Standing Stone defends LOTRO lootbox plans

Pretty cheesed off over Lord of the Rings Online’s plans to stuff best-in-slot gear into lootboxes with the upcoming instance cluster? Don’t hold your breath waiting for Standing Stone Games to back down.

The studio posted a couple of responses to the furor over the decision, basically justifying the move and indicating that no changes would be made. Executive Producer Robert Ciccolini posted this yesterday:

Our goal is that you can earn — while playing the game — all statistical bonuses that you can get from lootboxes. In the case of the vendor rings, they will also have a chance to drop in the upcoming raid. That drop can also upgrade, so upgraded rings will be possible to obtain in game. We realize that having a short period where they are in the lootboxes before the raid is available is not ideal, but players will be able to get upgraded rings in game. If players find other statistical bonuses in lootboxes that cannot be duplicated in game they should definitely bring them here.

Edit: One point of clarification; there are upgraded items in the raid that are better than anything a player can get with a lootbox.

Responding to a player who asked why such loot should be included in LOTRO’s version of lockboxes, Ciccolini answered today, “So players that prefer the solo and small group end game can obtain loot, in addition to or instead of raiding. The lootboxes are an in-game system that rewards loot to people who participate in various end game activities. It also allows raiders to supplement their loot drops by doing some of the solo and end game content, so they don’t feel that there is no reason to revisit that once they start doing group activities.”

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69 Comments on "Standing Stone defends LOTRO lootbox plans"

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GanonslayerCP .

the company wants money, they are doing this, you will either stop playing or keep playing

hint: you don’t play probably and if you do you aren’t stopping

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Crowe

Canceled my sub: done. I’ll give this time some to sink in before I decide to uninstall.

Coolit
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Coolit

Lockboxes are scummy at the best of times, lockboxes with raid gear is P2W.

cambruin
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cambruin

They have abused the term”convenience” for so long now, so I don’t understand the sudden fuss. Raid gear via lootboxes is pay-to-win!! Uh, yes, it is. Your point? They can’t do that!! And selling potions which were on a seperate cooldown from regular potions gained through gameplay was not pay to win? That was ok, but this is not?
Just for the record, neither is okay, but if you were fine with one, why not with the other?

Turbine had already crossed some lines, seems SSG is even worse. And for a moment I thought this was the core of the development team, the ones with a true passion for Middle Earth. How wrong I was.

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Melissa McDonald

The game is desperate to make money, I understand that. I don’t fault them for doing what so many other games have done.

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Paragon Lost

I hate loot boxes, hate them. I’d rather save up some item currency and then buy the gear with said item currency, so that I get exactly what I want. I’ve opened over 30 Gorgoroth loot boxes so far and I’m starting to get really pissed off about the whole thing. Nice work SSG alienating a whale player, I’ve spent over a grand in the last six months on LotRO and I’ve decided to hit the brakes on my spending because loot boxes suck ass.

Also making all the gear from random drops in Mordor being character bound sucks soo much. Gear that I can’t even use on that character, just pisses me off to no end. Specially as someone who plays every character class and would love to send those random items that the character can’t use to one of them.

Sure, I can use the crystal to break them down into ashes or I could sell them as vendor trash, but it’s bullshit to drop the stuff and not allow me to sell it, trade it or give it to one of my alts. Really nice blue bow was a random drop the other that my 115th champion could have used but nope, it was bound to my rune keeper. (shakes head)

Way to alienate all types of players of your game SSG. I’m starting to understand the mindset of the players who go out of their way to avoid spending any money in an mmorpg.

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Vincent Clark

This is one of the reasons why I favor a sub only game (i.e. FFXIV). You won’t see this lack of integrity involved with game development in that–or any other game–that is sub only (WoW, etc.) It’s a shame that the LotRO player base isn’t big/supportive enough to make a sub only business model viable.

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Paragon Lost

Strongly agree. I”ve been beating the subscription only business model drum for far too many years as the best overall business model for mmorpgs. The other business models in my opinion impact the game, the developers and players in a negative way.

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Paragon Lost

Good read and he lists some of the impacts well. The other half of the rotten fruit that is F2P is that the developers now have to come up with ways to monetize every aspect that they can in order to gain that cash inflow. Doing so in a way that will get players to repeatedly buy certain items.

