Dev Diary – Seals and Medallion Conversion

February 25, 2013

LOTRO News

devdiary_header1RockX released a new Developer Diary (of sorts) that is pretty short and to the point.  In it he discusses the upcoming conversion of Seals to Medallions coming in Update 10.  In case you were unaware, with the upcoming release of a new raid set all current seals will be converted into medallions at a rate of 1 seal to 20 medallions.  Within the diary RockX explains the motives behind the conversion:

In order for a unified currency system to work, we could A) Have a cap on the top-tier currency, B) Have enormous inflation on costs or C) Convert the top-tier currency into the next step down on introducing new content. We feel the best option of the three is to convert the top-tier currency down whenever a new tier of content is introduced. It keeps prices of items manageable while still ensuring you’re not arbitrarily hitting a cap and losing out on your rewards. At the same time, this makes sure players are not immediately able to purchase the new best and brightest gear just based off the fact they spent time doing the older, easier content.

While some people may find that being unable to purchase the newest gear off-the-bat aggravating, from a game design point-of-view this seems to make a lot of sense.  Plus since RockX also states that all items “..which were barter-able for Seals pre-Update 10 will either be converted to Medallion costs or have a Medallion-only barter option added,” I’m left feeling fairly satisfied with the change.  How about you?

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Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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27 Responses to “Dev Diary – Seals and Medallion Conversion”

  1. Avatar of Gene Jones
    Gene Jones Says:

    Not being one of the lucky folk who were grinding the Isengard raids nonstop for months, this change has basically no effect whatsoever on me. I completely understand the reasoning behind what they’re doing and I think they’re doing it the best way available to them. I can understand why some people will complain, but did they really think they could just farm seals until some new gear came out and then buy it without having to go through the content they intended them to go through to get the new stuff? Even when I was raiding six nights a week in WoW, I never understood people ‘competing’ for gear you get off vendors. Competing for epic raid boss drops? That’s another thing entirely.

    Reply

  2. Pickle Says:

    I’m giving up on endgame group content… ;.;

    Reply

  3. Hugestaff of Windfola Says:

    Sorry to say, I think its ridiculous at best. RockX starts with the premise of needing a unified currency, ok, I can go along with some benefits to that, but have no clarity on why this need suddenly has to be solved now. Presumably because Turbine wants to economize on the UI, support and maintenance impacts that arise from adding yet another currency. Again, I can live with this too, but lets be honest about it, the gain by doing this is Turbine’s , not end users.

    So off we go converting, and I believe the rate of exchange is 20 medallions for one symbol. Apparently, because some players are earning symbols through grinding old content, which is easier given their higher level relative to the raid level, this translates to EVERYONE is going to get a crappy exchange rate, despite the real difficulty they may have encountered earning their symbols. I have no facts to support this, but I will say that my gut reaction estimate for the percentage of players grinding old raids for symbols is below 20%. If this is true, then significantly more people are hurt by this than just the grinders. But, for the sake of argument, lets assume we have to do this one time pain to correct this type of game exploitation. I don’t like to be the one paying personally, but can go along with this. But wait…

    Ohhhhh, this ISN’T a one time thing, currency ISN’T being unified, and symbols will STILL be a form of currency, just for the new stuff. Gain from unifying currency, GONE. In fact, what RockX has basically said is that Turbine, with each new release with higher level raids, will devalue players net worth perpetually now. Apparently my current symbols are only worth 20 medallions. Will raid gear pricing drop each time Turbine devalues currency, and will the raid gear be available to purchase in medallions? I don’t know but tend to be pessimistic. When I earn new symbols in new raids, more difficulty and costly raids to boot (armour repair, food, buffs, etc), those symbols will eventually be devalued into medallions as well, probably at a similar rate. So the bottom line is that Turbine HASN’T unified currency, they’ve simply taken one of their currencies and forced it to devalue (significantly over time), potentially without commensurately devaluing the goods you could buy with that former currency.

