Daily Archives: November 5, 2019

Is it Minas Morgul Yet?

It is kind of a busy Tuesday.  On to my third post of the day.

Back in September when Standing Stone Games announced the Minas Morgul expansion the target date for launch was October 29th.  That was last Tuesday, and it clearly did not come to pass.  Unfortunately I put the target date in the title of the post I linked there.  Oh well.

Perhaps I should have been more cautious.  SSG certainly left themselves something of an out in the fine print, declaring October 29 as the target, but allowing that given any delay you’d certainly have your expansion and goodies by no later than November 30.  A month wide launch window there gave them five target Tuesday in which to go live.

Anyway, while they missed their initial planned date, the word from SSG is that the Minas Morgul expansion will go live today.

As always, the expansion promises more things, more levels, more quests, more dungeons, more raids, and even a new race and an additional character slot per server.  That is the base package, but as I covered in that previous post, there extra special versions of the expansion, with extra special prices, available with even more goodies.

SSG has a page dedicated to the options for the expansion as well as a FAQ.

Tipped off by a comment on the October in Review post, I see that the FAQ has a brand new restriction at the top in regards to purchasing the expansion with LOTRO Points, the in game currency.

The Minas Morgul expansion will be available for Store Points in March 2020 and will be priced as follows:

-Base Edition (includes the Minas Morgul Region & Instances only): 2495 Points
-Stout-axe Dwarf: 1000 Points

That is a bit of a “screw you” to those sitting on a pile of said points.  Money talks and virtual currency walks, or something like that.  I am reminded, once again, of one of my early concerns around virtual currencies, which is best summed up by a scene from The Simpsons episode Itchy & Scratchy Land:

Homer: One adult and four children.
Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
Homer: What’s that?
Woman: Well it’s money that’s made just for the park.  It works just like regular money, but it’s, er…”fun”.
Bart: Do it, Dad.
Homer: Well, OK, if it’s fun…let’s see, uh…I’ll take $1100 worth.

This exchange is followed immediately by this visual.

Where can I spend my LOTRO Points?

So here we are again.  If you were holding on to your LOTRO Points in hopes of buying the expansion, you get to wait until March.  Also, due to the rather opaque nature involved in selling LOTRO Points, where different price points get you varying amounts of currency in return in an attempt to get you to buy more.

Current LOTRO Point pricing

Given that chart, a LOTRO point varies in range from 1.3 cents per to .86 cents per point, making the cost of the equivalent to the base expansion (content plus new race) somewhere between $28 and $45, compared to the $40 price if you pay in real world money.

Of course, if you’re like me and you’re getting a month 500 LOTRO Point stipend due to being a subscriber (lifetime, in my case), you may feel that you accumulated currency has very little value.  And since SSG won’t let you spend it on what you want, it probably feels like it has even less value at the moment.

This isn’t a big deal to me.  I plan to sink some of my LOTRO Points into the expansion when it becomes available in the cash shop, but the likelihood of my ever actually getting into the content is pretty small.  I bought the Mordor expansion the same way and barely got anywhere with that.

But if you are a long term player and subscriber who had earmarked their saved up LOTRO Points for the expansion, I feel you pain.  SSG would like cash please.  It is at moments like this where I wonder how involved with SSG’s operations their “publisher,” Daybreak Games, are.

EVE Online Gets a Very Small November Update

With Team Talos working to its own every other week plan, as brought up during EVE Vegas, an expansion likely on the way for December, and other projects being more long term, the November update for EVE Online is about as small as any update for the game I have ever seen.

Velator rookie ships as the patch theme

I will copy and paste the patch notes in their entirety.

Patch Notes For November 2019 – 2019-11-05

Released On Tuesday, November 5th 2019

New Player Experience:

  • A portion of new capsuleers will start experiencing a preliminary version of a login campaign, complete with minor rewards.

More updates to come as the month rolls on.

That is it.

This update covers something that was brought up in Vegas about CCP’s plans for the tutorial and new player experience.  The goal is to throttle new player attrition, as exemplified by this chart, which was shown at EVE North in Toronto back in June.

