So there I am playing the Lord of the Rings Online on the Bullroarer test server, in the middle of researching a bunch of guides for Riders of Rohan, due out in a scant couple of weeks. I'm all worried about it because the new systems are huge and complex and bewildering, and we Ten Ton Hammer writers have deadlines to meet. It came as something of a mixed blessing, then, when Turbine announced that they are pushing back the launch of RoR until October 15.
On the one hand, I was very much looking forward to seeing this great new stuff on live servers and running my stable of long-time characters through it all. Despite the bugs and glitches that are in need of improvement before launch, there is a lot of very cool stuff coming out this fall, and my four-year tenure in the game has been building up to this expansion. So the delay is kind of a disappointment in that respect. Understandable, sure, but still disappointing.
On the other hand, I'm still nursing the wounds from the state of the Pits of Iron in Nan Curunir when Rise of Isengard launched last year. The rest of that expansion up to that point was great, but the Pit of Iron was so buggy it brought the game to a screeching halt. Nobody wants to have to go through that again, and I saw hints of it in my own beta experience. Mounted combat instances were less than stellar.
I entered one mounted combat instance near Harwick, a large-ish settlement in the Wold. The goal seemed simple enough - keep all four of your companions alive and take out the enemy riders. Unfortunately, simple goals were confounded by wonky mechanics. The four companions rode off in four separate directions, leaving me with no way to determine whether or not they were even still alive, and the enemies we were supposed to hunt down immediately bee-lined past the instance boundaries. At one point, I saw one of the enemy riders charging around and fighting one of my companions in an enemy encampment outside the instance boundary, where I could do nothing about it.
Personally, I would rather wait another month and see issues like this fixed. The other option would be to release a half-broken version, deal with mountains of complaints and dissatisfaction when people get frustrated by it, and then fix it with a patch. No thank you. Been there, done that, bought a T-shirt. Take the time to iron out the bugs first, and I'll be much happier for it later.
This seems to be how the majority of players are viewing the delay: disappointed, but appreciative of the attention to details, and hopeful that it means the big game-breaking bugs will be fixed for launch. Call it cautious optimism.
Turbine has been classy about the delay - producer Kate Paiz said in her delay statement that pre-order customers would get a goodie bag and 500 free Turbine Points to help those 40 days pass easier. 500 points may not seem like much - VIP subscribers get that much every month without having to wait on an expansion delay - but it's a nice chunk of buying power. Here's a sampling of the kind of stuff you can buy for 500 TP:
- 5 Daily Task Count Resets, or 3 Daily Task Limit Increases
- 10 Wardrobe slots
- A bonus character slot (currently on sale for 35% off!)
- A good handful of emotes
- 3 or so cosmetic items or a bunch of dyes
- 5 Simple Rally Horns
- 10 maps
- A property guard for your house
- Loads of crafting stuff
- The Riding skill for 5 alts
Obviously, this is just a partial list compiled from a simple and brief scan made with a decked-out, 4-year-old main.
40 days in LotRO is a lot of time - easily enough to level a brand new character to 75 and have it Moors- or raid-ready if you're playing full-time. If you only have a few hours a day to put into it, you can still rack up some serious levels in 40 days' time, and earn all that TP that comes with it. So if the 500-TP make-up gift isn't quite enough for that one item you've been hankering for, a brand-new alt might be a viable option.
Personally, the delay also provides an extension for things I've been procrastinating with - banking crafting guild rep items, hammering out the repeatable quests with the horse at Hengstacer farm for the deeds, that sort of thing. It also provides the opportunity to follow my own advice and get some alts Ramped Up for Rohan.
With the NDA being lifted (right around the same time as the delay announcement came out), you can spend that 40 days combing through the Riders of Rohan section of the Official Forums to read beta-testers' opinions on what they experienced during closed beta. Even the beta-testers are generally expressing positivity about the delay - the general tone has been that it will be worth the wait.
In the meantime, there's the Lithe Festival to enjoy. It's a little different this time from previous years - the Dwarves' keg race and Hobbits' eating contest are staged in instanced spaces, accessible by new horses at the Thorin's Hall and Michel Delving stables, respectively. There's no change to the mechanic of the races - you bet on one of the runners to win and he or she mostly comes in last because s/he decides to slowly walk away from the very last station - but when you lose, you are entitled to a Consolation Prize of 1 Summerfest Token.
There's also the usual assortment of Summerfest activities at the usual places, but the festival vendors this year are all tucked away inside the race instances. In a way, this is good news - it means all those people spamming the Hypnotoad juice and dragon-breath for the consumable deeds are typically confined to those areas, where they have captive audiences, and not running around annoying people and ruining screenshots in the wild.
The festival offers up a new mount for us obsessive-collector types:
So how do you plan to spend your 40-day waiting period? Let us know in our comments!