LOTRO Legendarium: Mordor’s pre-order is flat-out ridiculous

Outrageous. Ridiculous. Exciting. Exploitative. Controversial.

This past week’s announcement of Lord of the Rings Online: Mordor’s launch date and pre-order packages set ablaze discussions and arguments among the community, both in-game and without. World chat was streaming by quickly as players debated the pros and cons of the reveal, while the forums blew up with huge posts defending and criticizing the pre-order packages.

While this is not the travesty that some are making it out to be, I definitely agree with those that say Standing Stone Games misstepped with this announcement and needs to take some action to rectify the confusion and value of the upcoming expansion. While LOTRO players seem united in their anticipation for Mordor, some of that enthusiasm has been dashed with how the dating and packages have been handled, and that is a shame.

Let’s break it all down and see what we’ve learned and what pre-order might be best for you!

The launch date

Perhaps the strangest part of this pre-order reveal was the fact that the launch date was tucked right into the fine print: July 31st. Stranger still, in the very next sentence, the devs gave themselves leeway for a potential delay, saying that if July 31st doesn’t work out, the game will definitely, assuredly (probably) be out by August 31st.

Why not make the launch date its own announcement or more prominent? No idea. But the answer might be in the wishy-washy way that the fine print allows for a delay, telegraphing that the studio is not sure about when it will actually get the expansion out but wants to date it anyway. “Having your cake and delaying it too” is the expression that comes to mind.

July 31st, a mere two weeks away, seems awfully soon for an expansion that recently went into beta testing, and some players are calling for SSG to actually make that delay happen. Turbine, er, Standing Stone certainly has a history of under-testing and fixing after the fact, and that would not help the reputation of this momentous occasion. Others have asked for a delay because of needing that time to save up some money for the expansion.

No matter what, the studio’s assertion that Mordor will be out this summer gives it a release window that can’t be missed without major PR egg to the face. It’s certainly a good time to get a new game or expansion out without the rush of other titles that’s coming this fall, and it allows the team to work on the instance cluster and the follow-up update that is promised for later this year.

The price point

Moving on to the pre-order itself, we see that Mordor will come in three editions: standard ($40), collector’s ($80), and ultimate fan bundle ($130). For comparison, Rise of Isengard had a range of $30 to $50, Riders of Rohan’s editions went from $40 to $70, and Helm’s Deep offered a $40 base, a $60 premium edition, and no legendary package.

You can see the huge uptick in prices here for the special editions, which seem much higher than in the Turbine era. The $40 for the standard xpack feels right and is the edition I’ll be buying because these other two are way too high and don’t offer enough to really justify the purchase. Extras such as mounts, armor sets, kites (!), titles, and some advancement options aren’t “must haves” in my book, just niceties that might be better to buy a la carte down the road.

My problem here is that this all comes off as the studio really pushing it as far as it can to try to appeal more to the whales than the bulk of the playerbase. I said to some friends the other day that when it comes to pre-orders like these, studios should always err on the side of giving players a really good deal instead of coming off like they’re trying to shake every last dollar out of our pockets.

The more I look at this pre-order page, the more issues arise. The studio didn’t provide screenshots of several of the collector’s and ultimate fan bundle extras, so people are buying partially blind here. Lifetime subscribers won’t really benefit from the ultimate fan bundle’s month of VIP time (they can gift it away, but that’s it). We have no explanation for how this housing teleport functions any different than what’s already in the game. And I hate that marketing ploy that studios like this use to grey out the other options and have your default selection be the most pricey option. It’s kind of insulting.

To be fair, all editions do toss in a level boost that will take a new or existing character right to level 105 and Mordor’s gates. I’m sure that will appeal to some players as a method to catch up, although in a story-driven game like LOTRO, it still feels out of place to just leapfrog over the bulk of the narrative to get to the end of the tale.

Very few players seem satisfied with the pricing here, and it’s not just people being cheap. The collector’s edition is twice the cost of the standard without offering twice the value, and the ultimate fan bundle is over three times the price point of the standard while giving less than you’d find in other MMORPG expansion deluxe packages.

The High Elf controversy

Then we get to the fact that the High Elf as a race isn’t actually included in the standard bundle, which I feel is the biggest mistake in this whole deal. At Mordor’s launch, if you want to play a High Elf, you’re going to need to drop at least $80 to play this racial variation. I’m nearly at a loss for words because what MMO does this? Seriously! What MMO unbundles and decouples a major selling point for an expansion that it’s been promoting as part of the expansion’s offerings from the base edition?

World of Warcraft: Legion didn’t sell its Demon Hunter separately or as part of a more expensive package. FFXIV: Stormblood threw in two new classes a month ago, and Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind — which is no stranger to parceling and selling DLC — included the Warden as part of the expansion. But along comes LOTRO, and suddenly a slightly different hairstyle and racial skills on Elves makes this so special that it requires a separate (with LP down the road) or more expensive purchase? I call “bull” on that.

This is ridiculous, and I don’t give a fig about Elves at all. But you don’t pressure players to spend double the cost of a base expansion just to get a new race. I’m sure SSG is looking back at the Beorning and seeing a new race or class as being a premium extra, but the Beornings weren’t advertised as part of any expansion. And what’s worse here is that the future cost of the High Elves in the LOTRO store — 1,000 LP — indicates that the race is only worth $10 in the eyes of the studio. So why are we paying $80 for it now if we don’t care about extra character slots and mounts?

Making it right

I’m being hard on all of this not because I have a vendetta against LOTRO, but because I love the game and know that this move makes the MMO appear foolish and laughable to the larger gaming community. It hurts the reputation of the studio and game, and it could push potential players away instead of draw them in.

So what does SSG need to do here? It’s probably too late to adjust prices, since people have already purchased and refunds would be a pain in the butt. But there are a few moves that I think would help to alleviate the price point and the issues with these bundles to make them more attractive.

For starters, offer the High Elf in the standard edition, full stop. You don’t have to give an extra character slot or any of the other extras, but the race should be part of all of Mordor’s editions.

Second, offer a lot more in the collector’s edition. While I’m not that tempted by the ultimate fan bundle, it does seem to be a better value for the price than what you get for $80. Why not throw in Chance Thomas’ new soundtrack in both of the pricier editions? I was a little surprised not to see that included in the pre-orders.

Third, include some extra LOTRO points, at least in the top two tiers but maybe in all three. When Turbine was selling Helm’s Deep, players revolted against what they saw as meager offerings for the sticker cost, and the studio tossed in store currency to make all editions better. That should happen here.

Again, I’m excited to play Mordor no matter what, and at least $40 for the expansion isn’t out of this world for what we’re reportedly receiving. It’s just a shame that I’m not tempted in the least by the more expensive editions, as that’s a failure in marketing more than anything else. Hopefully the studio will learn from it.

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.
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166 Comments on "LOTRO Legendarium: Mordor’s pre-order is flat-out ridiculous"

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Crowe

Nicely written article with well-thought out points. Thanks, Justin!

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Dreema

Nothing about the ultimate or collector’s edition appeals to me much so I certainly won’t be wasting my money on them. A new title? Big deal. I have more titles than I know what to do with anyway. A new mount? Likewise. The high elf I’m interested in, but I can play a standard elf any time I want for free so why would this appeal to me? I don’t have any intention of paying money for something that I feel should have been included in the basis edition. Most likely, I’ll wait till it appears in the cash shop and they have a sale on and blow some Turbine Points on it.

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kody

High spenders (“whales” for those of you using out-of-date or demeaning terminology) are the primary source of revenue for free to play games, so of course they’re going to create bundles that appeal to them.

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John Kennedy

Oh we got a whale here… Hey, let me hold something.

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kody

Or maybe I worked in free to play for the last five years, and some companies don’t like to refer to their best customers as whales.

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John Kennedy

Gonna call bullshit on that one. They totally call em’ whales. You don’t design this kind of shit while having any kind of respect for your whales. So why would you not call them whales?

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kody

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinvanness/

When I ran the community department I was directly responsible for monetization bundles for North America.

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Castagere Shaikura

YEAH this is what happened to STO also. Mmo’s are turning into games for whales because of the f2p models in most of them.

