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  1. #1

    How to maximize your return on investment

    This is my strategy / advice to get the most return on investment for the wonderfully made game LotRO. Note that this advice is based on the currently available content and pricing as of 2012-12, which is subject to change.


    *****************
    * short version *
    *****************

    To get the most out of the game, you will eventually need:

    a) At least one purchase with real money, to get PREMIUM status.
    The earlier you do this, the better. 10$ suffice.

    b) The expansions (Moria, [Mirkwood], Isengard and Rohan) [Mirkwood is not essential, but recommended].
    It takes a while until you actually need the expansions, so look out for good deals and buy them discounted BEFORE you need them.

    c) A month of VIP status (by temporarily subscribing to the game)
    You get the most for your money, if you start your VIP subscription rather late. 2 months of VIP cost 30$.
    EDIT: C-HOUND mentioned later on, that you can cancel your subscription at the end of the first month, in which case 1 month will cost 15$

    If you are new to the game and do not know what to buy first (in order to become PREMIUM) BUY THE SAMWISE GAMGEE STARTER PACK from the Lotro Market for 9.99$ ASAP. You cannot go wrong, unless you plan to become VIP soon, or already are (VIP status gives you most of the benefits of the Samwise Gamgee pack).

    EDIT: If you are content with just 1-2 characters, there might be better options than the Sam Pack, which really shines if you have a lot of alts.
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Jan 10 2013 at 06:15 PM.

  2. #2

    What will it cost you?

    You start this game for free. You can play it for free as long as you like. LotRO is a so called "free to play" (F2P) game.

    However, playing the game without spending a single cent requires a lot of pre-planning. Furthermore, you will not be able to experience the whole gameworld (at least not for a very very long time). If you like the game, and want to enjoy it as much as possible, you should be prepared to spend at least 40-50$ (10$ early, the rest later).

    I am a penny pincher (at least when it comes to gaming). Nonetheless, I highly recommend spending real money on this game. However, you should be aware, that once you are willing to spend real money, you are constantly goaded to spend more. An intriguing offer here - merely 10$, another great discount there - just 20$, ... If you are not careful, you can easily spend well above 200$, without even noticing. So be patient. Be disciplined. If you follow this guide, you will spend some money, but you will get a very good value for it. You do not need to buy everything that is offered. However, if you are a completionist, who wants to obtain access to the whole gameworld (in a convenient way, e.g. without grinding), you should be prepared to spend up to 150$. Note that 150$ are not mandatory. If your are patient, you can spend considerably less, say 10-50$, and still enjoy this game tremendously.

    SIDENOTE:
    Although 150$ may sound horrific, you can easily cut it down to 50$ (or even less). The difference between 100$ and 150$ is the price of a 12 month subscription (which currently costs 99$ and gives you "VIP-status" for 12 months). The main reason why people eventually want to become VIP (short or long term) is, that a VIP-subscription provides you with unlocks on ALL of your characters, which will eventually allow those characters to attain their optimum performance (which becomes really important only at level cap). Keep in mind, though, that you can buy (most of) the character-based unlocks granted by VIP for 1600 TP per character, without the need to ever go VIP. The only thing you will be missing is swift travel (although you can unlock it temporarily on a character for an outrageously high amount of TP). If you plan to take just one or two characters to the level cap, you do not really need a VIP subscription. On the other hand, the more characters you (plan to) have, the more a VIP-subscription eventually pays off. A VIP-subscription will grant all of your characters (up to 17 per server, on up 30 servers) the highest development potential. 12 months VIP will make it considerably more easy to realize that potential than 2 months (which cost 30$).

    Before I give some detailed hints on how to plan out your money spending strategy in detail, I have to get the following off my mind. Feel free to skip this rant, if your time is limited.

  3. #3

    Rant on the Rohan Legendary edition

    The nice thing about LotRO is, that it lets the customer choose, how to spend money on this game. You can either invest more time and spend less, or invest more money and advance faster. Every essential part of the game can be experienced without having to spend any money. Spending money is a convenience (although a huge one), not a necessity. This is the basic philosophy, that has been followed by the LotRO game developers since it went F2P.

    IMO this philosophy constitutes the basis of Turbine's success: The customer can decide - within limits - how she plays the game. She will not hit a brick wall, which forces her to spend money or quit, like in some other games, where further access to the game world or the higher levels requires cash. I guess this business model works, because LotRO actually is a great game, and most customers are willing give back some real money in return for such a beautifully made game, even if they could play it completely for free. The tricky part on Turbine's account is to ensure, that the paying customer remains happy. So far Turbine has been doing an excellent job: The relative (and absolute) pricing of the content is fine. The more or less regular discounts always make us penny pinchers feel good, whenever we buy stuff discounted. The incentives for becoming Premium or VIP are setup pretty intelligently. They make you seriously think about becoming VIP or PREMIUM, without giving you the feeling, that they psychologically trick you into spending the extra bucks. I hope, they will build on that successful strategy, now that Warner sits in the back seat. It takes a lot of effort to make and keep a customer happy, but you can ruin it with just one or two bad decisions.

    Customers are willing to spend money, if they think that they get something worthwhile in return. Customers will leave, if they feel ripped of. It is a thin line. For instance, I never fly with Ryan air, unless its the only option. Ryan air is cheap. Thats ok with me. But its cheapness shows, in fact it is their philosophy: They charge extra for every little detail, even such essential details as accessing their website to buy a ticket, and they are absolutely rigid enforcing their self-set rules: Your suitcase weighs over 20 kg? Pay 40$ more, EVEN if it is just 20.1 kg. I have seen it myself. Want your family to sit together? Pay extra for a slightly better pole position sprinting to the seats. They make you feel, that you have to pay even for the air you breathe. I hate the attitude. I hate the company. I rather spend 10-20% more with a company, that has all essential details already included in the advertised price. Furthermore, your travelling experience is much more relaxed if you know, that they wont charge you 40$ for a few grams of overweight baggage.

    In this respect, the pricing of the Rohan expansion (and the related trouble with the sixth bag and the instance cluster) has not been one of the smartest moves. I understand that Turbine must make money, and that the expansions are an excellent way to do that. After all, they are adding a substantial amount of new content to the game. Therefore the pricing of the Rohan Base and Heroic Editions is perfectly OK with me. But the Legendary Edition is a big mistake. It does not help to tell the customer, that she should review everything before buying, and that the mediocrity of the deal has been fully transparent. This reaction, in particular, makes me fear that Turbine (under its new investor) is starting to loose its ability to thread the thin line between keeping the paying customer happy and enticing her to spend a little more money. Transparency is not the issue here! The issue goes far deeper: It is the general attitude of the company towards the paying customer. The willingness to trade money for goods deteriorates, if the paying customer gets the feeling, that he is only perceived as the cash cow, from which money can be goaded by various psychological tricks. People who bought the Legendary edition EXPECTED something out of the ordinary, or at least something really useful, which should have been worth the extra 30$ and that complies with the title "legendary". They will read the feature list with that very expectation, and thus will have difficulties to believe, that it is that mediocre. Having faith in Turbine (and knowing that this faith has been justified in the past) they buy it nonetheless. When they finally unlock the package on their account, they find out that it actually is ... mediocre. They will be pissed off, EVEN THOUGH they should have known better. Get it? As mentioned, transparency is not the issue here. It is the general attitude that counts. Same with Ryan air: Every extra little "service" you pay has been layed out in their rules and regulations, which are accessible through the internet (but tedious to study). When every essential "extra" is included, I can often save a few bucks (not always). Still, I rather pay 20% more to a company, where everything is included from the start. It just feels much better to know, that youll receive a fair service and the company will try to find a compromise in case of possible "misunderstandings". If you are a penny pincher company, like Ryan air, which - without compromise - will charge the poor girl in front of me 40$ for 100g of overweight baggage, you will also attract the penny pincher customers. Whether that is good for Turbine's business model, where customers have the option to pay nothing, ... I doubt it.

    Besides the initial miscommunication regarding the instance cluster, two things have gone wrong with the Rohan Legendary Edition: First, a sixth bag plus a few cosmetics are not worth 30$. Even though the "exclusive" content contained in the Legendary Edition was advertised transparently enough, Turbine made the mistake to not take their customers expectations seriously. Second, it has never been made fully transparent, what you actually get for the 6th bag. Even now, I do not know exactly, what the sixth bag included in the Legendary Edition entails, which is why the following sentences contain a lot of "it seems", "it appears" etc.: Apparently the value of the 6th bag can differ tremendously between different customers (which all payed the same extra 30$). For instance, customers, who have bought the account-wide unlock for the 4th and 5th bag before buying the Rohan Legendary Edition, get one additional bag. Customers, who did NOT buy these account-wide unlocks, now appear to get the 4th and 5th bag for free, so they actually get 3 additional bags (account-wide!) for the same 30$. VIPs have the 4th and 5th bag automatically unlocked on all their characters, and therefore get just one additional bag. Former VIPs now seem to get the 4th and 5th bag for free also on their NEWLY created (non-VIP) characters, so they get one extra bag for their old characters (logged in during VIP) and three extra bags for their new (non-VIP) characters. It is all extremely confusing, and the worth of the sixth bag can be as high as 3 extra bags (for non-VIPs without the 4th and 5th bag) and as low as 1 extra bag for the poor customers, that gave Turbine actually some real money (either by being on a VIP-subscription or by previously buying the 4th and 5th bag).

    Now if the mechanics of the 6th bag (contained in the Rohan Legendary edition) had been layed out from the start, people would not complain as much as they do now. I do not think, that the confusion with the 6th bag was something done on purpose by Turbine. Obviously they misjudged the complexity of the issue. I do not blame them for their original misjudgement. Such things can happen. However, the subsequent handling of the issue was sub-par. If they had come up with a statement somewhat along the lines:

    "We made a mistake. The issue was more complex than we originally expected. We had to improvise to find a solution. It was difficult to find a solution that is fully satisfactory for *all* of our customers. This is, what we came up with: xxx"

    most customers would have been satisfied and trust would have been restored. Some would still complain about the "unjustice", that the 6th bag is worth least (just 1 extra bag) for the "good" customers, who paid more in the past (VIPs and buyers of the 4th and 5th bag), and is worth most (3 extra bags) for the "not so good" customers, that never subscribed and did not buy bags in the past. But most would understand, that it is rather difficult to find a fair solution afterwards, where you can only mitigate the damage already done, compared to an ideal world, where all potential problems are caught already during the design process.

    [If Turbine is really concerned about their "good" customers, they might consider offering VIPs and those who bought the 4th and 5th bag before they acquired the Legendary Edition a TP refund for, say, half the TP price of the 4th and 5th bag. IMO, that would be a VERY generous offer. However, it would also suffice, if they said that they thought about the issue, and feel sorry for those costumers that didnt get quite as good deal as others and that they will try to improve in the future. The important thing is not, whether they come out with some extra gifts for costumers that got a worse deal than others (such things always happen, for instance with bundles, where you already own some of the items). The important thing is, that they show they care for their (paying) costumers. Personally, I am quite content, having bought the Legendary edition at 50% off. But I sympathize with those, who payed full price for it. In any case, it is Turbines decision how to deal with the issue. Desasters like the 6th bag occur rather seldom and are likely not covered by the internal guidelines, used by customer service to resolve the various everyday complaints. (Because of this, the handling of such a desaster can be a rather good indicator, in what direction the company is headed attitude-wise). Although I bought the 4th and 5th bag separately, meaning the 6th bag included in the Rohan Legendary Edition was worth "just one" extra bag, I got the Legendary edition at 50% off. At 50% off, I payed 15$ for the sixth bag and an extra 1000 TP. That was a fair deal (maybe not a particularly good one). Of course it would have been even better, if I'd known in advance, that I wouldn't have needed to buy the 4th and 5th bags. But, thats life ... ]


    After this rant, here finally comes some more detailed information, that should help you to devise your own personal money spending strategy for LotRO.

  4. #4

    How to save money and a lot of grief

    In LotRO you can purchase content either via real money, or via a special ingame currency called Turbine Points (TP).

    TP can be acquired simply by playing the game (completing special quests, called deeds).
    TP can also be purchased via real money. A rule of thumb is 100 TP = 1$.

    Gaining TP through playing is slow. During normal gameplay, it will take several hours to gain, say 10 TP. A (very inaccurate) rule of thumb is 2 TP per hour. A low level character will make more TP per hour, a high level character less (the deeds become harder at the higher levels and take more time to complete).

    There are strategies to be found on the internet for "TP grinding", that can yield up to 40-50 TP per hour (under optimal conditions and if you know the strategy in and out). However, these grinds are highly repetitive and excessively boring. They will NOT enhance your gaming experience. In fact, even their authors admit, that excessive use of these strategies can lead to "LotRO burnout". The hallmark of Lotro is its diversity, grinding TP is just the opposite. If you like this game and plan to enjoy it, keep TP grinding at a minimum. This does not mean, that you should shun away from it completely. Actually, a little grinding now and then can be a nice distraction. Also, some people do not seem to mind doing repetitive tasks in their free time once in a while (maybe as "compensation" from a highly demanding and diverse job?). So my advice on TP grinding is: Try it out, if you want, but dont expect to earn a large amount of TP through it. Always keep a close watch on your boredom level and stop grinding, as soon as you start feeling the mental tear. You are there to enjoy this game, after all.

    This guide is not about how to play the game for no money at all (in which case TP grinding is almost inevitable; see however the 2-toon strategy posted by Crell, which keeps TP grinding at a rather low level). This guide is about how to enjoy the game best, eventually unlocking all the content. IMO, this requires you to spend at least a small amount of real money. How much? You will have to decide for yourself. Hopefully this guide will help you to find out what amount is best for you.

