Posts tagged epic line

LOTRO Helm’s Deep Pre-Order Debacle

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I don’t really like making my first post in a long while a rant, but I just couldn’t help it.  There are so many things I feel are wrong with this announcement that I needed to write about it.  I have been expecting this news pretty much any day since the middle of June, so I can’t be terribly surprised it came yesterday.  I’m also not surprised by what was actually in the announcement, but I was really hoping that Turbine would change its model from previous expansions.

Sure, Isengard was their best expansion ever, and one that I snatched up the legendary pack for immediately.  However, we’ve never heard a peep about how Rohan did and one can only guess that it didn’t do all that well.  I know from my own highly scientific polling, most people were either not getting the pack or using their Turbine points for it, like I did.  What Turbine failed to do with that pre-order was include items that people really cared about and wanted.  After 6 years, I think players are getting tired of titles (does anyone still care what title they show?) and have more cosmetic items then they know what to do with.  Combine that with the fact that we can only show off one horse at any given time, it makes it hard to really need all these extra things.

With Helm’s Deep, I was really hoping they’d include some other sort of item in the pre-order packs.  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what that would be – but I feel they should have tried something to switch things up from a model that clearly isn’t working.  One highly controversial item that would’ve tempted me is the rumored XP item that has been leaked.  I personally would love a way to bring a couple of my alts up to level cap but the prospect of leveling them is more then daunting and not something I have any intention of doing.  That to me would be the perfect “convenience” item, paying real world money to shorten my time in game.  And while they may not have learned anything about previous pre-orders bonus items, there’s more later about a trick they did pick up on

Next up would be the pricing, I again was hoping for something more along the lines of the Mirkwood model.  Not necessarily as confusing, but the base pack around $20 with a fluff option for another $20.  Instead what we got was a base of $40, a few more cosmetics for $60, and a horrifically overpriced Hobbit themed add-on for $40.  That hobbit pack includes:

  • 3 Star Lit Crystals which is 1195 TPs in the store
  • Scroll of Delving which is 195 TP
  • Relic Removal scroll which is 195 TP
  • and a Premium Relic pack which is 2000 TP (updated for all characters this is 3495)

So that totals 3585 TP, which is roughly $35 and if you’re in the US toss in an extra $13 for the movie ticket and it’s a pack valued at around $48.  It does appear that these items will still apply for your level 95 LIs, but no answer from a dev to the forum questions on this explicitly.  Even though the community has answered that store versions currently are not level bound, I would like a blue-name clarification that it will be that way with Helm’s Deep as well.  Clearly, if you’re not in the US this pack is not a good deal, and even in the US if you get a sale and/or a double point weekend (or stipend) it is probably better for you to pass on this.  After a twitter comment, if you play multiple characters, the relic pack is actually 3495 TP for all characters, so this does become a $63 value which is a better deal.

We still don’t know all that much about the expansion, even with the flurry of press articles.  If you actually think about those articles – what additional information came out that you didn’t know prior to the article?  At least with this expansion we don’t have to worry about the price and/or inclusion of an Instance Cluster since there is none.  However, at this time we still have zero information about the availability of using Turbine points to pay for the expansion, something we learned very quickly with the Rohan launch, later that day even.  This part doesn’t make sense to me since Sapience said they held off on the announcement to figure out a way to make the Hobbit pack international – so they had all this ready a good time ago and had to know this question would come immediately.  And after thinking about it a bit more, the fact that they’re floating the story that they didn’t announce the pre-order based purely on a freebie tie-in for a portion of the community is also a tad insulting.  If they really wanted to announce it, they would have (like they’ve done before) and make changes or inclusions along the lines.  But based on these prices and the fact that I’m sure there are many lifers like me with a healthy stash of TP, I highly expect the TP price for this expansion to be very high.

Getting back to Turbine learning their lessons, they did have an ace up their sleeve that they didn’t roll out until specifically called out on it, and this of course is that the Epic Story line which has been available for Free for a long time now (not quite since F2P launch) will only be available to those who purchase the expansion.  Here is Sapience’s initial response to the question as well as his follow up justification for the change.  <Update> Significantly after the fact, a slightly better explanation has come from MadeOfLions.  <Update> Initially I jumped to the greedy thought, but I’ve now come to realize what really bugs me isn’t that they’re being greedy (I still think they are) but that they’re not being honest or consistent in why they’re making the change.  If they had admitted it was a business decision to make the change, I would have been totally fine with it.  However, they are claiming that because Big Battles are such an integral part of the story, they need to charge for both of them.  Never mind that Helm’s Deep isn’t that big of a part of the books that LOTRO is based on (unlike the movies) as posted elsewhere but Turbine previously has included new technologies for free since they are so integral to the Epic Story line.  Legendary Items, many skirmishes, and Mounted Combat were all new technologies that significantly changed the game but since they were tightly integrated into the Epic Story line they were included for free.  No matter what real reason you think is driving this decision, the public answer clearly doesn’t make sense or justify what they’re doing.

