Posts Tagged ‘LOTRO’

With Star Wars: The Old Republic releasing it’s first expansion in 10 days time I thought it was time that I looked at getting it. Looking at how much bang you get for your bucks, it seems like a decent deal. In fact it’s one of the better expansion deals as of late. With this in mind I’ve looked back over some Expansion releases and asked myself if I think they were/are worth what we paid for them.

SWTOR

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Since it’s the reason why I’ve started this post, I can’t help but look at SWTOR’s “Rise of the Hutt Cartel” first. At £13.28 ($19.99) for unsubbed and £6.64 ($9.99) for subbed people, This deal offers a lot of bang for the money. You can expect the following…

  1. 5 more levels (55 is the new cap)
  2. Continuation of the epic story (8 individual class stories)
  3. A new planet to explore (Makeb)
  4. A new Operation (8 and 16 man) plus previous operations being scaled to allow level 55 groups.
  5. Additional skills for all classes plus changes to already existing skills

Even if you’re not subbed, that’s quite a lot for £13.28. If you’re subbed then it’s even better value at only £6.64.

LOTRO

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Last fall saw the release of LOTROs fourth expansion “The Riders of Rohan”. This expansion takes the players into Eastern Rohan and continues the epic story. This expansion also introduces Mounted Combat and further increases the level cap for all players. Looking at it you would think that you get a lot from this expansion but here lays my problem with their system of what they offer. You don’t need the expansion for 3/4 of the stuff they promote as part of the expansion. The epic story is free for all players, if you purchase the expansion or not. Likewise, Mounted combat is free to all players (1 skill tree to non expansion players and 3 skill trees to players who buy the expansion) as is the level cap increase from 75 to 85. Essentially what you are buying is fluff (Titles, costumes etc etc) and a bunch of quests. What your £26.57 ($39.99) buys you is ..

  1. East Rohan quests
  2. 1000 Turbine Points
  3. The Steed of the Eastemnet (Normal speed and HP mount)
  4. Access to the Riders of Rohan instances when released (They were released 3 months after the expansion went live)

The further versions of the expansion contained fluff to justify the increase in price with the top pack costing a whopping £46.50 ($69.99). Essentially Turbine robbed people blind with this expansion in my honest opinion. Paying £26.57 for the base version which is basically a quest pack is a stupidly high price. There was no end game group content on release which is usually a big no no for any new expansion. With nothing to keep the raiders happy there was a lot of complaining and rightly so in my opinion. No new classes or races and no change to the typical linear quests. Was Riders of Rohan worth the money? I would say no.

World of Warcraft

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September 25th saw the release of Mists of Pandaria, WoWs fourth expansion. At £27.99 ($42.13) is was slightly more expensive than LOTROs Riders of Rohan but packed a lot more content into the game for the price. Mists of Pandaria brought..

  1. 5 level increase to cap (85 to 90)
  2. New character class: Monk
  3. New playable race: Pandaren
  4. Changes to the Pet Vanity system and a new Pet Battles game
  5. New PvE quests
  6. The Talent system was changed to a more streamlined system
  7. 9 new dungeons, 3 new raids, 2 new PVP battlegrounds and 1 new arena

Although WoW hasn’t gone f2p like LOTRO and SWTOR, with what you are actually paying for, I am really impressed with what was on offer with this expansion. I think one of the big differences between this and Riders of Rohan was that Blizzard don’t release an expansion every year. When they do release one it appears to have more content within it because they spend a longer period of time making it. Turbine rush out an expansion every year with LOTRO and have less development time which in turn means less content.

So to answer my own question, I think it depends on the game when you look at if an expansion is worth the money or not. With World of Warcraft this year you got bang for your buck. Star Wars first expansion looks to be good considering how much money you are paying for it but I feel that Turbine are falling short by a good distance. It’s not what they are offering but more the prices they are charging. It’s just not worth the money.

What do you guys think?

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I’ve been toying with the idea of looking into LOTRO lately. My earlier outburst was out of shock, so I ventured in after the latest ‘let’s fix the game’ patch.

So I logged on, ran about, replaced some gear, got more will, got more fate, but my power bar just stayed the same. Feeling like I’d just wasted my evening I ended up checking out Global chat and the forums.

The amount of unrest over fixing a bug was unreal. I get why people where upset, a raid had been launched and as per the first age symbols where dropping on T1. This then lead to groups farming the three raids to gain the shiny symbols.

So Turbine said NO! The fix was made and the fans then started to feel upset. So what do you guys think that Turbine should do? Just leave it as it is? Fix the problem?

