Lord of the Rings Online’s new expansion bundle smashes its huge barrier to entry

    
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Lord of the Rings Online had one heck of a 2020, in all the ways you’re thinking: It stole players’ hearts by giving away gobs of content for free during the pandemic and launching a spectacular Great Wedding event, but then it threw a lot of that goodwill away with technical snafus, poor communication, and a deceptive “expansion” that essentially charged players for a basic patch, bypassing lifetime subber entitlements. There’s a reason it “won” biggest MMO blunder of 2020.

Maybe this will help make up for some of 2020’s messes, however. Last night, Standing Stone Games announced that it had updated the game’s cash shop in a way that will make a lot of gamers happy. While most of the tweaks are minor changes to ordering and code application, the new offerings caught our eye: There’s a new starter bundle and expansion trove too that dramatically lowers the price of playing the game at its fullest.

The expansion trove bundles every single (actual) expansion to date except Minas Morgul for just 60 bucks, which makes it by far the cheapest way to get caught up right now and much cheaper than buying each individually. (That bundle plus Minas Morgul would come to $100 total, though of course if you wait long enough, they might bundle it in too.) It also does not include the War of Three Peaks “mini-expansion.” Because it was never actually an expansion, see. Grumble. (War of Three Peaks is also still not available for purchase with LOTRO Points.)

Intriguingly, the starter bundle appears to be a respectable alternative to the Samwise Gamgee starter pack that’s been kicking around on Amazon for ages. For the same $10, a newbie can pick up the riding skill, mount, a universal toolkit, a small carryall, the High Elf race, and a small stack of silver, writes, and virtues with the new pack. The old Samwise pack included the riding skill, mount, inventory bag, and removal of the currency cap. Seems to us you’d be way better off buying the new pack and just purchasing your cap removal separately.

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Oyjord

All this nickel and diming is just dizzying.

One needs an MBA to figure out how to best play this game and maximize their expenditures. It’s freaking ridiculous.

And I have two lifetime subs!

As others have said, I’ll just pass and wait for Amazon’s LOTR MMO.

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treehuggerhannah

I wish DDO would do a bundle.

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GumpsGang

They just added it to DDO as well; however, it does not include Sharn as of yet. If you need Sharn, it may be wise the wait a little bit.

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treehuggerhannah

Awesome! Thanks for the heads up.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

IDK. Awful performance, bad track record, poor communication, spotty release cycles.

I’ll wait for the new Lord of the Rings game.

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Eamil

The downside to the new bundle seems to be that the mount selection and riding skill are only delivered to one character. The Samwise Gamgee bundle gets you free riding and a mount on all characters you make, forever, which was the selling point for me.

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2Ton Gamer

I think once again they started off with the good notion of “let’s try to make the game more affordable to get new players interested” and then it turned into a greedfest where the ideas just went downhill from there. Make the content cheap and people will play and spend money on the other things you nickel and dime people for like cosmetic storage, wardrobe slots, LI’s stuff etc.. Geez the people running SSG are flippin feebs when it comes to figuring out how to actually get people to play their game and even worse with implementation and communication. I’m seeing some questions that should have been thought of before they put this out like those who don’t need the full expansions.. *eyeroll*

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Bruno Brito

There’s also the matter of performance. I can’t speak specifically for LoTRO, but DDO is suffering terribly with server lag. It’s just so much desyncing and rubberbanding that makes me go crazy.

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2Ton Gamer

Yep BB, same there especially within the busier sections like Bree and then Minas Tirith has always had issues. Doing your warsteeds in Rohan can also produce some crazy impossible horse stunts that can be quite funny, but take you out of the game atmosphere completely.

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Bruno Brito

It also does not include the War of Three Peaks “mini-expansion.” Because it was never actually an expansion, see. Grumble. (War of Three Peaks is also still not available for purchase with LOTRO Points.)

Grrrrrrrrrrr…

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hachibushu

The largest impediment to me coming back is the fact that they have no way to transfer characters from dead servers.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

I’m not sure the price of expansions is the biggest barrier to entry the game faces. For all the beauty of the world, the UI was considered awkward and difficult to read when it launched and the minor improvements done over the last 14 years haven’t changed that much. Then, of course, there is the actual game play, where for every quest that takes you along with the main tale you have at least half a dozen that involve slaughtering an arbitrary amount of the local fauna or the neighborhood bullies. And don’t get me started about legendary weapons, which are reason enough the eschew all the expansions and just play in the base game.

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2Ton Gamer

The cost was a really big hurdle. SSG blew a couple of great opportune moments the last few years to get new customers to come back. I ran Kinships for alts and new players and most of the new players left because of how expensive it would be to get the older content. We would point this out to them at every Dev Stream and they finally listened, but I think it’s probably too late for many.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

That feels like less of a “barrier to entry” than the game just not being good enough for people to feel it is worth the investment. Turbine and SSG sold so many lifetime subs that they have probably pinched off their VIP subscription income and somewhat rely on expansion revenue to keep funded… though it apparently isn’t enough give that every dialog in the game has some way I can spend a mithril coin to gain advantage.

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2Ton Gamer

No man I’m telling you, when there was new player interest when SSG first came into being and Mordor was out there was a lot of new players and I had quite a few of them (around 25 in my guild and then daily Reddit complaints) and they all were turned off by the high pricing.

As far as subs go, the released info during the Daybreak aquisition recently showed that LOTRO had a fair good amount of subs for a game this old. Those lifetimes were only available a few years and while it’s always been questioned how much of those make up the current playerbase, those numbers from the slide show were still impressive for a game this old. SSG’s pricing literally shoots itself in the foot, especially when you consider so many items are sold in the store that are needed in order to play besides the expansions.

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Dug From The Earth

Does this game offer any kind of “boost” with any of these purchases to get you past the games worst, grindy, slow paced content (the original base game)?

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Ironwu

The boost is kind of built into the lower level content so that it goes pretty fast until you get to Moria.

At that point, it really slows down. Mostly because of the difficulty of getting around and the need to deal with the Legendary Weapons.

It picks up again once out of Moria, but slows in Rohan. Mainly due to the broken and abandoned mounted combat systems.

Picks up again until you get to Mordor. Then, the ass kicking begins. Never made it past that content as it was just not fun for me being ass kicked all the time.

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NecroFox4

Hell, I never made it out of Rohan… Every time I re-install and hop back onto my main, I poke around in Rohan for a couple weeks, then throw my hands up in disgust once again, and walk away for a year or so.

I’m hoping to get out of Rohan some time in 2023.

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Ironwu

Uhh, no.

Unless the current expansion includes the base game and all previous expansions, then it is STILL way to expensive and an absolute rip-off.

And . . .

FIX YOUR DAMN PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS!

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Dug From The Earth

EXACTLY THIS ^

13 year old games should not cost twice as much as modern new games.

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2Ton Gamer

While it’s nice to see them try and do something about the cost, it’s still not enough for a game this old. You have ESO and WoW who give all past content with a new expac, yet LOTRO is still living in the past and trying to charge like they are as good as a AAA studio. In this case you do not get what you pay for because if I paid more than what a lifetime account cost back in the day to own all of those expacs, I would expect tip of the top servers and a professional community dev team, but that is far from what you will ever get from LOTRO.