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  1. #1

    Opinion: LotRO's Mini-Expansion Pricing Feels Tone Deaf

    https://www.mmorpg.com/lord-of-the-r...eaf-2000119417



    "Opinion: LotRO's Mini-Expansion Pricing Feels Tone Deaf" posted today at mmorpg.com.



    Good article that echoes what many here are saying.

    Interesting comments too.

  2. #2
    Nailed it.

    Thanks for sharing the link.

  3. #3
    I'm totally pro-businesses wanting to make money/stay afloat ...but will say I think it was a mistake to give teaser info with prices, but very little detail.

    Without concrete 'here's what you get for *this amount*' and 'why we're charging for it' type information...anyone (or everyone?) can speculate or predict inflated prices, less offering, or general greed from the company. Never leave your customers guessing or filling in the blanks (it doesn't end well).

    I love lotro and spend waaaay too much on it lol (happily mind you)..but even I am wondering what the heck is worth $99 for a mini pack? (throw me some carry-alls or points and I will likely do it..just sayin') ps- hog mount..ummm...not so much. lol oink.

  4. #4
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    About the Collector's & Ultimate Edition

    I've been wondering today that maybe they're planning to release the promised Race Change Token with this "mini-expansion"... for the more expensive editions... like they did including the Valar items in the past.
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  5. #5
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    I think it was all about finding something positive to mention for the ever important Friday Stream (see the fancy mic setup?). Short on detail but some notice to hold back on those welfare check this week and put the cat on another diet. But too late for preppers buying LP for the standard content patch that all of a sudden isn't a standard content patch after all.

    Maybe Guderbad will be a Maxi Content patch and not an Expansion and be available for LP on release?

    Clearly the standard of the game management continues unabated...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MerryCav View Post
    I'm totally pro-businesses wanting to make money/stay afloat ...but will say I think it was a mistake to give teaser info with prices, but very little detail.
    I don't think it's a mistake, but it does reveal something important about the pricing model for expansions:

    The different tiers are not intended to give individual users options. They are directed at entirely different segments of the player base:

    • The $20 option is for students, unemployed people, residents of third-world countries where salaries are low, etc. People who are on a limited budget, and won't buy it unless there's a very good value.

    • The $60 option is for average, middle class players with an average amount of expendable income. People who are a bit more invested in the game, and want to support it in excess of what is strictly necessary, because they love the game and recognize that it's a business that has to earn enough money to pay the bills.

    • The $99 option is for "whales", i.e. retired folk with piles of money laying around, etc. To them, $99 is not much money, especially for something that provides them such a large number of hours of entertainment. There's not much price elasticity here. As long as the price isn't ridiculous/insulting, they will pay it without giving it much thought. You could probably add several more tiers ($149, $199, ...) and still get a lot of traction with these folks. The only limiting factor is that the lolpoors would ridicule them too much. Although these customers aren't sensitive to price, they don't want to be thought of as suckers, either.

    Choosing the price points to maximize revenue from the different segments of the customer base isn't trivial. But the fact that they have decided the prices before deciding what goes in the packages is a pretty good indication that this is what's going on.
    Last edited by Thurallor; Sep 16 2020 at 02:39 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Tone deaf or desperate? What strikes me as really weird and counterintuitive is that they are choosing to further complicate their content structure. VIP, quest packs, expansions, region packs, expansion quests, instance clusters, separately purchased content and now mini expansion. There is no sense in doing this unless you really are desperate for a cash injection.

    Man, the fact that I fully believed they were doing the free period because a revision of content structure was on the way! Talking about a slap in the face.
    “ädvëntürës ärë nöt äll pönÿ-rïdës ïn mäÿ-sünshïnë.”

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurallor View Post

    • The $60 option is for average, middle class players with an average amount of expendable income. People who are a bit more invested in the game, and want to support it in excess of what is strictly necessary, because they love the game and recognize that it's a business that has to earn enough money to pay the bills.
    We have to differ between *paying* to play a game and *supporting* a game. Financial support needs some reputation and base of trust. Payments are just a contract.
    If I am requested to support a game I want to be sure that the money is used for the game rather than feeding Daybreak.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by NeebPlayer View Post

    Man, the fact that I fully believed they were doing the free period because a revision of content structure was on the way!

    Bingo! TANSTAAFL

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thinx View Post
    If I am requested to support a game I want to be sure that the money is used for the game rather than feeding Daybreak.
    Or that the development of the product being offered is worth that support. Ive been a VIP subscriber since 2009, this is the first time ive felt blindsided with new content. $20 for a quest pack that is essentially fetch quests, re-used landscape assets, and a buggy raid? Ok. I can handle that.

    Why would I EVER consider supporting this game when the community manager response to MASSIVE issues is so generic and uncaring. The development of the game has spiraled down recently. Class balance is a joke, the servers are as unstable as ever, no new system changes, no LI Revamp, constant delays and excuses on server transfers and race changes.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeebPlayer View Post
    Tone deaf or desperate? What strikes me as really weird and counter-intuitive is that they are choosing to further complicate their content structure. VIP, quest packs, expansions, region packs, expansion quests, instance clusters, separately purchased content and now mini expansion. There is no sense in doing this unless you really are desperate for a cash injection.

    Man, the fact that I fully believed they were doing the free period because a revision of content structure was on the way! Talking about a slap in the face.
    Ironically, it's very close to ESO's content model. So I see it less as desperation, just a fumbled rollout with what is likely an intentional amount of opacity and ambiguity (because SSG hates being transparent on anything, taking it's cues from Daybreak).

