Thursday, 10 September 2009


There's a number of sites where you can find a consolidation of all the currently available information on LOTRO's forthcoming expansion, The Siege of Mirkwood, so I won't bother recapitulating it all here (MMeOw has a good one). It's interesting to note that unlike the previous paid-for expansion (Mines of Moria), this one does not introduce a new volume, but "only" an new book (Book 9) of Volume II. It is to be a digital expansion costing around twenty dollars US, though I would guess it will soon be followed by a boxed edition for the retail market. Significant features include a level cap raise to 65, a legendary item cap raise to 60, a new runic slot for LIs, the eagerly expected Skirmishes, an apparently very large new area to explore and, above all, a new multi-boss raid culminating, it seems, in a battle with the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur. All good stuff...

Since this will not, after all, be a new volume, there has been some grumbling about having to pay for new content, but surprisingly less than might have been expected; most people, I think, realise that the content on offer in SoM will be considerably greater than we would normally have received from a free update. And to be honest, as one of the many players who paid for a lifetime subscription, I don't mind making an occasional contribution to Turbine's revenue stream, thereby ensuring that they continue to lavish time and attention on the game.


Green Armadillo said...

I doubt that they will bring it to retail in the near future. Physically manufacturing boxes costs money, retailers expect to get a cut of the sale price, and, frankly, retailers expect NOT to get undercut by the direct digital sale. Instead, Turbine has slashed the Moria all-in-one to $10, leaving retailers with worthless boxes that were MSRP'ed substantially higher. My guess is that Mirkwood won't hit retail until whenever the next full-sized expansion is.

Yeebo's got a good comparison between the book patches of SoA and MoM. It does appear that content may have been diverted from free Moria patches to bulk up this mini-expansion. There is a big question going forward about whether future book patches will deliver what Turbine has delivered in the past, or whether the best additional content will be saved for paid mini-expansions. For those of us who passed on the lifetime sub (I'd still be $100+ in the red on that deal, compared to what I've paid for the time I've actually used), the charge per patch model hits us twice for the same time frame.

Kairos said...

I would love to know exactly how the lifetime subscriptions have impacted on Turbine's financial forecast. Clearly, large chunks of cash coming early onstream are good for developing a product, but that has to be balanced against loss of revenue later. On the other hand, those of us who have a lifetime subscription are not actually costing Turbine anything.

As for retail, you're probably right, though as I remember Mines of Moria was also available for online purchase, however incompetently.

Anonymous said...

Since the Devs have stated that Volume III will come as a free content update after SoM I really don't mind paying for something that's not much more than a book update with gameplay changes.

The way I look at it, the advantage this has over releasing BK9 as free content and then charging for the beginning of Volume III is that we get those gameplay changes about three months earlier, and Turbine gets some extra cashflow sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Don't mind paying for this mini-expansion (I think of it as of something in between a regular book update and a full x-pac), as I still consider mmorpgs and LOTRO in particular as one of the most cost-effective hobbies. 20$? A night of drinking will cost you more; here we have lots of new content that will take months to plow through.