    One last word of warning: As everyone knows, when you actually spend real money, your enjoyment will turn to annoyment, when you find out later, that part of your money was more or less wasted. This guide will help you to spend your money wisely. This means buying the right stuff at the right time. Note, however, that even the wisest spender cannot look into the future. Spending money wisely means that you should be aware of discounts, but you cannot predict them. It might - and it will - happen, that you bought something you direly needed, just to find it on discount a few days (or weeks) later. Also, Turbine will come out with new bundled sales (for instance, the Samwise Gamgee Starter Pack), where you wish you had known in advance, what they would include in the bundle (likely the bundle contains several items, which you already bought separately). The wise spender will just shrug it off, knowing that she cannot look into the future. Your purchase decision should be optimal at the time you made the purchase. Everything that happens after is moot. The unwise spender, however, will wail endlessly, waisting his time not for enjoyment, but grief. Some even feel the need to go public on the forums, waisting even more time, including the time of others. Just because you bought an item at regular price a few days before it became discounted, does not entitle you to the discount. Sorry, guys. It is the very nature of discounts to be partially unpredictable. If we knew every discount in advance, nobody would buy anything at regular price. If you buy at regular price, it is your decision and yours alone. Either you need the item badly just now, then go and buy it. Or you do not need it immediately, then wait for the next discount. Its as simple as that. I bought all of my stuff on discount, and it was not difficult. All you need is a little patience and some knowledge, how discounts work in LotRO. Although you cannot predict precisely when a particular discount will strike, you still can get a good idea how long the wait is going to be, by looking at the history of past discounts (see the LotroStore subforum).

    This brings me to the next subject of this guide
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Dec 13 2012 at 02:38 AM.

  5. #5

    Be aware of discounts and how they work in Lotro

    For any
    - TP-purchases via the Lotro-Store (using a virtual currency named TP = Turbine Points) or
    - real money purchases via the Lotro-Market (the actual money transactions are managed by Digital River, requiring a separate account with them)
    ALWAYS LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS.

    TP purchases are always "ingame", requiring you to be logged into your account (or subscription, see below). Some purchases only apply for one character, in which case you have to be logged in with the character for whom you want to do the purchase. Note that any TP you gain with your characters go into an account-wide pool. It does not matter which character earned the TP, and it does not matter on what server the character was on. [TP grinders with only 2 or 3 character slots per server therefore often have their main (permanent) characters on one server and their (disposable) grinder characters on another.]

    Real money purchases are always handled "out of game". You usually get an activation code, which has to be applied to a LotRO-account later on. They usually send you an EMail with the code, which also contains a link to a turbine website, where you can log into your account and apply the code. Once the code has been applied to your account, the benefits it provides are (permanently) unlocked on your account. You do not need to put in the code again. Prior to using the activation code, it is not bound to any account. If you like, you can gift the code away. Once used, however, the activation code becomes bound to the account it has been applied to, and thus becomes useless for any other account.

    So what are the discounts available on both types of purchases?

    Real money purchases sometimes have one week discount coupons at 10% off (mailed to the EMail-address you registered with your Turbine account). Also, just before or after new content is published, there are usually some very good (real money) deals, up to 50% off. Finally there are discounts on special days: For instance, on Black Friday (sometimes only the day itself, sometimes up to a few days after, until Cyber Monday) the expansions have been off 50% (only if bought via real money).

    TP-purchases have changing discounts every week (weekly sales). There might also be special sales, especially on holidays. Some customers reported intermittent, very short term (a few hours or less) discounts, where everything within their cart was 50% off. I personally cannot confirm this. These special sales seem to occur on special days, such as Black Friday, Christmas Eve, New Year, etc. . You might want to check the cart/website at those days often. The usual discount in the Lotro Store (currency: TP) for selected weekly items (weekly sales) is between 20% and 30%. Some items might be discounted down to 50% (quest packs have been known to be at a 50% discount, either a select few or all of them).

    Finally, a few times per year (every few months or so) there are a couple of days called "determine your own discount", where you can get either 10%, 20% or 30% off from the TP price of everything in your cart. The discount rate depends on the total TP you are willing (and able) to spend. The higher your total, the higher the discount percentage. Eg. 10% discount kicks in when the regular price of all items in your cart goes over 1000 TP, 20% starts at 2000 TP and 30% at 3000 TP. IMO these are the best deals to look and plan for. They are rather predictable, occurring every few months or so. You are not limited to a few items Turbine selected for the weekly sales. Also, if you are lucky, these special discounts can be used in combination with the "normal" weekly sales (see below).

    To use these special discounts, you need to apply a coupon code to your cart. The coupon codes are anounced at the Turbine website. These coupon codes (CART10, CART20, CART30 or similar names) can be used up to 10 times per account. Note, that you do not need to have 3000 TP on your account to use the 30% off coupon. You just have to add items into your cart so that the *regular* price is >= 3000 TP. If you have, for instance, 2200 TP, but the items in your cart total 3000 TP, the system will tell you that you don't have enough TP for the purchases. But then you add the coupon code. 30% off 3000 TP is 2100 TP. At this point the system will let you do the transaction. Therefore as long as you have over 2100 TP, you can apply the 30% coupon code and then do the purchase. Also note, that there will be "normal" weekly sales going on during the "determine your own discount" days. I also experienced a slight overlap between the weekly sale of the previous week with the newly announced "determine your own discount" sale. The coupon codes are usually given out in the same message, where the new weekly sales are announced. For instance, Turbine had a weekly sale going, where bonus character slots were 20% off. When the sale neared its end (on Thursday evening), I looked for new sales on the Website. At roughly 9-10 pm (European time) the new weekly sales were announced, together with the 3 day "determine your own discount" coupon codes. The announcement for the new weekly sales usually comes a few hours before the items are actually available in the Lotro-Store. Therefore, the old sale (20% off character bonus slots) was still going for a couple of hours. BUT: The coupons were already usable! In other words, the freshly announced coupon codes had a few hours overlap with the old weekly sales. So I got the bonus character slot at 20% off (from the old weekly sale) plus another 30% off (from the coupons announced togehter with the new weekly sales), which makes 44% off in total.

    Usually the best strategy to buy things cheap with the 30% coupons is to do one large purchase in one single large transaction, e.g. fill up your cart with all items you want and make sure that the total regular price is beyond 3000 TP. At that point it does not matter, whether you spend 3000, 4000 or 10,000 TP. Everything in your cart will be discounted 30%, after applying the coupon. It goes without saying, that a 30% discount is a much better deal than 10%. This means that you need at least 2100 TP on your account when you expect the next "determine your own discount" sale coming up. However, emptying your whole TP purse in one strike is not always the best strategy. Some purchases, such as extra bags or extra bonus character slots, have to be done one transaction at a time. In other words, you cannot buy, for instance, 5 bonus character slots in one single transaction, you must do it in 5 separate transactions (the reason probably is, that the system has to verify via an algorithm, if you are still eligible to buy the next upgrade). If you buy items for your individual characters, you likewise require separate transactions per character. Therefore, if you want to buy several items, that require one transaction each, you are better off splitting your purchase into several smaller transactions. In order to use the 30% coupon, you need at least 2100 TP per transaction. So if you need to do two separate transactions, you should have ~4500 TP (2*2100 = 4200 TP plus a small buffer of 200-300 TP). Unless you need something really desperately, I strongly recommend saving TPs until you have at least 2100 (better: 4200) and wait for the 30% off codes. An exception to the rule are the (rare) 50% discounts. If an item is on 50% discount, and you want it, buy it. You wont get a better discount (unless the 50% discount happens to overlap with a "determine your own discount" sale, which is extremely rare). Dont fret, if the the purchase at 50% brings your TP total below 2100 TP, and you miss out on the next 30% "determine your own discount" sale. This guide is about long-term benefits. In the long run it will not matter, whether you purchase at 30% three months earlier or three months later. But it will matter if you purchase at 50% discount compared to 30%.

  6. #6

    On the benefits of PREMIUM and VIP status

    When you start the game you are required to create a new account with Turbine. Every new account starts out as a "free to play" (F2P) account. An F2P account gives you 2 characters, which have access to all the gameworld (but not all of its features). A F2P account has certain restrictions, which will become noticeable only after you have played the game for some time.

    Besides the F2P account status, there are 2 other account states, PREMIUM and VIP. You only get these states, if you spend some real money on your account.

    SIDENOTE:
    Note that you can have several accounts. All accounts are completely separate. Unlocks or TPs gained on one account only apply to that particular account. There is no way to transfer any benefits from one account to another. Every account requires a different user name and password. However, some LotRO veterans like to play the game on several accounts, which - for instance - is the only means to control more than one character at a time (this technique goes under the term "multi-boxing"). For those, that want to have several "accounts", Turbine has created a new account-variant, called "Subscription" (not to be confused with a temporary VIP-subscription to the game). Gamewise a subscription works exactly as an account. The only difference is, that multiple subscriptions on one account can all be accessed through the same user-name and password. Once you log into your account, you will given a list of all your available subscriptions. You then choose what subscription you want to play on. Subscriptions are a convenience for those, that want to have several accounts at once without remembering all those different user-names and passwords. In other words, Subscriptions are nothing else than separate accounts, that all go under the same user-name and password. Like accounts, subscriptions are completely separate game-wise. So any unlocks or TP gained on one subscription belong to that subscription alone and do not transfer to other subscriptions. The general rule "subscription = account" is important when you purchase stuff from Turbine. Turbine differentiates between "account-wide" benefits and "character-based" benefits. "Character-based" benefits only apply to one specific character. "Account-wide" benefits apply to all characters (current and future) created on an account. Language is not alyways entirely accurate. For those that have multiple subscriptions (on one account) an "account-wide" benefit actually is just a "subscription-wide" benefit.


    So what are the benefits of PREMIUM and VIP status (over F2P)?

    1.) VIP

    VIP status (for your account, or rather subscription) is obtained for a temporary time period, when you subscribe to the game for real money. Therefore becoming VIP is often referred to as subscribing or subbing. VIP status always requires the spending of real money: You cannot use ingame TP to acquire VIP status.

    VIP status gives you various benefits. Some benefits only last during your VIP period, but some remain indefinitely (on your characters) even after VIP expired.

    During VIP status you will have the following account-wide benefits
    a) full access to all regions, instances and skirmishes, EXCEPT the expansions
    b) 30 auction house slots
    c) 20 shared wardrobe slots
    d) receive 500 TP every month
    e) ability to play all classes (including Wardens, Runekeepers and all monster-classes in the Ettenmoors)
    f) 2 extra character slots

    There are other benefits as well (such as "rest XP", meaning your characters earn XP even when not logged in, and the ability to spend ingame earned "destiny points" for temporary character enhancements), but these benefits are not really worth to get excited over.

    Note that although VIP status is usually advertised as "giving full access to all regions *", you should have noted the "*" at the end of the sentence, which directs you to a footnote stating that "terms and conditions apply". The terms and conditions are, that expansions are not included in the deal. So VIPs still have to buy the expansions. However, none of the normal (non-expansion) quest packs are required during VIP. Furthermore, VIPS can participate in all skirmishes, without having to buy them. They can also participate in all instances tied to the (non-expansion) quest packs, but not to instances tied to the expansions (unless they separately bought the expansions).

    Note that these (account-wide) benefits last only during your VIP period. Once you fall out of VIP, you will loose all of them, unless you bought them separately. In particular, you will loose access to the quest packs. Any quests and deeds started during VIP can be finished, but no new quests can be taken and quest chains cannot be continued, unless you own the respective quest pack. Anything lost can be reinstated, however, by buying the respective item through ingame TP or by becoming VIP once more. For instance, if you have filled up all your character slots during VIP, 2 characters will become unaccessible, because you loose 2 slots. You will be given a choice, which 2 characters are to become (temporarily) inaccessable. However, the characters are not deleted, you can regain access to them by buying additional character slots or by re-subscribing.

    VIP status is a good opportunity, to try out the whole gameworld (except the expansions) in order to find out, what quest packs and instances you like and what not. If you have a lot of money, and you like the game, you might even consider to become VIP as your first real money purchase, in order to experience the full gameworld right from the start (you will eventually have to buy the expansions, but it will take a long time until your characters are high enough in level to enter the expansion regions). This is probably the smoothest and most enjoyable start into the game, albeit the most expensive. In order to get to know the whole game (including the top level regions), you need to invest at least 3 months (at 2-3 hours per day). If you like to take it leisurely, or if you want to try out more than one class, it might take you half a year or more to get to the top level regions. If you have decided to become VIP early, it does not make too much sense to become VIP for just 2 months (at 30$), rather you should bite the bullet and take the 99$ deal, which gives you VIP status for a full year. Note, that during 12 months VIP - compared to just 2 months - you'll get an extra 5000 TP for free, which alone are worth between 30$ to 50$. In other words, the 12 month deal has an effective price of 50-70$, compared to 30$ for 2 months. Of course, deducting the real money equivalent for the extra 5000 TP is only applicable for those, that would have been willing to buy the extra 5000 TP for real money in the first place. 5000 TP might seem much, but it actually isnt: For instance, if you buy all "really good" account-wide benefits (all quest packs - 6800 TP, all expansion quests - 6000 TP, all skirmishes - 1200 TP, 4-6th bag - 3000 TP, currency cap removal - 400 TP, 5 auction house slots - 100 TP, 20 slots of shared storage - 1000 TP, premium wallet - 1000 TP, Warden&Runekeeper classes - 1300 TP, a few extra character slots - 600-6000 TP), these purchases alone will cost you 22,000 to 28,000 TP, undiscounted. If you like monster-play, you'll have to be prepared to spend another 4000 TP for the additional monster classes. The bottom line is: In order to get access to the whole gameworld (and some major conveniences, like the extra bags) you need between 20,000 to 30,000 TP. But it does not stop there: In addition to that you will eventually want all the essential unlocks on your characters. These cost 1600 TP per character (although you can get around it by becoming VIP for a short time).