The final piece of this announcement that truly boggles my mind is the date, November 18th.  If we look at past expansions, Rise of Isengard had almost 5 months of closed beta testing, without an instance cluster, before its launch, Riders of Rohan had 3 months but still pushed that launch a month and split up its instance cluster into 2 pieces to be launched significantly later.  This expansion will only have 2 months of closed beta testing, which is incredibly short considering that they’re introducing a “new” instance and rewards system as well as a complete and total revamp of EVERY class.  They haven’t updated every class at the same time since Moria, and not since Mirkwood have they actually succeeded in rolling out any kind of instance cluster at launch time, let along one that’s using “new” technology.  History shows us that both of these are both things that Turbine historically has trouble with so you’d like to think they’d want to make sure they did it properly.  I look at this in two ways, one cynical and the other incredibly pessimistically.  The truth is probably neither of them, but we’ll never know that.  From the cynical side, this is done to ride the wave of the Hobbit build-up to the second movie and get in before the holiday season kicks off in full gear, and was a date set by WB long ago.  Even if it launches at that time, I expect numerous patches and various things to be quickly closed off due to bugs and/or exploits.  As for the pessimistic view, this game is turning into an easy daily facebook style game, where difficulty has no place, so they don’t have to worry about class interactions or Big Battle difficulty at all.  They can just make sure classes work on their own and make the battles super easy and they’re done and ready for launch.

Riders of Rohan was the first expansion I didn’t pre-order on the day it was announced, and in fact I waited and bought it with Turbine Points.  Initially I wasn’t even planning on buying the Helm’s Deep expansion at all, even with Turbine Points, but now I’m not so sure since they made the epic chance.  Part of me thinks this is a clean time to part ways, but after almost 7 years in this world that is a hard thing to do.  Depending on how they handle things going forward I may cave and buy it with Turbine Points, but this announcement has really shown me how little Turbine understands the community.  The Player’s Council certainly has their work cut out for them.

 

LOTRO Developer Chat Thoughts

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Yesterday’s developer twitter chat had a bit more information in it then previous ones, but I think that’s purely just because they’ve got a release ready for Bullroarer Smile  The majority of the real news was around Update 10.  I’m not going to hit on everything, just a few items that jumped out for me.  The full transcript is up on the forums if you want to check it out.

With regards to Update 10, the biggest news for me was that it will be hitting Bullroarer next week.  I’ll be curious to see how long it stays there as I hope it goes through a couple of iterations considering the new instances and armor sets that historically have issues but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some internal pressure to get it out earlier.  Here’s what was announced:

  • Fate will be boosted – we don’t know how, but it will be.
  • With the new raids, we are getting a new armor set.  No news on what will be needed to get it
  • 1st agers will start dropping, I’m assuming from the new raids
  • All existing instances will be getting new loot
  • no new epic story
  • I’ll come back to Wardens Smile

We also got some information on Update 11, although we have no clue when it will drop:

  • Large Epic Story update
  • New landmass similar in size to the Great River region
  • mix of mounted combat and non-mounted combat
    • something new in the works for mounted combat, but no other details given

I’m actually surprised by the Update 11 information mainly because of the mounted combat stuff as I had expected that to be the expansion.  I’ll be VERY curious to see what they add to mounted combat but the fact that they refuse to allow reputation mounts as warsteed cosmetics still indicates to me they feel money is still on the table for the system.  However, they did hint that after Update 10 they are adding new non-store items for warsteeds.  Hopefully there will be a deterministic way to achieve them as opposed to purely random.  I’m also curious where we go region wise and how that fits to the story since our Rohan storyline is pretty blocked off until we get the rest of Rohan.

