Episode 196: Back from Vacation!

June 2, 2013

Episodes from 2013, Podcast

DisneyWe’ve been gone for two weeks and return to catch up on LOTRO news! We talk about update 11.0.1 release notes, spring festival, store sales and more!

This week Goldenstar’s burglar has hit level 70! Silvers, Sodum and Opdum did a few skirmishes after GS showed up late for Dum Time. She also is lamenting not being able to do the Spring Festival and might have to miss out on this year’s rewards. *sad face*

Merric is playing his Warden in Moria at level 55 now. He’s enjoying the class and the revamp of Moria.

Enjoy the discussions on our feelings of the alerts panel and the XP bonus for VIPs.

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Dear Merric & Goldenstar,

Well, I’ve been at it again and the spreadsheet of LOTRO’s weekly sale history has hit the 2-year mark. I have no plans to add any dates further back than that (because, really, the information just becomes redundant at best and irrelevant at worst), but will continue updating it with each weekly sale. This project has taught me a good bit about Google Docs, including the lovely “publish to the web” feature. So the spreadsheet now has a home at:


Thanks again for your fabulous podcast and website. I hope your vacation has been a blast.

Aerindis of Vilya
Lady of the Rohirrim

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Recorded June 1, 2013

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About Goldenstar

Goldenstar's primary happiness in games is anything that involves festivals, parties, cosmetics and pie. If there's any time after those things to kill bad guys, so be it.

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20 Responses to “Episode 196: Back from Vacation!”

  1. godmode Says:

    welcome back!

    a huge thank you to aerindis for the awesome work, this is definitely a huge help in planning future purchases. i was thinking about an extra char slot and i can see that i should expect a sale around the end of june/beginning of july – at least statistically :D

    that’s a very very useful piece of info that i’ll share with the kinnies so they can check out stuff they’re looking for.

    have a great day!


    • Aerindis Says:

      I’m glad someone besides me is getting use out of it! And thanks to CSTM for creating that nice, short link. The google doc address is unpleasantly long and i’ll start sharing this one instead.


  2. aleksris Says:

    Free Hobbit presents = a bad thing?
    Having to click a mouse a few times more on screen = some you hate?
    Not getting as much XP bonus as before although you were never entitled to it as it is simply a bonus feature but yeah, let’s moan about that too.
    The game’s story, setting, graphics remain unchanged.
    In order for the game to survive, Turbine’s needs more customers, perhaps they are desperate? Why chastise them for that?
    The hardcore are not enough to keep the game afloat.

    I dunno, sounds like some people want everything for nothing/as little as possible.

    You two sound like nice people, but I don’t agree with any of your points/criticisms. Maybe it’s time to retire your characters and move on?

    Have a good one. :)


    • Avatar of Goldenstar
      Goldenstar Says:

      To clarify this is what I was trying to say:

      Hobbit presents = unnecessary. Sure I click it get some junk and it goes away so it’s not a big deal but I don’t think LOTRO needed this to be added. It’s gimmicky and weird. The game is good enough in its own right to make me want to login without these odd additions.

      Alert Panel = A change I felt that was for the worse. I’m not even certain why this was changed but I feel it is less informative rather than more. The set up is not in a fashion that actually alerts me to information, it just alerts me that there is information that I now need to click and discover. I went into details why on the podcast.

      XP Bonus is a feature VIPs have been given since the game launch. It may be your crabby opinion that I was never entitled to it. I think VIPs see it as a perk they paid for, not a bonus feature.

      I’m not chastising Turbine and I seriously doubt they even care what I have to say. I’m giving my opinions on recent changes. I think I even stated that I may be alone in my opinion so I was never stating it as “this is how it is for all players”. Just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean that my thoughts on these changes are invalid.


    • Damian Says:

      Hi Aleksris,
      Before I start I want to say that if you dont mind those changes and the game is for you I am happy for you.