    The amount of TP you need to get access to the whole gameworld is enormous. Therefore "pure" F2P strategies also spend quite some effort on advicing you, what the absoloutely essential purchases are. You can get quite far into the game with just 5000 TP (currency cap removal - 400 TP, Evendim quest pack - 600 TP, Moria quest pack - 1500 TP, Isengard quest pack - 1500 TP), but you will miss out on a lot of content (extra regions) and conveniences (extra bags, shared storage). OTOH, if you are disciplined enough to withstand all of those fine discounts, designed for the sole purpose to soften up your vow of poverty, you can earn the TP required for the "minimalist" strategy without too much grinding, just by levelling up your two F2P characters, doing all the deeds on the way. Crell posted a strategy he himself successfully executed. But any extra purchase will require either serious grinding or spending real money. To give you an inkling, how much time it will cost you via grinding, lets assume that you are willing to do a 3-4 hour grinding session every week. If you do this with the best strategy currently available, you will be able to make 150 TP in those 3-4 hours. That would be 600 TP per month (similar to the 500 "free" TP given to VIPs every month), ergo 7200 TP per year. In order to earn the required 22000 TP to get access to the whole gameworld, you would have to invest 3 years of weekly grinding. If you only buy stuff on discount, you should be able to shorten this to 2 years. It is doable, but it requires a lot of discipline and dedication.

    I prefer some path in the middle. You do not need all the quest packs, at least not from very the start. But for a really enjoyable journey you want more than just the bare minimum, e.g. Evendim, Moria and Isengard. This is, where a temporary period of VIP status comes in handy: Based on your knowledge of the gameworld gained during VIP, you can make a priority list for your quest pack and instance purchases, after VIP expires. A slight disadvantage of VIP is, that you cannot buy the (non-expansion) quest packs and instances during your VIP period. So if there is a sale going on while you are VIP, you cannot take advantage of it. This is a safeguard put in by turbine, which prevents VIP players to buy stuff that they actually own (albeit only for a limited time period).

    Although access to a large part of the gameworld (everything except the expansions) is nice, IMO the best part of being VIP are the PERMANENT unlocks you receive on your characters. Be aware, however, that the unlocks are on a character by character basis and only trigger, if you log in that character during your VIP period. The good thing is, you only need to log in once. If you forget to log in, though, you are screwed. Most people regard the character based unlocks as the real advantage of becoming VIP. If you are out only for the character-based unlocks, it might be more cost efficient to become VIP for just a short period of time. Currently 2 months of VIP cost 30$ in the Lotro Market. There are some cheaper options available (old Moria boxed version for $20, giving 1 month of VIP), but they are becoming rare, due to the fact that Turbine is selling most of its new offers directly through the Lotro Market. The shorter your VIP period is going to be, the better you must plan it in advance and prepare your characters for it.

    The following unlocks apply to all characters logged in during your VIP period. They are permanent, e.g. they last even if your VIP period expired:

    A) currency cap removed (saves 395 TP account-wise)
    B) all trait slots unlocked (saves 1500 TP per character)
    C) unlimited advancement in guild reputation (saves 295 TP account-wise per guild, e.g. for 7 guilds you save 2065 TP account-wise.)
    [when VIP expires, you cannot advance further in guild rep, unless you buy the account-wise unlock for your guild at 295 TP, but you retain your current guild reputation level]
    D) swift travel unlocked (not achievable through any other means: TP purchases only get you temporary unlocks)
    E) access to a lvl 20 quest, which grants your character the riding skill for free (saves 95 TP per character)
    [once you do the quest, the riding skill remains, even when VIP expires]

    Once you fall out of VIP, you will automatically get PREMIUM status, because you spent real money for your VIP period.
    So after VIP expires, all of the following Premium status benefits apply to you as well.


    2.) PREMIUM

    Premium status (for your account, or rather subscription) is achieved, if you've purchased at least one item with real money.

    The benefits of Premium apply to all characters, current and future. They are:

    - 5 auction house slots
    - gold cap raised from 2 GP to 5 GP
    - ability to mail gold between your characters
    - 1 extra character slot

    Once you gain PREMIUM status, you never loose it. Your purchase can be as low as 10$.

    If you like the game, I recommend to become PREMIUM ASAP. The best way (currently, 2012-12) to do this, is to buy the Samwise Gamgee Starter pack for 10$, which removes the currency cap, gives a 4th bag, the riding skill and a +62% horse for all characters current and future (e.g. all benefits are account-wise and last forever). You can play the game completely for free, without spending a cent. But that is not a very efficient use of your resources. For just 10$ you will enjoy the game so much more. Premium status gives you several advantages, that will make life easier for you, in particular if you are new: You get 1 more character slot (3 instead of 2 characters), 5 auction house slots (enabling you to earn substantial amounts of ingame gold), and the gold cap on all characters is raised from 2 GP to 5 GP (allowing purchases of important items, that cost more than 2 GP). A not so obvious benefit of Premium (or VIP) status is, that you can now mail gold between your characters! As free to play (F2P) you can only mail items. You also get a higher priority when the login queues are full (I never experienced any difficulties logging in as F2P, but maybe my server Riddermark is one of the less populated).
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Dec 13 2012 at 02:38 AM.

  7. #7

    Spending strategies for Lotro

    What should I spend and when?

    Eventually you will want PREMIUM status and at least a short period of VIP for the permanent unlocks on your characters. However, there is no single strategy that tells you precisely, when it is best (for you) to become PREMIUM or VIP, and what benefits you should buy through real money and what through ingame earned TP. The optimum strategy for a particular player depends on various factors, such as the amount of time she will be able to spend on the game, the amount of money she is willing to spend, whether she wants things fast or is willing to wait. The following advice is meant as guideline. It is how I would do it, given I could start out from scratch. My selfset limits are: I will not spend more than 50$ on a game (if it is an exceptionally good game, like Lotro, which will keep me occupied for more than a year I might spend some more, but not more than 100$). I am also a rather longterm planner, so I am willing to take some short-term inconveniences into account, if these small inconveniences can save me alot of money in the long run. If your personal setup is very much different (e.g. you rather want satisfaction now, or are willing to spend considerably more than 100$), parts of this guide will not appeal to you. However, the information contained within might still be helpful to make up your own strategy. If you do not plan to spend a single cent, this guide is more or less useless. Look for the excellent F2P guides (for instance by Crell). However, if you are willing to spend at least 10$, you will find various strategies that allow you to greatly enhance your gaming experience through the spending of the rather small amount of 10$ or 20$.

    As mentioned earlier, PREMIUM status can be obtained for just 10$. For new players, and for experienced players who did not yet buy the currency cap removal and the 4th bag, I highly recommend the Samwise Gamgee Starter pack, because the benefits are noticeable from the very start: In contrast to other packs, that give you a horse but not the riding skill required to ride it, you can actually use your free horse as soon as you finished the introduction at lvl 5+ (others have to spend 95 TP per character for the riding skill and travel to Hengstacer farm to buy a horse for 500 SP). The 4th bag gives you 33% more inventory space for all your characters right from the start. Lastly, it wont take long until you hit the currency cap (likely when your main reaches lvl 20-30).

    If you are stingy, the Samwise Gamgee Starter Pack is everything you ever really need to become PREMIUM and enjoy the game for a long time. Its currently the only way to get the riding skill free for all of your characters at lvl 5 (although VIPs can get it at lvl 20 through a special quest). The early horse (and the 4th bag) gives you a very smooth start into the game. The currency cap removal will prove beneficial as soon as your main reaches lvl20 or so. Be aware, however, that the Samwise Gamgee pack is an account-wise purchase, meaning that its benefits scale with the number of characters you play. If you plan to play just with one or two characters, there might be better options to spend you money (Moria boxed version for 20$). However, although other options might be more cost efficient on the long run, your gaming experience during the first few months or so will be much rougher without the Sam Pack.

    In Lotro, virtually everything required to experience the game fully can be bought through ingame gold or TP earned by playing the game: The free content will easily bring you to level 30. At that point you should have earned enough TP to buy the Evendim quest pack, which will get you to level 42. You only need three more levels to lvl 45 (you can get those through the free skirmishes: Tuckborough and Gondamon), at which point you can enter Moria. You will eventually need Moria to level to 60-65. But Moria is costly, in particular if you buy it from ingame TP (and not within some heavily discounted bundle for real money). Either buy the Moria quest pack for 1500 TP or the Moria expansion for 2500 TP. The expansion contains the quest pack. In order to level, you only need the quest pack. However, the extra 1000 TP for the expansion are a very good value: They give you i) two additional character slots, ii) unlock the Warden and Runekeeper class and iii) unlock more levels for your skirmish soldier (purchased separately, these benefits cost more than 2700 TP). The Moria quests will easily bring you to lvl 60.

    If you have made it so far, you will not really need any advice how to proceed from there on (what quest packs or expansions to buy and how much real money to spend). Its the low levels, where you can loose alot of money, if you do not shop carefully and plan ahead. For instance, one of the best deals (besides the Samwise Gamgee starter pack) is the Mithril edition. Its only available for real money. It contains 4 quest packs (Trollshaws, Eregion, Moria, Lothlorien), an account-wide horse with 62% movement increase (but not the riding skill) and 2000 TP. The Mithril edition has been on discount from Gamestop for as low as 10$ (in its boxed version, not available anymore as of 2012-11). Its regular price is 30$. IMO everything below 20$ is an excellent deal (as of 2012-11 you can get it as digital download from gamestop for 20$). So if you plan to buy the Mithril edition for real money, you should not buy its quest packs for ingame TP. Another nice option for beginners is the steam starter pack (this probably requires you to run the game through steam). It gives you a 68% horse (but not the riding skill), the Evendim, Misty Mountain and Northdowns quest packs and 1000 TP. Its regular price is 30$, which IMO is not worth it. However, at special days (Black Friday) you might get it for 15$, which is a good deal. However, you must buy it early, because it contains the Evendim quest pack. IMO Evendim is the only essential quest pack (besides the expansions Moria, Isengard and Rohan). You can level your character to max lvl (85) simply with Evendim (42), Moria (65), Isengard (75) and Rohan (85). It might not be the smoothest way to level, but its possible without too much inconvencience. All other quest packs are optional, although highly enjoyable.

    IMO, gaining Premium status is essential, if you play the game seriously. Also, if Turbine doesn't earn any money, all of us will not enjoy the game for long. IMO Lotro is one of the best MMORGs. Aiding Turbine in running and further developing the game world, even if its just 10$, is the sensible thing to do. Premium status becomes more important, the more characters you play. Besides your main character, you will want several alts, mostly for crafting, but also to try out other classes. For this purpose alone, one more character slot and the possibility to mail gold between your characters (for 50 coppers flat) is priceless. These two features are particularly useful, when you plan to do repetitive TP grinds, using a disposable character. With the correct strategy, one can make 150 TP in 3-4 hours, e.g. between 40 - 50 TP per hour. During that time the disposable toon will also earn roughly 450 Silver. With F2P (free to play) status, this silver is more or less lost (although you could buy some items at the auction house and mail them to your main). With premium status you simply mail the 450 SP to your permanent character(s). These, then, can use the money to buy/craft equipment for the next TP-grinder or use it for themselves.

    I became Premium, by buying the triple expansion pack (Mirkwood, Moria, Isengard) from the Lotro Market, when it came out in September 20th 2012. I got it at 50% discount for 20$ [It also was 50% off between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2012-11]. Together with Evendim (which you must buy through ingame TP, unless you buy the steam starter pack), the triple expansion pack will get you to level 75. I also got the Mithril edition as digital download from gamestop for 20$ (I missed the 10$ deal, which was only available for US-costumers). There is almost no overlap between the Triple expansion pack and the Mithril edition (the only thing they have in common is the moria quest pack). I would have bought the Samwise Gamgee Starter pack, if I hadnt already bought the currency cap removal and the 4th bag for ingame TP.

    There are basically three ways to minimize spending real money
    a) "F2P pure" - free to play all the way (requires superior grinding stamina potions)
    b) "late Moria" - play free until your two toons are nearing lvl45-50. Then buy the BOXED version of the mines of moria expansion (for instance from amazon)
    c) "early Premium, late VIP". This comes in many variants, for example
    - "early Sam" buy the Samwise Gamgee Starter pack early and if you like the game, buy 1-2 months of VIP access a couple of months later
    - "early Mithril" - buy the Mithril edition early and if you like the game, buy 1-2 months of VIP access a couple of months later
    - "early Steam" - buy the Steam starter pack early and if you like the game, buy 1-2 months of VIP access a couple of months later
    d) "early VIP" - start out directly with the 12 month VIP subscription

    I will not cover the "F2P pure" strategy, because it has been already covered in many other guides. Furthermore, this endeavor really is only for purists (e.g. gamers that have pledged a vow of poverty before entering Middle earth) or for masochists. Now some poor souls on the forums claim, that they must go the (pure) F2P route because they dont have the money. Seriously, people, no one can be so broke, that they cannot even spend an extra 10$ for a game, that will keep them occupied for more than a year (in particular if you figure in the money you will have to spend to get a decent PC, internet access and your monthly electricity bill. Even if you got your PC and your internet access for free, you still will have to spend well over 10$ for electricity, which your PC will eat up during gaming hours...). F2P is certainly doable, and if you do it for the extra challenge, that is perfectly ok with me. However, you would not really be saving money. In order to "save" 10-20$ you will have to spend at least 50-100 hours of extra game time to grind the TP equivalent for your 10$ or 20$ expenditure. Thats a wage well below 1$ per hour...

    Therefore I recommend to spend at least a little.

