13 December 2013
I know, Lord of the Rings online is a Free2Play title, and the developer (Turbine/Warner Bros) do need to make some money to keep the servers and development going. In most cases this means that a cash shop is the main means to lure player into buying small stuff (for real money obviously), and that's totally okay with me.
Well, okay as long as the stuff sold is NOT game breaking. In the case of Lord of the Rings online, it's a bit dubious if the sold stuff is game breaking since it's mainly a PvE game and there's only one PvP area. And the PvP area is where the game breaking stuff takes part. But well, I don't care since I don't give a rat's ass about the PvP in Lord of the Rings online.
The whole game-breaking items sold in the cash shop there, there's an other thing that's bothering me. Lord of the Rings online allows you to buy Mithril coins (at a rate of 10:1) from the cash shop and you can use for various things. You can pay 1 coin to instantly travel to a quest location (mostly an NPC you have to talk to), extend certain sheets on your character (talent tree in the pucture below), or even buy stuff that used to be in the cash shop in the past. There's even a full cosmetic shop in Bree (on Boar square) where you can exchange your Mithril coins for (bound?) cosmetic outfits.
Lets take a look at the right shot for a second... 10 Mithril coins for the Riding Characteristic. If my memory serves me right, this trait used to be 75 (or 95?) Turbine Points in the past through the cash shop (or you're a VIP and you can do the quest at level 20). This means that the trait has risen in price by either 33% or 5%, but you're paying more than you used to.
The same goes for the cosmetic outfits in the shop in Bree. I've seen outfits of up to 100 Mithril coins This would imply that those outfits used to be 1.000 Turbine Points in the past? Well, if memory serves me correct again, the most expensive outfit was 1.295 Turbine Points, but that did include a horse as well (which was around 700 Turbine Points back then).
It's clear that Turbine/Warner Bros are using the Mithril coins to charge players more for stuff that was relatively cheap in the past. But there's probably an other reason behind the Mithril coins as well. Lord of the Rings online still has a lot of active players who used to have a life-time subscription (like I do), and they do het 500 Turbine Points a month. A lot of players used to stack those points for a couple of months (me included) to buy something big later on (expansions). It's clear that Turbine just doesn't make money from those life-time subscription players (or not enough), and using Mithril coins and inflating prices is a way to let the life-time subscribers use up their Turbine Points and probably buy even more to gain more Mithril coins...
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