful of Turbine already, this just fed the “ZOMG TURBINE WANTZ US TO BYE XP DISABLR SO WE DONT LEVEL UP UR CRAFTIN ALTS YO!”-sentiment, that would not have been there if Turbine had introduced this change well before the XP Disabler. In short, it was bad timing, and I doubt there is anything untoward going on at Turbine regarding this change. If there was, Turbine could have added an XP Enabler that unlocked Crafting XP, right?

    Is LOTRO over-monetized? I think so, but this doesn’t seem like one of those “Problem Items” that have been added to the Store. I’m more concerned by $70 expansions that have nowhere near the content that expansions for other games have, charging VIPs for feature-fixes (The Barter Wallet), than I am adding Crafting XP and an XP Disabler.

    1. Turbine’s been borrowing quite a bit from GW2, but without seeming to realise that you can’t borrow bits here and there and have it work automatically. Crafting XP needs downleveling and open tapping needs mob scaling.

  4. I dunno why, i never got past 30ish in Lotro. I played lots of games, but that zone/barrier/something was impassable for me. Maybe that was my burn out point? Last time i played it i clicked with the Minstrel but then i stopped at 26 or so..

  5. Having followed several heated debates on the official forum I’d say they are fairly atypical community. Some of the things that exercise them are more superficial ‘immersion’ type issues, attempts to streamline the game are usually met with derision and cries of immersion being broken. Another example is the Moria revamp and making the area brighter, thinning the mobs, who’d figure people would complain about that, but no ‘Moria is supposed to be a dangerous, dark place’, except the fellowship crept through most of it without meeting an enemy or having to fight countless bugs and cave-claws, it doesn’t make sense to me having an enemy every few metres. The change to allowing players to access Lothlorien without having to pick up orc filth a few times was another one. Removing the fog from maps, especially when the maps were pretty crude and uninformative to begin with. I don’t think Turbine can make many changes without offending some players sensibilities or breaking their ‘immersion’ (having read the Lotro forums, I’ve begun to roll my eyes whenever that argument comes up).

    Some players expect to roll only one character in an MMO, and want to experience everything on the one character. For everyone else with alts this is a nice change, going to buy some metal and boost my champion up a bit. Even crafting alts benefit, you get a few more levels towards equipping a higher tier tool.

    1. Well, you’re dealing with Tolkien fans, many who are “purists” and probably ranted about Peter Jackson’s changes in the movies. ;) I do find some of the cries about immersion breaking to be silly, but gotta say the ones you mentioned are ones that bothered me. Moria is far too bright, cheery and easy (though really what are all those dwarves doing there in the first place?) and yeah, I think they should have stuck with the lore and continued to make players earn the trust of the Galadhrim before entering. I know there’s a lot of lorebreaking going on (so many adventurous hobbit heroes.. who now ride war ponies.. as well as dwarves doing the same!), but some changes do go a bit too far for me.. speaking as a Tolkien fan. :) Other games don’t really have this problem as they make up their own lore.

  6. Don’t like $70 expansions? Do what I did and wait a month or two so you can snag it for 50% off – by the six month mark, DDO’s expansion was on sale 75% off. Once everything goes on sale for half off, the $15 upsell gets you an extra 1000 TP and the sixth bag that should also have been included for subscribers. For better or worse, Turbine is setting their pricing around the reality that they undercut themselves dramatically – react accordingly.

  7. Given my current issues with Turbine, where I have paid them money for which they have failed to provide a useable product or service and have subsequently failed to engage in any meaningful correspondence with me about rectifying this or giving me a refund, I have absolutely no sympathy for any of their cash-flow problems.

    Contrary to other opinions, I find SOE’s F2P model to be the best on offer and their customer service exemplary. Whenever I have had issues there their CS staff have always responded promptly, courteously and usually effectively, in some cases going well beyond what they were required to do in order to make sure I remained a satisfied customer. Turbine, on the other hand, seem uninterested in whether I play, or indeed am able to play, their games at all.

    We all speak from out own experience on these matters and also from the experiences of those we know and those are mine.

    On the underlying issue of giving general leveling experience for crafting and other activities, I’m broadly against it. I like leveling; it’s by far my main interest in any MMO. Consequently I see multiple leveling paths with discrete experience requirements as additional content. Combining them effectively takes away content for me.

    So long as the game is able to provide sufficient leveling content for me to continue wanting to level up new characters, as does GW2 for example, this isn’t a major issue. It would, however, be likely to significantly shorten my stay in an MMO with few leveling paths. In the case of LotRO it would be a non-issue because when I played there under the non-F2P ruleset I had already lost almost all interest in leveling further or or leveling further characters by the time my highest character was in the low 40s. It’s just not that interesting an MMO to level in.

  8. Actually, the complaints about leveling too fast and out-leveling content go back to way before F2P was implemented. In fact, players have been asking for an “XP throttle” or “No XP Gain” option since at least 2009, which is when I started playing. The most commonly-offered reason has always been “so I don’t outlevel my friends who play less.” “Roleplay reasons” have also featured prominently in those discussions.

    Personally, I don’t mind so much out-leveling a zone. But I do mind out-leveling a particular quest chain while I’m in the middle of it. And that has been a problem with LOTRO from the day I started playing….

  9. The fact that I can’t see who is writing the article I’m reading until after I’ve been forced to read it is nothing short of a sLAP IN THE FACE and I know my whole guild will not be subscribing to this blog any more, good luck KTR.

  10. In my recent experience (reading a lot more MMO forum stuff than I have before, and not just GW2), pretty much any change in a game will receive at least some responses saying “that’s it, you’ve completely ruined the game, I quit.” Or more often, “I’ll quit unless you implement the following plan that suits me personally.”

    The consequence of this is that I’ve stopped taking such threats at all seriously. I have to wonder if game companies do the same. How many subscribers/users do they have to lose before they actually read those posts again and consider them? I’m not sure I’d blame them.

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