After the news hit last night, I took some time to not only think things over a little bit but also do a little research before flying off the handle.  Before I get into the my thoughts (or rant) on it lets at least hit on what we know.  And yes, this will be a bit of a long post, but I’ll preface it with a statement that I’m more disappointed, not upset, about the packs themselves.  The frustration isn’t with the game, Turbine, or the Expansion, purely the pre-order packs.

Riders of Rohan will launch on September 5th, 2012 which means Beta for it should kick off very soon (if it hasn’t already) and I’m guessing the Farmers Event will be the only update between now and then sadly.  Personally, based on recent history, I’m incredibly worried about this date – but we’ll get to that later Smile

As for the actual expansion, here’s what we know, there will be 3 options for purchase:

  • Base Edition – $39.99
    • Steed and Title
    • Level 20 Statted Cloak
    • Rohirrim Landscape Soldier Appearance
  • Heroic Edition – $49.99
    • Base Edition Plus
    • Hauberk
    • Level 20 Stated Cloak
    • Evendim, Moria, and Lothlorien Quest Packs
    • XP Token
  • Legendary Edition – $69.99
    • Steed and Title
    • Rohirrim Landscape Soldier Appearance
    • Armour of the Eastemnet (full set, not just chest piece)
    • Level 75 Statted Cloak
    • 6th Inventory Bag
    • Crystal of Remembrance (1 per character, adds Legacy to Legendary Item)
    • Exclusive Rohan Content – additional skill
    • XP Token

There’s also some good info in the Pre-Order FAQ (scroll to the bottom and hit the button)

  • War-steeds and the region will be free since that’s part of the Epic Story
  • You can ride your war-steed anywhere you can mount now, you just won’t be able to fight while mounted outside of the special Rohan regions
  • War-steeds remind me of Skirmish Soldiers, and you can only have one

In addition to the details, there’s also two new videos that were released as well – one that’s a “cinematic” trailer that I quite liked and another teaser showing some in-game footage.  I’ll have to admit, the in-game footage didn’t really excite me all that much as it just doesn’t live up to the verbiage of battling roving war-bands.

As of now, PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong but that’s all we know.  We have zero information about any skill/class updates (other then what we can imagine with 10 levels), instances or raids, system updates, crafting changes, or anything else along those lines.  And based on Turbine’s recent update/expansion history I’m rather concerned whether we’re getting any of these at launch or they’ll come post-launch.

Let’s first talk about the different pack options and the price.  Just from price alone, these are quite high.  The Isengard top expansion pack was only $49.99 and included mainly cosmetics, quests packs, but also ~$10 in Turbine Points!  Compare that to the Rohan pack which is $20 more without any Turbine Points and includes one of the key advertising points for not only the Expansion but Update 7 as well!  For me the real issue with this announcement is that the only way to get 3 VERY real in-game advantages is to pay an extra $20, or wait for them to come to the store which I guarantee will happen.

The 6th inventory bag is pure rubbish and should’ve been in all thee pre-order options, but Turbine is again making a huge push for a feature that will only be available for real-world money (I’m looking at you Barter Wallet).  Personally, the extra bag isn’t worth it as I’ve been dealing with the lack of space for long enough now that it doesn’t really bother me, but it would have been nice to have.  Also, this does follow what they’ve done for all other storage options but I still can’t imagine how upset folks will get with this one if they were at all upset by previous updates.

As for the Crystal, I’m sad to say this confirms to me that we’re not getting any sort of update to the Legendary Item system any time soon.  This is the second band-aid they’ve chosen to apply instead of a revamp.  Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like the system and don’t think it needs a revamp.  However, what really bothers me is that here’s an item that will be a potentially significant advantage that will be a single use item, and then will be available in the store.  Maybe it will be available via the skirmish system at some point like the upgrade scrolls, but I’ll be honest and say I’m doubtful based on how the Star-lit crystals have been handled.

Finally, although we don’t know the details, the bonus mounted skill definitely sounds like an advantage to me and will only be available via the pre-order or after the fact in the store.  This to me smacks against any non-lifetime VIP players as this expansion provides them no bonuses and I am finding it incredibly hard to justify subscribing to this game.  I think the only options are lifetime (if you got it) or Premium and just buy whatever packs you need.

Coming back to my concern on this expansion, we’ve had a number of rushed updates lately that have missed the mark in many ways.  Not to mention an incomplete previous expansion, I’m just struggling to see how this expansion will be any different.  Couple all that with a huge new system (Mounted Combat) where our first glimpse into just shows one on one fighting.  I have a feeling that just like Isengard, we will get VERY little information on what’s actually in the Expansion (instances and such) until very close to launch and then they’ll have to do an Update to roll them back in.  Either that will happen, or Mounted Combat will go over about as well as the highly touted Landscape Soldier system.  But who knows, maybe this will be the Expansion that is well done and I’ll be VERY excited if that happens and will be the first to admit I was wrong.  Ok, someone on twitter might be me to it – but I’ll be in full agreement.

Now, that I’ve ranted a bit there is another side of these 3 items.  How much of a difference will they really make?

  • I’ve already said the 6th bag doesn’t really matter to me
    • there are tons of in-game available storage options to mitigate this
    • it also follows what they did with shared storage, the wardrobe, and the barter wallet which I support
  • The extra legacy would be nice – but unless they change them in some cases I’m hard pressed to find another I’d want
    • and seriously, how much does one extra legacy help?
    • Also, we know very little about this – it could be random or it could be just a minor legacy
  • Who knows what the mounted skill will be – it might just be some emote!

I guess what I’m coming around to is that even though I’m not super excited about these packs, I personally don’t know enough to really decide if it is something I want or even something I care if other people have.  Which is why I took a while to get this post up, as initially I was upset about them but after thinking about it a bit I’ve come to better terms with them.  Granted, that’s just my opinion and I know many are quite fired up about it Smile

As for the pack itself, I’m holding off on buying anything for a while as I don’t think we have enough information to make an informed decision.  I’m mainly just disappointed that this is the first expansion I haven’t purchased the top edition immediately when it was announced.  Not only that, but I’m seriously considering just waiting and using my stockpile of TP for the pieces of it that I care about.  Don’t get me wrong though, I’m still excited for the Expansion itself and the game going forward, but these packs missed the mark for me.