Delayed F2P — LotRO Europe

LotRO Europe was supposed to go to Turbine’s Free to Play model on 10th September. It’s been delayed. And delayed again. We’ve had some welcome back weekend promotions, some free travel, some GM-run events, some community competitions, all to make up for it.

I’m sure it’s all appreciated. But… I’m disappointed.

Not really in the delay of the Free to Play model. I’m a lifetime subscriber and I honestly don’t care too much for the item store or the move. I do, however, want the new content of Enedwaith. I want to play with the Captain changes, I’d mentally got myself prepared for them and they’re still not here. I want the newly scaled instances of The Great Barrows, the Annuminas instances and Helegrod as a revamped raid experience. We prepared for them, we looked forward to them, we read about how everyone in the US is finding them, and now I’m starting to lose interest again.

Yes, that’s probably me being a fickle consumer. I’ve been playing LotRO since beta and bought in on the lifetime sub before launch even, I was so enthused about the game. But I’ve been milling around the endgame for what seems like forever. I have more medallions than I can spend, my gear is all there is (since there’s no real variation), and I’m only really logging on to provide a Capt body for kin raid efforts in Barad Guldur. I do have alts, I’m not the world’s greatest alt-er though and I simply don’t enjoy churning through content an additional time for no real reason. So I play a semi-static group with a set of friends as and when we can all be on together, but what I really really want is my Captain changes and the new content.

Codemasters have been patchy on information. In fact, they were pretty terrible at the start of the delay, but they have learned from this and now provide more regular, if just as un-informative, updates. Ok, we trust there’s a good reason they can’t tell us exact details. It’s obvious they don’t want to provide a guesstimate of when the update will hit, and funnily enough, I respect that. They don’t want to set themselves up for a big failure again with a fixed date. I suspect we may never entirely know why the delay has gone on this long.

The forums depress me. If anyone complains about the delay, they’re met with the ‘omg, how dare you complain’ crowd – the crux of their argument appears to be ‘we trust Codemasters, there MUST be a really good reason for the delay’. Everyone has a right to complain, it’s HOW some people complain that is an issue. No-one should resort to personal attacks, Codemasters’ employees are individually obviously not to blame. Of course, there’s any number of conspiracy theories that cover Codemasters caring more about other game releases, to Turbine wanting to take over European players as they did with DDO eventually – and probably some really wacky ones relating to the Illuminati. Who knows? But that’s what lack of information does to us in an age where we’re used to knowing things, and quickly.

I’m not fuming angry about the delay. It’s not like the new content brings all that much to me or to my friends – especially with no new levels. But, it’s diverting and would have kept me in LotRO for a while, instead of seeing me drift off to check out so many other games instead. I do find it hard to concentrate on my Captain… I was genuinely kind of excited about the changes to the class, and I feel their denial more sharply than the loss of anything else. But I feel I can’t complain on the official forums, I don’t even feel like complaining. I just feel that something is up, we’re not being told, we will get the update when we get it, but in the meantime, I’ll be drifting ever further away from LotRO and Codemasters.

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7 thoughts on “Delayed F2P — LotRO Europe

  1. I thought they would delay the launch a few days, just to see how the F2P transactions work out, to wait for the first bugfixes to the Enedwaith and so on. They have done that before, and it was quite a sound strategy.

    But what’s up now? I know less about this than you, and apparently there is no reason given why they still delay F2P Europe.

    What’s up? We don’t know and we don’t get told. I am quite afraid, here are my speculations:

    1.) They plan a slightly different shop system. I fear it might turn out to be greedier. It would be cool if fast travel would not be a subscriber privilege, the “pay for 1h fast travel with (albeit the small price) Turbine Points” thing was a real WTF moment for me.

    2.) LOTRO goes back to the USA/Turbine. Just like DDO. Strategic decision by the management. LOTRO probably makes money, even Ultima Online does still make money. But maybe they want to get out of this business or focus on another title.

    It is also a bit embarrassing that even my very casual WoW playing buddies know that LOTRO is F2P in the USA but have already forgotten (!) that I am playing LOTRO on EU servers. Maybe Turbine was not that wrong when they filed that lack of promotion lawsuit against Atari regarding DDO.

    December and Cataclysm are coming. The time when the tourists rush back to their usual WoW routine and are happy about it. LOTRO players might also take a diversion.

    Everyone knows the answer why: The Enedwaith alone does not seem to be much, so people can go on raiding Dol Guldur or they are simply out of content since February. Despite all its atmosphere and high quality Mirkwood was still only a mini-expansion.

    I guess people are looking forward to GW2 which is rumored to be released in spring or summer of 2011 and won’t bother with GW1 anymore, and STO is not that great that I can recommend it without a “it’s not for everyone” disclaimer.

    Unless something major like Rohan comes in 2011, I see a hard time for LOTRO as Cataclysm, GW2 and SWTOR are looming on the horizon. It might not be LOTRO, but it is for sure quite a lot of fun content for MMO gamers.

  2. So…why is there a delay?

    Europe is not China…so I am not see’ing the issues that could prevent these Codemasters from releasing the updates to keep up with their NA counterparts. Perhaps I am missing something.

  3. Not to mention the £ and € they’re loosing.

    Right now the biggest kid on the block, Blizz, are also stagnating. This means there are a gazillion WoW players (including me) who might well have liked a look at LotR but havent jumped as they’re waiting for F2P.

    I’ve been off work for weeks ill, banned from physical stuff so pretty much sat at my PC playing games. I’ve previously played LoTR briefly….and if F2P was available I’d have jumped in and tried it as there’s damn all to do in WoW right now. I’m sure I’m not the only customer they’ve missed! They have a month or two before Cata but the window is narrowing fairly sharpish

  4. I got tired of WoW, and decided to try LotRO (in the US).

    So, after six hours of free download, the darn thing doesn’t install. Suggestions on forums to fix the problem don’t work.

    At this point, Turbine has lost a potential customer. I’m not going to go back and try to download it again when they are showing no sign they are serious in trying to deliver a quality experience. First impressions count for a lot, and theirs was terrible.

  5. Hi, I’m one of those EU players spending my money overseas cos of Codemaster’s delay. There was quite a mess in the first fortnight or so, the game was lagging awfully and there were such long login queues that sometimes you weren’t able to log in for hours. The servers were down for maintenance almost every day. Subscribers kept complaining in the chat and the game forums about not getting their money’s worth and f2p ruining the game. Eventually, the game was patched up nicely but starter areas are still lagging a bit, most noticeably Bree, and even today I was welcomed by a “lotro store glitch” notice at login. So perhaps Codemasters keeps delaying the release cos they want to release a stable f2p model? That’s my feeble guess.

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