Two other items before I jump to Wardens, they’re putting in the option to disable forced emotes and they’re giving it to everyone for free.  This is rather shocking to me actually considering the price of the XP disabler, I was really expecting this to be a character specific store item.   But kudos to Turbine for implementing this.  They also teased of a housing update later this year, but I’ll wait to be optimistic about it until we see actual information.  I’d love for them to do a total overhaul, but based on how they’ve done other system overhauls I wouldn’t bank on something that significant.  Primarily I expect changes to the cost of houses, escrow, and a closer tie to the store but I don’t think we’ll see them make changes to the hook system as that would just take too much effort.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see store options to put vendors or banks in our houses.

As for the announced Warden changes, I can see what they’re doing and why but I’m just worried about the actual implementation of it.  They’re changing our primary stat from Might over to Agility such that our main defense and attack numbers will be based on our Agility.  This basically just makes it easier for gear itemization such that each armor type has one primary stat (light is will based, medium is agility, and heavy is might).  It just seems like keeping and creating all sorts of different gear for the different classes was causing too many issues and they wanted to make it simpler.  Block and Parry will still be Might based, with Evade coming from Agility so that will even out some and for most Block has always been quite easy to cap even without our buffs.  They’ve said gear will be switched over but I’m not sure if existing items you already have will be switched.  If not, I at least hope there’s some sort of trade-in option for the Hytbold sets, but since they’re also incorporating a grace period that might be all we get.  That period would then be where we go out and either get the new sets or re-grind for new Hytbold gear.  The actual shift should’ve be that big of a deal, but with every other Warden change they’ve broken at least 2 other things and that’s what worries me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some other issue rears its head surrounding threat, maybe the Exaltation of Battle bug returns, or the Terrible Visage one.  Here’s hoping this change isn’t the Warden version of the big class revamps we’ve been promised.

Overall a mix of good information and some softballs, but with Update 10 as close as it is I’m not surprised by what they did include.

 

Riders of Rohan Day One Thoughts

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Yesterday certainly was an interesting day, that’s for sure, but overall for me personally, it was a good one.  Launch days are always challenging for MMOs and some go well while others are on the rockier side.  While this wasn’t the smoothest launch for Turbine, they were very good at admitting and communicating what was going on and some issues (Missing Store) were resolved while others (crashing and memory leak) had workarounds presented.

I had some issues patching, but in all honesty I think that’s to be expected for an expansion as big as Rohan.  However, I do think Turbine should REALLY consider going back to the pre-patch system they used to do as it would considerably reduce the server crush that was causing many of the issues people were having.  One suggestion I heard was opening up the patching or logins early for VIPs which would be a nice bonus especially for subscribers.

Once I got in game, I did a little housekeeping in my inventory and with my legendary items as well as turning in my crafted reputation items.  Happily using the pointer that you can now right-click to turn them in, only to realize I’m 2 items short.  But my cool-downs were up today, so I’ll finished that off soon enough and got to check out the new medium armor sets.  My Metalworker and Jeweler both had plenty to finish off their reputation so I picked up some of their recipes.  I have to say, the new armor styles look pretty darn cool as they’re starting to look a little more realistic and I’m and more lore appropriate.

Heavy Armor & Warden ShieldNew CloakMedium Armor SetNew Robe

Other then that, I started on the Epic Story as I wanted to wait on Rohan until I could buy the expansion.  Aside from remembering how much I hate that darn elven tree hopping town, I really enjoyed the epic line.  I won’t give any spoilers, but I liked the breaking of the fellowship session play and there are some cool stories in there as well.  I stopped the epic when I made my way to the shadows of the Argonath and went to go get my horse.

Cool Rohan SkyNice scenery

I’ve made it to 76 but still haven’t really done any mounted combat yet but am starting to get more comfortable on my horse.  Sadly I don’t have any cosmetics for it, so Huckleberry is just sporting the bare grey skin that everyone else has.  Other than class steeds and the Steed of the Night, anyone have any good suggestions for cosmetics for your horse?

Any big accomplishments out there for you guys?

 

LOTRO Riders of Rohan Patch Notes

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warsteeds_05

While we wait for the servers to come up, you might as well get comfortable and check out the massive patch notes for this Update! <Update> Known Issues are also posted <Update>

I’m not even going to try to summarize as we know much o what’s in there and besides it is just too much.

Also, I was pointed to this VERY handy FAQ last night via twitter that might be a good thing to check out as well.

I’m parked up on a flet in Lothlorien by the mailbox waiting to be summoned by Galadriel before heading out to Rohan.  While my other characters are waiting to turn in all their crafting reputation items out in Stangard.  What’s on your to-do list for launch day?

 

My Take on the LOTRO Riders of Rohan Expansion Details

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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.

 
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