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Fenryr Grey

Soon the whales will have turned most f2p mmo’s into single player games…The little devil in me is hopping for just that and is totally indifferent towards the people working in that business, contributing to everything that is utter shait in the industry.

@kody call them whatever you want.

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Viktor Budusov

SSG took its Turbine marketologist with them. And look’s like he lost his mind. Very bad decisions

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Vladimir Vladimirovic

Ah more whining i love it.Btw – we do know what that housing port do – it’s a object that you put in your house and it ports you to Mordor,if you payed more attention you would know .Also expansions were never part of deal for lifetimers so cool down your self-entitlement for once .

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David Harrison

I think the word you are looking for is paid.

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Vladimir Vladimirovic

I think next meal you should look for is salad instead of big mac,just sayin’

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John Kennedy

Oh shut the fuck up with that entitlement bullshit.

Reader

As a lifer and someone with sense. I can certainly wait them out. It will show up for points at some point and I have somewhere in the realm of 11,000 banked from my monthly stipend. Its not hard these days to find superior value somewhere else. We can also see how it fairs over the next few months. If the sales are bad, then they will come off of it quickly enough. Time will tell. If there was more value I would consider it, but for me… nah.

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Diego Camargo

I’ve been back to the game and even subed for the first time. However, this news got me pissed with the game.

To be honest, I am not in the cap level, so I still have all the other xpacs I bought to play before running into Mordor. But one thing’s for sure, I am not buying any of these, not until I see a big big big sale anytime next year so I get the xpac for 20 $ top.

This is where the industry is at. Why? Players pay and later they complain about how things are going. You want a change? Don’t pay for this kind of BS :)

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Dividion

If you wait until it’s in the store you can grab it for $25 in LotRO points.

Reader
odin valhalla

This is turbine. I know its SSG now but this is the same company who for years allowed the community the fools hope that WB was somehow the one pulling the strings for some absolutely horrific decisions. Come to find out, WB had very little to do with LOTRO at all and that in fact it was Turbine the entire time. Then we get the SSG announcement saying they are the ones who have been working on the title all along.

This is yet another crystal clear example of why in the end it was the right decision to drop this game. Its too bad they exploit their loyal player base but we’ve come to expect that from this group.

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Kayweg

I felt immediately reminded of this recent thread:

Massively Overthinking: Consumer protections in the MMORPG industry


Also, ANY pre-order is flat-out ridiculous !
Yeah, i know, i’ll get my coat now.

Reader
gary thrasher

I mean, I see Daybreak mentioned and blamed a lot in these comments, but I don’t know how much they really are to blame. I mean, they are technically the publisher, but if you look at the preorder page, their name is nowhere to be found. So I don’t know what they actually DO. Does Standing Stone run the servers? It’s sort of messy as to who actually does what.

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starbuck1771

They are in fact just the publisher nothing more.

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gary thrasher

Well, I’ve recently come back to the game because I can’t afford to keep playing the pricing ratrace with WoW anymore, and then they drop this crap on me. $130 is outrageous, and I’m right there with ya, Sypster. They need to make sure High Elf is in every bundle as it’s supposed to be one of the highlights of the package. I’ve bought pre-orders for Isengard and Rohan, since I picked the game up after F2P, and I bought deluxe editions of both. I bought standard of Helm’s Deep because finances started to get rough, and now they are in the toilet. I’d love to help support them, but that price is just too steep for my abilities. And honestly, I don’t need a bunch of cosmetic crap or yet another XP accelerator, I’ve got 9 character slots already, cool titles but they will be overdisplayed, shared storage would be ok, and no LP included is a kick in the butt for sure. I just don’t see this as a good idea. Maybe if they had put them at price points like $39.99, $59.99 and $99.99 there wouldn’t be such an uproar. And included a boost and High Elf in every pack. That would have been a fair deal, methinks. Instead… this mess. I suppose they will learn, but since this is probably the only true expansion they will ever get to do as Standing Stone, any future content will be most likely only quest packs… they gotta go for the gusto I guess?

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Stormwaltz

I think $130 for a package with zero material goods is ridiculous. (Although I also think it’s ridiculous to pay for a package with a doorstop character statue…)

On the other hand, as a lifetime subber, I haven’t needed to give Standing Stone so much as a cent since they took over the game. So I bought it, and I’m regarding that as paying back people who deserve to remain employed for the free entertainment I’ve had.

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Megalus Doomslayer

You know SSG is the same people, right? A rose by any other name is still a rose.

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Stormwaltz

Same people, different company cutting the checks. I’m glad they’re out from under WB, but that also means no money hose.

They’re still doing work, I’m still playing… they should still get paid.

Reader

If I buy the expansion, does it include the past ones? I haven’t played since the original game.

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Megalus Doomslayer

XD You’ll be paying out your butt if you don’t wait for discounts on the bundles. Only buy the expansion bundle (you can wait until it goes on sale again sometime). Then, wait for ingame sales on other important pieces of content (like the older quest packs that go on sale from time to time). Don’t spend money you don’t have to. LotRO has lots of stuff you can blow money on for no good reason. Always be hesitant with each purchase. They will rip you off for as much as they can get away with.

Always research each purchase that isn’t a straight-up simple item (like a mount or cosmetic). Every “service” or region you buy can easily be unclear about what exactly comes with it. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up buying something twice because you bought it before buying the expansion or quest pack that it’s bundled with. If you buy warden or runekeeper before or even during your purchase of Moria (which includes both of those classes as part of the expansion), you’re probably going to be given the middle finger when you ask for a refund. If you want, you can ignore all of the expansions except for Helm’s Deep. Helm’s Deep’s epic storyline quests are part of the expansion purchase because they include the Epic Battle system. If you have no interest in buying the expansion bundle that gives the other expansions, then you’ll miss out on the runekeeper and warden class as well as light armor and heavy armor variants for warsteeds, but if you don’t want those, you can just do the epic storyline and grind instances on the side. You’ll still be able to make your way to Mordor, but you won’t have all of the extra quests and other content that comes with the expansions. It’s entirely possible to just pay a monthly subscription and still quest from level 1 to 105 and start Mordor. You would only have access to the quest pack quests and not the expansion quests, but the quest pack quests cover all of the levels anyway. If you just want to binge on the Epic Story and do absolutely nothing else in the game, then you don’t need to buy anything.

However, there are somethings that you will need to pay LotRO points in order to unlock on your character. Unless you plan on doing endgame content, there’s no need to worry about buying any of those unlocks. If you plan on playing the endgame (even casually), you will want to either be a subscriber for at least a month while playing the characters you plan on sticking with or you will need to pay a heavy price to unlock all the little things that are gated behind a paywall. Trust me, somethings just aren’t worth paying for piecemeal.

The golden rule of the LotRO store is ‘look before you buy’.

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Dividion

As lordkrall said, nope. You can get a bundle with the first 4 expansions for $40. And Helm’s Deep was still $40 last I looked.
I don’t think any of the Gondor stuff is included with Helm’s Deep, so you’ll probably need to grab those quest packs separately or play them for free while subscribed.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

Nope, only the latest one.

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birini

I remember the debates a few years ago about whether the folks that bought Daybreak were interested in making a strong business or simply sucking as much money as they could from gamers. The question has pretty much been answered. I’m glad I stopped playing years ago because this would make me crazy.

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gary thrasher

Unfortunately, I don’t think Daybreak really has much of a say in the pricing. They are so unrespected at this point after basically killing all the EQ fans’ dreams for a future… and now they are blowing the H1Z1 (or whatever it’s called) franchise thing too it seems… Sony did a better job than they did, and that’s saying something. And now they are getting guilt by association with Lotro and DDO fans. Standing Stone would have been better off doing it 100% through Steam themselves.

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draugris

Ok i have to plead guilty. I preordered the ultimate fan package even though i own a lifetime subscription since the release of the game. While i know that it might not be the smartest move i always do that, every LOTRO expansion i ordered the most expensive one. Not because it gives me the most value,to be honest i don´t care that much for the things i get, i do it because i love LOTRO to the bottom of my heart and want to support the development as much as i can. LOTRO was my first mmo and like the first love it will always have a special place.

So i have the 30 day gametime code left, i don´t know if you guys from MOP want to have it as a giveaway or something, i can send it to you.

