Lord of the Rings Online announces new endgame reward and lootbox system for Update 23

    
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Lord of the Rings Online’s upcoming Update 23: Where Dragons Dwell will be increasing the game’s level cap to 120, and with it, the devs have decided to make some changes to the way endgame loot and lootboxes function. The game’s Executive Producer Severlin stopped by the forums yesterday to explain the rationale behind the changes and to outline how players can expect the new system to operate in Update 23 and beyond.

In the post, Severlin outlines four “rules” that the team intends to follow in regard to lootboxes, which can be summarized as follows: Lootboxes should contain no gear that players cannot acquire through purely in-game means, loot from new content shouldn’t be purchasable with endgame currency or real money, gear from high-difficulty raid content will be more powerful than its lootbox counterpart, and players must complete a raid to receive its gear from lootboxes.

From there, Severlin details how the endgame reward system will work in Update 23 specifically. Where Dragons Dwell will introduce a new endgame currency called Embers of Enchantment, which can be earned by completing weekly quests and deconstructing gear. This is similar to the current Ashes of Enchantment system, except that Embers of Enchantment will be awarded to players directly as quest rewards rather than indirectly via lootbox keys as in the current system, which will allow players to directly purchase the items they want rather than relying on the RNG of lootboxes.

Lootboxes will continue to appear in LOTRO, Severlin says, and they will contain cosmetics, gear, and Embers. The devs hope that this will “reward players who are awesome enough to support the long-term success of the game by opening lootboxes,” without making them “feel like they are forced to open lootboxes in order to play or excel in the game.”

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cambruin

“First we’ll introduce lootboxes that are downright P2W. They’ll hate us for it, but we’ll be a headliner for sure. Next we’ll tone them down and decrease the P2W. They’ll love us for it and we’ll be headliners once more.”

Well played LotRO/SSG. Well played.

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Michael18

If SSG feel they need financial support from players beyond payed content like quest packs or updates, support that is based more on good-will than actual value-for-money, then they should take a look at Path of Exile’s supporter packs.

The idea of these is to provide some nice-to-have perks but nothing essential and be up front with saying that the purchase is intended as a donation to some extent. I think many LOTRO players would be happy to buy something like that, from time to time (me included).

People enjoy throwing money at projects they love (see Kickstarter) and there’s no reason why this should only work for in-development projects and not for live MMOs.

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GumpsGang

Good point. The DDO-side did something along this line with White Plum Mountain. Following up on player suggestions, the added an optional pack that has some cosmetics and perks to give ardent DDO supports a path. It seems successful and we should expect to see it again on occasion (not every update).

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draugris

I would definitely do that, I have a lifetime subscription to LotRO, so why not.

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GumpsGang

A little further clarification to address concerns that were brought up below. Here is a good forum link. https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?&postid=7866251#post7866251

We will be able to use our stockpiled keys going forward. The delay in adding loot to the vendors is to focus the game on content. Players will not be able to get the new gear right away by opening loot boxes or special currency (the loot box itemization is delayed as well). This may also help our more competitive raiders have an even playing field when a raid launches. It discourages “pay-to-win” tactics.

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Vincent Clark

You realize these two statements are in direct conflict with another right?
“We will be able to use our stockpiled keys going forward.”
“It discourages “pay-to-win” tactics.”

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Paragon Lost

Looks like good changes over all.

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Bango on Laurelin

Good. Looks like SSG listened to the uproar from the players who complained about lootboxes and the whole ash lottery.

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Vincent Clark

Um…read the post again. I would advise that Matt do the same and provide some “objective” reporting. Keys are now store only. In-game currency–ash, embers, motes, whatever–is still in the loot-boxes (Severlin actually contradicts himself from his earlier statement in the same post). Worse, there is now an idiotic time restriction on when you can actually barter for gear (with in-game currency you earned by playing the new content) which coincides (of course) with the new loot-boxes. This is actually a change for the worse. And then there is this nugget: “We absolutely want to reward players who are awesome enough to support the long-term success of the game by opening lootboxes, and get joy in doing it…” Awesome=whales, clearly.

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Robert Mann

Not a bad plan, although I would still buy ANYTHING ELSE to support the game, and not a lootbox.

Still, LOTRO is the only game I have seen things like keys for lootboxes dropping in the world at even a half-hearted pace compared to the boxes themselves (other games if you see one it’s basically like swimming the river Styx and ending up healthier than before). For which I have put them on a “Yeah, I might play occasionally” pedestal that other MMOs with lootboxes can, at this point, only envy due to their own choices.

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GumpsGang

I appreciate SSG continuing to improve the game and listening to player feedback.

With Mordor, getting barter currency via the daily system to get keys to then open loot boxes felt like a main path to get your items. With Northern Kingdoms, doing dailies to get keys to then open boxes to get barter currency still was very important.

It feels like SSG may be correcting the path and further separating the loot box to make it clear that it is an optional extra and not a main path to getting items. Of course, none of this is on live yet and subject to change.

I do also like how Sev states to call them out if we see itemization plans that don’t fit their updated design goals.