I am sure you all know that the LOTRO 4th Anniversary celebration began yesterday. There was a lot of excitement for a new horse and new cosmetics and new housing items. However, once it was determined exactly how much grind is required to achieve these things, people got grumpy. And people are still grumpy. I am still grumpy. I usually try not to write ‘editorial’ type articles on this site, however today I feel there is just cause for such an article. And here’s why…
Token Cost and Acquisition
The primary source of concern is the token cost of these new items. Especially in regards to the horse. For all the other festivals, a horse costs 1 race token and 20 special festival coins. These is usually able to be achieved in a day, usually in a few hours time. This makes it so you can get your horses on all your characters at your leisure within the 2 week time span. It’s great because even if you only have the opportunity to log in for 3 hours during the duration of the festival, you can still get a horse or two.
The problem with this festival or ‘celebration’, is the horse is now 30 Anniversary Tokens and 3 race tokens. You can only run 2 races a day, meaning at minimum you need to play two days in order to get the horse. The real clincher here though is the acquisition rates for the Anniversary Tokens. There are only two ways to gain these tokens, and each way only gets you 1 Token per run. There is the Horse Race (which in all previous festivals gives you the choice of rewards: 1 race token or 3 festival tokens. For the anniversary it is the choice between one of each) and the Beer Brawl, the 2009 Yule Festival event. The Beer Brawl is only available 6 times per hour and will only start if there are 2 or more people in the arena. This brings me to the next problem…
The Beer Brawl
At its initial release, many did not like the Beer Brawl. The point of the game was to hit other players with a club and try to grab a Glorious Beer that randomly spawns on one of four tables a few times during a 5 minute span of time. In 2009, only one person could win the Glorious Beer in a round, it’s with this festival they implemented the ‘spawns multiple times’ bit. This game is incredibly frustrating because, like Stomp-a-Shrew, once the game starts you cannot leave the arena square or else you fail the quest and have to wait until the next round. That wouldn’t be a problem, but the whole point of the game is to hit people with clubs. Hitting someone with a club knocks them back, and sometimes out of the arena. It has come to light that some people actually think the point of the game is to hit people out of the arena (Which is NOT TRUE. Please DO NOT try to hit people out of the arena). So by sheer luck, people can loose this event and their chance to win 1 token. By way of the timing, you must play Beer Brawl multiple hours ever day if you wish to get the mount, cosmetic items, and all of the housing items. Having the Beer Brawl as a means to get tokens wouldn’t be so bad, if it weren’t the only viable way to get tokens on a daily basis. With the festivals, there is always a multitude of options to acquiring tokens.
As my frequent readers know, I am usually there to defend Turbine, the devs, and the CMs. However, today I stand firmly on the other side. Sapience has responded in the main thread about the Anniversary. In his responses he does not address any actual issues and is snarky in one instance. In the first link, he claims the grind is so high because they want people to ‘enjoy the festival for the duration of its run’. This is a huge problem for those with limited play time on a weekly basis or for those who happen to be busy much of the next 2 weeks. This line of thinking is only thinking about the people who play multiple hours everyday. With this approach, if you want the items, you need to decide whether you will spend all of your play time today actually playing and leveling and doing instances or just doing Beer Brawl for four hours straight. This thread isn’t a giant whine fest. most of the responses are well reasoned and show the kind of posts that Sapience is always asking for: data and analysis. One posted took the time to do the tokens/hour math for the Beer Brawl. In order to achieve all the items, one must play Beer Brawl for 44 hours. And that’s assuming you don’t get knocked out of the ring by griefers.
Less is More
A lot of people have pointed out that this is yards away more than Turbine has given us for the past anniversaries. That is true, but everyone liked how those anniversaries turned out. Everyone would get a permanent discount to the bards or the travel horses. Everyone could get level appropriate fluff rewards just from going about their typical LOTRO day. Nothing grand was expected, and the small simple way of saying “Thanks for playing all these years!” was enough. Now they say Thanks by dangling a gaudy carrot in front of us and telling us the only way to get it is to do one event for 44 hours.