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gary thrasher

More power to you if you have the money. I wish I still was able to hold down a job and be a productive member of society but those days are unfortunately long gone now. My disabilities have gotten the best of me and so I scrape by and get my escape where I can. So now I get to find some way to scrape money together for the cheapest pack, or maybe even just grind out TP for it. Which seems like a better idea since I’m nowhere near 105 anyway.

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draugris

Just to make sure you don´t misunderstand what i wrote. I don´t wanted to say that that the pricing or the content of the packages is justified. I can totally understand the rage of the people and maybe or hopefully SSG will do something about that. It is just my way of supporting the game, nothing more.

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Denice J. Cook

Outrageous expansion prices and poor expansion upgrade content choices…Daybreak at its finest! Columbus Nova must lean awfully hard on the whips and chains method of inspiration to get things done over there.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“Others have asked for a delay because of needing that time to save up some money for the expansion.”

Sad but true haha… People need time to save the money to buy the pack they want, if you drop it too soon that doesn’t happen.

There are a lot of people who get money monthly as well, so delaying it to go past at least one first of the month is a good idea.

They’ll sell far more packs if they delay it so that a number of people can save the money to buy it. Too many of us have a gaming budget we blow through and we need to stick to, announcing and selling the packs right off and for only a few weeks is a bad idea. I mean it’s not just for the players wanting to save up, but it costs the company a lot of sales they would have otherwise got. I see it as a really poor business decision.

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Humble DG

People can’t ask a company to wait to release something because they don’t have the money for it. That makes no sense. If someone is using that excuse, they need to get a new one.

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Mike Ryan

The packs aren’t going away after the expansion launch. If you need to save up, save up.

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Megalus Doomslayer

The level boost will be dropped from the offers on the day of the release.

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Mike Ryan

Not sure where you got that from. It’s not in the FAQ, and it’s not in any post in the dev tracker.

What has been said is that when the expansion is available in the store, it will be only the bare expansion. This was said on the Thursday live stream.

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Droniac

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they initially allude to the High Elf race simply being included in Mordor? Selling it only as part of a “special edition” seems like a desperate attempt to make more money. It’s not like they didn’t know this would cause a shitstorm. After all, the Elder Scrolls Online did the same with the Imperial race and no one was upset about that… nope… no one at all… and that was less of a price hike than this…

Has there even been any confirmation on engine improvements? With Gondor their designers had clearly given up on working within the limitations of the engine. What guarantee do we even have that they’ll actually produce properly playable content this time? Paying that much for a non-stop crash hell unless you set everything to low-medium, because the environments are too detailed for the engine’s shoddy memory management to be able to cope? What’s the point of purchasing High Elf Edition if you have to set the game’s graphics to prehistoric mode in order to be able to ride mounted for longer than a minute, leaving the only visible distinction between a High Elf and a regular Elf some set of arbitrary traits in a menu somewhere!? No thanks.

Sean McCoy
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Sean McCoy

It seems like you kind of answered your own questions. If you aren’t interested in what’s included in the $80 package you can simply pay the $50 and buy the new race for $10. Or, if you don’t care about elves, you can just pay the $40 and be happy with your expansion.

I don’t see it being a huge problem.

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Crowe

I think part of the “rub” of that is that a lot of folks were planning out/putting together groups to play together with High Elf themes. And since SSG isn’t going to be putting the Mordor expansion or High Elves into the store right away, this throws those plans into disarray. Instead, players who choose not to bow down and shell out will have to wait until sometime in the winter to make their HE.

Estranged
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Estranged

This game doesn’t require a sub. This is their income.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

That is to be fair only partially true.

There is a sub and in order to actually access much of the content of the game you do need to either sub or buy things piece by piece (which to be fair is possible for free by spending months grinding deeds for the points)

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Castagere Shaikura

I can’t stand when people try to push the f2p myth of this game. Its total BS. Its f2p up till lvl 20 or 30 then you either sub. or buy quest packs. And it takes you forever to grind out enough tokens to pay for those quest packs. So most people either pay the sub.buy the tokens with real money or quit the game. That f2p model is a joke. I really hate games with subs. that add a restrictive f2p model then promote the game as f2p.

Estranged
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Estranged

lordkrall – just looked at their website.

Seems like a person could spend 39.99 on one bundle, for the first four expansions.

Expansion 5 is another 39.99.

Expansion 6, the one in question is 39.99.

So, that is like $120 for 10+ years of content and no sub required.

Also, like you said, could grind out some of it.

I’m not seeing how their pricing structure is unfair. Would take it versus SWTOR any day. WoW charges a sub + expansions. Seems like a good value.

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Belechannas the Befuddling

WoW also gives you a vast amount of high-quality, well-tested end-game content supported by professionally designed and continuously maintained systems. Good luck finding any of that in LotRO.

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MesaSage

That’s not entirely accurate. If you don’t VIP (sub), then you don’t get any quests outside of the three starter regions. You can only play the Epic for free. So, if you want to actually play beyond Bree, and up until Moria, you need to sub for that time period, or until you accumulate enough Lotro Points to buy those regions. There are also some extreme convenience features missing in FTP, like fast travel.

Sean McCoy
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Sean McCoy

That’s what actually made me quit the game when it went F2P. It was always a side-MMO for me, so I played it very casually. I had purchased and subbed from launch and even bought Moria (despite not being high enough to go there).

When it went F2P I assumed that by owning the original game and Moria I’d have all of that content still unlocked, only to find that the zone I was halfway through was now locked to me until I paid for it. For some reason that just rubbed me the wrong way. With every expansion, if you buy the expansion you get all of the content unlocked for it, but not for the base game.

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Castagere Shaikura

I bought all but the last two expansions thinking they would unlock early lvling zones. My character was not high enough lvl to quest in the expansion zones. This pissed me off to no end. To go in a lvl 30+ zone and see every npc with a buy quest pack icon over their head. This is the only mmo that pulls this crap.

Estranged
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Estranged

Mesa – Think I would just hoof it, buy the expansions as I needed them and have a good value.

They also actually upgrade your account, once you buy something. I know, money.

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MesaSage

Since it’s my main game, I’m pretty familiar with the money side of it. Even if you are upgraded from FTP to Premium, you still don’t unlock VIP features on newly created characters (auction slots, gold cap, riding skill, fast travel, char slots, traits, 6th bag, xp bonus, crafting guild, +others). If you start a new character after you drop sub, that character doesn’t get them unless you re-sub. Granted, some of these features can be unlocked with LP if you want to spend it that way. Fast travel cannot be unlocked without VIP.

I wasn’t talking about expansions. Expansions are different from regions. Each region, such as North Downs, Evendim, Trollshaws, Misty Mountains, etc, etc. are part of the main game/VIP package and must be purchased once you quit subbing, regardless of how long you had a VIP. Only open deeds and quests can be completed, but not started. These quests and deeds are unlocked once you re-buy them.

Probably more info than you wanted to know, but Turbine/SSG always made it more confusing than it has to be. I only respond because you said it doesn’t require a sub, but the reality is, to fully play and enjoy the game you really do need to sub.

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Michael18

@Mesa: it’s not as bad as you make it sound. If you create all your alts during this 1 month of sub that you mentioned and buy the quest packs / expansions from the shop (there are sales from time to time and the old expansions aren’t expensive anymore), then LOTRO can be played very well as a buy-2-play game without sub.

This is what I’m doing and I did not spend any LP during all Gondor content except for the quest packs.

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MesaSage

The scenario I gave is pretty typical, I think. Since the ins and outs of the monetization model is difficult to grok when you first join, unless you get good advice, many don’t think to max out alts before unsubbing.

I’ve started new characters during times when I’m not subbing (due to faulty memory, I guess) and I end up having to resub if I want to play that character very far. Luckily, Helm’s Deep is pretty much full stop for my characters, so I don’t worry if they don’t have every region or every convenience these days.

In the end, I think for a lot of people it’s simpler just to pay the sub then to try and figure out what you need to buy with LP. SSG has no incentive to make it any easier.

Estranged
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Kickstarter Donor
Estranged

Mesa – OK. That is far more complicated than advertised!

