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Riders of Rohan – Higher Prices, Fewer Incentives June 7, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
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8 comments

The expansion season must be upon us.  We have Rift and Lord of the Rings Online announcing details of their Fall expansions.  For Rift, Storm Legion is their first expansion, and first expansions can set a critical precedent.  And then there is the LOTRO expansion, Riders of Rohan.  Woo hoo, further into Middle-earth!

For Lord of the Rings Online though, precedents have been set, broken, revised, and somewhat standardized over its three expansions.  And I own all three, Mines of Moria, Siege of Mirkwood, and the Rise of Isengard.  In fact, I pre-ordered them all, in part because I am still enthusiastic about the game five years in, but also because each pre-order offered me a few bennies to sweeten the deal.  Mounts, titles, cloaks, and other trinkets.

And it is a damn good thing that they did, because due to my haphazard “Hey, let’s go play with friends on yet another server” approach to the game, I have exactly one character who has made it passed the original 2007 level cap and into Moria.  And he is still only level 52!

So I have nearly 20 characters spread across four servers most of whom sit in the level band from the late 20s to the early 40s that essentially represents the “mid game” of the game at launch.

Clearly, when it comes to actual content, none of those purchases has been of much use to me.

And so it is with a critical eye that I examine the pre-order benefits one get with the Riders of Rohan expansion.

As has now become the standard for LOTRO, there are three flavors of the expansion.   And they are certainly pushing the good, better, best comparison.  They are laid out as Basic, Heroic, Legendary, and colored Bronze, Silver, Gold, as well as being displayed as small, medium, large, just to play on any size phobia you might have.

It is like Sesame Street

But, to put the true meaning of Christmas right out there, they are the $40, $50, and $70 versions of the expansion.

Each offers its own level of additions to the game, which I have copied straight from the press release:

  • Base Edition $39.99 – Includes the full Riders of Rohan Expansion plus:
    • The Steed of the Eastemnet – An exclusive Rohirrim Mount
    • Friend of the Mark — An exclusive in-game Rohirrim title
    • Pre-Purchase Bonuses:
      • Rohan Elite Guard Statted Cloak — A box of four level 20 statted cloaks that allows you to choose a power bonus for your hero type
      • Rohirrim Soldier on Landscape Appearance — Upon reaching level 20, you can customize your Soldier on Landscape with a Rohirrim Appearance
  • Heroic Edition $49.99 – Includes the full Riders of Rohan Expansion plus:
    • The Steed of the Eastemnet – An exclusive Rohirrim Mount
    • Hauberk of the Eastemnet — An exclusive Rohirrim cosmetic chest piece
    • Friend of the Mark — An exclusive in-game Rohirrim title
    • Evendim, Moria, and Lothlórien Quest Packs — Over 650 quests, 10 fellowship instances, and two raids
    • Pre-Purchase Bonuses:
      • Rohan Elite Guard Statted Cloak — A box of four level 20 statted cloaks that allows you to choose a power bonus for your hero type
      • The Outriders Token — A 25% XP Boost for all characters on your account that will last up to level 75
      • Rohirrim Soldier on Landscape Appearance — Upon reaching level 20, you can customize your Soldier on Landscape with a Rohirrim Appearance
  • Legendary Edition – $69.99 – Includes the full Riders of Rohan Expansion plus:
    • The Steed of the Eastemnet – An exclusive Rohirrim Mount available immediately with matching War-steed appearance available when Riders of Rohan launches
    • Armor of the Eastemnet — An exclusive full set of Rohirrim cosmetic armour
    • Friend of the Mark — An exclusive in-game Rohirrim title
    • 6th Inventory Bag – An inventory bag that grants 15 additional storage slots
    • Crystal of Remembrance – Adds one additional legacy to your legendary weapon
    • Exclusive Rohan Content — Discover the lineage of the great War-steeds and earn a mounted combat deed that grants an exclusive skill for your War-steed
    • Pre-Purchase Bonuses:
      • Rohan Elite Guard Statted Cloak — A box of four level 75 statted cloaks that allows you to choose a power bonus for your hero type
      • The Outriders Token — A 25% XP Boost for all characters on your account that will last up to level 75
      • Rohirrim Soldier on Landscape Appearance — Upon reaching level 20, you can customize your Soldier on Landscape with a Rohirrim Appearance

So there it is.

Back with the Isengard expansion pre-orders, I was actually tempted by the top tier because it gave you three in-game mounts, three sets of cloaks/armor to match your mounts,  1,000 Turbine points, and was only $50.  Yes, with Isengard the price range was $30, $40, and $50.  Turbine felt the need to crank up the pricing a notch, something I am not alone in noting.  But even then, I went with the base expansion.  That gave me enough, a new mount, a nice outfit, the XP boost item, and a special pre-order title.

This time around, there really isn’t much to tempt me at all.  Sure, another “I pre-ordered the expansion” title is nice, though that isn’t even a pre-order bonus.  The title comes with the expansion no matter what.  Level 20 statted cloaks… unless the stats are over powered… are not much of a draw to somebody whose characters are mostly beyond level 30.  And the level 75 versions in the legendary set I cannot currently use.

And even the Outriders Token isn’t much use.  I have the 25% XP boost pocket item from Isengard still, which is good up to level 65.  Since none of my characters are threatening to pass level 65 any time soon, I am in no dire need of an upgrade.  And, if things come to pass as they did in Isengard, that stone will be in the Turbine Points store, so if I really feel the need I can buy it for any character that happens to get that far along.

No, the only thing on the whole list above that looks both interesting and immediately useful is the 6th bag slot that comes with the legendary edition and, presumably, is good for all characters, current and future, on an account.

Tubrine has already said that they will be offering up the 6th bag slot in the Turbine Points store when the expansion goes live in September and that it will cost 995 points, which is anywhere from $9-14 depending on how you buy your Turbine Points.

Another 15 slot bag sounds ideal for a pack rat like me.  I already have my shared bank slots maxed out as well as the bank slots on my key characters.  And, in theory, if I just had to have it on all of my characters on all of the servers on which they live, $70 would be a deal.

But I do not need that.  In fact, my latest surge into Middle-earth, on the Silverlode server with the Nazgun, I have been sticking to one character and have done no crafting.  Crafting is where I get tied around the axel and start making alts to make use of all the materials and recipes I pick up.  With Manteca, my dwarf rune keeper, I have been harvesting, but then just selling at the auction house or vendoring all of the crafting stuff.  Mostly vendoring, the auction house in LOTRO remains pretty weak relative to other MMOs.

But Manteca, at level 39, is my most wealthy character in LOTRO by a long shot.

Thus, at most, I need one bag upgrade, unless the instance group jumps to LOTRO again.  That seems unlikely.

995 Turbine Points, no matter how I buy them, will cost less than $70.  And since I am a lifetime subscriber, and thus get 500 Turbine Points a month as long as I log in, I will likely have accumulated enough points to buy bags for a couple of extra characters along the way by the time the expansion goes live.

So the Riders of Rohan expansion looks interesting.  I would like to see new lands and try out mounted combat.

In the fields of Rohan

But my lack of focus on a single character over the years and my off-and-on play style with the game has left me far behind the curve.  LOTRO is another MMO that has slowly moved away from me.  And without a tangible incentive, there really is no reason for me to pre-order the expansion.  It seems likely that is content I will never reach.