The whole design of the mmorpg changes when you toss aside the subscription model for the F2P model. Instead of designing an mmorpg that players will immerse themselves in and play month in and month out you end up designing the mmorpg in order to get the player to buy things in order for you the game developer to stay in business from month to month. Ugh, vicious, ugly cycle.

Anyhow thanks for sharing the article, I hadn’t read that one. He totally gets it, kudos to him.

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Shiro Madoushi

The only way to be rid of lootboxes/rng/gambling is through legislation. Write to your conservative Senators and Representatives.

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Paragon Lost

You forgot your /s there. Since anyone who actually keeps track of politics and policy knows that mostly what conservative elected officials do is actually deregulate. Adding more restrictions and regulation on corporations is exactly not what they do.

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roo woods

Doesn’t bother me in a predominantly pve game at all . If there was world pvp all over the game then it would be a different matter .

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Nathan Aldana

“its okay guys, you just have to play the content most people will never see to exceed the power of lockbox gear”

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Michael18

Of course I’m not happy to see BiS gear in gamble boxes. But at this point, I’m just glad there is one last live MMO left that sticks to the style of story-telling and world building I like in MMOs. Otherwise I’d have to rely entirely on emus.

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draugris

Well developers implementing pay to win will always find an excuse why it is not horrible. They don´t do it with the solo player in mind, they don´t do it so that raiders can supplement their way to get gear. They do it to squeeze out money from the player with absolutely no development effort.

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Jack Pipsam

They never gave Elves with Mordor, so I don’t see why Standing Stone would budge on anything their community cares about.

Alatar
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Alatar

If they could’ve survived as a subscription only game, they would have.

If they could’ve survived as a hybrid free/sub game with a cash shop that sold only cosmetic items, they would have.

They can’t. So this is how they get what they need to keep the lights on. The next step is maintenance mode and then the doors close.

I don’t mind the whales and the gear in the cash shop because I’d like the game to stay open.

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Paragon Lost

Well, they’re managing to even alienate the whale players, speaking as one. So keeping open might start to become a problem.

possum440 .
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possum440 .

I do not care one way or the other. What I do care about is the utter hypocrisy of the holier than thou gamer’s that are offended by getting anything in any manner other than what they deem fitting.

A bunch of clueless, no life, busy body snowflakes worry about how everyone else plays a game. Purely pathetic group of gamer’s.

This is exactly why MMO’s are so toxic. A group of lame brained gamer’s don’t like other people getting anything any other way. “You have to earn it!”

Ya, I have to earn what playing a game? Get a damn clue…and a life and worry about the cookies burning in your oven.

Edit: On a side note, a term gaining traction for these loot boxes btw is “Pedoboxes”, because a game made by adults are preying on kids knowing how weak minded and impulsive they are.

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2Ton Gamer

“Pedoboxes” – this might seem relevant if it were just kids who were buying these, but it’s grown-ass adults blowing money on these things. If it were just kids and not adults with disposable income they wouldn’t sell half as many.

Love the cookies remark, lol.

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Baemir

Right… because nobody gets upset about people who buy their diplomas or their way into something that requires effort for other people.

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Melissa McDonald

There is a real world / game world disconnect there.

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Alatar

I fail to see the comparison. A diploma is a certification that you’ve completed educational requirements needed to do a particular job in the real world, for real money, to feed yourself and maybe your real family. We’re talking about a game here. We play games to have fun. If what someone else gets makes you mad, you should maybe consider some single player games?

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Baemir

Videogames have long stopped being an easily dismissed hobby for children, or something that is only about “fun”. These days they’re a massive industry and farming runescape bonds pays better than most real life jobs in certain countries.

taradyne
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taradyne

This is not an unreasonable argument. As a predominantly solo player who once raided but no longer does, being able to obtain great gear some other way is a win. What if I am able to raid again in 4 months? No one would take me if my gear was sub-par.

Having once been a hardcore-ish raider in a number of games over the last decade, I think multiple opportunities to gain great gear in a gear progression game makes sense. I know that may not be a popular opinion but /shrug.

fistan77
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fistan77

As a DDO player, the latest monetization schemes since Mordor concern me. Ravenloft is supposed to be coming out soonish for DDO.