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Sleepy

Not including the new race in the base version of the xpac is a bloody stupid move. You can eat my 14k LP come winter with that attitude!

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Humble DG

I agree. The new race should just be given to anyone that gets the expansion, no matter which edition. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

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Utakata

Oh…what that splashing sound I heard? I think it was the sound of LoTRO’s business model jumping the shark. o.O

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Jeremiah Ratican

So I just started playing Lotro but reading things like this makes me wonder if it is worth the investment. I mean at this point I haven’t bought any of the expansions as I am not high enough level yet but I feel like I am really wondering if it is worth all the money.

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Koshelkin

Mordor is an exception and Lotro has a lot of value to offer. I wouldn’t worry about it right now as the prices will be in line later on. It’s just the preorder which is a bit on the egregious side.

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Melissa McDonald

You can have a lot of fun for free. Keep going a while and see. The game is deep and complex enough to play for literally years.

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Humble DG

Years…literally. That’s how long it takes to level to 100. :)

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Baldigar Stumblefoot

I saw a reasonable, moderate suggestion on the forums that the High Elf could be available immediately on the store for people who either (1) are current VIPs, or (2) spent at least $40 on LP within the past, say, 12 months, or (3) have the Mordor Expansion. Then, after several months, for people who didn’t fit any of those (or buy a Mordor pack that included High Elf), they could buy the race for LP.

This would give a real-money access gate, so SSG can still limit the race to people who are spending money on the game for a while, without gating it behind a pack that’s $40 more expensive potentially just for a race worth ~$10.

I’d prefer High Elf be included in the base edition, but I’d be okay if they did this as well.

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GumpsGang

On a positive note …. HOLY HOBBIT POOP GANDALF … it’s almost here

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Gooty

I’ve seen a lot of opinions about the prices. To me, yes, they are somewhat high. But not overly so. My main issue lies with the bonuses for the $80 and $130 packs, as well as having to wait until winter to purchase the High Elf race with LP. Why make us wait for winter? I don’t see the point besides possibly getting people to shell out $80 instead of $40 so they can have the luxury of playing the new race at launch. I’m okay with waiting to purchase the race separately after launch, as it is mostly cosmetic… but having to wait until winter is a little much. Why not a month after or something like that.
That way those who paid extra can play the race, but the rest of us won’t be so bitter (for lack of a better word).
As for the bonuses in the packages, we don’t know the exact details of a lot of those items. Is the extra exp boost for all characters a pocket item, for example?
Also, I’d have suggested LP instead of VIP time for the $130 pack, or at least a way to convert it into LP if you have a lifetime membership.

Lastly, however, I’ve seen some people complain about the character boosts in these pre-orders saying it’s a seemingly expensive item being used to “justify the prices they’ve picked” for each the editions.
My only comments against that are to point out firstly, is that all the pre-order editions contain this boost. Second, is that $40 is not an unreasonable price for a pre-order. You could argue that the boost should have been for the $80+ editions, and be switched so that the standard edition contains the High Elf race instead. I’d have loved that idea. I think SSG was trying to accomplish a few things with providing the boost instead though… Sending new players to the new expansion (if they are new and don’t have a max character yet, what better way to get them to spend money on the item you want them to buy?), and for returning players who would like to catch up to current content.
Wow I wrote too much.

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GumpsGang

I’m with you. I like your thought out post. The $80 bundle is missing the mark. The $40 is cool and I don’t personally have any issues with the $130. It would be better, as you stated, to have the High Elf available in the LOTRO store for LP right away. The LP idea instead of VIP for lifers is a good though as well. I’m still overall happy with LOTRO and SSG. Just need some fine-tuning.

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orgosan

Well pat yourselves on the back! LOTRO is basically unplayable as this point. The toxicity of the WC on almost every server is incredible at this time. Everyone in general is put off by the whiny entitlement being flung around.

I had this naive outlook that LOTRO was a tight community and that probably its most die-hard fans that bought out the game from Turbine in order to run it were part of that community. Everyone was so energized with the SSG announcement but are so willing to throw them under the bus over chump change now.

It’s really clear that LOTRO is in its winter and won’t recover from this.

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MesaSage

First thing I do on every new character on any server is turn OFF WC or TRADE or LFF. They’ve all become nothing more than a nuisance.

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Koshelkin

Lotro surely isn’t in it’s winter. With Mordor coming there are surely going to be some hot autumn days. Despite the current controversy we’re about to experience *the* expansion. It could be winter after Mordor, depending on the direction SSG is going to take.

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GumpsGang

Don’t worry … it’s not really that back within to bulk of the community. LOTRO has a very passionate player base who care very much about the game. That’s why all the fuss.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Lotro community was considered about the best in the industry … right up until it went free to play.

Leontes
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Leontes

Yeah, that was about the point I jumped the ship. I cannot help myself, I’ll take sub over every other model anytime.

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Sashaa

LOTRO is the only game I ever bought a lifetime membership from, and if my better days in it stand far away now, I will definitely follow it until the end.

However, when I got a look at the packages, I was left speechless. I can’t even see myself pre-ordering Mordor now. Guess I’ll need a few days to stomach it.

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Koshelkin

It’s strange to love a game but to experience how the developers actively try to stop you to spend any money, isn’t it.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

“and Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind — which is no stranger to parceling and selling DLC — included the Warden as part of the expansion”

Hmm, guess you forgot about the Imperial race when the game launched. This is just more of the same. People will cry about it yet will still buy into it which is why nothing will change.

“What? I have to buy the new race? … Wooo! A new mount for $30 *purchase*!”

cambruin
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cambruin

I understand em though. Premium housing, class rebalance, PvMP revamp, Mounted Combat, Turbine turning into SSG, … Everything they did was dubious at best. Not a single ‘hit’. They somehow never succeeded in getting it right without getting a whole lot of other things wrong.

So now their story is pretty much reaching it’s conclusion. Their tale about to end. Not a whole lot to look forward to anymore. So come on, let’s just go for it. All or nothing. All in. They’re like that guy who just lost 100€ at poker tonight, it’s 4am, he’s tired and has like 5€ left. So let’s go crazy. He’s got nothing. Nothing at all. So he bluffs. His final stand.
This is Turbine’s last stand. They got nothing, but they’re willing to risk it all. So to hell with it. All or nothing. Alea iacta est.

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GumpsGang

Justin, we need to break up. It’s not you, it’s me. We just are too different. I love LOTRO and feel its a great game. It’s cool not to like something, but our approach is different. I like to look at pros and cons of a thing; however, it seems (once again) you like to take a more negative attack based approach. I’m not saying your way is wrong, it’s just different and I’m not right for you.

On to my feelings on the x-pack bundles. Full disclosure, I’m a big LOTRO fan and SSG could have offered up Hobbit poop in a box as a tier reward and I would likely have bought it.

When did an MMO asking for $40 for what looks to be a pretty good x-pack become controversial? This time, they are even adding a free level boost item (a lot of us have alts). The price is in-line with past x-packs, $30 to $50 depending on the size of the pack.

The next level is a bit higher than previous. Usually, it’s about $20 more and offered up extra mount/cosmetics. I guess the extra $20 is for the High Elf. This level does seem a bit off on price point. I’m going to make a completely uneducated guess and say this will be the least purchased pack.

Now for the $130 bundle. I thought I remember members of the LOTRO community wanting a higher tier bundle to show their support of the game (and get extra goodies). Let’s keep in mind, the average age of the player-base in LOTRO seems to tend to be mostly full grown adults. I don’t understand negative feeling toward offering this for those who want it. And yup, of course, I’m one the fools who bought it day one. My magical goat, Bob, made me do it. Bob, I hope you have fireproof hooves.

Some housekeeping, I’m not sure I would consider someone buying a $130 x-pack a “Whale.” Especially for something this historic for LOTRO fans. We live in a time with people buy $1000+ imaginary spaceships in an unreleased game. FFXIV fans, I don’t remember you getting attacked for deluxe x-pack bundles. Maybe I just missed that article.

A point of agreement with Mr. Olivetti. (I know, shocker!) The High Elf should be made more accessible. It’s only going to be 1000 LP, would have been better to have it available to LOTRO Store purchase at the launch of Mordor.