    If Turbine was truly interested in unifying currency, the simple answer would be that they truly use a common currency, in this case medallions, and gate access to special gear on other criteria than the type of currency being tendered. Frankly I don’t believe currency unification is Turbine’s motive, I believe they simply don’t want to incur the cost of yet another currency. Oh Player’s Council, I hope you become a reality!

    Reply

    • RoyalBob of DD Says:

      Honestly I only skimmed through most of what you wrote (sorry) because I’m running late for class. I like the idea of having other criteria to access gear. I don’t do much raiding, but wasn’t that how gear was in Isen? Had to do certain instances/raids to be able to buy the gear.

      Reply

    • Cedrowald of Vilya Says:

      Wow so much to address:

      1) Unification of currency. It IS unified, has been since RoI. For actual raid level gear since RoI the primary means of gaining currency and purchasing it has been via Seals/Medallions (L75 and then L85 “classic” sets are all via Medallions, Draigoch 4 of 6 were via Seals/Medallions, and Isengard were all Seals/Medallions). So the currency has been unified. With this release OD will move into the “classic” vendor slot and so you will have multiple raid sets purchased via Seals Medallions (as the BG set already is), the RoI sets will become completely Medallion based (no seals cost) and only the new Erebor raid sets will have a seals cost.

      The ONLY end game sets which require a non-Mark/Medallion/Seal cost will be Hytbold which is a completely new setup for Turbine and it certainly serves to separate rewards for solo content and group content.

      2) Price/value. You seem to suggest that turning all current seals into medallions will hurt non-grinders worse than grinders. In a way this may be true but it also does something else: It places EVERYONE on the same playing field in terms of aquiring gear once U10 goes live. EVERYONE will have 0 seals and a certain number to reach if they want to buy the new sets.

      Same with 1A symbols, everyone will have 0 seals and have to work towards gaining enough to purchase the symbols (or have the RNG give them some love)

      3) Devaluation isn’t unification: You totally missed the point here. What Rock said is that you have (basically) two options in terms of new content. Either you can release a new “barter currency” for each new raid cluster. For instance BG had a barter item for each armor piece, OD had a different barter item for each armor piece, DN likewise. You had tokens from Annuminas instances, Hele instances, etc. Basically running endgame content you would be aquiring 10 or 12 different types of currency. Since RoI everything has been Marks/Medallions/Seals. That means that whichever content you run you will earn M/M/S and whichever armor set you want to buy will require M/M/S..THAT is unificaiton and it already happened back at RoI release.

      The problem that unification creates is that once you raise the level cap folks who have been running previous content [B]prior to the cap being raised[B] who will have a lot of banked currency. Particularly they will have a lot of the top-tier currency (Seals). If you release new armor sets which have a price that a new player can acheive in a reasonable time frame then the folks who ran content at the previous level cap will buy it immediately with their “savings” if you price it such that players who have banked up still need to run some lots more content then the price will be unreachable for new players. Moreover it gets worse with each future level cap jump. The way to handle that is you continue to price armor sets with reasonable amounts of top-tier currency BUT each level cap you de-value previously earned seals so that everyone has the same starting point.

      I think the biggest thing you are missing is that currency already HAS been unified (that happened back at RoI release). This de-valuation of seals is a consequence OF that unification.

      Reply

  4. Strunto Says:

    There’s something that feels very, very wrong about this.

    Let’s introduce a scenario.

    I have earned 200 quarters. Turbine’s forcing me to give them all my quarters, but they’re going to give me 2 nickels for every quarter I have. Now, in order to buy this new shiny item that I want, I have to somehow earn new quarters.

    How am I not supposed to feel cheated by this? Even if it’s all completely imaginary currency in a made-up game world, my base, animal instinct is to feel like I’m being swindled by some guy in an alley who’s selling Folex watches.

    The seals that I have earned have come 6 at a time through skirmish raid victories. Were some of them easy? Sure. Some of them were earned through blood and tears.

    I might be pushing my metaphors too far, but I feel like the little kid who screams when you take away all of his coins and hand him a dollar because he doesn’t know any different. And just like that little kid, I guess all the kicking and screaming isn’t going to change this reality.

