What to do with our Warsteeds!
So for some people, this is a non issue. They either have one/multiple characters and are happy to spend money, or simply couldn’t care less about cosmetics. That is fair enough, but for folks like us that love messing about with cosmetics, and have a lot of alts, the Warsteed cosmetic system was both a source of interest and excitement, and a huge disappointment.
There have been a number of post on the major blogs around about this issue, Ketani at CSTM, Hymne at Cosmetic LOTRO, and Sig at the excellent new (ish) Warsteeds site to name a few. I won’t go over the fine details here, as they do a better job of it that we will, so we will just look at how we are deciding to deal with it, in our specific circumstances.
The items; saddles, tails, gear, armour/cosmetic sets, and hides I am sort of O.K with. I mean, they are expensive, but they are in line with the sorts of things the LOTRO store has been retailing so far, and there are for the most part in-game alternatives, or options.
The hides and horse colour dyes other than the default grey were something that, if they were cheaper or account wide, we could have splurged more on, but as it is they are a bit steep at 595 Turbine points per character. As a result, I have decided when I hit 80 with a character to choose them A horse each, and that will be it.
Yes, I’ve gone all soft and given it a name, chosen it a colour, and the characters will have to live with that horse for good. One or two may get a hide skin at an extra 595 TP (though oddly in the store the ‘hides’ button on the MC tab seem to be linked to the colours which dye the body slot item, and the ‘body’ button is linked to the hide skins… weird.)
Having resigned ourselves to this limitation because of the excessive cost, I actually quite like how this has altered my thinking about the warsteed. It has done what the Legendary Item system set out to do, but accidentally, through over pricing.
For us, it has given the horses a character, actually makes it a ‘permanent companion’ so to speak, a part of my character and their advancement experience. Hengest is Azaghars horse, and is a dark grey dappled horse with a black mane, Ganin has chosen a mid brown horse with a blond mane called Horsa (yes, from English Anglo-Saxon history). As you can see above, we bascially made the horse version on our dwarf characters, it made us chuckle and gave us an half hour of fun anyway! Now I grant you, our horses may wear barding, or different saddles and gear, they may even miraculously get larger and smaller if we re-trait them down light or heavy trait lines, but it will still be their horses, looking as they do in that picture, a permanent steed with them from now on, as legendary weapons should have been.
Already we are having fun, deciding what our other characters horses might look like, and what they might be called, how they might represent or complement their riders characters. Obviously not everyone will be into this, but for us, it has been fun, and after all thats what hobbies are about right?
We are Lifetime account holders, so the game holds no running cost for us outside of expansions, and about £40ish a year in Turbine points for stuff we fancy, so in many ways we are able to take this stance, as the high cost impacts us less that subscribers. Given the rate we level and play, realistically the monthly allowances we get from our lifetime VIP will basically pay for these steed colours and hides for everyone oertime if we pace our purchases.
Perhaps we are deluding ourselves, perhaps we should take a harder stance with regard to this, as I wouldn’t disagree that they are too expensive, and prohibitive of the sort of splurge purchasing I thought I would indulge in. However,we have taken the active decision to not get too het up about it, or back ourselves into an ideological corner from which there is no retreat. We have registered our complaint on the forums and within the wider LOTRO community, but we are not going to get overly annoyed or embroiled in the issue as this is our hobby and it is easily tarnished when you set off on a, often futile, crusade to change things. We are taking what we have been dealt by Turbine, and choosing what we feel are appropriate purchases, and what we consider to be cheeky and too much, and thus Turbine will not be getting money off us for, which brings us onto the warsteed dye situation…
To be fair there are some free colours which you can use to dye your horses outfits and barding; Orange, yellow, green, rust, indigo, and rose. So… yeah, ones that would sell well then… not. It is however good news for Dutch or Brazilian football fans. For access to the other colours you have to pay TP to unlock them for use, so far, I am fairly comfortable with this.
595 Turbine Points is far, far, too much for a pack of four predetermined colours, randomly mixed, that is bound per character. For people like me with 5-6+ level cap alts, 2K+ TP per character, just to parp around with dyes is ridiculous. We are part of the LOTRO community that likes cosmetics, naturally fan boy and girls disposed often, and we are a natural target for the F2P marketing, and are pretty comfortable with that, but we are not total idiots.
Two options would have been acceptable to us personally, If they had announced it was 595 TP to unlock the colours for the whole account or server, this still would have netted turbine 2K+ of points for a full access unlock, though admittedly people with alts would have got more benefit than those with just one character, who would still be in the same boat.
The other option is choice, often Turbines favourite word when it comes to trying to flog things. In this instance 100ish points per colour, hell even 150 TP per colour, would have at least given us a choice of what colours to buy and use, but as it stands if you are after black, then you get lumped with a number of other insipid colours, basically just so they could justify sticking the 595 price tag on it, then claiming ‘but it is for four colours‘! I am sure if they could have got away with charging 595 for individual colour of black, red, Rivendell green, Ered Luin blue, and crimson, and branded them ‘premium colours‘, i.e. the colours the bulk of folks want, then they would, and then stick the rest on for 100 points each, to fill up the corners. I suppose this shows us they still have some shame.
As it stands, we have decided to not buy any dyes, and do our best with plain horses, or greens. If and when we have used our monthly allowances and bought our steeds some hide colours, then we may consider using our monthly allowance for these, but I am not using Turbine points I paid money for, for this unlock. Once again, I have a lot of sympathy for folks who are subscribing, as this is a bit beyond the pale.
Either way they will get their monthly points back for some of this stuff, but it will take a long while to accrue, still, we are in no rush. If Turbine had wanted our actual money, they went the wrong way about it. But, as always, we shall remain irritatingly cheerfully optimistic, and have fun with the new game mechanic that, I have slowly been creeping through rounds of Beta to live from being suspiciously uncomfortable with, to really enjoying.