Lord of the Rings Online has a deep story, an amazing community of players, well-balanced end-game content and unsurpassed graphics. It also has changed... for the worse. When the Turbine Store was first launched with F2P, I left the game for a few months. I was angry and disheartened by the items that were attainable by spending real life money. I was angered at the outright LIE to us as a community by Patience who before launch said, "The LOTRO Store will offer convenience, not advantage."
After three months of not finding anything to replace LOTRO with, I gave up my idealistic boycott and came back to what still is the best MMO I've ever played. When I came back, I had hope for the direction of the store. I hoped that maybe it would change, maybe Turbine would hear the cries of the players that were leaving in droves over the sound of their profits. In order to "keep up" with end-game and my raiding comrades, I gave in and did something that I swore I would never do. I bought Turbine points... which I used to get the stats tomes for my main character. I hadn't seen ANY drop in game. The full set of stat tomes for ONE toon cost all the points and I had, and then my wardrobe and vaults got full, and then there were NEW stat tomes and then new cosmetics, and then NEW NEW NEW! So, I recently bought another round of TP. Which made me think about how many hours I've put into earning things in this game over these last 4 years. And I got angry again. Every 'new addition' and announcement for the store just makes me more and more upset. I sincerely wish I had stuck to my ideals 18 months ago, because at that time I predicted that there would be more and more "needed" items from the store that would be too good to pass up. I predicted that Turbine would do exactly what they ARE doing, and that most of us would fall for it. I understand the argument that I could just NOT buy the store items. But I want my main toon -- of whom I am very proud -- to have, and be, everything that she can.
I know it sounds hackneyed, but Turbine and LoTRO (under the new WB regime) have sold us out. Enjoying immersion into Tolkien's world while truly EARNING every possible reward is a thing of the past, and given the financial profit, that isn't going to change. And I get it. I understand that they are trying to make money. That is what all MMOs are trying to do. That is what the Turbine Store is. I also understand that when they give us a dozen new possible cosmetic items that won't fit in our already stuffed vaults and wardrobes along with the ability to suddenly upgrade those both again only through the Turbine Store.. that WE ARE BEING PLAYED.
I've really missed the game and my friends these last couple of weeks that I haven't been able to play (for real life reasons), but I don't know if I can come back again. I don't know if I can continue to sit back and declare myself mindless enough to keep throwing away my money and my ideals at something that used to only cost me $10 a month and some time.
I'm not sure what I am going to do at this point and how much compromise I am willing to make. This is all going to require a lot of thought.
In the meantime, I miss my in-game friends.. and Trucido of Windfola remains the most amazing kinship/guild ever.
To Be Continued...