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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thoughts on RoR launch cosmetics

Today I want to share my thoughts on the new armor and steed cosmetics we have gotten with the launch of Riders of Rohan. I'll address the people-armor first and discuss my views on the quality and cost of the new warsteeds' tack & barding.
(Page break because it makes my post's view-count go up by necessity :):

Outfits for the Free Peoples

The first thing that springs to my mind when considering the new outfits for our LotRO avatars is that the variety of new stuff is about half of what we got with Isengard. Rohan gives us six crafted sets and three distinctly different quest reward sets; no, I don't really consider the interchangeable regional decals on the quest/rep armor to be "distinctly different." Compare this to Isengard, where we got three different-looking crafted sets and approximately nine different quest/rep reward sets AND three outfits from the epic quest AND three raid outfits. See Devonna's excellent recap of RoI rewards here. I'm not even touching on cloak comparison either, just chest, head, shoulders (knees & toes!), etc.

This disparity can be reasonably explained by pointing at all the Warsteed cosmetics added to the game. Art resources were surely devoted to producing those.

Despite the relative (to RoI) lack of variety in new things for our characters to wear, I acknowledge that what we did get was quality stuff. I find the crafted pieces in particular to be excellent additions to my toolbox as a LotRO outfitter. You can see from some of my previous posts how much I like them. I contend that the bronze trimming of the quest gear opens up new possibilities in creating outfits; metallic colors are hard to design outfits around so more options is excellent in my book. While I can't say I like the chest and leggings of the quest armor, the smooth plate of the boots and gauntlets fit my m.o. nicely. Overall I am pleased with the looks of the crafted and purple quest gear with RoR launch, and underwhelmed but not put-off with the quanity of new looks.

Now having said that, the Hytbold armor is a sore subject with me. My negative reaction to the Hytbold armor having the same damned look as the quest gear is surely irrational; after all I just admitted that art devs probably spent more of their time on horse gear than people gear. I got hung up on the pre-release Rohan screenshots, though. Just take another look at some of these:

For the longest time I'd hoped and believed that these two sets were a taste of what the Hytbold armors would look like. We see that Warden armor not once, not twice, but three times in the rohan.lotro.com images gallery. Seems I was wrong on what sets they represented, so I was let down at RoR launch. I'm now resigned to seeing these sets with the Rohan instance cluster.

Warsteeds

Seems the word on everyone's lips regarding Turbine's famed Warsteeds is expensive. I can't help but agree: to kit out a single toon in multiple Warsteed outfits can easily cost more than the expansion pack itself.
Personally, I grumble and moan, but not too much... for I've already plunked some money down to make Argendauss stand out. Joining a price crusade would ratchet my hypocritometer up a bit too much. The cosmetics are pricey and I'd even say unfair. But, given the choice between a generic steed and custom steed I can look at to gain extra enjoyment from, I chose the latter. I won't lie, I felt a little buyer's remorse; to combat that I started conjuring justifications for the price I paid. For example:
  • LotRO is the only MMO I play.
  • I have a handful of readers to please.
  • My dad, my sister, and I ate a steak dinner the other night, my treat; the tab was comparable to the money I had spent so far on Argendauss's horse (and then I went and bought more, tipping the scale).
  • I'd been too lazy to go to the store for beer the past couple weeks, so therefore horse money = beer money.
  • I don't have kids to feed and I live cheaply to begin with (though I expect my idyllic college lifestyle will be crushed into little pieces in a few months, when I graduate).
Various defensive little thoughts like that arose. The price ain't right, but as for me, what's done is done.
I do truly enjoy the two custom steeds I've made so far for Argendauss, and I hope to share them with you all soon. Please, share your own insight on Rohan cosmetics in the comments, and thanks for reading!

6 comments:

  1. Lolling hard at knees and toes. :P

    Great post and great assessment. I'm seeing lots of possibilites for the new (people) pieces, mostly in various retro-blends -- so that's nice even though, as you mention, the selection is more limited this time around.

    I'm disappointed by the Hytbold armour too. The armour many of us assumed would be the Hytbold sets will probably be the instance sets. It seems better suited to Hytbold rewards to me since it's nice but not that epic looking (I feel). I hope the raid sets will be something different again.

