LOTRO Store Balance
I just thought I’d add a little post about the LOTRO store. I wasn’t going to as there has been plenty written, and our silly little blog is just a leaf in the hurricane, but I decided to at least voice my opinion. It’s not an incandescent rage post or a fan boy defense, just a couple of thoughts about balance. I have been looking lots at the EU and US forums and the debate there seems to be raging. There have been plenty of posts about what is good and what is bad, but I have to say for the vast majority of it, I’m happy enough. I have been involved in regular kin runs; raids and 6 mans in the past, but real life reasons mean that these days I play almost exclusively duo, or 3 man, with my wife and a friend. On this basis some of the items in store I’m OK with, as a lifer if I get back into raiding I can spend my points on the real essentials, or go and grind them out, but as a more RP/Personal achievement player, I have been disappointed by one item in store, which quite a few others have too: Factions mounts.
You still here? This old chestnut again eh! I just want to say, I understand no it’s not game changing. Festival mounts I can understand as ‘anyone’ can get them at any level (currently 30+) and no rep is required, but is a little sad from a RP/suspension of disbelief point of view to add reputation specific faction mounts. If those are being added, will we see Meta Deed mounts too? No I hear you cry that requires a real achievement, but I’ll come onto this point later. Yes you can buy faction items in the AH, so you can shorten the gaming grind significantly, but you still need to A) go to Angmar, and B) be able to pick up the reputation item hand in, and C) even if you spend tons of game gold on reputation items, they have still been funding the fight against the enemy.
My characters story very firmly has them as spending time in Angmar helping fight the enemy, as such they are proud of their Kindred earned Council of the North Horses, and yes, of course it won’t change that and I’ll still do it that way and be proud. but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I liked the idea (and I think it helped with RP) that people understood from looking at my set up and horse that I was a veteran of the wars in Angmar, or if they didn’t know where the horse was from and asked, It was a proud boast. Finally of course the horse was to some extent a little substance behind that veneer of a characters story, anyone can say they fought hard against the minions of Carn Dum, but here was proof. I’m sure this can still be maintained, but I fear it could be dissolved a little, as now you could also just have plenty of real life cash and bought one to back up a story (at level 10 or so too), which is a little sad. At least they are paying top dollar for it, which may pay for more content.
One real game changer for others is the new 10 second CD, 160 morale/power every 2 second pots only available in store, most raiders are going to NEED those if they are in a ‘competitive raid’ kin. In addition they are looking like real money expensive too; I can see if you pumped them frequently burning £**/$** in one raid, and they are going to make a huge different from those who do it without. Perhaps they will add an in-game drop too, we’ll see eventually.
But here is the twist from my point of view: I don’t care about it, I won’t pay real money for pots, ever. My sense of achievement is at having earned something, not if i did it first or best, however some in-game friends DO get their enjoyment that way, in the same was I do from my horse. So where do these priority levels get set? Do ‘we’ only care if the advantage is costly for pro raiders? Do RP/Social player priorities count as much? I’m not saying yes or no here, or even suggesting that I think Turbine are heading one way or another, but its a question that seems to never be addressed properly; one doesn’t have to count more than another. These two view points or motivations are not mutually exclusive, this isn’t a ‘which side of the debate are you on’ argument. The forums seem to contain a lot of ‘who cares if you can buy a stupid horse, it’s just a skin: the real crisis is the pots/stat tomes which are-pay-to-win’ and of course others arguing the opposite. Why fight about it? The pots won’t affect me, but I can sure say they seem very unfair to Raiders/Moors players and I think that might just ‘break’ their game unless the CD is altered or crafted/in-game drops are added, but that doesn’t mean to say that other people’s endgame and enjoyment has to be ignored too. It may be harder to ‘break’ an RP/Social players game with a store, but it is very possible, so I hope some of the feedback in the Beta and on the live forums has at least been heard.
I hope we can learn to accept others priorities and not laugh when they get trampled on and scream when we do, perhaps taking a take a step back and think about what that would mean if that was how you played your game would make difference. For myself, I think the Faction Reputation Horses and the 10 second CD Pots went a little too far, but for two very different sets of players, for two very different reasons. Enjoy your game folks.