    It just feels a whole lot like bull hockey.

    Reply

    • Johnsolo Says:

      If an item costs 100 seals right now, and after U10 it costs 2000 medallions, then you didn’t lose anything. The 2000 medallions buy exactly what your 100 seals would have bought before. Nobody is replacing a quarter with two nickels.

      Reply

      • Strunto Says:

        I was just commenting on the perception of loss that this mandatory exchange makes me feel. Seals haven’t really been necessary as a currency in quite a while, that I’m aware of. I freely admitted that my response is both childish and somewhat unreasonable.

        Reply

      • Hugestaff of Windfola Says:

        The big IF is whether the goods will be priced equivalently, and continue to drop in price every time Turbine does a revaluation of the Symbol. In the best case, at least for U10, what you describe would result in no loss in my mind as well.

        Reply

  5. khorgrim Says:

    It’s called inflation.

    Same thing happening with Gold in game.

    Yes it’s annoying, but when the player base makes so much more so quickly, what are they suppose to do? He gave the three options.

    Ratchet costs up so high they become unwieldy,
    Make a new currency again (remember 3rd and 4th superior marks?)
    deflate the currency.

    He has not taken your purchasing power away at all. You LOSE NOTHING. Everything you can buy now, you will be able to continue buying, only with medallions. The new raid armor will be priced in seals.

    No matter what they did, we were going to have to run raids to gain the armor. They were not going to let us just log in when it went live and buy the gear. We can still run any other 85 raids to get seals.

    Reply

  6. Steve Says:

    I thought we were going to have to complete deeds in order to obtain the new gear anyway. So we have to complete the deeds that require us to do the new content, and then grind even more to re-earn seals? Am I understanding this right?

    Reply

  7. Max Says:

    Well, I’ve not even reached level cap, and never played end-game contents, but hopefully Turbine knows what they’re doing.

    Reply

  8. Avatar of Vræden
    Vræden Says:

    The other option would be to go back to the old system where there were different tokens for each raid/raid cluster. This also devalued your hard work because now you have a ton of Moria tokens that you can’t use (and this was before the barter wallet made all those tokens bound to account instead of per toon).

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with the seals to medallions conversion. I’ll run the raids for the challenge, not just the gear. And I kind of like that you do have to run the raids a bunch to get the gear instead of being able to buy/barter for it right away.

    Of course, I also didn’t mind Radiance gating, too.

    Reply

  9. Rabbitses Starkfoot Says:

    I think this is reasonable and will work well.

    Reply

  10. Monkey Says:

    This is a reasonable explanation but the timing of implementation is way wrong. This currency wipe should have been implemented when the level cap was bumped up to 85. We have been running level 85 content (3-mans, scaled raids, etc) and earning Seals for that level 85 content, and there is no reason that we should lose that work.

    Reply

  11. Smugglin Says:

    This is pretty standard mmo fare. New content releases and the currency gets down converted. If you could buy the new raid gear without running the content than whats the point ? If people do want to make a stink about it maybe if enough people complain Turbine will start selling Increase Currency Gain scrolls that will help you earn seals quicker for only 500TP.

    As a side note, I believe the current exploit for the down conversion will be people farming Sigils of Orthanc and then converting them to seals post patch. Oops, don’t think I was supposed to say that :)

    Reply

    • Monkey Says:

      Devs already stated the Orthanc Sigil loophole will be closed, and that barter option will change to medallions. I suppose the same will be done for Limlight Spider Eggs.

      Reply

  12. nova Says:

    well there are a lot of opinions on this topic, so here’s mine just in case.

    i have to start by saying that, maybe due to the language barrier, i don’t understand what unified currency means. to me this would mean that there are no such things as marks, medallions, seals, mithril coins, superiour fifth marks etc but rather you have 1 (one) type only.
    let’s think about this: you’re an inhabitant of middle earth, and you decide you want to be some sort of hero. starting with great barrow, for each type of dungeon you run you get a certain amount of that one currency. it’s really easy, say you get 1$ for GB, 2$ for GA, 5$ for the next and so on, with great rewards like 2000$ for lvl 85 new raids. how this will work: a lvl 25 GB armor set can cost 10$ for example, and be gated by the completion of one of the 3 instances (for full set you need to do sambrog).
    it’s not hard to imagine because most of the lvl 60-65-75 stuff was already gated, so you couldn’t get DN armor if you didn’t run DN for example.
    so, i really fail to see the need for more than 1 currency type other than it’s an old system that’s been around forever and it’s too much hassle to change it.