    As for the war-steed colours, I've held off so far on purchasing anything. I want to see how this all shakes out first. I've always said I want to give Turbine my money to support the longevity and success of the game (and I do) but I want to feel I'm making a worthy purchase, and this is the first time I've been hesitant (for reference, I think the price was right on the barter wallet and landscape soldier tokens and have purchased and enjoyed both). Something about the war-steed colours just seems a little off to me though. Possibly that they are in packs, not sure. I guess we'll see what happens!

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    1. Hey thanks for reading!

      Yeah, they may well retroactively make stuff account-wide, or give us refunds, or something. I hope so anyway.

      I'd agree the unreleased Warden and Guard/Champ armor we've seen so far isn't awe-inspiring like raid armor oughta be. They did darn well with ToO. I am happy to see that the future raid armor is dyeable, at least. Check the Warden armor, where in some screenshots it's grey but in others it's umber. (or perhaps they can't decide on what they want it to be).

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  2. 100% agree with you. I am thoroughly uninspired with RoR cosmetics and I personally can't afford/refuse to pay for the warsteed customizations in the Lotro Store. I'm really not in love with this exspansion. I can't even say I enjoy mounted combat that much. I get so dizzy all the time.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear your RoR experience so far isn't one of great enjoyment. I'm pretty much done with the mounted combat sideshow myself. I do Bugud and maybe a handful of other warbands daily, but that takes little time; some of the Hytbold dailies are mount-friendly so I'll use that to speed it along. But I'm not getting too into the MC. I mean I analyzed all the steed traits and picked what I thought was most efficient like I do for everything, but I'm not going all-out on it like I do for Captain tanking and Captain healing and Warden DPS and other secondary things. The 2nd age bridle reward for the epic isn't enough to entice me to do it (I don't do epics except to unlock traits and skirmishes); I'll level and deck out my forgotten LM alt before I meld anything more than the throw-away T4 relics on my bridle. So yeah, the MC aspect of the game is neat but not that neat, IMO. Enjoying the hell out of skraiding again, though--I just got my Captain a 2nd age Greathammer and Emblem and a handful of skirmish jewelry pieces.

      Hey, did you know some Warsteed accessories drop from lootboxes? I had a friend get a torchbearer's pack or w/e it's called from one of the Riddermark lootboxes. That said, the four I've opened all had trash in them.

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  3. Its a tough call, deciding whether to spend or not, or how much. To use a Gandalf line from the film, 'all we have to do is to decide what to do with the TP that are given to us'... O.K we bought or earned them, but you get the idea!

    My wife and I have tried to steer away from words like boycott and embago, and principled stands and such, because its our hobby, and its all just a bit much over a game for us. After all, as you say, I could spend £4 on my lunch and enjoy it less that a red colour pack on a character, so thats our real choice there, is the value/enjoyment ratio good enough for us? What I would say is that we have, and will continue to, moderate what we spend (to be honest we have to) on the colours and horses, perhaps more than we would, or intended, because some stuff is darn expensive. Whether that is to Turbine detriment or not will remain to be seen.

    It has become an unusual issue, a bit like a strike action, with some players seemingly feeling guilty for being 'splitters' or breaking ranks, or feeling some need to justify their purchases and enjoyment. Personally I feel no one has anything to justify at all, it is nobody elses business. In the long run, this is self policing. If enough people want it enough to pay they prices, they will, if not, Turbine will not sell enough, and have to reduce prices, or declare it a failure. All we have to do is decide what to do with the TP that are given to us! He's a clever fella that F2P Gandalf!

    Looking forward to seeing your outfits, ours might take some time to collate, so in the meantime we are enjoying checking out everybody elses outfits!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I've got another horse about ready, just trying to find a new cloak for Raid Ready Captain.

      Value/enjoyment ratio is exactly what went through my head. I play a whole hell of a lot, on just two characters. I figure time played is a factor in determining the enjoyment term.

      I do want to see the high prices backfire on Turbine, but not enough to abstain from lookin' dapper on my horse. That's where my guilt originates: a mild degree of hypocrisy.

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