Friday, June 4, 2010

New Beginnings

Hey all-

As you probably heard on the podcast, the original website ( and and the original email ( have become corrupted and I cannot regain access to the accounts.

Instead of starting a new podcast (Casual Stroll to LOTROCast or Green LOTROCast Inn) I thought I'd setup up shop in a similar but slightly different location. You can now visit the blog at or and you can send emails to

In more news, Turbine has announced that LOTRO will be going F2P (Free to Play) this Fall. See the link here for more details.

Here is an article on the F2P from MMORPG



  1. Alberos, check your email.... The ones from

  2. I have to respond to your newest episode, specifically what you said about the F2P change killing PvMP.

    I have to vehemently disagree. I think opening it up to anyone other than VIPs WOULD kill it, at least in the beginning.

    Think about it - you only have to get a character to level 10 to roll a creep. With the huge inflex of new players, if all of them could roll a creep, could you imagine the imbalance that would create? Then there are the people who would ONLY play for monster play, which they could now do for free. All of this, not to mention the server strain from all those creeps. The servers ALREADY show serious strain during peak, and even without opening it to anyone but VIPs the F2P change will only increase the PvMP population.

    I'm seeing this change as only good for PvMP, personally.

    ~ Drilorin of Through the Palantir

  3. Premium classes are Warden and Rune-keeper. I would not get my hopes up for anything else at this point. lol, just tired of having my hopes dashed by Turbine.

  4. EDIT for my above post. I just read speculation on the forums that the reason we can purchase up to 11 character slots is because they may be introducing more premium classes. Doh! There I go again, with my hopes going higher and higher!

  5. worries. I think we will have lots of new information and corrections over the next few months until the F2P change is implimented.

  6. The F2P model actually does make some sense. The problem for most casual players is that they often don't really know what game they want to invest their limited playing time in these days, and most would be cautious not to even bother trying a game that they think that its going to cost them $10-20 a month just to keep a player that they built up years ago, but rarely have the desire or time to play as active. I thought the 'Lifetime' subscription was a really good idea since it takes the ongoing costs of keeping access to a game manageable (with the exception of the hefty up front costs). But it doesn't take long to spend $100-200 in monthly subscription fees.

    I think that the F2P model will work and bring in a lot of new blood to the game. When DDO went F2P there was a lot of backlash from players and a bit of "us vs them" did go on, but eventually it seems to have worked its way out naturally. I hope we don't see any elitism in Lotro because of this because that would do more damage than good for the game. After all what we all want is a healthy and profitable game for Turbine/WB so that they strive to continue to invest in programmer, designer & testers in the game to make it even more epic and keep the level caps going up.

  7. I will also disagree on what you said about the change. They have said that there will be no armour or game changing objects to buy in the store, potions, cosmetics, some low level armour, upgrades for F2P players (such as RK, Wrd, other such things)

    The pvmp is one of my focuses (creep side) i seem to spend more time there than on my cappy. I will say that i (and many on Laurelin, agree) would hate for so many people to be able to joint pvmp, creeps would outnumber freeps 50>1 because you can join at lvl 10. There is already lag in the moors. That type of influx of players into one zone would crash the servers (these are the reasons devs have given and many agree, balance is already a tyte rope)Alot of people iv talked to who pay now wont downgrade because they want to keep the game how it is now.

    The game for subscribers and lifers will not change in any way apart from getting 500 points per month (not to mention the loyalty awards) which can be used in the store to not only buy misc items but full expansions if you save up. They have stated if you have it now you will have it after the upgrade (if you keep paying for subbers and even if you stop they wont be deleted just restriced, start paying again and you will get it all back)

    They will still be ading free content updates for VIP's prem and free's will just have to pay for it separately.

    I think that overall your reaction was the same as many people in the forums before they fully read everything about the change then things calmed down and people started to realy think about it, if you want a very in depth view listen to the newest Casual stroll to Mordor pod cast.

    Just my thoughts but iv been trying to explain that there are more positives than negatives to people.

    p.s. glad to hear you got the problems sorted out.

    p.s.s lol at pet Balrogs (they wont be doing anything like this, they still have to have things approved by Tolkien Enterprise)

  8. Matobi

    Thanks for your post. I'm not a big PvMP player so I defer to you and Drilorin as the experts. My thought was only that any PvP is dependent on a certain balance of mass on both sides. My concern was that I know many players who play creeps as a way to take a break from their Freep. If these players downgrade to Premium to save on a monthly fee, the way I am reading the FAQ would suggest they would lose access to Monster Play.

    Regarding the other changes...I have stepped away from the ledge a little bit. I think Turbine has done a good job with content and game balance in the past. My concern how ever stems from the past actions of other public companies and MMOs and the actions they have taken. In my experience publicly held companies like Warner Brothers are focused on short term profit in an effort to maximize share value. Privately held firms tend to be a little more tolerant of deferring short term games for greater long term gains. Publicly held companies have rushed games to market before they were ready (WAR and AOC), changed game play in efforts to drive new business (Star Wars Galaxies), and terminated games because they did not matchup to their WoW-esque expectations.