    In hindsight, if you want to spend the absolute minimum amount of money, you should consider the "late Moria" strategy. E.g. create 2 characters and level them up to lvl 30 (questing in Ered-Luin, Bree and the Lonelands), doing all the deeds. This should earn you enough TP to buy the Evendim quest pack, which is absolutely essential. This pack will get your 2 toons to lvl 42 and let them earn a few more TP on the way. After that skirmishes should bring you to lvl 45, at which point you should start the epic quest line in southern Eregion for your legendary weapon. Once you have finished this quest line, at lvl 46, you are ready to enter Moria. This is where your F2P days should end (if not earlier). Although you can enter Moria without the quest or expansion pack, it would be quite dull (the only XP you get comes from monster kills, which is a very sloooooow way to level. You can also do endless repeats of the two free skirmishes, until you can stear your characters through them with closed eyes). In other words: Without the Moria quests, levelling up further will be a terrible grind. Either kill thousands of on-level monsters in Moria, skirmish in Gondamon or Tuckborough until you pass out from boredom. If you liked the game so far, this is a good point to eventually give Turbine something back. The cheapest way to continue the journey in Middle earth is to buy the boxed retail version of the Moria expansion. Actually, if you plan to go this route, you should buy it well before you need it. Currently (2012/11) it is 18$ at amazon, but there are not many copies left, so the price likely will not go down further. Note that this is a very old version, that was originally released when Lotro was not yet free to play. But this is what makes this version so valuable: The old boxed Moria version comes with a code that gives you one month of VIP (a relic from the days where the game servers would only let those enter, that could provide a valid subscription code). The nice thing of the old boxed version of Moria is, that it will get you PREMIUM and VIP status in one sweep. For this it is important that you buy the old boxed (physical DVD) version of the Mines of Moria EXPANSION. You do not really need the DVD. You only need the code. The DVD contains a very old version of the game. You can install it, but then the online updater will overwrite almost everything. You must also make sure to buy the version from Turbine (there are some european codemaster versions still floating around. The codes of those versions DO NOT WORK!).

    However, the "late Moria" strategy requires quite a bit of planning and gives you a rather slow start. First you must grind enough TP for Evendim. After Evendim you need to do some more grinding to get to lvl 45-50, which would be the right moment to apply the Moria code. Then you only have 1 month of VIP in which you are under the pressure to create as many new characters as possible and get them to lvl 20 for the riding skill, before VIP expires.

    A much better way, IMO, is the "early premium, late VIP" route. If this is going to be your base strategy, you should do your "early premium" purchase ASAP. This will immediately raise your status to PREMIUM, which will make LotRO life much easier (one extra character slot, higher gold cap, mail gold between characters, 5 auction house slots). The probably best way to become Premium is to buy the Samwise Gamgee Starter Pack. You can get it right from the Lotro Market for 9.99$. IMO EVERY NEW player should buy it. Unless 10$ requires you to skip your meals for the next two days, you cannot do anything wrong. For starters it is the best deal, simply because you get the riding skill and a horse early on, which will make travelling through the vast landscape of Middle Earth so much easier.

    Whether you want to buy the other two bundles (Mithril Edition from Turbine/Gamestop and/or Steam Starter Pack from Steam) for real money, depends on how broke you are and whether you consider it a better use of your time to spend 50-100 hours of extra time to grind the ingame TP, or to spend 30-60$ instead. Eventually you will want all of the quest packs and all of the expansions. Currently there are 10 quest packs and 4 expansions, each expansion coming with an associated quest pack. Note that the expansion quest packs for Isengard and Rohan include more than one region. The Moria quest pack comes as a single region, but has content equivalent to three. Mirkwood, however, is essentially a quest pack named expansion. Mithril gives you 4 quest packs, Steam Starter gives you 3, which leaves only 3 more regular quest packs on your shopping list. These can be easily bought from the TP that come with the two bundles (Mithril comes with 2000 TP, Steam Starter with 1000 TP). Both bundles have a regular price of 30$ each. The Mithril edition is a better value than the Steam Starter Pack (even more so, because you can get Mithril for considerably less than 30$ from gamestop).

    You can buy just one of the bundles, or both: they do not have any overlap. With either one, you will have a lot of quests available. In fact, with both bundles you will have so many quests, that you likely will not be able to do all of them with just one character. The Steam version (Evendim-NorthDowns-MistyMountains) will easily get your main to lvl 48, Mithril (Trollshaws-Eregion-Moria-Lothlorien) will easily take you to lvl 65, provided you save 595 TP from the 2000 TP to buy the Evendim quest pack. If you buy both bundles, and use the TP to get the missing quest packs, the only content you are missing out on are the expansions (I do not cover the skirmishes here; they have been recently reduced in price and cost 200 TP each, less if you buy them bundled. Skirmishes currently cannot be bought from real money, but are free for VIPs). Both quest packs also come with an account-wide horse. However, you need to buy the riding skill separately for 95 TP per character, in order to use it. The steam horse is slightly faster (+68%) than the Mithril horse (+62%).

    For the expansions, the best bang for the buck is the expansion triple pack (Moria, Mirkwood, Isengard). Its regular price is 40$ (which is not the best deal!), but it has been discounted twice already at 50% for 20$. At 20$ its a no-brainer. For 40$ its a soso: If you bought Mithril, you already own the Moria quest pack. The Mirkwood expansion is nice, but not essential. Remains Isengard, which costs 20$ standalone. If you already own the Moria quests and couldn't get the expansion triple pack discounted for 20$, and your toon is ready for Isengard, you might be better off buying plain Isengard for 20$, instead of paying 40$ for content you partially own. OTOH, if you timed all of your purchases perfectly, you would have bought Mithril for 10$ in 2012-06 from Gamestop, the steam starter pack for 15$ in 2012-06 from Steam and the Expansion Triple Pack for 20$ in 2012-09 or 2012-11 from the Lotro Market, giving you access to ALL of the currently available content - except Rohan - for just 45$. The non-Rohan content will keep you occupied for a long time, during which you can either wait for good deals on Rohan (I bought Rohan Legendary for 35$, e.g. 50%, on black Friday 2012-11) or earn enough ingame TP to buy Rohan from the Lotro Store.

    Unfortunately, neither Mithril, nor the Steam pack, nor the expansions give you VIP status, so you must be prepared to spend some more bucks for a short VIP period later on, which will cost you another 20-30$. In any case, the "Premium early, VIP later" strategy is much more convenient than the "late Moria" route, but it is not as cheap. Depending on your wallet, you will spend between 10-50$ during your Premium status, possibly more if you miss the discounts. In addition to that you must be prepared to spend at least 20-30$ later on, for a short period of VIP.

    This brings us to the last possible strategy "early VIP", where you start the game as VIP with the 12 month subscription for 99$. This strategy is only recommended, if you have the money and are sure that you will stay with the game for the whole year. Although 99$ seems much, it is a rather cost-effective strategy, if you think about it closely. In fact, if you do it right, your initial 99$ is all you ever need to spend (although spending a little more will make Lotro life somewhat more convenient). Starting out the game as VIP gives you a very smooth start into the game: You have access to all regions, except the expansions, all your characters start out with 5 bags, you have access to all classes and all your characters get the riding skill for free at lvl 20. 12 months are plenty of time to explore Middle earth. Furthermore, as you have access to almost everything, you have plenty of time to look out for discounts without being under the pressure to buy stuff soon. The only drawback is, that you still have to buy the expansions. Basically you have two options: Spend a little more real money, or use your monthly 500 TP.

    The most hassle free way is to buy the expansion triple pack for real money from the Lotro-Market. It will take you a while to get your characters to level 50+, so you wont need the expansions in the first three months. This means, there is a good chance that you can get the triple pack on sale for 20$. At 20$ its a no-brainer. At 40$ there are better options. Once you have the triple pack, the only thing you are missing is Rohan. The triple pack gives you a very large time buffer, so you can look out leisurely for discounts on Rohan. 12 month VIP + expansion Triple pack is probably the most convenient way to enjoy the whole gameworld right from the start. There is not much you need in addition, meaning You can use your monthly 500 TP plus the TP you earn from deeds to make your Lotro life easier (for instance, you could buy 20 slots of shared storage for 995 TP or the premium wallet for 995 TP). However, dont spend all your TP: You should save enough TP to buy the quest packs you liked most, after VIP expired. Also keep in mind, that you have a full year to look out for discounts on the Mithril Edition or the Steam Starter pack, which come in handy after your VIP period has expired.

    However, you can also say that 99$ is all the real money you are going to spend, and use your ingame earned TP and the monthly 500 TP to buy the expansions from the Lotro Store, whenever you need them. This should work out fine: It will take you 2-3 months to get your first character to level 50, at which point you should enter Moria. During this time your character should have earned at least 500 TP through deeds. 2-3 months of VIP status gives you another 1000-1500 TP, so that you should have enough TP to buy the Moria quest pack. If you look out for discounts (for instance "determine your own discount" at 30%), you should be able to get the full Moria expansion within the first three months. Moria will occupy you for at least a month. Afterwards you can quest in Lothlorien and Enedwaith for another month or so. Then you will have to decide, whether you want to buy the Mirkwood expansion or go directly for Isengard. Youll probably have to slow down a bit before Isengard, in particular if you bought Mirkwood. Isengard is costly, and you might not have all the TP yet. Create a new character and get him to lvl 65 as well. At that point you should have enough TP to buy Isengard. There still should be a couple of months left on your VIP subscription, during which you can either work hard to get enough TP for Rohan, or you can start saving TP for the time when you drop out of VIP to buy the quest packs of the regions you enjoyed most. You only need the low level quest packs, if you have low level characters. If all of your characters are lvl 65+ and you do not plan to make any new ones, use your TP to buy Rohan. In any case, after one year of playing the game and with at least one character at lvl 65+ you do not need any advice, how to spend your money in Lotro.
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Dec 13 2012 at 02:39 AM.

  8. #8

    General Guidelines for TP spending

    1.) First concentrate on benefits PER ACCOUNT (not per character)
    [These actually are only benefits per subscription, if you have multiple subscriptions on one account]

    2.) Try to get ASAP:
    - gold cap removal (395 TP) [This removes the gold cap for all characters, current and future]
    - 5 auction house slots (95 TP)
    - additional inventory storage bags (995 TP for 4th, 5th and 6th bag)

    3.) Try to get BEFORE VIP
    - extra character slots (595 TP each)
    - essential quest packs: Evendim

    4.) Go VIP when you know what characters you will be playing in the future
    - prepare these characters before going VIP; e.g.
    - level them to 20 or higher (so they can do the quest for the riding skill)
    - join guilds, attain a high crafting level in the guild professioin and make as many guild rep items as required to reach the highest guild rep during VIP

    5.) Get quest packs and expansions when they are on sale, unless all of your character are stuck and need a quest pack or expansion to advance

    If you are short on money or TP, but you want to level your characters to max lvl, the absolute mininmum is:

    - Evendim quest pack (595 TP; lvl 30-42)
    - Moria quest pack (1495 TP; lvl 45-60)
    - Isengard quest pack (1995 TP; lvl 65-75)
    - Rohan quest pack (1995 TP; lvl 75-85)

    There is a noticeable difference between the expansion quest packs and the full expansions. The expansion quest packs cost less, but they will only give you the quests associated with an expansion (which are essential for a smooth levelling experience), but none of the other benefits of the full expansions (such as higher skirmish soldier ranks, additional character slots, extra classes, extra equipment, instance clusters, etc.). Note that with the 4 above mentioned quest packs levelling might not be very smooth. There will be some rough times between lvl 42-47 (the transition from Evendim to Moria) and between lvl 60-65 (the transition from Moria to Isengard), where you either have to do some purple, red or orange quests or you have to cover the level gap through skirmishes. In order to bridge the gap between Moria and Isengard, you might want to consider buying the Mirkwood expansion, which is designed just for this level range.

    The other ( non-expansion) quest packs, except Evendim, are not absolutely necessary for levelling. However, they greatly improve the enjoyment factor of the game and allow for a lot of diversity when levelling different characters. My personal priority list for the non-expansion quest packs is:

    - Evendim (595 TP; lvl 30-42; absolutely essential - although Northdowns + Trollshaws will do the job, but with a greatly reduced fun-factor at a higher price)
    - Great River (795 TP; lvl 72-75; because my main is already lvl 55 and I want to have more options at the higher levels)
    - Enedwaith (695 TP; lvl 65-68; because my main is already lvl 55 and I want to have more options at the higher levels)
    - Lothlorien (695 TP; lvl 55-60; because my main is already lvl 55 and I want to have more options at the higher levels)
    - Trollshaws (595 TP; lvl 30-50, to bridge the lvl 42-45 gap between Evendim and Moria and because of the Garb of the Woods armor set)
    - Eregion (695 TP; lvl 45-50; nice quests up to lvl50, before entering Moria)
    - Forochel (595 TP; lvl 39-52; the frozen wastes look quite nice, good for soloing )
    - Misty Mountains (695 TP; lvl 39-50; need to be there anyway for the legendary pages)
    - Angmar (795 TP; lvl 40-52; need to be there anyway for the legendary pages, would have been higher on my priority list if I could group more often, more than 50% group content)
    - Northdowns (595 TP; not really know what its good for - unless you hate Evendim and love Trollshaws)


    6.) All other purchases are not really that important, although they can make your Lotro-life more convenient. Wait for discounts.

    My personal priority list is:
    - Shared Storage (only the first 20 slots for 995 TP)
    - Premium Wallet (995 TP; frees alot of storage space in the inventory bags, if you are lvl 55+. Not so important at lower levels)
    - 4th, 5th and 6th bag (995 TP each; not that important if you go VIP early)
    - extra character slots (595 TP each)
    - extra shared storage (these are more a convenience than a necessity: You use shared storage to transfer stuff between character, not to actually store stuff)
    - shared wardrobe (if you are conscious of how you look to others ingame, you might want to move this up on the priority list)
    - guild unlocks (should not be necessary, if you become VIP with the correct planning ahead)

    7. ONLY after all important account-wise benefits have been covered, buy character based benefits

    The priority list for chaaracter based benefits is even more subjective than the list for the account-based stuff. For instance, I believe that everything that enhances your character stats should be earned the hard way through ingame sweat and toil. So I will not list any benefits that allow you to buy trait levels or equipment via TP, if they can be obtained through gaming.

    However, the following benefits are not available through gameplay and might be helpful for a high level character:

    - extra milestone skills (350 TP each; one or two make non-hunters and non-wardens much more flexible)
    - hurried traveller (495 TP; reduces milestone cooldown by half to 30min; only makes sense if you have a few milestone skills)
    - return to Thorins Gate, Rivendell, Enedwaith, Mirkwood (295 TP each; you might have the racial trait; also note that extra milestones are much more flexible and dont cost any travel rations to use)
    - additional legendary slots (295 TP; this is only interesting for high level characters with maxed out equipment, who want to use six slots to level junk legendary items for shards, legacy scrolls etc. They will want to put their "real" maxed out legendary equipment into the extra slots and disable item levelling, to maximize the IXPs that go to the junk items.)