As to, “Very few players seem satisfied with the pricing here, and it’s not just people being cheap.” We must run in very different LOTRO circles. Yes, the forums (aka The Dead Marshes) has the usual suspects out when ever the studio asks for money to buy an x-pack at launch. Some old gripping by my biased standard. I do note, the defenders of the Free Folk are also braving the swamp to come to SSGs defense. As for as for in-game, people I chat with seem excited and happy.

As I stated before, Justin, we think differently. Your criticism is all valid, some I agree with, a lot I don’t. I would have balanced more positive with the negative off the top. Oh crap … the title is click-bait … and I fell for it. Damn you, Justin!

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GhostInTheShell

You have a very subjectiv view about nowadays MMO’s reality. It’s ok to be a fan of a game, but loosing mind because of excitement seems to me … well … a kind of loosing connection to the reality.
Just take a look at two things:
1) what is the state of the game and what is the state of the expansion?
2) how fit the new expansion/price with other games?

Ad 1): if you play the game (LOTRO), you are (at least you should be) aware of alle the problems: lags, rubberbanding, client crashes, broken/bugged classes, nothing like a class balance and so on. And now you should play a littel bit the “beta”. Actually, last time it was horrible. I not even tray to count how many things were unusable broken. And now SSG said “we will bring it out on the 31th July” …. woooow! No way! Not on this earth and not in this life. Maybe they can release it – as they already suggest this – at the end of Augus. That is much more realistic.
So we have altogether: an unrealistic release date, not adressed problems in the game and you (and other too), who paid for it already. Oh well, why not, burn money in the public is after all forbidden.

Ad 2) There were a lot of comparisons to other games and they have a point. The basic edition is ok. But the other two editions are undoubtedly overpriced. Not in the sence of “what amount of man power was invested here” but in the sense “what do i really get for my money”.
Just another comparsion for a totaly new player:
GW2 current price for Ultimate Edition: 80€ (inkl. 4K ingame shop curreny, upgrade to max level, 1 additional character slot, fluff) and that is the whole game, all content, all quests, all instances, all classes, all races.
What do this new player get from SSG for 115€:
All landscape is free (f2p), the epic story is free (f2p), quests mostly only for the old SoA part of the game, only a few instances, one additional race, one additional character slot (as f2p you have only 3), fluff.
Not the whole game, not all classes/races, not all quests, not all intances, not all the content, no ingame currency, no max level upgrade.

members of the LOTRO community wanting a higher tier bundle

Yes, maybe for a highertier bundle, but for sure not for an overpriced one. I rather
feel that people are buying a pig in a poke.

And for players like me the ultimate bundle offers even less: i have enough max level alts. i will not level up any other. Say: i have no use of that “free level boost item for an alt” (actually it’s max level is 105, but you know that, don’t you?). The the high elf race at it current state is a bad joke.

You can spend you money as you like, buy the biggest, coolest, funniest thing you can find, but plese do not tell me that this has to be right for me too just because ” We live in a time with people buy $1000+ imaginary spaceships in an unreleased game”. Just becaus lemmings jump from a cliff, there is no reason for me (or for you) to do the same.

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GumpsGang

That just how I feel. I’m just a bit tired of overly negative tones and being told I’m wrong for being OK with SSG. Even with the $80 price-point blunder and High Elf store release date issue.

And yes, I did criticize Justin (with humor I hope). But he is fair game since it a professionally blogged piece to a following.

In general, I do support “Thou Shalt Not Troll” people just for their feels on an issue.

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GhostInTheShell

For me it is not about feelings. It is about money. I was very similay to you with the RoR Expac. After that desaster, they are no feeings, just facts.
I sympathized with SSG and had that – now clearyl – unrealitic hop, they would do it right. But now: i’m reflecting on the past and thinking, maybe it wasn’t WB or ther overhead at Trubine who made all that mistakes, because i see those mistakes repeated now from SSG. The feelings have passed and now speaks the money and it speaks with a dry but very clear language.
ps: what do you think where this “overly negative tones” comes from? (the reason?)

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GumpsGang

That makes sense. I think it’s the $80 bundle and the high elf delayed release date (in store) that are the core of most of this. Outside of forums which tend to get the negative feedback, I’m not seeing the negative feels reflected with the groups I know in-game (Except that the $80 pack is a “nope”). The secret is, I agree is most of the article in it’s core. Just not the negative to positive approach. FeelsBadMan

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Greaterdivinity

When did an MMO asking for $40 for what looks to be a pretty good x-pack become controversial?

If you read the article, it’s not. The only part that’s controversial about that is that the $40 package doesn’t come with the new race. EQ2 faced similar criticism a while back when they introduced a new race in an expansion (Aerakyn) that weren’t included in the basic bundle for the expansion.

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Belechannas the Befuddling

Pretty good? Have you played on Bullroarer?

Releasing this hot mess in two weeks’ time is more outrageous to me than the absurdly-inflated pricing.

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GumpsGang

I get it. I’ve been spending time in The Dead Marshes (LOTRO forum). I would have been nice, but my suggestion for SSG would be to put High Elf in the LOTRO Store at x-pack launch (1000 LP).

They are already giving out a level boost item and many of us have alts that can use the boost. Note the LP cost of a Blessing of the Valar was last 2,995 LP in the LOTRO store.

lordkrall
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lordkrall

And yet there are some of us that will never actually use said boost, but would love to be able to play as a High Elf at the release of the expansion without double the price.
What they could do would be to make the standard edition have a choice (one of these three):
A: High Elf
B: Level Boost
C: 1000 TP

That would solve a vast majority of the complaints people have.

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Koshelkin

https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/436382/final-fantasy-xiv-stormblood-collector-s-edition-ps4

A statue(and considering their PlayArts Kai line they *do* make professional figures), an artbook, a cloth map, a rather presentable box plus the digital extra. All in all something I wouldn’t buy either(I really don’t like figures/statues) but something I do find acceptable for the price tag.

https://store.na.square-enix.com/product/436606/final-fantasy-xiv-stormblood-collector-s-edition-pc-download

Just the digital items: 60$, includes x-pac, 2 new jobs. Mordor mid-tier: 80$

I do not like FFXIV at all but they do offer their customers better deals than SSG, sure as sure.

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Moolarurka .

Personally I think High Elves should have been part of the standard bundle but to be honest it makes zero difference to me . It is just another kind of Elf after all .

I have nearly 20 thousand turbine points and I am not sure if I could be bothered to buy one .

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Dug From The Earth

sheesh, these super old, mediocre games running on auto-pilot mode, trying to sell expansions at the same price point as modern, new, or AAA games… is just ridiculous.

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Melissa McDonald

I hear you, but this is a unique situation. This is Middle Earth, and this is Mordor. It’s not Sword of Smackery Online and the Blood Brood Expansion.

I heard someone say it best once when a person complained about “canon” in their chosen fantasy series:

“C’mon this isn’t the Bible. It isn’t even Tolkien.”

So, yes, I think this is a special case.

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Michael18

When looking at the fate of many other MMOs that have been shut down (CoH,SWG) or completely changed to appeal to a different audience (SWTOR, WoW) then I am just grateful that LOTRO is not only alive but is still being expanded in a style that is true to what made this game great from the beginning, at least for me (story focus, questing, good writing, world building, and so on).

I agree, the $80 and $130 packs are a bit pricey for what they offer, but if it’s true what Mike Ryan pointed out below, both these packages are entirely optional and you can get everything with $40 + 1k TP.

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teppic

I posted a thread on the subject here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MMORPG/comments/6n1esd/lotros_insane_pricing_for_mordor/

It’s very clear most people think this is a ridiculous ill thought out decision at best, a total cynical cash grab at worst.

The high elf has been heavily hyped as a big feature of the expansion. It’s even listed on the page detailing the expansion. Yet they’re trying to say it’s not a core part of the expansion (despite it being locked entirely behind the $80+ package).

If you compare the Moria special edition, it cost around $65, included two months sub, soundtrack CD, physical map and in game goodies. The cheaper base edition did of course include the two new classes from the expansion. The $80 Mordor edition however doesn’t include any sub time, no currency, and seems to exist just to extract as much money as they can from people who want to play the new race.

I’ve cancelled my sub over the whole thing. I won’t be buying the expansion. I’ve always supported the game but will not support stuff like this.

