Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Switch to free-to-play makes a mess of LOTRO community, film at eleven

Many were the dire predictions that the LOTRO community would take a nosedive in quality once Turbine launched the new free-to-play business model. And they were right – sort of. This last week, reading the LOTRO forums has made me want to bash my head against a wall due to the stupidity and selfishness of a large slice of the community.

Needless to say, I’m not talking about the influx of new players since the game went free-to-play. I’m talking about a large slice of the old-timers.

Here’s a quick summary of what Turbine have done with LOTRO. Last week, you could:

  • Pay $15/month and play the game, or;
  • Pay nothing and not play the game

This week, you can:

  • Pay $15/month and play the game, or;
  • Pay nothing and play the first few zones, with some restrictions on bag space, etc., or;
  • Pay one-off fees to unlock zones worth of quests, as well as other traditional cash shop perks such as mounts, storage space, etc.

You may notice that this week, you have exactly the same subscription option you had last week, plus the option to pay as you go, plus the option to at least log in and do some stuff for free. So, naturally, a large slice of the player base chucked a colossal tantrum and started carrying on like spoiled two-year-olds because Turbine didn’t give them everything in the game for free.

The core of the tantrum being people who felt that having purchased the base game box (Shadows of Angmar, aka SoA) at some point in the last few years should entitle them to unlock all the quests in all the zones in the base game. This is nine zones, which would cost a little over $50.00 to unlock one by one, and would, effectively, give anyone who ever had an account during the pre-free-to-play era a lifetime subscription. The majority of them could quite comfortably cancel their subscription, never spend another cent, and enjoy the game in a manner scarcely distinguishable from how it was previously when they were subscribed (since most character restrictions, like bag space, riding skill, trait slots and gold cap, are waived for characters created or played while a subscription was in effect).

Such a scheme would, as far as I can tell, basically destroy Turbine’s revenue stream, and kill the game. But regardless, it all boils down to one simple thing: these whining ungrateful little shits have just been given a bunch of stuff for free, not had anything taken away from them, and they’re screeching and crying as if Turbine just stole their teddy bear at gunpoint.

It makes me sick. Fortunately, I can mostly avoid it by staying away from the forums, and in-game, with the relatively inoffensive new players and their stupid names, “your gay lol” idiocy, and inane chatter about how WoW sucks balls and is the worst game ever made / WoW rulez and is a million times better than LOTRO. I’ll take a week of that over an hour of whining brats trumpeting their sense of entitlement.

In other news, I was quite proud when I got the ”Undying” title on my Warden. I’ve done it again:


And I’m even more proud to have achieved it with a completely untwinked Burglar on a new server – and a new server suffering from some heavy load and lagspikes - than I was with my Warden kitted out with the best weapons and jewellery that my other characters could craft.

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