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Reader Comments (32)

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:07PM EvaliaMagic said

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I'm in beta and I gotta say: they have way too much stuff in the store that should be part of the free game - destiny points now require Turbine points in addition to the points you've earned in-game! Seriously lame!

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:45PM (Unverified) said

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They have to include as much in the store as they feel they need to make the proper revenue.

I suspect that in the future F2P MMOs involve having the vast bulk of "stuff" in the store as opposed to in the game for free.

Subscription games will evolve into having much more in the stores too.

MT stores are just a excellent source of revenue that in general the player bases are supporting very well.

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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:07PM alucard3000 said

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The fact that there is a NDA on the closed beta for the f2p version is kind of strange to me,its not like they are going to lose revenue from a bad review it's free lol.Nor do I think they are going to "lose" secrets because DDO is already out f2p unless they are doing something totally different than the DDO model which I dont see why they would, if something isnt broke dont try to fix it.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 5:58PM DevilSei said

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They are doing something different from the DDO model. Can't quite say more than that, but its enough that I'm more than a little tempted to say f*** the NDA.

There is a reason the NDA is on there, and its solely because of the item shop.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 10:19PM Dread said

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As a LoTRO player, knowing whats in the item shop - would give me a heads up as to what I need to farm for free ingame now while I can. Come F2P day I can sell at a nice markup and earn in game gold from people who don't want to buy TP's for the Cash Shop.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:15PM Mr Angry said

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Rather than being engaged with Tolkien's rich fantasy world, we are now concerned with working out which items we would like to buy. Free to play all you want, but when sh*t like this encroaches into virtual worlds, it's a distraction, and it will effect all players, despite Turbine's posturing saying things will be unchanged for subscribers.

Also Turbine totally ignore calls to refer to the F2P shop as the market place so it wouldn't be quite so abrasive and out of character as 'lotro store'

Lack of preview is a deal breaker, the icons don't go anywhere near showing you what you get, I pity people who just press a button to realize that /flamefart is pretty underwhelming and not worth 2 bucks.

Also the pricing is very high, check this link out, see how much a single skirmish costs.... I know prices are subject to change, but let's face it, Turbine are not going to guesstimate widely from what they think they can get away with.

http://www.mordororbust.com/lotro-store-beta-screenshots-premium-items/

All I can say to new players is enjoy the starter experience for the first two weeks, then prepared to be milked for cash and spammed pretty hard.

Also the devs specifically said that items which change stats would not be offered, then they go ahead and offer tomes with directly effect stats. I dunno about what we have been promised, but promises have been broken before, and I get the feeling we'll see this happen again, just like legendary weapons growing with you :(

http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=345565

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:36PM Samael said

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I hate cash stores a lot everyone knows that.

But in LoTRO, it is going to very distracting, but for the quests and such nickel and diming can be avioded by becoming VIP.

But you are right, Cash stores are ruining a lot of nice MMOs, for me.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:43PM alucard3000 said

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dam $6-9 to open up some quests,I sure hope that the developers from the f2p games I play dont read this and get any ideas at least I get to do theirs free.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:10PM aurickle said

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The Premium model is really aimed at those who play casually. If it takes you 1-2 months to gain 5-10 levels (getting through one zone's content) then such a price is a lot more attractive than $15 a month. If you ever got to where you actually are spending $15 or more a month for content unlocks then the VIP option would probably be better for you. Only probably, though, since once content is unlocked it applies to all characters on your account. Any alts will then have access to that playtime for free.

What's more, that price is a bit misleading since you will no doubt gain a number of Turbine points from completing deeds and the like. This helps defray the prices in the store.

So while the initial price of unlocks my seem a little high, a Premium player may very well save money in the long run compared to someone spending $15 a month -- even after having paid to unlock all the restrictions.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 2:57PM Lateris said

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So what happens if you subscribe? Do they still nickel and dime you to death?

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:19PM aurickle said

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A subscriber gets all content automatically. (You do still need to buy expansions, though, but that's no different from how it is for subscribers today.)

The only things subscribers will then care about from the store are vanity or convenience items. Vanity items can be gained for free just by playing the game. For example, you can gain the rep to purchase the Forochel outfits or the Wardens mount. Or you can earn the festival tokens to get the festival mounts and outfits.

As for convenience items which can't be gotten in-game, you're paying for convenience. You don't need them and it's your choice if the convenience is worth the money. For some, killing 600 trolls to complete a deed might be just fine. For others, it might be worth it to buy the book and end up needing only 300 trolls. For others, it might be worthwhile to skip the trolls completely and just buy the trait advancement. (Of course, this means you forfeit any Turbine points that you would have gotten for deed completion.) You don't get an advantage, though, because you can't advance the trait beyond its max. You're simply skipping something that you find to be tedious.