My answer is none of the above. I want Turbine to either fix the content before they launch it to stop this problem because let’s face it, this always happens. Or abolish the T1, T2 and T2HM system completely. I guess this means abolishing all legendary items, and I am all for that.

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Why would it? I may hear you ask. Well the raids are made in structured for gear progression. T1 – Third age legendary, T2 – Second Age, T2HM – First Age. Meaning the better the weapon the greater the progression.

I started playing LOTRO after the launch of MoM so I am used to nothing other than legendary weapons at end game. But after playing other MMO’s I have come to the conclusion that these weapons are nothing more than a grind fest. Put in a game to make me feel like I need better all the time.

Now I don’t think that there is particularly anything wrong with this at all, but I do feel that getting a fantastic first ager at level 65 a month before the launch of ROI and feeling the need to crunch it as I got to level 75 is just wrong.

Gear should not be a chore, it should be fun. The days of the Rift and Helegrod should still be among us, and this is coming from someone who was never around then. Frodo had Sting from the moment he left Rivendell, we never had to hear about him stopping to crunch his weapon or to add relics to it as he wondered middle earth now did we?

Written by Emma McHugh

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Now I am a powerholic in LOTRO. My minstrel has always had stupid amounts of the stuff. But Turbine has actually just crossed the line with me at the moment.

The big wigs at Turbine have decided to take stat bonuses off all gear. So my +will or +vitality for x number of pieces has now gone.  So I have went from having over 13000 power (I did say it was ridiculous) to having just below 8000 power.

My power pool has always never been enough for me, I always wanted bigger, better power, more tactical mastery and as long as my health was enough to withstand little damage I was happy.

I just feel like they have ran over my character with a dump truck, and left her split in half in the middle of the road. I don’t want to rage quit over this but Turbine are making it pretty hard. I have no doubt that taking away all my beautiful power will help them in some way but damn it they could have done it using a slow process. Not just ripping off the proverbial Band-Aid leaving the whole leg to sting.

So from this day I am boycotting LOTRO until Ardhuial has her power pool back intact. Suddenly I feel like I am in a Liam Nesson movie, “If you do not return her power to me I will be the last thing that you see.”

Written by Emma McHugh

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Since my days of playing World of Warcraft, through to my five year stint in LOTRO, I was an avid subscriber to the mmos I chose to play. I purchased the boxed, installed the games and month after month stumped up the required asking price for a subscription because I thought that the games would benefit from my financial support, plus the fact that f2p was never an option at that point as a valid business model for the games companies. These days however, almost every major mmo has a f2p option with others going f2p soon or already in the process of transitioning from a pure subscription business model to a hybrid of the two. A few mmos that are on the horizon are even going pure f2p, which you could have never imagined two or even three years ago. Creating a game in this way would have been seen as suicidal and just looking to fail. Not now.

When LOTRO moved from subscription to a hybrid, offering f2p to people who wanted to experience the world of middle earth and grind points to make purchases, or even buy points using real money, a lot of people thought it would spell the end of the mmo when in fact, Turbines revenue increased drastically. SWTOR moved from sub to hybrid model less than a year after it’s release due to a huge drop in subscriber numbers. I’ve never seen the game so busy now. Even Tera has recently moved to a f2p hybrid model and reports are that player base and income has almost doubled.

This beggers the question.. would a new, pure subscription model game be profitable and last?

There is a whole host of games out there, Triple A titles at that and a lot of them run a hybrid model where a vast number of the player base don’t necessarily play as f2p, but play as the hybrid where they spend money every so often and buy points, which they can spend on items or unlocks which are specific to their characters or play styles. I would say this is more considerate for people who don’t have extra income to expend every month of a game subscription and can buy parts of the game as and when they need them. There is also a section of the player base who just hate being tied into a contract, which is what subscribing is. Yes, it’s only a month to month rolling contract but it’s still a contract and that just doesn’t sit well with some people. Some games offer a lifetime pass, lotro being a good example of this. When the game was released they offered a lifetime subscription for £150, which basically means that you never pay a subscription again. All you pay for is any expansions that are released. GREAT DEAL!! you may say but not for the game company who has now switched to a hybrid model and no longer makes money from those players except once a year when they release an expansion. Turbine don’t like these people, lets at least be honest about it. Yeah sure, they give lifetime members 500 turbine points a month to spend in the store but they contribute nothing in terms of value to Turbine and lotro. People who still subscribe also receive those 500 points but contribute monthly to the running costs of the game and it’s upkeep. The people who spend real money on points are the cash earners for the company. 