      That said, there is a growing segment of the community that is that are becoming discontent with the direction of the game. I personally am one of these people. I have yet to listen to this podcast from what I read in the comment section it seems more and more people are also becoming discontent, to the point they didnt want to be named off the chat section.

      I recently, as in 2 days ago, cancelled my recurring subscription. I did so not because of any small thing like hobbit presents, xp bonus changes or the alert panel. I did it because of the, in my opinion, drop in the quality of what Turbine is putting out.

      Let me backtrack a second and tell you about me as a player. I am what I would describe as a casual type of player. I log in a couple hours when I can. Sometimes life alows me the pleasure of longer forays into Middle Earth than others. Recently though I have joined into alot of the endgame that is out there and despite not being as some would describe a hardcore player, I loved every minute of it.

      That is where my faith began to waiver, in experiencing the dungeons and instances I began to see the drop in quality of what was being offered. If you look at the what I will refer to as endgame (being all the dungeons and instances) the Riders of Rohan expansion was severely lacking. Then to see the future Helm’s Deep expansion being said to completely ignore that aspect of gameplay it is disheartening.

      If I lost you with the above paragraph let me provide a few examples.
      Compare the instances in say Moria or even SoA to the instances of Erebor. There is no comparison. You go from a well thought out instance ie. Grand Stairs or Great Barrows (especially after being broken into wings to allow people to do at own pace and be more accessable) to Battle for Erebor. A dungeon to a 2 troll fight. Don’t like that comparison? Lets try the Rift or Helegrod to Flight of the Lonely Mountain? The effort shown inbetween the older content and the newer content is incomparable.

      That is why I am leaving Middle Earth, not because of some gimmicks or even the bugs that have plagued the game recently. Because the thought behind the game seems to have evaporated.

      Want another example, lets look at the filler zones before level caps were raised. Most recently Great River and Wildemore. I enjoyed Great River and how it fit into the story that continued to be the theme of RoR. Wildemore in comparison I feel was something written on a napkin during lunchbreak. It may fit that Saruman wanted to defeat Rohan but it comes totally out of left field. We need to create a timesink before Helm’s Deep so lets toss in an Ice Giant and make a snow zone in the middle of the world.

      I am sorry but I expected more of the developers. Especially in light of the bugs and exploits and all the other issues that seemed to plague the game in recent months. I dont ever recall, and please correct me if there was, any issues like recently in ROR. Rubberbanding, Hytbold quests not working, zones being taken down for exploiting and not returning for weeks/months, or recently not being able to login, etc. Let me compare that to the one game I think handled it right. FFXI, the game was taken down nearly immediately and patches/corrections were made to fix it.

      I think I will stop here because I know this is an awfully long wall of text that probably will lose alot of people after the first or second paragraph. I just wanted to make the point that yes, they need to attract people so the game does not go away. However, in my opinion adding fluff and not real content and not correcting things in a timely manner both are what contributed to me leaving.


      • Stephan Says:

        I fully agree regarding your statement about the diminishing quality and complexity of instances. The Rift is a very good example. Played that it again recently again and became aware of how ridiculously small the new raids Battle for Erebror and Flight to the Lonely Mountain are compared to that.

        Also remember Carn Dum and Urugarth.

        On the other hand there are many new small instances for the Hytbold daylies. It seems, the trend goes from large, complex instances for groups to a greater number of small instances for smaller groups, respectively public, but soloable instances.

        Hytbold was marketed as endgame content by Turbine, so the endgame has gotten a different focus, more for occcasional (solo-)play. This way more people can play. Even though I am not a hardcore player (one char at 85 with average equipment) I feel, it is a huge loss of playing experience.


  3. Milgarion Says:

    The revamp to the VIP XP bonus absolutely sucks. It’s by far the worst gimp to VIPs in the 6 year history of LOTRO. As Merric mentioned, you can now blow through the 33% cap in double quick time the Destiny Point boost is limited to 5 uses in any 24 hour period. With this change, Turbine are trying to force people that already have a subscription to spend MORE cash in the Store on XP boosters if they want to actually, y’know, take advantage of their (supposed) VIP status and level their alts faster than F2P/Premium players.