  9. #9

    Detailed explanations and hints for TP spending

    1.) Benefits per account apply to all characters, current and future. Benefits per characters only apply for a particular character. The more characters you have, the more you will profit from the account-wise benefits. Furthermore, some account-wise benefits are absolutely essential (quest packs and expansions).

    2.) IMO the most important (account wide) purchases are
    - gold cap removal (395 TP)
    - 5 auction house slots (95 TP)
    - additional inventory storage bags (995 TP for each bag; you might not need all 6 bags, but even 4 are far better than 3)

    [Hint: As of 2012-11 the Lotro Market offers the "Samwise Gamgee starter pack" for 10$, which covers all of the above and more. It contains a 62% steed, the riding skill for all characters, a 4th bag and the gold cap removal. Furthermore, you will become PREMIUM, when you buy it, so you also get 5 free auction house slots. I highly recommend to buy this pack ASAP, if you plan to stay with the game.]

    You should get the gold cap removal and the 5 auction house slots ASAP. The extra bags are not that important early on, but will gain in importance the further you progress into the game. IMO these three purchases are essential for a relatively smooth game play from the start. You will get some of these benefits automatically, when you become PREMIUM of VIP. But even then, I would buy them ASAP. Unless you plan to play the game "pure F2P", e.g. never ever spend even a cent of real money, buy the Samwise Gamgee Starter Pack from the Lotro Market for 10$ and never look back. The Sam pack will cover all of the above (except the 5th and 6th bag).

    Some of the above mentioned benefits come automatically with Premium or VIP access. As soon as you hit PREMIUM, you get another 5 auction house slots and the gold cap raised to 5 GP. However, cap raised is not cap removed: With 5 GP cap you still cannot buy a Deluxe house. You likely also cannot buy the better horses. Expensive equipment on the auction house often costs more than 5 GP (although this will become relevant only if you are lvl45 or higher). Note, that if you bought 5 auction house slots before hitting Premium, these are not lost. PREMIUM gets you another free 5 slots, so you'll have 10. IMO 10 auction house slots is all you ever need, and even 5 are plenty. Therefore Premium status plus gold cap removal is the minimum you should work for. However, if you plan to become VIP soon, you might consider NOT getting any of the above: When you hit VIP, all your characters logged in during your VIP-status get a 4th and 5th bag for free. All characters also get the gold cap removed. As long as you are VIP, you have 30 auction house slots (you will loose them if you fall out of VIP, but because VIP can only be purchased by real money, you automatically become Premium after falling out of VIP, which gives you 5 auction house slots after VIP).

    Why are these three purchases so important, if most of the benefits can be gained later through Premium and VIP?

    If you plan to become VIP and stay VIP for a long time (a couple of months), you definetely do not need these three purchases: Everything is covered on a character basis (not account basis), when you are VIP. Characters logged in during VIP have their gold cap removed and 5 bags from the very start. During you VIP time you also have 30 auction house slots.

    However, it is much more cost effective to just become VIP for a short period of time, e.g. 1-2 months. In the Lotro Market, the regular price for 60 days VIP is 30$. You might get it cheaper with some "old" offers. For instance, as of 11/2012 Amazon offers some old 60 day mines of moria gamecards for ~18$. If you do not yet have the Mines of Moria expansion (or quest pack), you might consider to get one of the old Mines of Moria expansion retail boxes, which sell for ~18$ at amazon and contain a 1 month gamecard (The "old" Moria expansion boxes are the best way to minimize the spending of real money: They get you to Premium and VIP in one sweep.). Ideally you should start a short VIP period, when all of your characters have been created and are ready for certain advancements (lvl20 is the usual goal). However, when you prepare for this short VIP period, and afterwards, you will be playing the game in a non-VIP status. For these non-VIP times you might want the account-wise gold cap removal, the auction house slots and as much inventory bags as possible on an account-wide basis. Why? The most important reason is, that VIP only gives you the benefits on a character by character basis. The character has be logged in at least once during VIP. Any character created later (or not logged in) will not have these benefits. If you plan to "stick" to all of your characters after VIP, you don't really need the account-wide stuff. However, if you are not sure of your final character setup, or you plan to create alot of new characters after VIP, you will miss the benefits on those characters, if you did not buy the account-wide benefits. For instance, you might be creating a lot of disposable characters (for TP grinding) or you might want to try out different characters on different servers. It all depends on your playstyle. Account-wide benefits allow for a more flexible playstyle.

    Lets go through the individual benefits now:


    *****************************
    * Why the gold cap removal? *
    *****************************

    IMO the gold cap removal is the most important purchase for any free to play (F2P) player. As a F2P you are quite limited, and it is important to get a good start into the game. A level 50 character will have made a lot of gold (~50 GP) during his journey. It sucks, if you are limited to buy only the stuff that costs 2 GP max. For instance, capped at 2 GP you can increase your vault storage only twice, going from 30 slots to 60 slots (+15 slots each). The next 4 increases (at +15 slots) all cost more than 2 GP.

    Note that the gold cap removal is NOT that important, if you become PREMIUM early, because this will raise the gold cap on all your characters, current and future, from 2 GP to 5 GP. 5 GP is already much better than 2 GP: It allows you to buy all vault storage upgrades available for ingame gold (going from 60 slots to 120 slots on all of your characters). This makes a big difference, because storage is always scarce. However, with a 5 GP cap you still cannot buy a Deluxe house, which costs ~7 GP.

    [Note: The first 2 vault upgrades, giving +15 slots each, from 30 to 60 slots are quite cheap, at 45 SP and 735 SP. The next 4 vault upgrades cost 2.23 GP, 4.4 GP, 5 GP and 5 GP. All in all you pay 17 GP and 10 SP for 120 slots. After 120 slots you have to purchase the final 4 vault storage upgrades, taking you to 180 slots, on a character by character basis via TP (at 795 TP, 895 TP, 995 TP, 995 TP). IMO spending TP for extra vault storage is not worth it. Rather buy an additional character slot (595 TP) for an alt, which will give you 120 more slots, costing 17 GP.]


    If you plan to play with more than 1 character (the characters besides your "main" character are usually called alts), I highly recommend buying a house, simply to share equipment between your characters via the storage chest(s) in your house. A house is also very convenient, because it allows all your characters to port "back to civilization" every hour, to empty your bags; e.g. sell the junk loot and place the good loot into your vault. These are the two main purposes, your house serves (besides the nice feature that the interior and exterior can be decorated with trophies, furniture, sculptures etc.). Keep in mind though, that besides the house's storage chests there are other means to transfer equipment between your characters. For instance, you can mail most (non-bound) equipment between your characters. In some circumstances mailing is more convenient, in others the shared storage chests are easier to use. Note that mailing items costs gold (not much, unless you mail a stack of 100 ores or so), whereas using the storage chests in your house is free. Furthermore, placing, say 20 items into the chest by one character and retrieving them by another is often simpler than mailing 20 items. On the other hand, if you use the storage chest in order to transfer loot between your characters, all your characters must frequently visit the house in order to empty the chest, which otherwise fills up rapidly. This might be inconvenient, if one or more of your characters are questing in some far off region. If there is a mailbox in the area, mailing (non-stackable) items might be the better way.

    A house is a long term investment. You can only have one house per account (or is it server?). Therefore I recommend to plan its purchase thoroughly. The location of your house is very important. If you change your mind later on, the only way to get a "better" house, is to abandon your current one and buy a new one. In that case you will not get the purchase cost of your previous house refunded (only the upkeep paid in advance). I strongly recommend a deluxe house over a "normal" house (which costs ~1 GP), because a deluxe house has
    a) two storage chests with 30 slots each, compared to a normal house with just one chest and
    b) you get a whopping 20% discount at the homestead vendors (compared to 10% for a normal house), which will save a lot of gold during crafting.

    A deluxe house costs ~7GP. The gold cap removal allows you to buy a deluxe house from the very start. Arguably, if you become PREMIUM soon, the gold cap removal is not such a big issue. With the 5 GP cap from PREMIUM you'll be able to get the maximum of 120 slots of vault storage, which is available for *ingame gold*. However, you would have to buy a standard house for ~1 GP, and use its single storage chest (with 30 slots) for transfering stuff between characters. According to my experience, a single chest suffices for transfer purposes. Therefore starting out with a standard house is not that bad. Even if you switch to a deluxe house later, you will only loose 1 GP (the purchase cost for the standard house).

    Finally note, that the storage chests in the house (or delivery by mail) are not always the best way, to transfer stuff between your characters. The reason is, that only unbound equipment can be transferred in such a way. However, several items are bound to *account*. This means, they can be transferred between all characters on your account, but not to other characters (on the server). Most gift items, that a new character receives in his gift boxes, are bound to account, but also some items from loot-boxes. These items cannot be transferred by mail or house storage chests between toons, because mail and storage chests have server-wide access for the whole server-population (at least in principle: you can configure your storage chests such, that anyone on the server can access them and you can send mail to any toon on the server besides yourself). This would make it difficult, to enforce the "bound to account" restriction. The only means to transfer items "bound to account" between characters (on the same account) is via shared vault storage. This feature is fairly expensive and not available for ingame gold. The first 20 slots cost 995 TP (you do not need more; its main purpose is transfer, not storage). However, shared vault storage is well worth its cost later on. So you might consider buying it whenever you find it on sale. If you have it, you will find yourself using the shared chests in your house less and less.

    As a side note, keep in mind that expensive equipment (on the auction house) often costs more than 2 GP, and occasionally more than 5 GP. You will not need such expensive equipment before you hit lvls 40-60. But the longer you play F2P, the more important the gold cap removal gets.

    So, at the end of the day the gold cap removal (which is account-wise), allows you to
    - buy all vault storage upgrades for all your current and future characters that are available for ingame gold
    - buy a deluxe house (~7 GP) for 60 slots of shared storage (also giving the best vendor discount at 20%)
    - buy/sell expensive equipment


    ****************************** **
    * Notes for purchasing a house *
    ****************************** **

    - The best area for a house is Thorin's Hall homesteads, because the Thorin's hall homesteads are closest to the crafting facilities located within Thorin's Hall (all other homesteads require longer runs to their respective crafting areas)
    - Thorin's hall has all crafting facilities, except a superior study, a superior oven and superior fields (for these see later). All crafting facilities at Thorin's are grouped quite close together. The superior forge is accessible from the beginning. Once you have acquaintance status, there is a superior workbench in the Blue Garrison (entrance close to the water fall), which requires a 1 minute run. Note that the fields for your farmer alt are located at an extra entrance, close to the entrance to Thorin's hall. The only facilities that cannot be found in Thorins Hall are a superior study, a superior oven and superior farming fields. All of these can be found in the Shire, close to Michel Delving, which can be reached by swift travel in no time from Thorin's. The superior oven is close to the Michel Delving Stables and can be accessed from the beginning. A superior study can be found in the Mathom house, again close to the stable guy. You need acquaintance status with the mathom society to get entrance, but that can be easily obtained by doing the 75 quests for the shire quest deeds (the higher level quests hand out a lot of mathoms, which should bring you up to acquaintance status with no problem). The superior farmer fields are in Hobbiton, which can be reached via stable route from Michel Delving.
    - The best buy is a Deluxe house in Thorin's estates at 1 Frothing Road or 3 Cloven Crescent. These two locations are closest to the vendor/vault area within the homestead. I prefer the one that overlooks the waterfall (3 Cloven Crescent), because one can reach the vault in less than 10 sec, simply by jumping down the cliff. Getting back from the vault to the house takes a little longer (30 sec). The house at 1 Frothing road has similar overall travel times: Here it takes ~20 sec for each trip. Both houses cost 7.650 GP, plus 165 SP upkeep per week. The two chests are 150 Silver & 350 Silver. Usually the travel to the personal house is done to dump stuff in the vault and then go back again. For this purpose the house overlooking the waterfall is slightly better, because you will rarely visit the house itself. chances are, you mostly jump down to the vault, store the good loot in it and sell off the junk to one of the vendors next to the vault keeper. As soon as you have bought shared storage slots, you can also use the vault to transfer good loot to other characters, meaning you will visit your personal house even less.
    - An alternative is to buy one of the two deluxe houses near the entrance to the homestead (2 Anvilsong road or 2 xx road). This makes it slightly more inconvenient to use the homestead vendors (with their 20% discounts) and to dump stuff into your vault. However, crafters willing to part with the vendor discount can run to Thorin's hall in slightly less time (20 sec), and thus can start crafting a bit earlier.


    ****************************** **
    * Why the auction house slots? *
    ****************************** **

    The first 5 auction house slots are really cheap at 95 GP (the next 5 are also 95 TP, but then the price goes up to 195 TP). In my opinion they are necessary, in order to make at least some good money of your own, BEFORE becoming PREMIUM (which gives you another 5 slots, accountwise). Unless you are self-sufficient (meaning you need up to 7 crafting alts that make all the equipment for your main), you will gather a lot of loot that you have no use for. However, it might be very useful to others (crafters from other professions than your own), in which case you can get some good money on the auction house. All in all, there are 7 crafting and 3 gathering professions. Each character has access to 3 professions (not all combinations are possible). You need at least 4 toons to cover them all, and at least 7 if you want to make the higher quality guild stuff. Usually 5 auction slots suffice in order to sell the raw materials you do not have any use for (although 10 slots are better; if you bought 5 as F2P, you will have 10 after becoming PREMIUM). IMO it does not make too much sense to have more than 10 auction house slots. Usually you will not have much more than 5 different items that can be sold for a good profit. An exception to this rule is, if you level up your crafting proficiency by batch processing a lot of identical or similar items. However, if you flood the auction house with 30 similar items, you will not be able to sell all of them. Furthermore, people will notice that they are not selling well, and might wait for your sale to expire, hoping you will re-auction the unsold items for a lower price. Finally note, that every character gets the full number of auction house slots. So if you have 10 toons and 5 slots, you actually can post up to 50 items, which is more than enough.