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Robert Mann

This is pretty much all special editions out there, the value is rarely there.

The FAQ includes the LP prices, so those who are willing to wait (until winter update, which many players joke will be in spring of 2018) can buy them with LP, costs are ~2500 for Mordor, and ~1k for the High Elves.

*More accurately, maybe, high elves soon post release, and Mordor ‘a few months’ down the road for LP.*

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Mike Ryan

Justin, you are incorrect about High Elves. You do not “need to drop at least $80 to play this racial variation.” During the livestream yesterday, Thursday, Cordovan stated “[High Elf] will also be available for about a thousand Tur…LotRO Points, similar to other races and classes. That’ll be available, you know, in the LotRO Store shortly after release. The base expansion will be available in the LotRO Store, you know, a few months after, as well.”

Yes, the FAQ on the site reads that way, but the statement I quote above makes it clear that people are not being required to pay $80 for the High Elf race.

Source: https://youtu.be/tHz7CleIdPA at approximately 16:20.

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Baldigar Stumblefoot

You missed something:
At Mordor’s launch, if you want to play a High Elf, you’re going to need to drop at least $80 to play this racial variation.”
Justin knew that it would be available for LP later on, he was simply saying that you need to spend $80 to get it at launch, if you want to play it then, because it won’t be available for LP directly after launch.

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starbuck1771

$20 for the points , $40 for the base expansion, another $20 for the character slot. So you might as well say Justin is right regardless you are actually on the hook for at least $80 dollars.

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Mike Ryan

Not sure where you got those two $20 come from. High Elf is 1000 LP and a character slot is 595 LP.

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starbuck1771

Ok try to buy High Elves for 1000 TP on July 31st or in August. Oh that’s right you can’t until sometime in the winter. So in the end the $80 still stands regardless.

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Dividion

Except according to the FAQ it’ll be a lot cheaper than $80: https://lotro.com/en/u21-FAQ
Mordor Expansion: 2495 points
High Elf Race: 1000 points
Character slot: 595 points (only if necessary)
Total that’s 4090 points, so just over $40 (unless you buy a really large bundle and then it’s cheaper)
You can get 5000 points for $50: http://store.turbine.com/store/turbine/en_US/pd/ThemeID.28979900/productID.233138300/categoryID.58726100/parentCategoryID.58516200

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starbuck1771

In the winter so there is still a long wait til you can buy it for TP.

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Dividion

Not that long. If you’ve waited over 10 years for Mordor like some of us who have been with the game since closed beta, then a few more months aren’t going to kill you.
The only people that this really affects immediately are those who want to start a new High Elf character. And those that roll a new High Elf either:
a) intend to go through 105 levels worth of content, so it’ll be some time (and expense) before they get to Mordor anyway, or
b) want to skip immediately to Mordor with an auto-leveled 105 character, and if they pick a class they haven’t used before will probably have a terrible time of it

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starbuck1771

Not the real Mordor though because the end the LOTR story before you even get there. gutting the storyline for those who liked it. Most of us enjoyed working along side the fellowship and that is officially over now.

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Michael18

Interesting! Thanks for the link. If it’s true that High Elf will be available at launch (or very shortly thereafter) for T..err..LP then the one major issue about the packages I could somewhat understand would be resolved.

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Vincent Clark

It’s not available at launch for LP, they never said it was available at launch for LP. Cordovan combined “shortly after” and a “few months as well” when he talked about the High Elf and Expac being available for purchase using LP. Clarification is needed and they’ve done a horrendous job (as Justin has pointed out) rolling this information out.

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Michael18

I’d say (hope?) “as well” refers only to the fact of being available for TLP, not the time frame. But I agree SSG should clarify this ASAP.

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BalsBigBrother

And what’s worse here is that the future cost of the High Elves in the LOTRO store — 1,000 LP — indicates that the race is only worth $10 in the eyes of the studio. So why are we paying $80 for it now if we don’t care about extra character slots and mounts?

Um Justin acknowledges that you can pay for High Elves later. The point being that he doesn’t think that the pack that allows you to get them at launch of Mordor is giving good value for money nor that it is good business to exclude them from the basic package.

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Mike Ryan

“At Mordor’s launch, if you want to play a High Elf, you’re going to need to drop at least $80 to play this racial variation.”

I’ll grant that he may not have taken the time to watch and listen to SSG’s office LotRO livestream and therefore didn’t get the clarification. But I guess it’s only the people “rushing to defend SSG” who are bothering to properly research their responses and actions.

Is High Elf worth $40? No. Worth $10? Sure, that’s in line. But let’s avoid hyperbole and not ignore the fact that the Collector’s Edition has more than just the High Elf race. If you don’t think the higher packages are worth it, then don’t buy them. Buy the base edition and spend 1000 LP on the race.

To be honest, the reaction that I’ve been seeing to the High Elf is luke warm. I guarantee you that if they included the High Elf in the base expansion, the same exact people who are bitching about the AoV would be bitching about the High Elf being included.

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Vincent Clark

Like so many rushing to defend SSG, you are missing the point. You won’t be able to use LP to buy the High Elf race until months from the expansion launch. It’s bad business. Everything Justin wrote is correct.

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Mike Ryan

No, you didn’t read or listen to the stream referenced. SHORTLY after release, compared to the FEW MONTHS of the expansion.

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Vincent Clark

They need to specify, because Cordovan lumped them into the same category, “as well”…shortly, few months…either way, it’s still a crap move from SSG. The logic behind their decision also makes no sense: “It’s not in the standard bundle because of lack of interest” Then why the hell did they waste the resources to create a race that no one wants? This game has far more pressing concerns than a half-baked, rushed “new race” It’s indefensible.

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Melissa McDonald

i’d call it doublespeak really. They know there is interest, they just aren’t willing to change a poor decision (yet).

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Melissa McDonald

Treebeard: “There is no curse in elvish, entish or the tongues of men for this treachery.”

But at least using an Elvish online translator (which is crude and not so great),
“Shame bo cin, Standing sarn plural serni Games, an keeping mín Quenya bretheren ed- -o i game mín mel so dearlui, ú- paying eightui dollars an ha. ú- nice, ú- honourable, ú- cool. ”

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Paragon Lost

Overall I was fine buying the Fan Edition because I want to help support SSG as a new gaming company. That said I think that locking the the High Elf race onto the two upper tiers was a bad move. Oh and sure I’d love to have more stuff in my Fan Edition, so I’ll agree though I don’t have any issues that I am not getting more.

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Alex Willis

I wonder who they feel their audience is. Or who works in their product marketing division. Did they replace the usual directors with several raccoons hidden under a trenchcoat? Like, maybe it’s all a hilarious and potentially adorable misunderstanding?

AUDIENCE: This is outrageous!
SS MARKETING DIRECTOR: *shuffling awkwardly at the midsection* It seemed reasonable to the three of us we mean the one human of us at the time.
AUDIENCE: Wait, is that actually three raccoons hidden under a trenchcoat?
SS MARKETING DIRECTOR: *tumbling over hilariously after trying to bend over to pick up some delicious trash, and spilling three raccoons onto the floor* Argh! Discovered!
AUDIENCE: *laughing uproariously* What amusing jackanapes!
THE REAL SS MARKETING DIRECTOR: *entering from a hidden door* And with the conclusion of that diverting interlude, behold the REAL prices of the expansion!
AUDIENCE: *cheers*

*roll credits*

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starbuck1771

They have stated they are targeting the whales. (AKA The Deep Pocket Player)

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Belechannas the Befuddling

Where have they stated this?

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Aywren

It’s been a while since LOTRO has been my main MMO. I remember buying the Legendary Edition of Isengard for the mounts and cosmetics and to support the game at the time. That was probably the last of the expansions I purchased with cash. Everything since has been Turbine Points (since I’m a Lifetimer).

At these prices, I’ll wait until December to get this one with points as well.

I was pretty surprised to see that the High Elves aren’t part of the standard expansion. I know they built up the new race and a lot of folks were interested in them… so I can understand the grief for paying double the cost of the expansion just for a race (which is usually something included in base expansions). Feels a bit bait-and-switch to me.

Hope they take a good look at things and consider beefing up the contents of all the packs.

