Welcome to the realm of the horse-lords: LotRO enters into Rohan, finally

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Well, after going on a year-long hiatus, I’ve returned. Well, I returned awhile back, actually, in preparation for Riders of Rohan, but that’s neither here nor there. Instead it’s time for me to be my usual hyper-critical self and draw upon the pros and cons of the new Lord of the Rings Online expansion and get doom-and-gloomy about the future of the game. Are you teeming with unimaginable excitement as much as I am? I thought so!

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New LotRO Low: Update 6 (and then some)

That’s right sports fans, Mr. Doom and Gloom isn’t quite finished with this ride just yet. While I did plainly spell out in my last writeup on LotRO of how I felt about the game and how I was no longer putting my time into the game, I still like to keep tabs and make an effort to at least try to see what has happened since my hiatus. Funnily enough it wasn’t Update 5 that brought me back, but the glimpse of someone’s “favorite cosmetic outfit” on the forums wearing what looked to be a Ranger’s outfit. As someone who has been doing his best to mimic such an outfit since 2007, I was immediately intrigued. As you can guess, this obviously led me down the path of Update 5 and some more fun tidbits I had missed in my previous observations of the state of LotRO. So, shall we continue to a point where you find one thing wrong with this writeup and then attempt a blanket statement that everything I say is untrustworthy? Good, then let’s continue!

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Gibbets and crows: Rise of Isengard and the state of LotRO

It's only a model.

If you are unawares, you’ll probably want to know that my feelings on LotRO haven’t really been that nice. At least, that is to say that I’m less and less impressed with the things Turbine attempts to do in trying to continue developing for LotRO, an MMO that has drastically changed in one short year prior to its four years running. Once again we find ourselves waiting for what seems like eons (six months since Book 3—or, if you’re a true defender, I suppose you’d say five months because of the Rift coming back in June) for scraps from the master’s table. At the very least Turbine is still operating under their previous year’s update schedule, which essentially means they are only able to release one Book update before then spending the next seven months working on an “expansion.” Was it worth it? Has F2P actually turned the game around to pave the way for Turbine’s way of success?

The short answer: no.

The long answer: If by ‘success’ you mean ‘greed’, then yes.

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One does not simply buy his way into Mordor: LotRO now F2P

Lord of the Rings Online, a Turbine MMO (Asheron’s Call, Dungeon & Dragons Online), followed suit in its call to turn its current MMOs over to the Free 2 Play business model on September 8th. For those of you not familiar with the F2P model, this essentially means everyone is now privy to a glorified unlimited trial to the game until about LV20, at which point you would need to buy quest packs to unlock for further zones into the game in order to level up. Or you could not be a total freeloader and just subscribe to the game, at which point all access to the game would be opened up to you. Your call I guess. Then again, would it be worth to do so, especially considering F2P has brought along a slew of new changes to the game?

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The quest stands on the edge of a knife: LotRo goes F2P

Obviously this is not my first time talking about Turbine’s Lord of the Rings Online. By this time you should know some basics about where I am coming from, specifically being a lifetime subscriber and as someone who has played the game since open beta. I’ve seen it all and was there for the best and the worst of it. Recently I’ve been bestowed the title of doomsayer because of my critique of Siege of Mirkwood as a poor expansion pack, calling it the sign that production has been slowing down. But I love the Tolkien mythos, and I like role playing in his world, so I was hoping I was wrong. Sometimes, however, it’s not all that great to be right all the time, as much was proven when Turbine announced that LotRo was going to switch over to a F2P model.

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The Fellowship of the Ring drags their feet

I have talked about Lord of the Rings Online before when I was in not such a great mood (and rightfully so). Since then, however, I have held out on the hope that Turbine would turn around development and return to the direction they were first moving when LotRo was first launched. I don’t know why; it must just be the Tolkien fan in me that insists on the hope that a developer with the intellectual property rights for the greatest fantasy novel written by man can pull through by (mostly) respecting the lore and continuing development from that aspect alone.

However I’m not entirely sure if that’s even possible these days. Turbine seems to be hurting more than usual, and the signs seem pretty clear. Dungeon & Dragons Online, Turbine’s other MMO, is now free-to-play. Completely. Instead they’ve added an RMT market much like what Korean MMOs have set up as a norm. I’ve played DDO and I personally did not find anything worth staying for, and apparently this was the case for a number of other people as well when the MMO turned to borrowed time.

It’s clear that Turbine will not find its riches in that direction. Instead it still lies with LotRo, an MMO that continues to garner attention as a “nice MMO” or a “refreshing breath” of other MMOs on today’s market. I can’t really speak on what LotRo is and isn’t, for it is for every person to decide that for their selves, but what LotRo truly is is Turbine’s last hope. I’ve been down this dark road before when a company is on the edge and is betting it all on black. Unfortunately I still don’t think Turbine’s heart is in its endeavor to try and win. In this case, the prize is its customers. Read more of this post

On the way to fail: Lord of the Rings Online

Note: If your brain usually hurts when you have to read a lot of words, then I suggest avoiding this article.

I previously wrote about Lord of the Rings Online, or LotRo, and how about it was one of the few successful MMOs that was out on the market today as far as a quality MMO goes. I never explained why, however, and given what is currently happening with the game and the company now, I feel it is important to make that clear to see where things are going wrong. After all, if you ban customers off your forums because they have legitimate opinions then it sort of starts to sing the same tune as some other previous MMOs that were on their way to rock bottom. Read more of this post