Also, VIP's get Turbine points deposited into their accounts every month. It's therefore hard to say you're being nickled and dimed to death by purchasing occasional vanity/convenience items with points that were given to you for free. :)
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:06PM Pingles said

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There are several F2P's that are considered successful.

How do THEY use their Cash Shops?

Runes of Magic doesn't charge for questlines, does it? Don't some of these games survive solely on vanity items?

Is it how MUCH money they want to make that's the issue?

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:24PM jmerriex said

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Runes does monetize it's quests. Specifically allowing you to do more repeatable daily quests by using a cash item.

In Sword 2 we took a different approach and have been very successful in selling cosmetic costumes in random boxes. This generates a large amount of money for us and our players seem to like it.

I'm very excited to see what new ideas Turbine will spin out with on LotRO. I think they did pretty well with DDO and the "grouped" content idea paid off there. I see they are trying to do the same thing with quests in LotRO. Time will tell how that works.

In a way I think every game needs to make its determination of how to monetize. Some games lend themselves to a cash shop (such as Sword 2). Some games don't. See a game go from sub to mt is very interesting and has been a great source of study and information for us.

Not going to lie, LotRO was hands down my favorite P2P MMO. I will wait and see how it plays out as F2P, but knowing Turbine's track record I doubt it will disappoint.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:25PM Wisdomandlore said

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Calling it F2P is kind of misleading. Essentially Turbine is selling a lifetime subscription to chunks of content. You buy a quest pack and you can play that quest pack on all your characters until Turbine shuts down the servers. If you play a couple of hours a month/week, that is a great deal. It's a new kind of subscription model as opposed to your traditional F2P game like RoM.

Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 3:46PM aurickle said

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That's actually one of the best descriptions I've seen yet.

Once this version goes live and prices are finalized it will be very interesting to see how the price of a lifetime sub compares to the total cost of purchasing all the unlocks. Since the lifetime sub will still have an advantage due to the ongoing infusion of Turbine points, I'm guessing that the cost of unlocks will come to about 50-75% of the lifetime price. (This isn't counting the cost of buying MoM and SoM, since lifetime subscribers still had to buy those.)
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 4:14PM (Unverified) said

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It's true, what we're really doing is introducing a F2P *option*. It's a hybrid model, not a true F2P model. You can still subscribe and get everything you always had, but you also get points every month to spend in the new Store for things you want. If you don't want to subscribe, you can choose the path that's right for you - go entirely free and buy content with points you earn in the game, or decide how much you want to spend and on what in addition to what you earn in the game.

I think that's one of the pieces that gets overlooked a lot - you can actually earn free points just by playing the game and then use those points to purchase further content and keep going. There is nothing in the LOTRO Store that you will *need* to purchase.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 4:16PM Tom in VA said

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I agree with aurickle. That is a o most excellent description, Wisdom.

I really wish something similar to this had been attempted with Tabula Rasa, allowing players an alternative to subscribing by buying quests for particular level ranges -- kind of a "pay as you go" system.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 4:33PM Mr Angry said

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Meghan, those free points are certainly not easy to come by and that comment about needing to buy things is misleading, if you want to continue to enjoy the game, you will need to buy content. Let's not play down the fact that this is primarily a cash shop game now.

If however I am wrong, please feel free to outline how a free player could earn points over the course of a year of regular game play, and how that would transfer into content and points and what would the experience be for people on a tight budget, with maybe $5 a month to spend and of a free player who does not want to pay?

How long would it take you to unlock an expansion, or a 600 point quest hub?
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 4:45PM Wisdomandlore said

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@Mr. Angry

I would imagine you can unlock Turbine Points in game at about the same pace you can in DDO. There are people who farm favor in DDO just for TP. They will create/delete characters on multiple servers to farm easy TP. I have known people that pay for new content completely by farming in game. I would not say it is "easy," nor would I say it's hard. It is grindy. It is a method that will lend itself to a certain playstyle.

However, even playing DDO casually I earned enough TP to supplement (and occasionally more than supplement) my purchases. Part of it is being frugal. Researching which quest packs will give you the most bang for your buck. Another part is patience (not Patience; Meghan will not give you free TP). Turbine has sales every week. Wait for quest packs to go on sell.

I do think it's possible for a player to level to 50 in LOTRO F2P and never buy a thing. The XP curve has been thoroughly flattened from the original game. The starter areas are completely unlocked, and they will easily get you to level 20. After that you'll have the epic questline, some skirmishes, and at least one instance. Both the skirmishes and instance scale to your level. You get a ton of XP (often 1/4 of a bar) from one Skirmish.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2010 6:00PM (Unverified) said

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@Wisdomandlore

Yup, though then there is the other half of the cash shop with various potions, items, mounts, scrolls or stat/virtue tomes. And this is exactly same as in Your usual F2P MMO. So it isn't just a new method of payment it's also regular cash shop.
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