LotRO's Update 5: Currency Consolidation

Update 5: Armies of Isengard will add lots of nifty new stuff, but it will also take some things away - namely, all those extraneous Skirmish Marks you've been hoarding, in favor of a more streamlined, slimmed-down system.

LotRO Update 5 Currency Consolidation

So you've been running skirmishes in the Lord of the Rings Online for a while now, and your Barter Wallet is filled with a myriad of different kinds of Skirmish Marks - First Marks, Veteran's First Marks, Superior Fourth Marks, Lefnuilan Campaign Marks and a dozen or so others. You've been hanging on to them because you're not one hundred percent sure if they will prove useful or not. Well, Update 5: Armies of Isengard will change all that with currency consolidation.

As mentioned by Aaron Campbell, Senior Producer for LotRO, in our recent Interview with the Devs, this is a streamlining of the existing convoluted skirmish mark system, which is used to purchase everything from mediocre low-level adventuring gear to crafting supplies to endgame raid gear. It was first implemented during the launch of Siege of Mirkwood, when skirmishes were first introduced, and has continued to evolve by the devs simply adding new currencies to fit new content. It has grown into a rather cumbersome and occasionally confusing beast - how do you earn Second Marks to train certain skills for your soldier? Does that skill require Second Marks or Third Marks? Should you bother keeping campaign marks to buy campaign-specific items, or trade them in for regular skirmish marks?

Currency consolidation aims to fix that by simplifying the system, refining the whole set into three new types of barter tokens.

Marks - these are the new Skirmish Marks, and are earned the way regular Skirmish Marks are earned, and at approximately the same rate. All Skirmish Marks you have before Update 5 goes live will be converted 1:1 into Marks. The "trash marks" (Guardsman's Marks and the like) that can only be exchanged for Skirmish Marks and are not directly used to buy items from skirmish vendors will also be converted to Marks. Marks are the "base currency" and can buy the same stuff regular Skirmish Marks can.

Medallions - These are the replacement for Campaign Marks, (First, Second, Third, Fourth) Marks and other similar tokens. The conversion rate for these will vary from one mark to the next - some are worth more than others. These are earned in the same way Campaign Marks and the like are earned - some drop in solo instances, more drop in group instances. They will be used to barter for the new instance gear, and can fairly be regarded as "instance currency."

Seals - These are the new Superior Fourth Mark, or S4M. S4M will trade 1:2 for Seals (1 S4M = 2 Seals). These are earned by running endgame group content (raids, classic instances and the new Isengard instance cluster) and will be used to barter for raid gear. They can fairly be regarded as "raid currency."

To get a feel for how the conversion will work, I ran my level 65 Guardian, Gunketta, through a handful of Tier II solo skirmishes on live to accumulate a bunch of different kinds of skirmish marks. Here's what I ended up with:

LotRO Update 5 Currency Consolidation - Barter Wallet

For the record, that's 3 Eruilan Campaign Marks, 2 Helegrod Marks, 1 Inn of the Forsaken Mark, 1 Lefnuilan Campaign Mark, 3 Naillan Campaign Marks, 2 Odothuilan Campaign Marks, 3,254 Skirmish Marks, 9 Third Marks, 6 Veteran Guardsman's Marks, and 6 Guardsman's Marks (the last 2 are the "trash marks" that go into your inventory rather than the Barter Wallet, and are not shown in the image). I then copied her over to Bullroarer and checked what she had after the conversion:

LotRO Update 5 Currency Consolidation - Barter Wallet

That bloated, bewildering collection boiled down to 3,614 Marks and 330 Medallions - 2 item types instead of 10. I'm sure someone clever can do the math and work out the actual exchange rate there. I'm more of a crossword puzzle guy.

Since my Guardian is only level 65, she had no S4Ms to convert, and thus has no Seals. My Hunter and Captain, both level 75 and copied to Bullroarer, had a few S4Ms on live and those translated into Seals on Bullroarer when I copied them over during Build 1. They've both run new content on Bullroarer, and have earned Marks, Medallions and Seals there, so they can't be reliably used to determine the conversion rate. They can, however, start looking at the new things they can buy with their consolidated currency... but more on that later.

LotRO Update 5 Currency Consolidation - Barter Wallet, Capngunk

This is Capngunk's Barter Wallet. He ran a few instances from the Isengard cluster to earn the Seals and Medallions, and got 15,000 Skirmish Marks from the auto-level guy in the Eyes & Guard Tavern, which converted directly to Marks when I re-logged. On the live server, Capngunk has the same sort of unwieldy, random collection of assorted marks as Gunketta

As of beta Build 2, characters copied over with a cache of S4Ms can exchange them for Medallions or Seals, but the exchange rate may not seem all that favorable. Exchanging S4M for Seals, the new endgame currency, results in a slight loss since you're paying a "premium" for the upgrade, but exchanging them for Medallions results in a fair-value swap. Currently, the new currencies can only be downgraded, not upgraded. Seals can be exchanged for Medallions or Marks, and Medallions for Marks, but Marks cannot be upgraded to Medallions and Medallions cannot be upgraded to Seals. This is something that may be addressed in the future, but the plans for Update 5 do not include an upgrade option.

Drop rates for Marks, Medallions and Seals, and token cost for the new gear, are not yet finalized. Earning these new tokens will require some good old-fashioned elbow grease, running instanced content. Turbine has removed the daily component of many scaled instances, so single runs will generally net fewer marks, but these instances can be run as often as desired, so there is an overall gain. And using the Instance Finder will give players a 1.5x currency gain bonus, as mentioned in our Instance Finder article.

Bullroarer server is being shut down at noon today (Nov. 23). But stay tuned as the system undergoes further development - we'll have more details in the coming weeks.

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