    ****************************** ***
    * Why the extra inventory bags? *
    ****************************** ***

    The more inventory bags you have, the more loot you can carry. This means you don't need to go back as often, selling off junk or placing valuable items into your vault. Its a great time saver. Of course you can throw out most loot, if you want to finish your campaign without making the extra trip home, but then you will make less money. Also, in a long campaign you might eventually be forced to throw out the good stuff, too.

    So what is the optimum number of bags? The higher level your character gets, the more different kinds of loot will be picked up. I found, that if your main is at level 50, five bags are plenty (with good planning ahead). But even for a disposable character (TP grinder), who lives only until lvl 13 or so, 5 bags are so much better than 3: With 5 bags you do not have to worry at all, during your whole TP grinding session, what loot to throw out and what to keep, in order to pass onto your permanent characters in the end. You simply do the quests and slayer deeds, collect every loot there is, keep the good stuff and sell the junk whenever you happen to come close to a vendor. When you are finished, you will still have a few spots left in your 5 bags. Then you place the good stuff into your shared storage (house or vault), sell all your equipment, mail the ~450 silver to your main and delete. Your permanent characters will thank you for the extra stuff.

    The more advanced your character gets, the more bags you need. The reason is the higher diversity of loot and the extra stuff, you need to carry around for emergencies (food, potions, salves, oils, traps etc.). The higher the level of your character, the more options you have, the more stuff you need to carry with you. For instance, an apprentice prospector can only collect tin and copper (2 slots), but a supreme prospector needs almost 1 bag (15 slots) for all the ore he can mine. I found that a lvl20+ character is still very convenient to play with 5 bags, but a lvl60+ character would rather have 6 bags.

    Keep in mind, though, that the extra bags are more of a convenience than a real necessity. You can play the game with just 3 bags (I played with 3, until my main became lvl 45, and did not have to throw away much). But with just 3 bags you must do a lot of planning ahead. Unless you plan to discard all of the junk loot and some of the good loot, you can only put very few consumables (potions, food) into your bags for emergencies. Even if you start your session with 3 completely empty bags, on longer campaigns you will eventually have to decide which loot to throw out and which to hold on to.

    I bought bags 4 and 5 at the "old" price at 495 TP each. At that price, and if you do not plan to become VIP very soon, they are a very good value. Gameplay was much much smoother with 5 bags, than with just 3. I am not really sure about the sixth bag, though. At level 50 I didnt really need it. I happened to get the sixth bag when I was lvl 55, by buying the 50% discounted legendary Rohan edition. It is nice, but I do not really need it (rather, its somewhat detrimental to my discipline; makes me careless going off to new region without emptying out my bags first). Now, that the bags cost 995 TP each, you might consider not buying them, in particular if you plan to become VIP soon. Every character logged in during vip gets the 4th and 5th bag for free. On the other hand, the more characters you have, the more the extra bag space pays off. Purchased bags are account wide. For instance, if you have 10 characters, another bag with 15 slots means that you immediately get 150 extra slots of total storage space. At 995 TP thats 6.7 TP per slot. Compare this to the 795 TP you pay for the vault storage upgrade on just one of your characters, going from 120 to 135 vault slots (53 TP per slot). If you like to have a lot of alts (as I do), buy all the bags (up to the 6th), whenever they are discounted. The best way currently is, to buy the 4th bag with the Samwise gamgee starter pack, buy the fifth bag discounted and buy the 6th bag either through a 50% discounted legendary Rohan edition or any upcoming discount on the 6th bag. Even if Turbine does not put the 6th bag on discount the next year, you still can get it 30% off on "determine your own discount" days.

    Finally note, that although VIP status gives you a 4th and 5th bag, this is only for characters that were logged in during VIP. Any character you create later, will not get these bags. Therefore: Unless you plan to become VIP for an extended period of time (12 months), and if you plan to create a lot of new (disposable) characters during your non-VIP time, the extra bag space will very likely pay off. [Turbine might have changed their policy regarding the 4th and 5th bag for VIPS recently, in order to eliminate a delivery problem for the 6th bag for former VIPS. Some former VIPs have reported, that they now get the 4th and 5th bag for all of their newly created characters, although they currently are ex-VIPS, e.g. their VIP period has expired. In other words, contrary to the old policy, these new characters of former VIPs have been never been logged in during VIP status, but still seem to get the 4th and 5th bag. It remains to be seen, if this is a bug that will be rolled back in one of the next updates, or if this is a lasting policy change.].

    Bottom line: If you plan to become VIP soon, or if you plan to have only a few (2-3) toons, don't buy the extra bags. Get them during VIP. But if you plan another 3-6 months of "preparation" before you go VIP, you should consider buying them.


    ****************************** ***
    * What to get before going VIP? *
    ****************************** ***

    VIP gives you a lot of benefits for all characters, that were logged in during VIP. These benefits persist, even after your VIP period expired. Therefore it is important to have as many characters as possible when you become VIP.

    The non-expiring VIP-benefits are:
    - gold cap removal [saving 400 TP account-wise]
    - 4th and 5th inventory bag [saving 2000 TP account-wise]
    - guild access [only up to the guild level you got during vip, saving 2100 TP account-wise]
    - all trait slots unlocked [saving 1500 TP per character]
    - quest for the riding skill at level 20 [saving 95 TP per character]
    - swift travel [not purchasable, might be only for the regions/levels you had access during vip]
    The main benefits of VIP are the character based perks: You save ~1600 TP per character just for the trait slots and the riding skill, simply by going VIP. The permanent swift travel option can ONLY be obtained through VIP; there is no account-wide supplement for it (only temporary swift travel unlocks, that cost an outrageous amount of TP). Compared to the 1600 TP savings per character PLUS the priceless swift-travel unlock, the account-wise savings are a mere a 4500 TP. In other words, with just 3 characters your savings on the character-side already outweigh your savings on the account-side. The more characters you have, the better the return in investment of VIP will be.

    Because these persistent benefits are on a *character* basis, it is essential, that you have all your permanent characters created and prepared, before you go vip. The more characters you have, when you go VIP, the higher the saving.

    Furthermore, all characters should be (or become) at least level 20 during vip.
    [Note: In order to level fast, it is recommended that you only do the yellow/orange/red/purple quests (you might need good equipment, so that strategy works best for your second, third etc. character, who can benefit from any crafting skills your previous characters possess).]
    [Note: For swift travel, which is a very convenient feature of being VIP, and cannot be purchased through TP later on, it might be necessary to get your characters to high levels during vip. The reason is, that many swift travel routes have a minimum character level requirement, meaning they only unlock when your toon has reached a certain level. I am not sure, whether the VIP swift travel unlock is for all routes, or just the routes that were "accessible" to your toon during vip-time. Maybe you also have to visit the stable masters during your vip time.]

    Notes:
    - You should have created all the permanent characters you ever want, before going VIP
    - If you are a completionist, a good idea is to have all classes and/or all guild crafters. This requires at least 7 permanant toons for the 7 guilds or 9 permanent toons for the 9 classes.
    - you should advance all characters to at least lvl 20 before VIP. Any toon who is supposed to become a member in a crafting guild, should make enough guild reputation items in advance, so that he can achieve the highest guild level right when he starts out as VIP
    - IMO it does not make too much sense to advance your toons beyond level 50 before going VIP. Latest at level 50+ you will want a horse, the extra bags, the extra virtue/race slots and the swift travel option for your toons. Either you like the game, then you should become VIP at level ~50 (possibly earlier). Or you do not like the game. Then you will have stopped well before level 50. Unless you want to level super-fast, it is quite well possible to quest without any VIP-benefits, before your (main) character(s) hits level 50. The pre-50 quest areas are not that far spread out. The running around all over the place starts at level 45 (with the legendary skill grinds). Before that a horse is not essential. If you nonetheless feel, you need it earlier, just buy the riding skill for 95 TP. Its not the most cost efficient way, but 95 TP is not too much. You can grind 100 TP it in ~2 hours.

    If you plan to hit VIP around lvl 45-50, the only essential quest pack is Evendim. You can get to lvl 30 via free content (Ered-Luin -> Bree -> Lonelands). Evendim starts around lvl 30 and will bring you up to level 42-45. There might be a small gap between 43-50, but this can be covered by skirmishes (see remarks below, though).

    Also note, that for your first character, a horse is not really necessary before level 45. When you start the game, you will probably gather a lot of resources on the way (to advance the crafting skills of your main and possibly your crafting alts). If your main gathers alot, a horse is mostly in the way. It is certainly not needed in the starter areas (Eregion, Shire, Bree-land), where all quests are packed close together (more so in Eregion, than in Bree or the Shire). Furthermore, there are swift travel options between all the starter areas, useable by all characters. If you plan it well, the starter areas easily will bring you to level 20, without much running all over the place. The fasted way is to start out in Celondim. Following the TP-grinder strategy this will bring you to lvl 13 in 2-3 hourse. Then go to Bree (quests around Combe) to get you to lvl 20. Try to do only the yellow/orange or higher quests. After hitting level 20, the next area you will quest in are Lonelands, which should bring you to lvl 30. You might do some skirmishes (Gondamon) inbetween. As soon as you hit level 30, you should head towards Evendim, which is good till lvl 42. After that you might want to kill mobs in Angmar and the Misty Mountains for your legendary pages (you can buy the books at lvl 39). At that point a horse would be useful. But you can still live without it, in particular if you gather resources (ore, wood) on the way. You do not really need the quest packs in Angmar, Misty Mountains or Forochel, because the legendary pages skill grind alone will bring you to level 45. Once you hit lvl 45, you should start the epic quest chain in Eregion to gain your first two legendary weapons. It makes some sense to do some quests in Eregion at that time as well, so the Eregion quest pack is nice to have in addition to the Evendim quests. If you have the Eregion quest pack (for instance from Mithril), it will easily bring you to level 50. At that time you are ready to enter Moria (you could have entered at level 46, but I somehow like Eregion). Bottom line: Until lvl 45 only Evendim is essential. There might be some gaps. But you can cover them with skirmishes. At level 45 (or rather 46) you can enter Moria. At that time you will definitely want the buy the Moria expansion (which should bring you to PREMIUM, if you buy it for "real money"). This is a good time to become VIP as well. The most cost-efficient way (but it might not remain "open" for long), is to buy the "old" Moria expansion retail box (for instance, at 11/2012 it was available through Amazon for 18$). The Moria retail box comes with 1 month of VIP. So for just under 20$ you become PREMIUM, get the full Moria expansion with 2 additional character slots and the Warden/Runekeeper classes, and get 1 month of VIP; all in one stroke.


    ****************************** ***
    * 2 months VIP vs 12 months VIP *
    ****************************** ***

    If you have the money, I would recommend going VIP for 12 months at 99$ (if you happen to buy it with a 10% discount coupon, you just pay 90$). This will allow you to try out all regions and skirmishes / instances (except the expansions) and see how you like them. You will not be able to try out all of these regions in just 1-2 months of VIP. Based on your experience you can purchase the quest packs you really like, later.

    12 months VIP for 99$ are a good deal, compared to 2 month VIP for 29$, because
    - 12 months cost "just" 70$ more ($63 more if you get a 10% discount).
    - The extra 70$ will buy you:
    - 5000 additional TP. These alone are worth up to 50$. 70-50=20: So for effectively 20$ more you get:
    - 10 additional months of "no-fuzz" access to all regions
    - 10 additional months of rest xp and destiny point spending for all your characters
    - 10 additional months with 30 auction house slots
    - 10 additional months to figure out what classes you like best

  10. #10

    Miscellaneous Tips

    reserved for additional information

  11. #11
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    Great Post!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    reserved for additional information
    Notes from a f2p player who needs this information:

    [whine about Turbine ripoffs in DDO scrubbed. Note to potential DDO players: just buy packs until you know what you are doing (and maybe the WF race for a sorcerer or the shared bank)]

    Some questions:

    Where does 1 month of VIP fall in things? It seems to be the best deal of the bunch (far better than Sam's horses). Are two months used assuming that it takes that long to get through the pre-expansion content and guild leveling? Or did you add non-US shipping to the price of this

    I've heard great things about the Mithril Edition. Unfortunately, it seems that often VIP status is assumed included when it isn't. I'm considering a strategy of one month VIP, mithril, and expansion packs as they come on sale (this should take long enough for expansions to go on sale).

    I'll look for the boxed-moria. I would suggest you include the strategy of buying the expansion and VIP status together anyway if only to allow creation of rune keeper and guardians (and any other characters filling the extra slots) with ex-VIP perks. I found this box which included a FAQ/review that mentioned a "30 day" coupon that extended past the "10 day" trial. I can only hope that it VIPs (and ex-VIPs) current characters.

    How useful are alts on other servers? DDO has some specific "per server TP bonuses" that come in handy, at least at low levels. I also changed servers a few times (even at an equivalent to level ~20) before settling on one (Orien). I expect I'll have 3 characters on each server with ex-VIP status, even if I don't level them to 20 for their horses. Do I need to finish the introduction or multi-player beginner instance for each (you can only skip it for humans, and I noticed some characters who abandoned the introduction mid-stream had to start fully over).

    Are 10 auction slots that useful? I've been avoiding buying the 5 slot with TP since I planned on going premium and assumed that they wouldn't stack. This might change finances of all my characters immediately.

    I'm not convinced that the standard house is a problem for pure-f2p players (even if they are only leveling two toons to 20). I didn't understand all these conditions and bought a (standard) house when I noticed I was about to bump into the plat cap. The chest seems a great deal compared to the second vault slot (1000+whatever else you spend on the house vs. 750), considering it seems much larger than the original vault+first upgrade. I guess I'll find out when I bring a second character onto that server. - Note the housing limitation appears to be per server. I'll be more careful in the future about which alt gets the house (but probably only when switching to a deluxe house).