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Sray

A few years ago when they discontinued raids for a while, they said that combined PvPers and raiders were less than 10% of the game’s population, and that PvPers were twice as numerous as raiders. So, if we say that number was 9% (because it’s less than 10%) then that means raiders made up 3% of the game’s population. Even if that number has doubled because they’re making raids again, it’s still only a tiny minority of the players that even raid. Ergo, the best gear in the game is effectively held captive in monetized lootboxes, as the overwhelming majority of the game’s players will never set foot inside a raid.

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GumpsGang

Public Service Announcement: Earn you keys in-game, the devs put that path there for a reason. It makes doing daily quests more fun.

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Schmidt.Capela

Sorry, daily quests are never fun. Heck, merely having login bonuses is sometimes enough to drive me away, since I hate feeling like I must play the game every day.

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Sray

Lots of games put in ways of earning a few keys for their lootboxes. You can grind out two or three per day, which will usually net you nothing because of lootbox RNG and the lootboxes fall like rain; or you can quickly and easily buy all the keys you like. The ability to grind out a couple keys here and there doesn’t make the practice any less distasteful, nor does it make I wrote incorrect: for the majority of players, the BIS gear is effectively only available through monetized lootboxes.

Furthermore, the lootbox RNG can actually be rigged to favor purchased keys over earned ones. A DCUO dev once let slip that the Promethium Lockbox keys non-subscribers had to purchase actually had a higher chance of yielding the more desirable loot than the free infinite keys that subscribers got.

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GumpsGang

In term of how lootboxes are often used in MMOs, I agree with you Sray. I understand the concern if the LOTRO devs don’t be careful.

It’s just not how it actually is working in LOTRO right now. I easily got the BIS gear in Mordor the finishing quest chains, the ash system, and the allegiance system. The lootboxes tend just to be more ash to trade in later (you get most via drops while questing). The the next patch, it’s looking the best way the get the new gear will be by playing the instances. We’ll see soon.

borghive
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borghive

Vote with your wallets!!! STOP BUYING THIS CRAP!

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Sally Bowls

YMMV, but for me the “get it in raids” crap was far more annoying than the lockboxes. If I still wanted to raid, LotRO would not be near the top of my list of MMOs to raid in.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

There be Whales.

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Austin Alexander

I was so excited about Mordor and actually thought that the transition to SSG might give the game a new lease on life. Then the expansion pricing was released. Since then, it seems it’s been all bad news. Maybe I’ll play again once I can purchase High Elf separately or if they ever wise up and include it in base Mordor like it should have been in the first place. Now that this is happening too, though, my hopes are thinning.

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agemyth 😩

I assume when this turns out to be unsuccessful (what I think and hope is the community response) that will mean they are more or less unable to find ways to make enough money on running and developing new content for the game.

At least they made it to Mordor at last. That would be the most appropriate setting for the final expansion tier update. You had a great run, LOTRO and will be remembered fondly if it comes to an end.

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2Ton Gamer

How was the sky-high prices of Mordor not enough to earn money toward more content? Maybe because not as many people bought it as they had hoped? Mordor drove many people away, guess we were just too scared to enter.

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Raidervc

Talking out of the corner of his mouth. What a lousy EP.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

Goodbye lotro, the laggy mess has stopped me playing from the EU for the last few months, but this news has killed any ambition to return.

F loot boxes.

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2Ton Gamer

The lag isn’t just in the EU, I can assure you.

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Koshelkin

Yep. I returned to the game a couple of months before Mordor dropped but I couldn’t stand the laggy and janky gameplay. It did way, way better when I was playing for the first time a couple of years ago, shortly after the codemasters move.

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MesaSage

Ciccolini says…

ciccolini.jpeg
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rafael12104

That quote from the studio did have an old timey feel to it didn’t?

As if we had heard it before in some cautionary tale.

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GumpsGang

I’d be pissed, EXCEPT keys are easy to get for free. I even have a little stockpile going. How can this be a “cash grab” if it’s easy to get for free?

I remember back to when I was much newer to the game and on a fairly empty server. I would have to solo a lot of content. Some people also prefer this, so at least they have a more grindy RNG way to still get stuff via the loot boxes.

