Since the Standing Stone Games announcement Lord of the Rings Online has been in transition from one company to another, including tapping Daybreak to be their publisher. (Still wondering on that one. A follow on from SOE publishing the Asheron’s Call 2 expansions?)
This month we get another change. It seems that the billing system is moving over from Turbine. In order to charge VIPs… subscribers… they have to log in and agree to new terms.
This is a dangerous time, financially. There are always a group of players out there who just stay subscribed even when they are not playing. SSG stands to lose subscribers unless they can get people to log in and click the button enabling the new terms.
So they are offering up a free horse.
To get this special mount you will need to log into LOTRO between today… once the maintenance period is over… and March 13th. According to the small FAQ on the announcement page, you must log all the way in to a character in order to receive the mount. All of your characters, and any future characters you create, will then have access to this mount.
Lifetime subscription VIPs also get the mount if they log in a character during the February 6 through March 13 time frame. That lifetime subscription I bought back in 2007 might be the best MMO deal ever for me.
A great deal even discounting the fact that I bought the next three expansions (Mines of Moria, Siege of Mirkwood, and Rise of Isengard ) and have only really played my way into Mirkwood. I left off over a year ago in Mirkwood which, true to the books, was a dank locale, if somewhat more densely populated that I recalled.
Nothing like a bleak zone to kill your appetite for a game.
I still log in about once a month, if only to keep the clunky patcher from having to work forever should I decide I want to play and, of course, to make sure I get my 500 LOTRO points every month. That stipend has collected over time, allowing me to purchase both the Riders of Rohan and Helm’s Deep expansions.
So I am as up to day on purchased content as I can be. I am just stuck in motivation-sucking Mirkwood, so any hope of catching up to the tip of the story is vanishingly remote.
What I need is something like that boost that SWTOR gave players at one point where you could level up at the right rate just playing through the story line as opposed to having to do all of the side quests and grinding a bit on the side.
An epic-only path through the game being unlikely, I am considering the finally useful
The blessing comes in two flavors, one for a character under level 50 and an upgrade version for character over level 50, some of whom may have used the previous version that only got players to 50. Fortunately, I have plenty of LOTRO points and a selection of characters over level 50, so I can go with the upgrade. It offers:
Instantly become level 95! Includes many extra boosts and buffs.
Receive a blessing from the Valar that makes your character powerful enough to pass through the Paths of the Dead and beyond. After using the Blessing of the Valar, your character will instantly be raised to level 95! Delivers a package that contains the following: *Blessing of the Valar Item, *A set of level 95 gear, *3 Third Age LIs, *Instant access to Mounted Combat and Legendary Items, *1 Gold piece, 800 Silver pieces, *4 ranks of each virtue, *The Riding skill, *A Steed of the Citadel, *A 25-stack of food that scales with your level, *A 25-stack of Morale and Power potions that scale with your level, *5 +100% XP Boosts, *Three single-use maps, one each to Rivendell, Aldburg, and Snowbourn, *25 Mithril Coins. This offer is discounted and can only be used by characters that are already level 50 or higher.
That will at least get me the hell out of Mirkwood. The question is, where will I end up? As I have noted, not all insta-levels are equal. If you get a level 100 boost in WoW, you are guided into the latest content and can start there without concern as to what came before. However, if you get that level 100 (or 95) boost in EQII, the game pretty much laughs at you as you press your nose against the glass separating you from the new stuff. Go back and do the prerequisites loser!
So I will be interested to see how LOTRO handles the level boost transition. Will I be pointed in the right direction or left standing at a stable master… the Middle-earth equivalent of a bus station in the bad part of town… in some random settlement? Either way, I might as well give it a go. I am sitting on a pile of points and am unhappy where I am, and at least I’ll have a new horse to tool around on.