    With 2 characters at level ~20 I still haven't seen anything bound to account. Is that common on raids, expansion quests, or group quests? In DDO, the shared bank is all but required for anybody remotely serious about alts. I'm going to budget for the bank, but it doesn't appear that necessary.
    Last edited by yawumpus; Feb 15 2013 at 02:22 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    I found this box which included a FAQ/review that mentioned a "30 day" coupon that extended past the "10 day" trial. I can only hope that it VIPs (and ex-VIPs) current characters.
    Yes, it does. When Mines of Moria was released, the game required a paid subscription, so purchase of the expansion box included a month's worth of access to the game. When the game was changed to F2P, that month of access to the game turned into a month of VIP access (the current equivalent of the previously required game subscription).


    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    How useful are alts on other servers? DDO has some specific "per server TP bonuses" that come in handy, at least at low levels.
    Not really. There is a single quest in the intro area (designed to teach new players about the existence of the LOTRO Store and how it works). When you accept the quest, you're given something like 5 or 10 TP (I can't remember exactly how much) for free and told to purchase a particular item from the Store, which costs the same amount you were just given. If, instead of purchasing the item to complete the quest, you simply cancel the quest uncompleted, then you have those TP to spend later on something more useful. This can only be done once per server. However, I'm pretty sure it's the only once-per-server deal, and it's dwarfed by the amount of TP you can earn from deeds with each character.


    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    Do I need to finish the introduction or multi-player beginner instance for each
    Do you mean in order to receive the former-VIP bonuses? No. You just have to have logged the character into the game while VIP.


    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    Note the housing limitation appears to be per server. I'll be more careful in the future about which alt gets the house (but probably only when switching to a deluxe house).
    Which alt gets the house is simply a matter of whose name appears on it. All of your alts on that server have all the house ownership benefits (porting skill and vendor discounts as well as all housing permissions).


    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    With 2 characters at level ~20 I still haven't seen anything bound to account. Is that common on raids, expansion quests, or group quests? In DDO, the shared bank is all but required for anybody remotely serious about alts. I'm going to budget for the bank, but it doesn't appear that necessary.
    It's mostly used for LOTRO Store items, but sometimes lotteries, gift boxes, rare festival rewards, etc. give items that are normally Store items and have the same bound-to-account rule as if you'd bought it from the Store.
    Last edited by Niwashi; Dec 13 2012 at 05:07 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    Notes from a f2p player who needs this information:
    First, there are claims in other threads about Warner being responsible for things such as the early-game lotro store ripoffs. In 2009 (long before Warner entered the picture) Turbine made Dungeons & Dragons Online free2play (and I joined up). From the beginning, the store was filled with vendor trash to trick new players into wasting their TP. I've seen guildies with such items and noticed reviews buying +1 weapons: you get equal items after the first introductory quest and better on the 4th quest (still in newbie instances). Turbine encouraging turnover is nothing new (you don't want to know about how they lure new players into absolutely gimped characters then offer fixes starting at 1000TP). Long term, you could a great deal on a great game (this got much better after they started offering "double bonus point" deals on ~$50 packages).
    I dont really know how things changed since Warner took over, because I started playing just a few month ago. There are things you can buy for your characters, which I consider not very good value. I wouldn't call them "ripoffs", because some players (with enough money to buy 10,000 TP or more) might find them useful, because they save them time.


    Where does 1 month of VIP fall in things? It seems to be the best deal of the bunch (far better than Sam's horses). Are two months used assuming that it takes that long to get through the pre-expansion content and guild leveling?
    If your goal is to become VIP simply for the unlocks on your characters, you might want to grab the cheapest offer. 1 month suffices, with ample preparation. For the guild unlocks you can craft the required guild reputation items in advance. If you have enough, go VIP and turn them all in at once.

    I wrote a longer post to reply to your other questions, but it was eaten up by the forum when I tried to submit it. However, Niwashi answered most of them and I am too frustrated to type it all again...

  14. #14
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    [scrubbed]

    [DDO whine deleted in hopes of getting a sticky]

    I'm still feeling my way around the LORTO store. Turbine has essentially conditioned me to think in terms of "buy packs" and only buy packs until you have enough to cap and then some (and maybe the shared bank) and then think about other races/classes/other stuff. I recently heard that they removed 2000 items from the LOTRO store and couldn't imagine how they had 2000 things to start with.
    Last edited by yawumpus; Feb 15 2013 at 02:24 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    The items I was referring to were vendor trash aimed at absolutely new players. I've seen them in reviews (presumably as "suggestions" to how to play the game) and in abandoned characters of guildies. Ten minutes of play is all it takes to know that they are absolutely bad buys, but the game advertised them on the start screen for years. There are plenty of other items that would rarely make sense, but these are simply items that are not just obvious bad buys, they rub your face in it 10 minutes later.
    I experienced nothing of the sort in LotRO. The only things you are "gently reminded" of buying are
    a) whenever you have enough traits to purchase an additional trait slot (you get all trait slots for free when you go VIP, but that does not mean that purchasing trait slots is useless.)
    b) whenever you enter a zone for which you dont have the quest pack (quest packs are among the most useful buys)
    c) whenever your character has achieved a standing with the crafting guild, which requires an unlock (again, you can get the unlock by going VIP, but that doesn't make this purchase useless)

    I'm still feeling my way around the LORTO store. Turbine has essentially conditioned me to think in terms of "buy packs" and only buy packs until you have enough to cap and then some (and maybe the shared bank) and then think about other races/classes/other stuff. I recently heard that they removed 2000 items from the LOTRO store and couldn't imagine how they had 2000 things to start with.
    They have a lot of equipment (cosmetic and with actual stats) and a lot of crafting materials in the store. That adds up to a lot of items (which are of limited usefulness - IMO it is much more immersive to go with the equipment and the crafting material you earned yourself ingame, in particular in the low levels where you outlevel your equipment rather fast).

  16. #16
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    How important are guild unlocks?

    How important are guild unlocks? (I'll ask under crafting but since this thread was ideal in my understanding of LOTRO's TP system I figured it would be the best place to ask).

    My situation:

    I have the mithril edition ($10: posted a thread about the deal) unlocked. [It appears to unlock riding skill on all characters. At least existing characters have received a message "you now have riding skill". A big deal for altoholic players who might not want to rush all characters to level 20, especially going with the extra slots from Moria].
    I have the boxed Moria expansion still in the box (I suspect I will buy Moria at least once more. It seems like Turbine likes throwing it in good deals).

    My original plan was to follow something similar to a "Moria early" plan: get two characters on at least one server (preferably more) and then jump to VIP and rush three more characters to 20 so they all get free riding skill. Somehow get crafting guild status in there as well. A few days ago my main (26? level, just hit the 3rd crafting level)joined a guild (metalsmiths?) and discovered that hitting the next guild level would take several months (maybe less if he got to the 4th tier where there are more things to craft). I started to wonder if this whole guild crafting thing wasn't worth bothering with.

    Last night I was poking around and found that the mithril edition was $10. I snapped it up and discovered my character was granted riding skill in addition to all the goodies. This means that during my VIP month, the only per-character unlocking grind is the crafting guild reputation (riding skill appears taken care of). I still expect to get three characters out into the lone-lands (one is there already and pouting about traits that can't be slotted until going VIP) before entering my Moria code, but have to wonder how long guild status will take and if it is worth it.

    The other thing is that it makes choosing a server less an issue. I can just make 5 (or 7 so I can change my mind about class selection) characters on each server and leave them there, confidant that almost everything they need will be unlocked should I want to play on a different server (it took a few months before I settled on a DDO server). Note to any other players trying this: make at least one a Man so you can skip the into and say "gimme my 10TP". It should add a good bit to the 500TP a month of VIP is supposed to get (you can't skip the intro without VIP status).

  17. #17
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    o.O And I thought I was long-winded. Well, out of deference to the WoT above I'll (try to) keep it on the point...

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    a) At least one purchase with real money, to get PREMIUM status.
    The earlier you do this, the better. 10$ suffice.
    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    (10$ early, the rest later).
    NOTE: WRONG.

    And I emphasize this because it's a common misconception - I certainly thought so until not too long ago.

    The "$10/month" advertised is the price/month if you buy three months! Read the fine print - $30 will get you 3 months, at "$10/month".

    The price for one 30-day period is $15. Just so everyone is clear on that small point.


    Also, there are several other routes to VIP->Premium other than simply buying VIP for a month. Several packs come with "30 days of VIP", and some cost little more than $15 and can include some very nice perks* for the additional ducats . Shop around, compare and contrast.

    (* the Mines of Moria Retail Pack, for instance, which for ~$20 includes RuneKeeper & Warden classes, plus plus plus. And there are several others.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    a) At least one purchase with real money, to get PREMIUM status.
    The earlier you do this, the better.
    But not before both/all your alts are Level 20 (or higher!)

    There are several other possible considerations too - the greatest being "Have I finished all the Free quests?" If you do it "right", you can jump from the last of the Lone Lands (and Level 30+) to Level 50+ and ready for Moria. If you do it "wrong", you are stuck short of Moria and still need to buy a Region (or three) to bridge that gap.

    Also - you only have 30 days. Schedule your spree for when you have no other distractions and can spend some serious gaming time online. You might need to take a break from Lotro on day 31, but by day 35 you won't regret it.

    Then there is the question of Crafting Guilds, Tasks & Rep, among others - so each player must balance that out for themselves. (I had stored up enough Guild Rep items before my 30 days to bust to GuildMaster - perhaps overkill, but nice to get that out of the way at the same time.)

    For your 30 days, you get 500 TP - BUT you can't spend that on Regions until those 30 days are over! Why not? Because during that period, you "have" all the Regions! And the Store won't let you buy what you already have access to. :/

    So, time your 30 days to start and end between Lotro Sales, which change on Thursdays. This means not starting on a Tues or Wed, or on a Thurs until you've seen the sale for the upcoming week. Just in case Regions go On Sale -50% off or something. This optimizes your chance of taking advantage of that, and you only have 3 weeks where you're locked out, not 4.

    In short - plan ahead.

    If you are new to the game and do not know what to buy first (in order to become PREMIUM) BUY THE SAMWISE GAMGEE STARTER PACK from the Lotro Market for 9.99$ ASAP. You cannot go wrong....
    Respectfully disagree.

    The problem w/ this is that almost everything it offers, while useful, you can get elsewhere, and often better.

    Also, if you are new, know that you can "farm" Turbine Points and get stuff FOR FREE just by playing the game. Not for everyone - if you have money to throw at the game and/or your time online is precious to you, then TP-Farming may not be for you. But it is an option - "Free to Play" is doable, and "(almost) FtP" is VERY doable.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    I have the mithril edition ($10: posted a thread about the deal) unlocked. [It appears to unlock riding skill on all characters. At least existing characters have received a message "you now have riding skill". A big deal for altoholic players who might not want to rush all characters to level 20, especially going with the extra slots from Moria].
    I have the boxed Moria expansion still in the box (I suspect I will buy Moria at least once more. It seems like Turbine likes throwing it in good deals).
    The Mithril edition comes with a mount, but does NOT come with a riding skill (unless they changed it, which I doubt). My guess is you're seeing a notice about the mount, not the skill. See if you can actually mount the free horse they gave you by going to your skills list and clicking 'mount'. If there's nothing there, look for a horse-head shaped item in your bags and see if you can right-click on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    A few days ago my main (26? level, just hit the 3rd crafting level)joined a guild (metalsmiths?) and discovered that hitting the next guild level would take several months (maybe less if he got to the 4th tier where there are more things to craft). I started to wonder if this whole guild crafting thing wasn't worth bothering with.
    Whether or not guild crafting is worth it depends on you, your characters, and how important gear is to you.

    Guild crafted items are mostly not as good as end-game raid gear. However, they're much better than end-game regularly crafted gear (sort of - you get a guaranteed crit on guild crafted gear, or they might be rep gated items). Additionally, the best relics for your Legendary Items (the end game weapons) require that character to be in a crafting guild. You can get the gear from other people, but you can't get the relics anywhere else.

    If you raid a lot in end-game, you're gonna want to join a crafting guild. If you don't think you'll be raiding a ton, it might be best to get as high as you can while you're VIP, but wait to go any higher until you're at max level and see if you want to spend the TP. In either case, make your rep items (crests, for metalsmith guild, I think?) as often as you can.

    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    The other thing is that it makes choosing a server less an issue. I can just make 5 (or 7 so I can change my mind about class selection) characters on each server and leave them there, confidant that almost everything they need will be unlocked should I want to play on a different server (it took a few months before I settled on a DDO server).
    Just remember to actually log in while you're VIP! The bonuses ONLY get applied on characters you've actually logged in to, not just created. You don't have to do anything but stand there for a sec, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    Note to any other players trying this: make at least one a Man so you can skip the into and say "gimme my 10TP". It should add a good bit to the 500TP a month of VIP is supposed to get (you can't skip the intro without VIP status).
    You can skip the intro with premium, too, including former VIP. And the elves, dwarves, and hobbits can get the free 10 TP too - it's just that it's once per server only, and only on the very first character you logged on for that server. If all you want is the 10 TP, btw, you can skip everything else as soon as you create your first character on the server and run straight to the quest giver - they'll give it to you while you're still level 1. For hobbits & humans, it's the guy in the hunting lodge east of where you start. For dwarves and elves, it's a dwarf west of where you come in, down the mountain a bit. It's a nice boost of TP to start with - I believe there are 29 servers, so that's 290 free TP!

    I hope you enjoy the game, yawumpus!

  19. #19
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    Looks like no riding skill with the Mithril Edition [edited other thread]. Still going with crowding three characters into the lone-lands and rushing into VIP with 5.

    I noticed the "skip intro" when making a new character (had to try out loremaster, even if it likely won't be a main character) as a premium player. Still it makes sense to log into 50 or so characters to at least have bags and traits unlocked.

  20. #20
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    Incredibly helpful thread!!!

    +1 is well deserved

    I just decided to go the 3-month VIP route for $30, with the hopes of purchasing as many quest packs as I can on sale with the 1,500 TP's, while keeping a lookout for double/triple bonus point bundles.