    I’m not the sort of person who makes my feelings public on this kind of subject, but this recent change is extremely annoying. It’s obvious from comments on your latest show and Doc Holiday’s blog that I’m far from alone on this one.


  4. Garan Says:

    I’m curious. Several times you replied to the chat room but made a point of saying that you were not naming the chat user. Did someone complain that you used their chat user name in the podcast? That seems pretty weird. There used to be people begging to hear their names in the podcast. It was a fun recognition that made the chat users feel they were part of the podcast.


  5. Avatar of Tsu
    Tsu Says:

    Log in QT [cutey...LOL] loader:
    Why load ‘loading screens’ each day?
    Remember my billing type please…no I am not going to upgrade just as I have to manually do this each time I log in!
    Exit game and restart QT loader…feels a bit brutal…no easy way to change server?

    Alert… Hated it to begin with.
    Now I just live with it.
    Yes mostly full of junk and where as before I used to kill alerts as they happened now they pile up and need cleaning…a little irritating…

    Hobbit prezzies …non, Non NON NON!
    Some good stuff…
    Lots of rubbish…
    Just how many 10% run speed scrolls do you need…

    Aim at casual players… How stupid..
    Why do log ins boost revenue…why are they doing this?
    Not a great game play experience…
    Surely VIP players pay subscription should be goal to get as many players here..hard core lotro’er will fork out the dollars…[I would but cannot pay in Argentina! - Wife refuses…]
    It’s a MMO so not exactly casual…unless they start to give you free XP for dollars why not just sell chars starting at lv85!

    Longer reply than planned…wow feelings stronger than I thought about this..


  6. Avatar of Tsu
    Tsu Says:

    ps welcome back and after listening to a few lotro pod casts during your vacation you are by far my favourite :)


  7. Theobryn Says:

    Hi there,

    First time writer, devoted listener. I really enjoy your comments, views and the humour you bring to something some people can talk way too seriously! It is refreshing.

    I don’t know why people are so agitated with the changes to the XP bonuses. Leveling is not difficult by simply doing a good chunk of the solo quests, some tasks, and some crafting. I currently have a level 77 champ who has not reached Isengard yet! He barely skirmishes – just does the solo quests, and some crafting. He’ll probably be at 80 before even hitting Rohan.

    If anything, I think the leveling element of LOTRO is too easy (especially with crafting being factored into the equation recently). I’m just not interested in spending TP on that XP deactivator thingy!

    Log-in hobbit prizes: if it’s free take advantage of it.

    The alert box is indeed HORRIBLE: a notification about notifications sounds like something you’d expect from an inefficient and wasteful civil service. Totally agree with Goldenstar about giving us the option to customize it, or simply deactivate it!

    Thank you, and keep up the great work!


  8. Aerindis Says:

    I love player achievements of the week! I just usually forget to post them by the time Friday rolls around :(

    As for hobbit presents… I’m a little on the fence about them. I did start using the gloves I received since they were slightly better than what I had at the time. The money from selling metal scraps has been useful, like really excellent vendor trash. If I was questing at a higher level, though, I can see that not being the case. As is, I used the proceeds to buy a Mathom Steed, so for now I have to say, “Yay hobbit presents!”

    The alerts panel… I’m a yay and a nay. I like that I can x out the mail alert because sometimes I’m just not near a box and won’t be for a while (once I’ve cleared a path into Goblin Town, I’m not leaving until I can’t stand it a minute longer- too many mobs to cut through!). In those cases, I just want to clear my screen as much as possible. Otherwise, yeah, it can feel like just another step between me and clicking though alerts. I didn’t know about adjusting the size of the icon, though, I’ll have to try that out!

    The Spring Festival 2012 Guide was extremely helpful, I couldn’t find a single change besides the cosmetics. One difference in the Ale Association guide, though, the Inn League Disaster no longer seems to exist. Otherwise, it totally streamlined my questing and I’m now the proud owner of an Ale Association goat. At least I’ll never go thirsty when I get to Moria….