    Reply

  13. Avatar of andyb
    andyb Says:

    Why is anyone surprised by this conversion is a bit of a puzzle for me.

    We’ve had it before in lotro and it’s a common practice in games where a grindable currency could potentially be used to bypass content and obtain the new sets of gear on day one of the new content going live.

    What has made this more of an issue is the fact that the instance cluster is only half out months after the launch of the expansion. So the conversion hits people that have been running part 1 while they waited for part 2 to come out, whereas it ideally would have been done at the launch of RoR, including instances.

    The delay on the cluster has had more of a knock-on effect than they seem to have accounted for.

    Reply

    • nova Says:

      “We’ve had it before in lotro and it’s a common practice in games where a grindable currency could potentially be used to bypass content and obtain the new sets of gear on day one of the new content going live.”

      so then why not just gate the gear by finishing the raids, like orthanc?? it is so darn easy and logical that really no one is actually giving it any thought?

      Reply

      • Avatar of andyb
        andyb Says:

        As I said it stops people getting a set on day one of the cluster finally being completed. One of the gear sets is being raid gated it’s the other one that is skirm tokens thats causing the stooshy over the late conversion.

        I also said that it’s going to be a knock on effect from the HUGE delay in getting the RoR expansion out the door. Ideally the conversion would have come at the end of RoI at the same time the expansion launched in it’s entirety.

        Turbine bit off more than they could chew with RoR only a year on from RoI and so they had to delay. I’d not be at all surprised if they just stop doing full expansions and just trickle out the content covered in future.

        Reply

  14. Scott Says:

    I just want to know for any if you that have been on Bullroarer if the T2 RoI gear at the Ox Clan camp is still going to be gated behind finishing the respective section of Orthanc? Is that gate being removed? I would live to get some of that older gear for cosmetic purposes for some Alts, but I know my kin has moved on and I’ll never get through those raids now with the new stuff coming.

    Reply

  15. Scott Says:

    I just want to know for any if you that have been on Bullroarer if the T2 RoI gear at the Ox Clan camp is still going to be gated behind finishing the respective section of Orthanc? Is that gate being removed? I would love to get some of that older gear for cosmetic purposes for some Alts, but I know my kin has moved on and I’ll never get through those raids now with the new stuff coming.

    Reply

  16. Siqua of Landroval Says:

    I have 4 to 6 Seals. Keeping them wouldn’t benefit me much since I’d still have only a fraction I’d need to buy anything. Downgrading them isn’t going to yield that many Medallions either. The whole brouhaha has zero or minimal effect on me.

    BTW. I like Cedrowald’s analysis (above).

    Before ROI, it’s not like you could take your Annuminas armour fragments and buy Heligrod gear with them or use your Moria Tokens to buy the Ost Dunhoth set. At least the “old” Seals will retain some value (as Medallions). Whereas the pre-ROI instance tokens were simply wasted as game moved on.

    Reply

  17. PB Says:

    I would suggest that anyone complaining about this either doesn’t understand the system or has a huge stockpile of seals and feels entitled to be able to instantly buy the new gear with no work, or maybe just a one time deed.

    Reply

  18. susan Says:

    If someone has a big stash of seals and medallions (not me lol) then they EARNED them already, its called making bank for the future. I have no problem with someone being able to buy armor at the get go of a new expansion, after all they earned them by hours and hours of raiding.

    If they wanted to gate the gear they should do just that, but not by taking already earned items. the lesson here for raiders is to not run instances after you get your gear, they will just gut your effort and make you do it all over again but in a diff instance.

    Reply

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