    While I agree that a F2P model will drive new players to the game (which is good), my main concern is what will be sold in the online store. For Turbine to make a profit they need to drive transactions at the store. This can either be done by driving a sustained high volume of people who make a few purchases or a sustained moderate volume of repeat buyers. Unlike a WoW or a DDO I don't know that LOTRO is really a high volume game. The lore tends to restrict what some gamers look for (flying mounts, in game pets, lots of races and classes, etc...) while the lack of a true pvp system may exclude others. If driving a high volume of purchasers isn't possible, then they need to drive a high volume of repeat business. But my fear is that the lore may prevent that as well. The way I am interpreting the schedule is that our $15 monthly fee is equivalent to 500 Turbine Points. If the Mines of Moria expansion was $29.99 thats roughly 2 months of Turbine Points. If I subscribe for 6 months what else would I spend out points on? Certain items they will sell (expansions, area access, moutns) will be one time purchases. Others will be repeatable (potions, food, etc...). The repeatable items however are createable in game so they will probably have to be reasonably price. So what else is left?

    I am skeptical because I have seen many companies make mistakes by following the flavor of the month with out thinking things through. In this case I am concerned that Turbine was successful with F2P with DDO and now the WB is pushing it onto LOTRO when it isn't necessary.

    Because I'd like to know more about F2P I am downloading DDO to see how they've implimented it. I'll give you my revised opinion on the next show.

    Thanks again for your opinon. I hope you were right that my initial reaction was an overeaction.

  9. I really hope that the people from turbine responsible for these changes are listening to this podcast and reading these replies.

    I've done a little creeping myself, and my main (Awoien) just got up to a high enough level to begin the pvmp. I really like the way that the system is set up, and I hope that they can keep the balance, well, balanced. I am hoping to see more activity in the Moors, but I also think that allowing free players to creep around will upset the balance.

    There are a few ideas that I've toyed around with, like freeps using a skirmish-soldier system in the moors, or maybe only letting free players play as freeps. I don't think that either of these will work, because if the freeps get soldiers the creeps will need something similar, and because the level cap for free players isn't high enough to do any damage in the Moors. I hope that turbine figures this out.

  10. Thanks for keeping up with this, Alberos, even with the latest issues with the old site and email.

    I was listening the the last cast and I appreciated getting a different perspective on the F2P model especially since the information was so new. I'm a DDO player also and this change has been very positive for that game - I'm confident that Turbine will do equally well in maintaining adherence to the lore as well as managing all of our concerns.

    I also see the PvMP as being something that could be significantly imbalanced if it was a paid option (pay with Turbine points). What I've heard is that there is some concern over the number of people in a single area at a time and that they would look at introducing it eventually to non-VIP once they had the server side stuff figured out.

  11. At the moment we only have their assurance that the store will not sell end-game gear. They also said that they will be careful that store items will not affect crafting. During the beta they will also observe and take feedback which kind of store items people think are appropriate. So, I'm hopeful it will turn out ok and that they will not enrage current loyal players. But I do understand your concerns. :)

    Like many others, I see the F2P as an extended or unlimited trial. Because honestly, the F2P model seems to be very restricted. It's just a teaser to get people to subscribe. That's what happened with DDO. After the F2P change, the game has had 3 times as much subscribers.

  12. Being a long time DDO player, the one noticeable affect of the F2P move was to increase users. But they are typically low level characters, so if you are trying to group with Level 14 players in order to get experience or quest in areas you can only do it with groups, its not really a great benefit initially. Sure, 6 months on you'd hope that the F2P initiative drives more to subscribe, but there is a saying that goes, "You give as much respect to something as it costs you to obtain it" which tells me that a lot of supposed players that are statistically counted in the DDO world are casual observers who download and install the game, and try it out, then get called away to something else and don't return to it with any great committment. I can't group with those players, and it just drives Turbine to create more low level content to keep them in, on the basis that a percentage of them MAY subscribe or stay with the game.

    I do want to see more higher end content and the unfortunate reality of a F2P move is that it forces the game designers to focus on low end content more, to try and incentivize players to stay with the game and subscribe. Its the longer term players that tend to 'suffer' from this move in the short term, but if it keeps the game alive eventually everyone will win.

  13. I wouldn't really mind a focus on lower level content. As long as we get new content, I don't care about the level. Many people have been wanting to see the Tower Hills and Southfarthing of the Shire since the game launched. I think these would be wonderful low level areas to add into the game.

  14. Alberos: I think I heard a concern that revenue for the game might go down. This shouldn't be the case. WB will only act in an attempt to increase revenue - they would not be doing this if they didn't think they would be making more money than they are now (assuming LotRO makes money).

    My concern #1 is this: as a subscriber I get the whole game - the whole experience that I want to. If I keep paying my $10 a month, I want to be able to access all central content with that $10 a month subscription and the Turbine Points that come with it. If I can't, I'll feel that I've been shafted; I won't pay any extra money for it than I would have paid with a subscription (and paying for an expansion every 1.5-2 years).

    My concern #2 is: I was hoping that the WB purchase would allow extra funds to go towards making the experience better. I'd like to see Turbine work on the game engine. I'd like to see Turbine work on the crafting system, which I find terribly frustrating. I'd like to see footprints when I run on the snow! I would regret to see valuable programming resources diverted from improving the underlying produce to creating turtle pets. Before we work on pathing pets, we should work on pathing our soldiers in Skirmishes!

    That's it!
    -Belegedan of Landroval