  9. Cadronas Says:

    After using Hobbitt presents for a few weeks I can say I agree it is not necessary but I do like it. I wouldn’t say all gifts are great but one day I received 200 Mithril coins and a Kinnie got a crystal of rememberance. These are top draw stuff. I always open the boxes on my alts which have not capped as the armour received will be valueless to my capped alts but awesome for those leveling. I see the effect as follows – I will log onto all of my 3 accounts at least weekly to ensure I get my gold and will log almost daily onto my main. This will mean more logins for Turbine. However I wonder if it will mean less purchases from the store as folk like me pick up the items daily. I also wonder at lower levels if the presents somehow damage economy. I mean when I was a lowbie I was grinding just to make a few silver, now I can get 200 silver just from a common level present.
    I don’t really care either way about the alerts indicator.
    As for XP, I prefer the old way but have adapted to the new. It encourages me to rotate more. So if one alt has used his bonus I tend to jump to another.


  10. Talingar Says:

    I have to say, I agree that the Alert panel is annoying. I think they meant well, trying to clean up the interface, but in the end it just means more clicking to remove the alerts (especially for anal retentive people like me who feel like they have to remove them whenever they pop up :p).

    As far as the VIP experience chance goes, I was initially annoyed by that as well, but then I thought it over. Before, the VIP bonus only counted towards monster kills (and crafting recently with the relatively new changes to that. This meant that it was consumed at a MUCH slower pace than it is now that the experience bonus is applied to questing experience as well. I’d honestly guess that it was a rare thing for me to use more than 20 or 30 percent of my blue bar in a days period before (except perhaps when a new expansion had just been released), so overall, this change probably is far more beneficial. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case for most people. It just feels like we are getting ripped off, because we aren’t used to seeing that blue bar shrink so quickly. :)

    In any case, those are my thoughts on the subject. Thank you as always for a most excellent podcast. A true joy to my week (especially the ones with the baby hobbit guest appearances. Too cute. :D)


  11. Rufusstan Says:

    First of all, nice to see you guys back.

    As far as the points go: The Hobbit presents are nice, but if they are designed as an incentive to log in, they really are not enough to change anyone’s mind.

    I have not had any really annoying experiences with the alert panel, but I have not done anything yet that will throw up lots of alerts, so the Jury is out for now.

    I think the rested XP changes grate for a lot of people because it is promoted as an improvement, but in a lot of cases feels like the opposite. As someone who flits between alts when I am in the mood, I liked the fact that whoever I logged in would have a full bar of Blue XP.

    The only other comment I’d make is about Wildermore. In the end, its content other than instances. Its the fifth(?) level cap region they have introduced (if you count Lothlorien) over the years, and I think I have done them all on release (while at level cap). I can understand deeds with minimal rewards would be annoying if you don’t have capped virtues, but it is mostly about having something new to do.


  12. Belwynne Says:

    I like my hobbit presents. Just a little something to start the day. But then, I also like the envelope quest during the Anniversary Festival.

    The game for me (at least now that I have one character at 85) is about enjoying the trip: it isn’t about getting there. So the xp for VIP’s doesn’t bother me, I largely ignore the alert panel, and I am so happy to enjoy Middle Earth.

    Turbine seems to be trying to find a way that we can stay in Middle Earth and they can stay in business. How about some positive reinforcement where is is deserved?

    I don’t want to think about losing Middle Earth. Now THAT would be something to be sad about. But if the plug is pulled it will be too late to make suggestions. Better in my mind to find ways to steer Turbine in a positive direction now than to watch it go away in its entirety.


  13. Supergirl Says:

    Welcome Back!
    Middle Earth is better with you in it!
    Vacation is good too though. :D


  14. Vonrothbart of Landroval Says:

    I too quit LoTRO due to the VIP XP gimp. I’m waiting for them to drop the 500TP perk of being a VIP next.



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