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Targeter

At first I was like, “Well, if you can’t afford it then no worries, mates! Get the standard.” And then I was like, “Wait, the race they advertised for xpac *isn’t* included in the standard?!!” And then I just smoothed my mullet and went, “Well, ya’ll just SWTOR’d.”

Not including the race is pretty damn egregious. The other stuff doesn’t matter; get the standard or the deluxe or the legendary or the super double-secret probation edition if ya want. But leaving out a core piece of the expansion in the baseline *standard* edition? Damn.

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Shaun Shaungbr

Standing Stone/Daybreak Games belong to an investment company called Columbus Nova no surprise here that are going to milk everything they can.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus_Nova

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starbuck1771

Russian owned companies usually do. SSG isn’t owned by CN but DBG is. CN is owned by this man https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Vekselberg . I thought there were sanctions on Russian owned business.

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Reht

Standing Stone games does not belong to CN, it’s an independent studio. DBG just handles their global publishing.

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Lord Zorvan

Except if you look at DBG’s marketing/sales practices, particularly in EQ/EQ2, under CN’s umbrella, you’ll see a striking resemblance to SSG’s current practices under a DBG publishing agreement. You know why? Because publishers are the ones who routinely handle the marketing and sales for games they publish. It’s one of the standard expectations of being a publisher, along with providing the occasional boost of capital for development which comes out of the future sales.

But yeah, I’m sure it’s all coincidence.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

You’re going to have to say this about 1000 more times before the Daybreak haters get it.

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starbuck1771

I will say this if your paying DBG anything your actually paying Russia.

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A Dad Supreme

Idk.

Considering it’s LOTRO which isn’t exactly flush in cash and that they’ve now combined with DBG, it’s more of a ‘profitability’ concern than a ‘milking’ concern imo.

It’s not like the game has tons of money to support itself so it has to come from somewhere, in this case… expensive Elf packages.

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Reht

They have not combined with DBG, they entered into an agreement with DBG to handle their publishing. There is a huge difference.

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Jack Pipsam

Isn’t Standing Stone meant to be independent though? I know Daybreak is supposedly ‘publishing’ LotRO and DDO, but my understanding is that Standing Stone is still technically independent.

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Reht

Unless something has changed since Dec, 2016, you are correct.

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Jack Pipsam

I do feel like that the $80 tier is what the $40 pre-order should be.
$40 US or $51 AUD is a fair enough price for the expansion all things considered, that is an understandable price… if it came with the High Elves + Character Slot, without the High Elves it doesn’t feel like the complete package.
They’ve been advertising the High Elves as part of the expansion, so it should be included with the base set, to do otherwise feels almost malicious, like they know Tolkien fans are despite enough to fork over the extra hunk of cash for the privilege of accessing what should be in the base package.

I know SSG is a business and their goal is to make money, that’s fine, but it seems they’re scoffing at the idea of getting $40 and that shouldn’t be the position they’re in, they’re simply not acting in good faith.
LotRO is game infamous for poor performance and intense lag, it’s game which came out in 2007 when I was 10, this game is old and that’s not a bad thing in itself, WoW is older, but Blizzard is still able to charge the full price of expansion + sub because WoW works, it’s smooth as butter. LotRO by comparison is jank, I know they can’t do much about it, but the point is that they shouldn’t be screwing around their players like this when it wouldn’t take too much to get them back on thin ice if it all falls through, they don’t have Warner Brothers backing them anymore to keep them up and DDO isn’t exactly going to save the studio. They need LotRO, they need the players to be happy and satisfied, enough to keep playing and paying.
You can’t even buy it through Steam anymore which boggles my mind, why wouldn’t you sell the expansions through Steam? That’s a no brainier.

$40 is a fair price, they can have their extra super duper stuff editions all they like, but not including the High Elves is taking the piss, they’re acting out of a kind of greed which isn’t good business. People will sub if they can and love the game, they might even drop cash into the store, but to get there people need to be playing and enjoying the game, by not offering the full base expansion package all in one go they seem to be risking a lot for what is now an independent company. They should be more savvy about this.

Not to mention it adds a whole negative over the entire affair. This is MORDOR, the fact they made it to Mordor is incredible. This is an expansion, it was entirely possible LotRO was never going to get another expansion. An expansion, Mordor! A whole new era from a dedicated independent studio. This should be their moment in the spotlight, something to be proud of, a statement of their future, this should be exciting! But instead they decided to bring the entire thing down with a negative moment which screws a lot of their players over, it’s astounding they thought there should be no backlash, or they just don’t care.

They might find that those who would have given them $40, will now give them nothing.

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starbuck1771

Yes which is why they are catching hell on the LotRO forums. I guess during the last live stream about Mordor the SSG team said that High Elves were not part of the expansion and basically didn’t really know what they were talking about most of the stream when questions were asked. Marketing for LotRO has gone to crap over the past several years due to price gouging and unethical practices.

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Megalus Doomslayer

Jerry almost never knows what he’s talking about when questions are asked. He’s useless. He does nothing that the rest of the devs don’t already do. They should have never made him pull double duty with LotRO. They need someone who plays LotRO. The next time they hire a guy who does the podcast to end all podcasts for a certain game, they need to make sure they don’t force him to manage the community of other games as well. He’s a DDO player being forced to pretend to care about LotRO. That’s not what he signed up for. That’s not what he was hired for. That’s not what he is capable of doing.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Syp arguing for access to elves. Note this point in time.

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Bree Royce

Irony duly noted!

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BalsBigBrother

Agree with the entirety of this article, well said Justin and the ball is most certainly in SSG’s court.

Also props to Justin for putting aside his dislike of elves and making the case for their inclusion in all packages. Well done good sir /bows respectfully.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeesh, this sounds like a pretty thoroughly screwed up reveal/pricing scheme. I was hoping that separating from Turbine would allow SSG to really make these properties shine, but this…isn’t helping.

I have to wonder how much of this falls on DBG vs. SSG. My knee-jerk reaction is “BLAME DBG!” because of course it is given their nonsense lately. But I don’t want to be unfair, much of this (especially the bungled communications regarding release timing) is squarely on SSG.

As a non-player who’s always wanted to see the game succeed, this is pretty disappointing. Especially since the expansion was around the time I was planning to give it a serious go (that’s when the race model improvements are coming…right?) for once.

Just…ugh. It’s disappointing, but I guess not entirely surprising. It’s very much an aging game and SSG likely needs to generate some solid revenue out of this expansion given the recent business changes, so they’re squeezing it for everything they think they can get up-front.

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Jack Pipsam

Does Daybreak actually do anything with LotRO and DDO? Aside from their logo at the bottom of the website I am not sure they’re doing anything.
Not their severs, they’re not advertising it, I don’t think they’ve put any cash into it and there’s no indication of a retail copy.

Daybreak’s website doesn’t mention it anywhere and I don’t think they’ve ever acknowledged it on their social media pages either.

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starbuck1771

DBG is just the publisher for LotRO and DDO, just like Trion is for Archeage not the actual developers.

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Tobasco da Gama

The official Standing Stone FAQ states that Daybreak is providing “global publishing support”. SSG’s interview with Massively said, “our goal is to leverage Daybreak’s technology and scale when we feel it is best for the players”.

“Global publishing support” sounds a lot like “they’re handling the payment stuff outside the US”. And maybe a little bit “we use their servers to distribute the game files”.

I think people are reading WAY more into this relationship than there is.

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Jack Pipsam

It sounds to me like they’ve done nothing so far. It’s not like they’re going to be placing down new international servers and I highly doubt the account system will ever switch over, a part of me even doubts if Daybreak gets any kind of cut.

It seems more a placeholder relationship for possible future needs.

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Paragon Lost

I agree in general though I still wasn’t happy to have to agree to a Daybreak TOS when I first logged in after SSG broke from Turbine.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Yes, the whole “Daybreak is the new WB” assumption is, IMHO, wrong.

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MesaSage

I agree, the pricing and packages are tone deaf to reality. Seems like a cash squeeze by a company that doesn’t have long-term prospects.

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Koshelkin

Amen.

