Well, this certainly is an interesting update to the next LOTRO Update that’s posted to Bullroarer.  This is one of those updates that I can honestly say I have no clue what Turbine is thinking.  The actual patch notes are pretty small, but there’s a lot there that they’re not fully explaining.

I’ll start with the good part :)  The new raid gear is in game, and it appears to be the same set bonuses as the previous BG set but with scaled up stats.  I actually really enjoy the look of at least the Warden set, but the fact that it is all Might based, is not going to work for many Wardens.  I wish they would’ve done multiple sets per class like the other recent sets, so this does feel like a bit of a cop out.  I am surprised by the cost (1554 SMs, and 538 Medallions) as I was expecting it to cost Seals like the previous top tier sets.  This does make me believe that there’s another set coming with the raids, which will be nice.

Warden LooksWarden Set Bonuses

As for the source of much of the outrage, the new Yule festival is live with this patch to Bullroarer and its a bit of a dozy.  They’re redoing all the tokens and such (surprise, surprise) and as such the horses are now all deed gated. The normal Yule horse is available for a mere 20 quests (quite a significant jump from previous years, roughly 2 days of questing), but at least they’re removed the Mount Ownership Document so there’s a little bit of savings there.  But to get a similar look on your War-steed, be prepared to do a whopping 200 quests THIS YEAR to obtain the appearance (good lord how much will this be in the store?).  I just don’t understand the punishment for folks wanting to trick out their Warsteeds, I could see a doubling of the quests such that is was like a tier 2 deed, but a 10 fold increase is just ridiculous.  Not to mention, we have NO clue how long this festival will be live so you have no idea how many quest per day you need to do.  At the current rate, it is 17 days to complete which doesn’t leave a whole lot of margin unless they either get this out soon or extend it well into January.

Now while many of you might look at this as purely a cosmetic thing and not really an issue for anyone who doesn’t care how they look, I really think this shows us that Warsteeds have very little future in LOTRO.  This is looking more and more like a way to fleece customers of their money for a system that will never change from its initial release.  Let me remind you they did a stealth dye sale over the American Thanksgiving holiday of 50% off only to then include a very public 20% sale for this week.  And I’m not just complaining about the pricing here, many of the current complaints about the system (too easy to kill stuff, no variety, etc.) were all raised VERY early in Beta and have never been addressed.  As much as it pains me (I really do like Mounted Combat) I don’t expect to see anything more from the system until we get to Gondor.  I’m going to stop this part of the rant now, as I think I will save it for a whole separate post :)

All of my good feelings I had for LOTRO coming off of the Rohan expansion are VERY quickly being erased by Update 9.  Here are the current issues I have with Update 9:

  • no story progression
  • instances have nothing to do with our current story, and a shameless Hobbit tie-in
  • We have to wait almost 5 months for our full expansion, and it isn’t even fully a Rohan expansion
  • Yule festival fiasco, on top of all the other recent grinding festivals
  • Hobby horse for 5000 TP, really?
  • Interrupt nerfs
  • This smacks of another case where the instance devs are too lazy to deal with an existing mechanic and instead want to nerf classes without realizing the full impact.  Or its a PvMP nerf that is the same laziness ;)
  • little utility in the new raid set
  • VERY little new content for the next few months

I was hoping that this next update would continue all the good stuff that LOTRO had done (IMO) with Rohan, but it seems like they’ve just taken the money-grubbing mentality of the Rohan pricing and continued to figure out ways to make things worse.  I just hope Turbine realizes that they’ve made a bit of a mis-step here, but I honestly don’t think they will.