I frequently hear people explain in disbelief about how much something costs in the LOTRO store. Usually the exasperation is followed by a conversation of how much this is worth in US dollars, as if Turbine Points is a currency that can be found traded on the foreign exchange market. This of course isn’t true at all. The value of Turbine Points is set by the marketing executives of Warner Brothers and not related to the value of real world currency.
Turbine Points is a form of virtual currency, meaning that it has no real value outside of the confines of the game itself. I cannot exchange the Turbine Points for my breakfast at Denny’s (even if they do have a Hobbit menu). It should also be noted that I cannot use Turbine Points in exchange for services within the game. I can’t exchange Turbine Points in exchange for someone a tailor crafting me a new pair of gloves, even if it is within the confines of the game. Yet, there is another form of currency that I can do this within the game. It is the gold, silver and copper that is part of the virtual economy of LOTRO.
Yet, purchasing Turbine Points is not the only way to obtain the virtual currency. Another method of obtaining them is to complete the numerous deeds that can be completed while playing the game. Usually you don’t earn much, maybe ten or five turbine points for each deed completed. Yet, I never once heard someone exclaim after earning the five turbine points after slaying thirty goblins in the Shire, “Turbine just gave me a nickle!”
Being a lifetime subscriber to LOTRO I also get 500 turbine points every month. This reward system is also available for those who subscribe to play the game. Of course this doesn’t mean that Turbine is giving me US$5 every month. (“Wow! Free money!”) It is just an incentive to purchase items in the LOTRO Store.
So, what is the value of Turbine Points? The value is no difference then seeing a beautiful dress in a store window. You take a look at it and fall in love with it. It is the dress of your dreams and would look so good on you! Then you look at the price tag and make another decision. Is the value of that dress worth what the retailer is asking for it? If you see the price tag saying $5 you might just rush in to buy that, what a value! Yet, if that price tag says $5000, you might not like the look of that dress any more. If the price tag says $500 you might hesitate a bit, but you think it is worth that much to you. Someone else looking at that exact same dress in the store window might not have the same opinion that it is the most awesome dress, ever, and selling it $500 or even $5 wouldn’t be worth it to her.
The same is true when you see the new horse that Turbine just came out with. It is the fastest, most beautiful horse, ever! Then you look at how many Turbine Points they are asking for it. You have 500 Turbine Points that you earned this month as a subscriber. You see the asking price is 5 Turbine Points. You can’t click the buy button fast enough! If it is 500 Turbine Points you might hesitate a bit, since it is all you got, but you buy it anyway. If it is 2000 Turbine Points you hesitate a bit, but decide to spend some real world currency to get the remaining Turbine Points to purchase the steed. If it is 5000 Turbine Points, the steed doesn’t look as good as it did before.
So the next time you see that need steed for sale in the LOTRO store and you just don’t like it, especially for 2000 Turbine Points, don’t say it isn’t worth $20, because it isn’t being sold for $20. Those are two different currencies entirely and are not compatible.