How many new players log back in as time passes

At Vegas the presentation about new player retention showed some of the things the had already done to make the tutorial better… and there were some serious “fix the stupid” intems fixed… as well as some of their upcoming plans.  One item on the list was a special login reward campaign for new players.  This campaign is set to offer rewards to encourage new players to log in again the next day.  I do not know what the rewards are, and the tentative nature of the patch note entry leads me to believe that the company is going to tinker with those rewards as time go on, but CCP said they would be useful for new players.

So that is apparently what today’s update brings.

And it seems simple enough that it might work.  I mean, if the game and its UI piss off a new player… which I am sure it does often… it won’t help.  But if somebody is on the fence, the promise of something new might get them to log back in, which gives the game another chance to get the new player engaged.

It remains to be seen if that sort of thing can get a new player out to the 30, 60, or 90 day mark, but if might boost the numbers at the 1 to 7 day end of the scale.

Daybreak Ready to Launch Special Servers for EverQuest II Anniversary

We are into November and it is time for EverQuest II to start kicking off its 15th anniversary.  First up on the list are new special rules servers!

As their anniversary splash screen proudly declares

On the EverQuest II side of the house, the Rivervale server, set to launch today.  Rivervale was the home town of the halflings back in the original EverQuest and a strange sub-zone in the Enchanted Lands in EverQuest II.  It still houses halflings, and the old Fool’s Gold, but it is also home to a lot of demons as well as hosting the bee and bixie dungeon, the Tower of Drafling.  I remember spending a lot of time in a group with Rarik in that zone.

The Fool’s Gold still stands… somebody scrubbed off the sign I guess

The new Rivervale server will be a “Live Heroic Server,” which is an all new name, so I’ll just quote Daybreak from the FAQ as to what that means:

Any new character on a heroic server is granted a level boost bauble that will enable them to jump directly into some of the more recent content, boosting to level 95 with a gear set that will set you on your path in the Phantom Seas (released in 2014’s Altar of Malice expansion).

So it sounds like if you join in you’ll be able to jump straight into the content that went live around the game’s 10th anniversary.  I wonder if that was planned?

Otherwise content on the server will be the same as on a live server, which means if you own the latest expansion, last year’s Chaos Descending expansion, you will be able to play right through into that.

As with other such special servers, you will not be able to transfer on or off of the server and, of course, you will need to have a Daybreak All Access subscription in order to play on it.

Also, as a bit of a late update yesterday, it was announced that the Rivervale server would be a “free trade” server.  The FAQ was poor about indicating what that actually means, but fortunately they did a such a server previously.  The Isle of Refuge server, launched back in 2016, was also a free trade server.  You can read what I wrote about it back then, but the upshot is in this quote:

Isle of Refuge is what we call a “Free Trade Server.” This means that almost all items can be traded freely between players. There are a few exceptions – Heirloom items purchased via a merchant or in the marketplace, granted from repeatable quests, or received via /claims will remain Heirloom.

So that will be it.  Most everything that you might think of as “bind on pick up” on this server will be “bind on equip” and tradeable, to sully this conversation by using WoW terminology.

Meanwhile, older sibling EverQuest, which turned 20 back in March, is also opening up a special server today to help celebrate the EverQuest II anniversary.

The Miragul server, named for the lich of Everfrost, is billed as a “Heroic Progression Server.”

According to the FAQ that means that new characters will start at level 85 with gear, spells, and AA points.  Content will be unlocked up through the 2010 House of Thule expansion, after which later expansions will be unlocked based on whether or not they include an increase in the level cap.  Expansions that do will be held for three months, while those without an increase will be active for two months.

It is also a “true box” server, which means that the client will try to keep you from multi-boxing your way through things.  And, as always, a Daybreak All Access subscription is required to roll up a character on the server and you cannot transfer characters from other servers to this server.

And so the anniversary celebration begins.

Both servers are slated to go live at noon Pacific Time today, but we know how that goes.  Still, they will probably be up and running before you’re done with dinner this evening.