[LOTRO] Expansion pricing, and when points get devalued

Turbine had previously announced the pre-release package for Rise of Isengard, which costs $30 for the expansion zones (including raid and dungeons), some pretty cosmetic gear/ mounts, and 25% xp bonus for all characters on your account. Sounds like a reasonable deal for an expansion, and the xp bonus is a nice perk for people with lots of alts.

Yesterday they also released the details for the expansion pricing if you prefer to buy it with Turbine points, and the forums went wild. The price is points is significantly higher than the price if you buy the pre-order in cash. And not only is the price for the expansion higher, you have to pay extra in points for the raid and again for the dungeons.

Note: One of the vaunted advantages of F2P was only having to pay for the content that you wanted. This advantage does not feel so exciting when it’s a) cheaper to pay cash for the entire bundle including the part you didn’t want and b) the price of the basic content has risen so high that you’re paying more for the part you do want anyway.

Now, it obviously makes sense from Turbine’s point of view to devalue points in favour of cash whenever they get the chance. This being the case, anyone who stocked up on turbine points when they were on special deal with the aim of using them to buy the expansion has lost out here. Player vs Developer discusses the expansion pricing in more detail. As PvD comments, even at the best deal possible, this would still be more expensive than paying cash for the preorder.

(Although if you aren’t in a hurry for the content, it’s bound to be on sale in a few months time.)

But the point cost isn’t for people like you, it’s for people like me

Now to get this into perspective, you have to consider players like me. I have a lifetime subscription, but I actually play LOTRO in fits and starts, a few months here and then a few months there. I very very rarely spend Turbine points but my account accrues them at 500p per month.

I have about 7500 turbine points on my account. Buying the expansion with points is a no brainer for me, there’s nothing else I wanted to spend the points on, I don’t have to buy the raid if I don’t plan to raid (which I don’t) and it doesn’t matter to me how much those points would have cost in real money because I didn’t pay for them. I could imagine that my lifetime sub covers the cost of this expansion – because it basically does.

Now I just have to decide if I want to pay the extra for the 25% xp bonus for my warden alt. I think I might not bother, actually. If it had been an account bonus I probably would have done it but the version you can buy with points is for one alt only.

So my advice with Turbine and Points is this:

  • Don’t buy any content before you need it unless there is a particularly good sale on. The longer you wait, the more chance of it coming up in a sale.
  • Don’t buy points unless there’s something you really want to spend points on, regardless of how good the sale is. Turbine have shown here that if they really want people to spend cash, they can always make that more appealing.
  • If something has been in a sale once, it’ll be in a sale again.
On another note, I do wonder how pricing the raid separately is going to affect raiding in Isengard. I don’t think many casual raiders will be quick to plonk down the extra points for the raid instance unless they are very keen.

10 thoughts on “[LOTRO] Expansion pricing, and when points get devalued

    • I remember I also said that I thought there were quite a few people who had lots of points built up and they’d need to find some kind of point sink.

      There has always been a question with LOTRO as to how much of the core population are represented by lifetime sub holders. Some of those people will have paid up front and spend nothing more for years. And with the 500 point per month stipend, if you don’t spend that much per month then the point base just keeps increasing.

      So you could see it as a cash grab and particularly one aimed at subscribers who have that free stipend to use up. F2P players (at least those who don’t stock up on points unduly) get a decent deal with their regular preorder package.

      But yeah, I think what we’re seeing is that people in general are not regularly spending points in the cash shop. Maybe the big spending players are, but they want to get more out of the rest too.

      • It seems lazy to me that the points sink is not awesome new content worth spending points on but simply a devaluation.

        MMOs are really profitable. It feels like they’re choosing their strategy not based on what they need to break even but based on a desire to exceed previous years’ massive profits.

    • The fact that the Artificer is available for favor within 3 months means if you want to – you can wait.

      Turbine just gave ViP’s 1000 points for two months in a row over the summer – and the Arti class will likely be between 900-1500 points – meaning it’s a wash for VIPs – and VIPs are the only ones that are really affected by this.

      I wouldn’t call it a cash grab – especially considering Favored Soul is a favor unlock that costs TP for VIPs already – this is just similar. Frankly I think the entire thing is being overblown

  1. At least I can log in on the 27th and take a look around the new landscape, but that’s all I’ll be doing for the time being. I’ll wait and see what the ‘expansion’ option they add to the store costs, because this a la carte pricing is ridiculous, but more than likely I’ll be waiting for a sale on the questpack.

    The excuses being given on the forums are pretty feeble, the instances being delayed and their ‘tech’ doesn’t allow them to add an expansion bundle to the in-game store, and subsequently credit people with those instances while that’s exactly what the cash preorders can do.

    The frustrating part is the changing of the rules the whole time, it’s gone from instances are included with questpacks, to instances are separate purchases now and ‘expansions’ are delivered over the course of a few months but it’s better to pay cash up front, which really sends the warning signal they have cashflow problems.

    Honestly I’m premium and I’ve not spend any cash since F2P either because I got a complimentary bundle of TP to spend and through canny purchasing have most of the content I want, so I’m part of the problem with lifetimers.

  2. Bottom line: they want people to pay real money. Especially their not insignificant lifetime user base. Instead of adding the regions they are now declared an expansion which allows them to charge VIPs for the quest packs. VIPs get the “Eriador” (LOTRO except Moria and Mirkwood, basically everything before F2P) quest pack for free. Everything else costs them as well.

    This should probably cure people of the idea of saving up their lifetime points for every region till Mordor, doesn’t it? Especially if they want to buy some bells, whistles or rather fancy horses as well instead of going Spartan and saving it all up for the grossly overpriced “expansions”. There are a lot of areas between Isengard and Mordor, don’t even want to know in how many parts Gondor and Rohan will be split.

  3. Yes.

    RE: Raid – if you’re casual, you might not be into the raid content for another month or two, maybe even longer. At that time you may have accumulated some TP (Turbine Points/Toilet Paper – same thing) to purchase the raid content.

    In some ways, this sort of shoots Turbine in the foot while rewarding non-frivolous TP spenders.

  4. Pingback: Isengard Pricing | Kill Ten Rats

  5. Another group that might see a hit are those who would just go out and buy a bunch of points via a game card at a discount store, such as Target. If you bought the points that way for something else and were figuring about using the leftover points to help pay for the expansion, surprise!

  6. Pingback: LOTRO: The devalued Turbine Point « Bio Break

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