But getting back to my point, With games on the market that offer f2p and hybrid models, which seem to be attracting the largest volumes of players due to these facts, I don’t think a game with a pure subscription base would get anywhere near enough revenue to be able to sustain this model, or even enough players to make it worth while.

What do you think?

As a little something extra,I’m going to list a few games which have changed from Subscription only to hybrid models so you can see the vast scope of this change of gaming business models.

LOTRO / Star Trek Online / SWTOR / Rift / Aion / Age of Conan / DDO / Tera / Final Fantasy XIV / The Secret World / DoTA 2 / League of Legends / Dust 514 / MechWarrior Online / Neverwinter (Yet to be released) / Planetside 2 / World of Tanks

These are just the BIG games, which could be described as A, AA or AAA titles. There is a further 4000+ games out there that are f2p.

Why would anyone pay a subscription anymore?

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With Turbines servers being down for over 50 hours and with no idea when players like myself will once again be able to click the enter Middle Earth button. I begin to ask myself what if the servers don’t come up. What will that mean?

Well for someone like me it will mean that I should have left LOTRO when I said I was going to leave, which for those of you who don’t know was just after I bought the Riders of Rohan. That would have meant that I would not have gotten to level 85, grinding Hybolt and the crafting instances. But then again even though I feel as if I should have left the game back then, I actually did play the expansion and do everything. I maybe didn’t quite get my monies worth but I still play the game today.

With updates every few hours which basically say “We are working on it, the game will be with you as soon as it’s ready.” Does Turbine need to do better? With conspiracy theories spreading like wildfire around the forums (to which I myself participated blaming the dwarves for digging too deep because sorry it’s always a dwarf) does Turbine need to step back and explain why it is taking so long? My answer is yes! The players will respect you for keeping them in the picture and it saves the play based getting angry.

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Turbine should have learned by now. With it being almost six years since LOTRO launched. With changes impacting us all and Turbine continue to make the same mistakes. Maybe we are the silly ones for putting up with their complete lack of good customer service, but while I play other games and see the distinct comparison I begin to wonder how I put up with it. From being afraid to say anything on the official forums about lag before the delete button gets pressed I wonder how this community, including myself is enjoying being trampled on.

I do wish that this game was run by any other company; even Blizzard is looking appealing to me at the moment. I am beginning to remember why I wanted to leave LOTRO and Turbine behind i.e. the complete lack of communication as well as the communistic ruling on the forums. What can I do but sit here shaking my head. Should I give up a game and a main character I love just because it is run by the worst gaming company I have ever encountered? I just checked the Facebook page of The Lord of The Rings Online for any update and what I saw was again another message saying the same thing they have been since 8am (GMT) yesterday.

I do not want to just seem hateful in this post and I know a lot of people are working hard to fix the problem. But old memories come back to me such as;

  • The free to play denial.
  • Leaving Codemasters behind but denying it.
  • The lag. This was all the I.P’s fault.
  • The deletion of anything on the forums relating to someone asking for information on when the game is going to be fixed.

So what would happen if Turbine decided it wasn’t worth the manpower to fix it and LOTRO, DDO and Asheron’s Call all got deleted? Well nothing, as you would not have a legal leg to stand on. All thanks to the terms and conditions. So it could be “Au revoir  Middle Earth” with not so much as an explanation.

Now isn’t that itself just something to freak out over?

Written by Emma McHugh

As with all computer based systems or websites, sometimes they have to come down to be fixed/updated or for general tuning up to make them run effectively. This has gone on since as long as I can remember and is very much embedded in the online gaming culture, particularly with the MMO genre of games.
Servers are taken down and patches are applied to the game servers which allow players to download and play the latest build with all the new loot and bug fixes but I’m sure you understand the concept of patching a game so I’ll just skip over the rest of it for your benefit.

Turbine, host and owner of the Lord of The Rings Online (or LOTRO) announced more than a week ago that on Wednesday the 13th of Febuary that they would be taking down their servers for back-end system maintenance, which would last twelve hours then the servers would come back up and everything would be fine.This was to occur on not just LOTRO servers but for all of Turbines online games (Dungeons and Dragons Online and Asheron’s Call) and is perfectly understandable and acceptable although as always with mmo games, some people did voice strong opinions against such measures as it would cut into their game time.  However, what these people failed to read was that in the terms of service for LOTRO, which you must agree to in order to play the game, There is a section which states..