    One question, can you purchase quest packs while VIP? I come from DDO (where I've been VIP since launch), and I seem to remember hearing something on the forums about VIPs not being able to do this.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myrddinman View Post
    One question, can you purchase quest packs while VIP? I come from DDO (where I've been VIP since launch), and I seem to remember hearing something on the forums about VIPs not being able to do this.
    You can not purchase quest packs while VIP, sadly.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiena View Post
    You can not purchase quest packs while VIP, sadly.
    I had a feeling...too bad I didn't have it before I went VIP

  23. #23
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    [TL;DR for my wall o' text] Paying Turbine for just Premium status unwise, but buying Sam and the Mithral Edition (especially at the current sale) and a month of VIP "whenever" (and avoiding grinds before and after that month) much more wise.[/TL;DR]

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Hound View Post
    o.O And I thought I was long-winded. Well, out of deference to the WoT above I'll (try to) keep it on the point...

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterOfNothing View Post
    a) At least one purchase with real money, to get PREMIUM status.
    The earlier you do this, the better. 10$ suffice.

    NOTE: WRONG.
    While I think C-Hound was more specific (and gave exact proof of) $15 being the price to become VIP (and ex-VIP), I would like to point out that the first bit isn't terribly good advice. In DDO, going premium early has very real benefits (it unlocks the auction house to the same level as VIP, and there is no other way to unlock it via TP), money is unlocked (effectively unlocked per character by reaching level 12), and two additional character slots are unlocked (unlike one in LOTRO). DDO players might think that "going premium" will benefit them. What you actually get are one character slot (somewhat useful to have pre-VIP), 5 AH slots (a 95 TP value), and the ability to mail gold/silver between alts (if you have the AH unlock, just mail hides or something else worth gold on the AH but not to vendors). Of course since you are reading this you might like the chance to pipe up on non-f2p forums as well.

    On the other hand, the specific ways mentioned of spending real money can be quite worthwhile:
    Sam Gamgee pack:While the Sam Gamgee pack buys you almost nothing that won't be re-bought with VIP (you will have 500TP and the ability to still make characters with the "old" horse+4 bag levels, but they won't compare to your 5 bag ex-VIP characters with unlocked trait slots), what it really buys you is your time before popping the VIP code. LOTRO involves way too much hauling back and forth across Middle Earth (of course, some enjoy this and tend to deliver a lot of pies/mail in the Shire) and way to much inventory management. If you value your time before going VIP, you want to try out different servers or races/classes, or want to try to get guildmaster in all one shot you should strongly consider buying this option as soon as possible.
    Mithral Edition(referred to as "ME" later): As of 1/9/13 it is still $10 here. A steal at this price, likely worth buying when appropriate (probably when you need to access the Trollshaws) at normal price. Going premium by buying early will also give you the premium extras as well.
    Steam starter pack 500TP and a ~500TP (if necessary) pack for $20? I won't consider that at full price (and likely wouldn't buy it for $10). Buying the ME (even at $20) gets you 4 more packs and ~1500 TP after you pick up Evendim giving you a clear path all the way through Moria. No idea what the "Steely Dawn" cosmetics are worth, but I wouldn't want to advertise that I bought this pack at full price (unlike using the ME horse).

    One thing I've noticed as I plod my way toward the time it makes sense to pop a month of VIP is how much time I am wasting on foot and dealing with insufficient inventory space. Yes, the new "deferred looting" system helps: every hour or so you need only pop back to your house and pop back to the milestone to handle your loot, but it is still aggravating (and must only get worse as I'm sure they did this for the VIPs with 5 bags). Buying the Sam Pack puts and end to much of this.

    The other issue in going VIP are the guild unlocks. This has to be done before your VIP benefits expire and does not appear likely to be possible if you bought the ME pack and are using VIP to access Evendim or worse you bought the boxed Moria method and need to level 3 characters from scratch and get all 5 to Moria (or the Trollshaws with 2 from scratch if you bought the ME pack). Guild levels are achieved by crafting items with a fairly hefty cooldown (with weird timers that seem designed to get people fired for logging into LOTRO from work). I doubt that anyone trying to use VIP status to access Evendim will be able to get very high (this is something I recently noticed and would like advice on how to proceed). Note I didn't consider the Sam pack and am starting to regret it.

    All this means is that by buying the Sam Pack early you can expedite your pre-VIP grind, and possibly defer it (especially if you buy the ME now and have a clear shot through Moria) as long as you like. It might even mean avoiding buying a second month of VIP much later when you decide you need guildmaster status to go raiding.

    Also once you realize that VIP unlocks are $15, it vastly changes the calculations for a year of VIP. $35 (Sam+ME+1 month VIP) should cover everything through Moria (and VIP doesn't include Moria, nor is VIP status ever really needed through all this). VIP access should remove many hassles and is likely worth it before or after Moria, but you should certainly consider just how long $35 should cover you (I'm guessing easily more that 3 months) and how certain you are going to be playing LOTRO all year. Buying Sam as a trial and a year of VIP the next month would certainly make sense if you want a hassle free game that is cheaper than PC AAA games in terms of time spent/money spent.

    PS. All that gushing about the Sam pack assumes that you will not be popping VIP anytime near level 20 (or on just a few alts). It shouldn't be that hard to schedule enough time to level from ~5 to 20 in 24 hours while using the temporary horse (especially useful if you get slots the same time as VIP as in a first purchase or boxed Moria). Most of my problems are due to trying out different servers, trying to scout the lone-lands, and pondering guild status instead of grabbing VIP as early as possible (otherwise I would just cough up ~95TP/slot for a horse and be done with it. The fourth bag cost roughly the same as the whole Sam pack).
    Last edited by yawumpus; Jan 09 2013 at 01:02 PM. Reason: notes on the limited wonderfullness of the Sam pack. Reduced comma abuse.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by yawumpus View Post
    While the Sam Gamgee pack buys you almost nothing that won't be re-bought with VIP, what it really buys you is your time before popping the VIP code.
    That is the reason, why I mentioned it. There are several strategies to "maximize your return on investment", depending on your preferences, e.g. whether you rather want to save money or want to save time.

    If you want to minimize the money spent (which was what C-Hound obviously had in mind), you do not have to spend any money at all. You can play this game as F2P all the time. However, the start will be quite rough.

    Then you can - as C-Hound suggested (and BTW was covered in the guide) - make just one single purchase to get PREMIUM AND VIP status in one sweep. You can either buy one of the old "Mines of Moria Boxes" (now selling at Amazon for 23$) or you can go 1 month VIP (for 15$). However, this strategy requires you to play for quite a while as "pure" F2P, meaning you have the same rough start that a "pure" F2P player has, until you finally go VIP. C-Hound was correct (but again it is mentioned in the guide) that you get the most out of your 1 month VIP status, if you delay becoming VIP, until ALL of the characters, you wish to play in the future, are at least lvl 20. In fact, they'd better be lvl 40+, so that you can bridge the difficult leveling range between 40-50 while you are VIP (again, mentioned in the "long winded" part of the guide).

    However, the above mentioned strategies are for the extreme money pinchers among us (I don't mean this as an insult, I am one myself once in a while).

    Obviously there are a lot of people playing this game, who are willing to spend more money (between 40-150$, as was clearly mentioned as the amount you have to expect to invest, if you follow this guide). My advice was tailored for this group, although those who are not willing to pay as much, might still profit from the information given. If you are willing to pay, say 25$, by making an early 10$ purchase to become PREMIUM (not PREMIUM as a consequence of being POST-VIP, as C-HOUND had in mind, but PREMIUM BEFORE VIP), then *casually* level up all your characters to level 40-50, and then shell out another 15$ to become VIP for a month, will grant you a much smoother gaming experience right from the start. It was this "much smoother gaming experience, right from the start", which I had in mind.

    The most cost-efficient strategy for the "early PREMIUM, late VIP" route is to buy the Mithril edition in order to get early PREMIUM status, IFF it is available at 10$. If it is not, the Sam pack is a very good alternative, IFF you plan to remain PREMIUM for a long time, before spending the final 15$ for one month VIP. Why?

    1.) You get a mount AND the riding skill (to actually use your mount), right after you have finished the Intro (and have obtained Novice status). You get this for ALL your characters, current and future. No need to run around on foot, never again.

    2.) When you start out as F2P, one of the highest inconveniences are the gold cap and the very limited storage space in your 3 bags. The Sam pack takes care of both issues (granting a 4th bag and removing the gold cap), again from the very start.

    It is true that once you become VIP, the benefits in 2.) are superseded by the benefits gained through VIP (any character logged on during VIP receives 5 bags and has the gold cap removed). The benefits in 1.) are partially superseded (Sam Pack gets you the riding skill and a free mount as early as lvl 5; VIPs get a free quest for the riding skill at lvl 20. They need to travel to Hengstater to do the quest. Then they need to BUY a mount from the vendor at Hengstater). But these benefits ONLY apply to characters logged on during VIP, whereas the benefits of the Sam Pack are still there for all those characters you might wish to create after VIP. So VIP requires a lot of pre-planning. Once you paid the $15 for VIP, you are stuck with the characters you had at the time, unless you become VIP again for another 15$ (in which case it might have been better to have payed the 10$ for the Sam pack, because in that case you would not have been under such high pressure to become VIP early).

    I actually bought the Sam Pack, although I already had 6 account wide bags and the account wide gold cap removal, simply for the early lvl 5 riding skill and mount - for ALL my characters, current and future. I do not regret it one bit. I tend to create a lot of characters to try them out and rejoice every time I can mount my horse, right after finishing the 30 min Intro. The Sam Pack is a convenience, not a necessity. But my guide was not tailored for those, who only want to do the absolutely essential purchases (meaning: no purchase at all, as nothing is essential in Lotro: you can stay F2P for the rest of your life and still play up to the level cap). However, in hindsight I probably should have made it more explicit (in the "short version" of the guide) that the Sam pack might NOT be such a good deal, if you are content with 2 permanent characters (I mentioned this later, but not everyone wants to read through the "long winded" explanations, as a friendly reader of the first few paragraphs put it). If you just have 2 permanent toons, it is cheaper to buy the riding skill for both characters for 95 TP and buy the standard mount at Hengstater for 500 SP. The Sam Pack really begins to shine, if you have a lot of alts. Anyway, it gives you a lot of flexibility right from the start, and you retain that flexibility long after your 1 month of VIP expired.

    LOTRO involves way too much hauling back and forth across Middle Earth (of course, some enjoy this and tend to deliver a lot of pies/mail in the Shire) and way to much inventory management. If you value your time before going VIP, you want to try out different servers or races/classes, or want to try to get guildmaster in all one shot you should strongly consider buying this option [meaning: Sam Pack] as soon as possible.
    So true ...

    No idea what the "Steely Dawn" cosmetics are worth ...
    IMO the "Steely Dawn" Pack is not worth buying at all, even if discounted. The older Steam Starter Pack was worth purchasing (when discounted), but since the middle of December 2012 its not available any more.

    One thing I've noticed as I plod my way toward the time it makes sense to pop a month of VIP is how much time I am wasting on foot and dealing with insufficient inventory space. Yes, the new "deferred looting" system helps: every hour or so you need only pop back to your house and pop back to the milestone to handle your loot, but it is still aggravating (and must only get worse as I'm sure they did this for the VIPs with 5 bags). Buying the Sam Pack puts and end to much of this.
    EXACTLY

    The other issue in going VIP are the guild unlocks. This has to be done before your VIP benefits expire and does not appear likely to be possible if you bought the ME pack and are using VIP to access Evendim or worse you bought the boxed Moria method and need to level 3 characters from scratch and get all 5 to Moria (or the Trollshaws with 2 from scratch if you bought the ME pack). Guild levels are achieved by crafting items with a fairly hefty cooldown (with weird timers that seem designed to get people fired for logging into LOTRO from work). I doubt that anyone trying to use VIP status to access Evendim will be able to get very high (this is something I recently noticed and would like advice on how to proceed). Note I didn't consider the Sam pack and am starting to regret it.
    You can craft as many guild rep items as you want BEFORE going VIP. That is what my low level crafter alts are doing right now. The idea is to have all the guild rep items ready, when I go VIP. Then I just click through the stacks of pre-crafted guild rep items on the day I hit VIP. Thus all my crafters will have achieved the highest guild standing on the first day of VIP; meaning that I can concentrate on other stuff, such as levelling and trying out regions and skirmishes.

    All this means is that by buying the Sam Pack early you can expedite your pre-VIP grind, and possibly defer it (especially if you buy the ME now and have a clear shot through Moria) as long as you like. It might even mean avoiding buying a second month of VIP much later when you decide you need guildmaster status to go raiding.
    Exactly what I was saying a moment before (not having read this far) :-)

    Have fun playing. It is a beautiful game. One of the beauties is, that you are not tied to one particular strategy. Everyone can enjoy the game in his own fashion, at his own pace.

    ***Edited for typos***
    Last edited by MasterOfNothing; Jan 10 2013 at 06:33 PM.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fangorn Forest
    Posts
    469

    Less enthusiastic about Sam's Pack

    The more I play this game, the more I think you just need to get the one month of VIP early, and handle guild status however you wish. I have a boxed Moria code waiting to be popped, and am dutifully crafting guild items to be horded for that day. I have come to the conclusion that grinding ~1200 TP so that I could unlock 4+ guilds would be a better use of my time than what I've gone through (and no, I am not suggesting that to anyone who can otherwise buy turbine points. I am just using it as an example of the frustrations it has caused). I am also beginning to suspect that should a player be relying on Sam's pack to get him through Moria to the point he will have Eastenment crafting (to make guildmaster in a month easy) he will be infinitely frustrated with lack of fast travel (and lack of virtues/traits won't be fun either).

    My take: let Turbine have the extra $5 and get the fancy VIP package early. I won't be too surprised if I have to buy it anyway (long before I am making relics) to unlock areas for grinding virtues (thus making all my wasted effort even more wasted). Leave Sam's pack to those who want a "VIP light" experience before buying the whole subscription.

 

 
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