Today, I have a wonderful community of players on multiple servers to run instances with. I feel very blessed.

I don’t actually need the loot boxes. However, It still makes doing a daily for a key much more interesting.

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2Ton Gamer

Because the keys you get for free have a different rate of success (which can be adjusted behind the scenes as they see fit). Case in point. I knew someone who wanted the horse that drops solely from the lootboxes. He had 98 keys saved up and not one of them dropped the horse. I had 3 keys that were store-bought and it dropped within those. The keys are definitely different with their own slightly unique names and everything. It’s just shady business and underhanded, but nothing wrong with it. It’s their loss because nothing good comes from being shady.

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Raidervc

Because I would be willing to bet the key drop rate gets ninja nerfed before live

kofteburger
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kofteburger

By the way, Do Everquest and Everquest II have lock boxes?

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agemyth 😩

As of the last time I played either game, they didn’t sell power in their lockboxes.

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Knox Harrington

It reads more like, “Our goal is for you to go fuck yourself”

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2Ton Gamer

Their EP and Community responses are quite douchy. I’ve said it before. Cord is a real tool who shouldn’t even be doing streams in Lotro as he has never really tried to take it seriously over DDO, which is where he got his start. If my job was a community manager over both games, I’d damn well know at least the basics of things in the game. His streams are an embarrassment and his rude answering of questions is just uncalled for. Ask him a audiophile question and you see how passionate he is about that subject. Ask him where a good place to level at around 30 is and he’ll give you a douche response or tell you to ask someone in the chat. People would kill for his job and yet he takes it with a grain of salt.

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Bryan Turner

My attempt at a meme

Lotrolockbox.jpg
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rafael12104

Success! Nice job.

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Bryan Turner

I hope I made Schlag proud.

Now that I know that these meme generators exist I could churn these one liners out every article.

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rafael12104

Ah, I bet you did make him proud. It’s sarcastic, on point, and funny. :)

As you know the “master” Schlag adds a bit more. Some are real works of art.

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Bryan Turner
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Bryan Turner

delete please

pepperzine
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pepperzine

I wish I could double like this lol

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Bryan Turner

I was attempting to share a meme, I couldn’t find it after I saved it so I tried to make it show up as the link from the meme generator site but that didn’t work, putting it as plain text didn’t work since all it showed was the link, so I finally found it in my files.

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Bryan Turner

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Bryan Turner

delete please

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Schmidt.Capela

Saying that the lockboxes are aimed at non-raiders is even worse. For non-raiders the only way to get that gear is the lockboxes, putting the game firmly in the pay-to-win camp.

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Legend Of Vinny T

Pay2Solo? That’s a new one. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying it, but I don’t think so.

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Greaterdivinity

We realize that having a short period where they are in the lootboxes before the raid is available is not ideal,

…it’s their game. I get that they likely need to release the lockboxes for revenue reasons and can’t push them back, but surely they can simply add the loot into them after the raid launches to make this situation “ideal”, no?

So players that prefer the solo and small group end game can obtain loot, in addition to or instead of raiding.

Alternatively, allow them to earn it in-game without needing to get the lockboxes.

I can’t imagine these responses are going to go over well with the community : /

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Vincent Clark

They’re not.

venatis
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venatis

“So players that prefer the solo and small group end game can obtain loot, in addition to or instead of raiding.” – Or you could make it so they can obtain materials to craft gear with the same stats instead of introducing a shitty practice into your game if you really want to help out solo players and allow them to get good gear.

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Joey Morrone

That’s exactly what they need to do. They should look at how Guild Wars 2 solved this problem.

dixa
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dixa

guild wars 2 is not as gear driven or dependent as a DIKU-style mmorpg like LOTRO. you can’t compare the two on that same level.

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Joey Morrone

Sure you can. I still want to have best in slot gear on my character. And in Guild Wars 2, I’m not forced to do raids. I can craft, pvp, wvw, random drops in other areas. I mainly play solo. They said they like the lockbox idea so solo and small group players can get the gear without needing to only rely on the raids.

They can try to find another way to make that gear achievable outside of raids instead of lockboxes. I think Guild Wars 2 is a perfect example of some different ways of how to do that.

wpDiscuz