“Turbine may change, modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Game at any time. Turbine may also impose limits on certain features or restrict your access to parts or all of the Game without notice or liability.”  
 
Which is exactly what Turbine have done. they have suspended the game so they can do this essential work on their back-end servers, but as always people will complain.
 
Anyway, I’m getting a little off-track here.
 
This period was later postponed until Thursday the 14th of Febuary (Valentines Day) which seemed to please a lot of people as they would be spending this time with their loved ones but once again, people complained and asked for compensation for losing game time.
After the period started, it was quickly extended to twenty-four hours of downtime and that things were going fine, despite this news. However, approx four hours before this was due to finish the player base was informed via twitter that they would not make the twenty-four hour deadline and did not have an ETA for the servers coming back up, which is still within their rights to do. The player base, of course has erupted into acts of stupid posting and rage aimed towards the LOTROcommunity team, whom has absolutely no say in how the servers are maintained and are only there to relay the messages onto the players.
 
This beggars the question, do people even read the terms of service before they ever sign up to playing a game or do they just click “I Accept” and go on in ignorance of the actual conditions which you agree to partake in the product that the company has contracted you to.
 
Should people who don’t read and understand the Terms of Service automatically have their contracts voided and be banned from the game? Isn’t agreeing to and signing a contract, which is what you do when you click on “I Accept“, without first reading and understanding it not cause for dismissal from the contract?
Or are Turbine going easy on the players so they keep paying them?
This time last year it seemed that nothing could pull me away from Lord of the Rings online, apart from the odd day playing SWTOR (which I still play to this day).  I was nothing but happy with this MMO. I would spend hours grinding reputation, crafting, levelling characters, raiding, talking to the friends I played with. It seemed that nothing could take me out that game. Nothing could tease me away from it. I was one hundred per cent not interested in any other game. Until the lag made it impossible for me to do these things that I love, but that is for another thread. I began looking and speaking to my fellow gamers. I began to pay complete attention toGuild Wars 2. It looked awesome! I couldn’t believe how blinded by LOTRO I was, people had tried to show me how great it was but I just wouldn’t listen. I brought out the credit card and paid for two copies that day. The beta weekend had just started so when people where playing I was downloading the client on two PC’s.  I never played until the next day and what I saw just baffled me to begin with. Everything was just so different from your generic MMO clone. Now don’t get me wrong I had not just played LOTRO and SWTOR up until this point, but I had also tried GWAionRiftDDO, and had a brief 12 hour shot of WoW. The first experience of this game smashed them all out of the ballpark.
This experience made me look around me. I wanted to experience it all. I did not want generic clones, or the holy trinity. I wanted to see what I was missing, see the game’s that I was not paying my full attention too. LOTRO’s lag issues though frustrating was the best thing to happen to my gaming life. I started paying more attention to SWTOR, with the storyline and space combat grabbing my attention and seeming new and shiny. I wanted to never be blinded by one singular MMO again. I was not content with open tapping, everyone receiving loot, open world environment, crafting changes, voice acting, space missions, and the ability to play a character how you wish.
So I heard about The Secret World going pay once play forever. I’d looked at this when it launched and thought it looked brilliant. But I did not want to pay for a subscription, especially when I had just bought GW2 which had no subscription attached to it.  The big appeal to me here is that I can role one character and be whatever role I want. I was an altaholic, always bringing up alts so we’d have the correct balance in raids. Do not get me wrong, I am not moaning about it. I was not held at gun point with someone screaming in my ears, “LEVEL A LORE-MASTER… HURRY UP!”.  I enjoyed it. But this game made me think that I would never need an alt because I could just level up every weapon within the game. Also there are no physical levels, you level up within your secret faction, be in Dragon, Templar or Illuminati. It is also an open world environment, with loot sharing and open tapping.  It is also set right now, so things that are global phenomenon’s such as Gangnam style are actually within this game. Its real world setting also seemed like a big change for me, and I enjoy wandering around London and using Google maps to see if it really does look like it does within the game.
So now with the MMO genre smashing down the very bounds that once made them all similar but with different settings what do you think? Do you feel saddened that all new MMO’s seem to be moving away from the bounds that once held them? Do you hope that new games to come are different from their counterparts or do you wish they’d all just stop bring out stuff that seems shiny and new but in your eyes is just a distraction from grinding end game until the new patch comes out? With even LOTRO jumping onto the open world environment train what will be next for MMO’s within the next year to come. 2012 changed my gaming life, let’s hope 2013 adds to my experience and the open world environment will not become the new generic clone.
Written by Emma McHugh