Please let me know!
Please let me know!
Which version is the best fit for depends on what you enjoy most about the game. I'll try to list the differences in a way that will make deciding a bit easier to you.
The expansion itself is the same, regardless of which version you buy. In both cases you'll the same quests, deeds, access to the Big Battles and all other expansion content. It's the various additional items and especially the pre-order goodies that make the difference. If you think those are worth about 20$ buy the Premium Edition, if you don't stick with the Base Edition. Note that all your characters (present and future) will get these goodies. The more characters you play, the more worthwhile the Premium Edition will be.
Cosmetics: The Base Edition gives you a cosmetic hauberk in a darkish green which cannot be dyed. The Premium Edition adds matching gauntlets, boots, shoulder pieces and a helmet to that. If you're a fan of Rohirrim-themed cosmetics, the full set may appeal to you more.
Turbine Points: The Base Edition gives you 1,000 TP while the Premium Edition gives you twice that. If you keep in mind that 1,000 TP cost about 10$ in the Store, the price difference between the two editions actually becomes closer to 10$ instead of 20$.
Titles: The Base Edition offers only one title, the Premium Edition comes with two. Unless you're a complete title freak, this is a very minor point, I think.
Extra Items for the Premium Edition: A Crystal of Rememberance which will make a Legendary Item of your choice a bit more powerful by adding one more legacy to it. In most cases this translates to one more bonus to your skills. Plus 10 additional slots in your quest log, so you can have 10 more quests open and work on them at the same time. AFAIK this is on top of the 10 slots you can earn by doing deeds. Sadly, I read on the forums that this only applies to Freep characters. Creeps are left out of this and of most other items tied to a HD purchase.
Pre-Order Items: Both editions get an account-wide steed. The Premium Edition also gets the matching War-Steed cosmetics for that steed. Both editions also get a XP boost item. For the Base Edition this is a pocket item that gives +25% character XP for defeated mobs and crafting, much the same as the XP boost items from earlier pre-orders. The Premium Edition does not get this pocket item, but receives a back item instead. This item looks like a shield slung over your character's back with a little pack underneat it. If you're into cosmetics, you can use this instead of a cloak or quiver. The shield also gives +25% character XP, item XP and War-Steed XP on defeated mobs, crafting and quest-completions. If you want to level the absolutely fastest you can, the shield is a better item for you than the pocket item. If you prefer to level slowly though, the Base Edition may be a better deal in this regard, especially since the shiels seems to interact with the XP disabler in a rather nasty way, letting a character gain XP in spite of having the disabler equipped. AFAIK the XP bonus of the shield also stacks with the XP bonus from earlier pre-order pocket items like the Outrider's Token.
In short: If you like cosmetics for yourself and your War-Steed and prefer to level quickly, the Premium Edition is likely the better deal. If you don't care about cosmetics and want to level more slowly to cover more content on your way to cap, you're probably better off with the Base Edition. Taking the TP grant into account, the actual price difference is only about 10$.
The Legendary Upgrade: You can add this to either edition during the purchase process. It gives a number of items to each of your character that aim at making your Legendary Items more powerful. All of these are available in the Store as well, so if you don't habitually use them, you may be better off by buying them piecemeal. People living in the US also get a free ticket for the next Hobbit movie, but everyone living outside the US misses out on this part of the upgrade. From what I've heard, this is quite pricey (about 35$?), but if you'd buy the LI boost items anyway, it is still a nice deal, especially if you play lots of alts.
Last edited by Anyelir; Sep 15 2013 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Failed at proof-reading again...
The best deal is to not pre-order and wait until it goes on sale after release.
The best thing to do is not buy anything and just play F2P until you have finished the content. At that point, go VIP for one month and cancel. If you keep playing, you will better be able to decide what to buy after seeing the previous content and asking more questions on the forums. VIP allows you to quest in all areas that are not expansions, and you can bridge these areas by using the epic quests.
You can quest for about the first 32 levels for free, without paying anything at all. Making a purchase (no matter how small) will upgrade your account to Premium status though and grant you the associated benefits. Subscribing for one month and then dropping the subscription will also make you a Premium player plus it will grant several additional priviledges to your characters.
Premium status gives you one additional character slot. (Note: you can fill your character slots indepedently of each other on each server. With 2 character slots for F2P and 29 servers, you could play up to 58 characters for free.) More importantly, it will give you the ability to trade money directly to other players and to send it via in-game mail. F2P are restricted to trading items for other items or buying in the Auction Hall to get stuff from other players.
Active VIP accounts get two more character slots, but those are rented. When you drop the sub and have all character slots filled, you'll need to select some characters that will be locked (not deleted). You'll only be able to play those characters again after you unlock the character slots (by buying them in the Store or by re-subscribing). VIPs also get all their trait slots for free; characters that have never been VIP need to buy those piecemeal in the Store. (Trait slots are for equipping traits which can be earned by playing the game and which will improve your characters and their skills.) Then there is swift-travel which saves a lot of time when travelling from one town to another. Another ex-VIP perk is that your characters get 5 inventory bags instead of 3. All of these perks are unlocked for characters that are logged on at least once while the subscription is active and are permanent. Characters that you create after the sub has ended will be treated as normal Premium characters instead.
VIP perks that do not stay with your characters are the monthly 500 TP to buy stuff in the Store with, the daily bonus XP and access to the Pv(M)P map with your regular character. The latter is about the only thing a sub gives you that can NOT be bought in the Store. F2P and Premium are restricted to playing special monster characters in PvMP.
So, if you want easy (rental) access to all non-expansion content and enjoy PvP, you're probably better off as a VIP. If you don't PvP and prefer to buy content as you need it, I'd suggest subbing for one month, creating as many characters as you think you will need and logging them in for the ex-VIP perks, then going Premium and buying content in the Store. Even in the latter scenario, you can wait with subbing until your first character has finished the free content.
Whether the Samwise Gamgee Pack is worth it depends largely on how many characters you plan to play. I bought it and I love it. It gives you the fourth inventory bag and lets you have as much in-game money as you can earn (instead of the 2 resp. 5 gold that F2P and Premium are restricted to). If you sub, these perks will only benefit your non-ex-VIP characters though. But the really nice thing about this pack is that every character you'll ever make will get a free horse/pony and be able to ride it. For me, this means that even disposable characters I only play to earn some TP can move more quickly than running on foot.
The Mithril Edition is a very nice offer for new players as well. It leaves you with only one real content gap before level 60, which you can cover easily by buying the Evendim questpack with the TP that come with the Mithril Edition. It will also give all your characters a horse/pony, but not the riding skill neccessary to use it (which can be bought in the Store). Note that you'll only get access to the Moria QUESTS with this; the Warden and Rune-Keeper class will still be locked (but un-lockable in the Store) for you and you'll not get the two character slots from the full Moria purchase either. If you plan on going Premium, I'd strongly recommend the Mithril Edition as it will give you enough content to see you to Mirkwood.
Lateron, the quadpack from the LotRO Market is a very good deal, four full expansion for about 40$. This is a long-term suggestion, though, because the content of the quadpack will only help you once you hit about level 50. You'd also be purchasing the Moria quests twice if you went for Mithril Edition and quadpack, but I think it would still be worth the money.
Alternatively, you can save up TP from playing the game (or purchase them) and buy the expansions and all other content from the in-game Store. Unlocking everything only using the free TP the game offers requires some major grinding, but it's not impossible.
Last edited by Anyelir; Sep 16 2013 at 05:27 AM. Reason: It was too close to bedtime when I wrote this post.
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