Lord of the Rings Online defends – and now pauses – controversial pay-to-win currency changes


(We’ve updated the end of this article with SSG’s afternoon announcement that it will be pausing this plan. The original article follows.)

An abrupt announcement yesterday that Lord of the Rings Online was planning some sweeping changes to its most important in-game currencies proved to be the spark that set a forest — or forum — aflame.

The core of the controversy swirled around Embers of Enchantment, which players can use to buy very good endgame gear. Currently, Embers can be obtained from weeklies, disenchanting certain gear (in particular, dungeon drops), and disenchanting lockbox gear. With the proposed changes, Embers will no longer be able to be obtained from regular gear, leading the community to believe that SSG is pushing them further toward lockbox purchases.

A massive forum thread — which is up to 427 posts at the time of this writing — represented the ire of a community that felt that this announcement lacked proper explanation and reasoning. It prompted Producer Oleg “Raninia” Brodskiy to draw up a lengthy post defending the decision, which, to put it mildly, didn’t calm anyone down.

“We don’t want players to run things that aren’t the content the gear comes from as their primary way of getting that gear,” Brodskiy explained. “In looking at why this was happening, the disenchanting of gear from any tier of any group instance was obviously where the bulk of Embers were coming from, in a way that really pushed players to grind to maximize their time. And especially, grind lower tier content to get higher tier gear. So that’s why we removed the gear disenchant option to Embers.”

“I see nothing wrong with having choices, but they are not being treated equally by SSG,” one of many responses said. “Herein lies the problem. Someone can spend five minutes in the store buying enough keys to open enough boxes to get the gear/items that would take someone else using months of game play to obtain. Embers are the absolute highest currency in game from SSG’s point of view and now exclusive to only present and future [lockbox] key buyers and the designated quests SSG determines they will be attached to.”

Brodskiy said that SSG will provide more ways to get Embers with Update 32 that won’t involve lockboxes, but, as noted earlier, the community wasn’t having it. There are also complaints about the proposed increase in prices for cosmetics and housing items through the use of Figments. And nobody was really happy to hear that we won’t be able to convert one type of currency into another that’s much harder to obtain.

Source: Lord of the Rings Online. Thanks Gumps!
This afternoon, SSG tweeted that it’s putting all of this on hold “for now.”

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