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A Dad Supreme

“At Mordor’s launch, if you want to play a High Elf, you’re going to need to drop at least $80 to play this racial variation. I’m nearly at a loss for words because what MMO does this? Seriously! “
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Ones that need money badly.

You mentioned WoW and FFXIV including races without the huge pricetag, that’s because both of those games are flush with paying subs each month. ESO also is backed by a company with huge pockets so they can afford to do the same even though it’s not a ‘sub only’ game.

You probably should compare it to a game more closer to it like EQ2. They added Aerakins and they charged a fee to play that race because they knew their base was too small to simply allow everyone to play it free given the age/lower popularity of the game in today’s market.

I’m not defending the selling of a race, but in the (slightly changed) words of Chris Rock: “I’m not saying I agree with the price, but I understand.”

You have to understand if you want to play a game like LOTRO that has Lifetime subs where people don’t have to spend a dime, one of the smallest MMO playerbases that’s ever shrinking and recently went under a corporate change to improve it’s bottom line, you’re going to have to pay.

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starbuck1771

Are you saying Warner Brothers doesn’t have huge pockets? As for using Life Time subs as an excuse that was their own fault. I didn’t go for the lifetime sub when first offered I went with the $10 an month sub founder deal.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I think it’s more appropriate to compare SSG LOTRO to Path of Exile than to any of the well-financed AAA games. SSG is probably more on a par with GGG. PoE supporter packs for its new expansion range from $30 to $480, with the typical multiplying goodies.

$60 gets you a cloak, a set of armor, two weapon effects, two social frames, a beta key, the game’s music and 250 points (worth $55). So $5 worth of goodies.

$100 gets you another version of all of the above and 950 points (worth $95). So $5 worth of goodies that are actually, in terms of in-game cash, worth a lot more.

It goes on adding additional cloaks, armor, weapon effects and social frames for each level through $480 real life money, but $160 you begin to get an equal amount of points. 1600, 2400, 4800 for the remaining packs, respective to their costs. If you’re willing to forego the hard stuff (t-shirt and art at the higher levels), you get more points.

GGG has survived and grown on its supporter packs since closed beta, when they frankly addressed the community and said they needed players’ support to continue developing the game and offered kiwis in thanks, the more you supported the better looking the kiwi. Thus were supporter packs born and thus have they maintained themselves. So, one approach, unchanged for the life of the game. Yes, it’s gotten more elaborate, but it’s still the same.

(Cosmetics are extremely important in PoE and pricey. Good weapon effects cost 280; back attachments around 300; and full armor sets 400 points. So the so-called fluff in the least of thse packs is worth close to $100.)

SSG doesn’t have the luxury of starting fresh. They have inherited a lifetime subscription model that demands support, but puts nothing back in the game, a substantial and lauded free to play model where players can earn enough in-game cash to buy nearly everything, and a VIP subscription model. They can reasonable change none of these. They really have very, very few options for getting more income.

I view the $130 price as a sort-of supporter pack. If you want to support the game, you buy that one. There’s nothing critical in there (unless you collect mounts, in which case, it’s a tough one to pass up). Everyone has said High Elves are nothing special, so again the $80 pack is giving support to the game. And if you are pressed, you can buy the race in winter for points, which if you are a lifetime or VIP, you will easily accrue by that time.

I do think not including points is a mistake. In comparison to GGG’s packs, SSG’s are paltry for the price. But as you say, Dad, I understand.

Whereas in the past, it was a no-brainer to buy the top level no matter how little I played, I really have to consider whether to give my gaming bucks to PoE or LOTRO. I wish I didn’t have to.

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Jack Pipsam

If anything then a game which has the most to lose should be doing the most to entice and please players, keep them around, keep them subbing.

WoW can let players come and go as they please because they have so many, but LotRO should be doing all they can to make sure their players feel the love, feel happy with the investment.

Is overcharging players up-front in the short term really the best solution when their long-term is the issue at hand?

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Paragon Lost

Is it overcharging though? $40.00 still gets you the expac and in a few months down the line you’ll also get access to High Elves. The Fan Edition is completely avoidable. I do agree though that they should have just given access to High Elves to everyone at launch. It was a bad PR move on their part.

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Jack Pipsam

Charging $80 for access to High Elves is ABSOLUTELY overcharging, I highly doubt people are paying the extra $40 simply for a title or an exclusive cloak.

SSG knows that hardcore Tolkien fans have been clamoring for High Elves for a long time, why do you think they’re delaying the launch of them till later for people who don’t fork over $80? It’s to try and get people to pay DOUBLE to gain access to what so clearly should be included in the base package. $40 is a reasonable price for an expansion, but that expansion includes High Elves as part of it in all the build-up and implication, including the pre-order page itself. It’s something which very simply should be in the base package, not double for the ‘privilege’ to play it on time of the expansion instead of an arbitrary delay to create a sort of emotional manipulation of hardcore fans. It’s a bit gross the way I look at it.

It’s more than just a bad PR move, it’s downright contempt.

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Paragon Lost

My comment was more about the expac in general, I don’t feel that $40.00 is overcharging. I feel it’s bad PR that they just didn’t include high elves for everyone at launch. I bought the Fan Edition to help support SSG since I consider it a new company who is having to deal with the past of Turbine.

That said, for my $142.01 minus a $29.99 discount that I just noted, I wouldn’t mind getting more. :) Anyhow I guess what I’m saying is I agree and don’t agree. The agree part is on the the High Elves not being included for everyone. Though you do know a few months down the line everyone will get access.

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Jack Pipsam

I don’t think $40 for an expansion is overcharging either, I never said that, but as the High Elves are been advertised as part of the expansion, it should be included as part of the $40 package. The base package of the expansion should just be the expansion and High Elves are part of the expansion, do you feel me?

I don’t have a problem with them having a more expensive tier full of digital tat, that’s optional and additional stuff, if people want to spend money on that, their choice, not an issue. But it becomes an issue when you cut out a chunk of the expansion and then charge double to gain access to it launch day.

I know that everyone can get access to them later down the line, but the fact you can’t buy them at day-one is clearly just a way to get people to pay double now instead of paying far less than that later ($13 isn’t it?). That’s super dodgy behaviour and SSG being independent doesn’t excuse them from this sort of thing, they’re acting no differently to what people hated in Turbine, which makes sense as they’re the same people.
SSG is acting right now in the kind of way people despise from major AAA publishers.

This wasn’t just a simple PR mistake, they surely knew what the reaction would be and if they didn’t, then they’re out of the loop so much they’re out of our orbit and drifting in space.

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A Dad Supreme

“Is overcharging players up-front in the short term really the best solution when their long-term is the issue at hand?”
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In most cases, yes.

Companies know there are many players who have played a MMO for many years for many hours a day. They know players have already spent hundreds or in some cases thousands of dollars to build a particular toon(s) up. They know they have housing, cars, and most importantly… other human friends they play with everyday.

Most companies bet on those ties keeping a player in a game even throughout some of the most egregious times of monetization and for the most part, they are right. Most players will hem/haw about a price, or a nerf or a conversion but they will stay. Most of them, not all. They don’t really care about those few that actually leave, I mean they would like them to stay but overall they’ve already factored in a certain amount of ‘loss’ when introducing a new product. Need proof? Look no further than the article above:

Justin: “Again, I’m excited to play Mordor no matter what, and at least $40 for the expansion isn’t out of this world for what we’re reportedly receiving.”

So again, is “overcharging players upfront in the short term really the best solution when their long term issue is at hand” the right way to go? For a game in LOTRO’s position.. yes it is.

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Eliandal

Agreed! I am more than willing to pay anything even remotely reasonable. I definitely WANT to see Mordor, and I would love to do it as a new race. At these prices, I unfortunately, will not be :(

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Yes, it is always want verses need when it comes to real money on games, especially if it means going without a real life item you actually do need. There’s no two-ways about it. At these prices, High Elves are a luxury item.

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Oleg Chebeneev

No high elves for poor peasants

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Eliandal

I am definitely NOT a “poor peasant”, in fact, I’m part of a demographic they should be trying to please (older – relatively, with plenty of discretionary income) Instead, I see this simply as a cash grab. I have no issues with the race being gated behind expansion purchase. I do have issue with the race being excluded from the base package. If this remains – no money at all from me :/

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