    My guess is that SSG now sees VIP as being primarily about the VIP services, and very small content updates like the Midsummer Festival ("Sections" of chapters in ESO lingo). These mini-expansions are the ESO equivalent of "Chapters", which one cannot buy using Crowns (LOTRO Points) and are not part of the ESO Plus subscription (LOTRO VIP) when they are first released.
    Aldowine (Captain), Aldosi (Guardian), Aldoik (Champion), Aldocome (Burglar), Aldobeorn (Bear), Aldomur (RK) - Arkenstone

  12. #12
    What is it for a #### website where i can't surfe to via my PC AND via handy...full of garbage scripts. Can't take it serious.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorrBinpike View Post
    What is it for a #### website where i can't surfe to via my PC AND via handy...full of garbage scripts. Can't take it serious.
    This ! Tried in 2 different browsers, does not work. At least if you dare to opt out of unneeded cookies, and don't want the site to send you notifications.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JH15547 View Post
    My guess is that SSG now sees VIP as being primarily about the VIP services, and very small content updates like the Midsummer Festival ("Sections" of chapters in ESO lingo). These mini-expansions are the ESO equivalent of "Chapters", which one cannot buy using Crowns (LOTRO Points) and are not part of the ESO Plus subscription (LOTRO VIP) when they are first released.
    This is what I assume. They trade a loss of subscribers against a gain of people that buy the xpacks.
    Add a few exclusive goodies that people want, a few people will use the more expensive packages and the loss of subscribers is even less relevant.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurallor View Post
    [*]The $99 option is for "whales", i.e. retired folk with piles of money laying around, etc. To them, $99 is not much money, especially for something that provides them such a large number of hours of entertainment. There's not much price elasticity here. As long as the price isn't ridiculous/insulting, they will pay it without giving it much thought. You could probably add several more tiers ($149, $199, ...) and still get a lot of traction with these folks. The only limiting factor is that the lolpoors would ridicule them too much. Although these customers aren't sensitive to price, they don't want to be thought of as suckers, either.

    I'm still 18 months from retirement, but the kids are out of the house, married with kids and dogs and whatnot, so it's just the wife and I. For all the time I play, which is 3-5 hours a day and with me being lifetime, $99 isn't much for me.


    Yeah, I get insulted by the lolpoors, but they are just morons, I mean people in an internet forum, so it doesn't bother me.
    "Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your children when you wanted to."

  16. #16
    Ye I find myself agreeing with most of the stuff in that article. The fact this piece of content (that simply reuses assets and is using part of the game world that had been around since Langflood) is being marketed as a mini expansion is a clear sign that they want people to pay more money into the game.
    It doesn't matter if a bunch of people cry out on the forums, the game has plenty of boomers who have been supporting the game since the start and will pay the 99 dollar expansion just for a boar mount. Guaranteed.
    I'll be paying with lotro points if I deem this content won't be a purchase I will regret.
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  17. #17
    I think it is a good strategy for them business wise. I believe this will have scaled content where anyone from level 20 and up can play it. Hopefully together with higher level people. So all the people that joined during the free content period can play the latest content and not have to slog through 130 levels before they can reach it. I hope this scales beyond 130 too whenever the level cap raises. I’ve never liked how so much content becomes obsolete in Lotro when you out level it. I’d like this to be a new direction to add replay ability to regions once you out level them.

    $20 is not a lot imo and sort of inline with what what charged for Far Anorien and Ered Mithrin if you try to do a $ to LP conversion. Not that I was happy then with how they blurred the line between quest packs and expansions and departing from the typical 795LP cost. It just isn’t a surprising move now because of it. As for the more expensive versions. I’ve never cared for the fluff that is included in these things in the past and to me they are not worth it but are options for those that are into it.

    That said, I’ll probably wait for the LP version, since it plan to get the base version of Gundabad when that comes out. Hopefully that is no more than $40.

    I am not VIP, but I do think this should be free for VIPs based on what little I know of it so far.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurallor View Post
    I don't think it's a mistake, but it does reveal something important about the pricing model for expansions:

    The different tiers are not intended to give individual users options. They are directed at entirely different segments of the player base:

    • The $20 option is for students, unemployed people, residents of third-world countries where salaries are low, etc. People who are on a limited budget, and won't buy it unless there's a very good value.

    • The $60 option is for average, middle class players with an average amount of expendable income. People who are a bit more invested in the game, and want to support it in excess of what is strictly necessary, because they love the game and recognize that it's a business that has to earn enough money to pay the bills.

    • The $99 option is for "whales", i.e. retired folk with piles of money laying around, etc. To them, $99 is not much money, especially for something that provides them such a large number of hours of entertainment. There's not much price elasticity here. As long as the price isn't ridiculous/insulting, they will pay it without giving it much thought. You could probably add several more tiers ($149, $199, ...) and still get a lot of traction with these folks. The only limiting factor is that the lolpoors would ridicule them too much. Although these customers aren't sensitive to price, they don't want to be thought of as suckers, either.

    Choosing the price points to maximize revenue from the different segments of the customer base isn't trivial. But the fact that they have decided the prices before deciding what goes in the packages is a pretty good indication that this is what's going on.
    I like that line of reasoning, because it points to something many often miss: consumer freedom to choose how to spend one's own dollar. Not a difficult concept, really.

    $20 for an "expanded" quest pack? - Reasonable, especially after they've opened the game up with the free unlocks promo.

    Moaning choruses about the "greedy" $99 version? - What they're really moaning about is not the pricing of the "ultimate" tier (there are lower prices to accommodattte all income levels) but the exclusive titles/cosmetic fluff they can't get without it. All the blame-games and finger-pointings over the pricing are just a smoke screen nestling the childish tantrum that they can't get the latest shiny fluff toy without "having" to shell out $99. Because big bad SSG is "making" them "need" it.
    Or, one could be an adult and focus on responsible spending choices whether or not it includes the ultimate version, without creating a major fuss out of it. That's all it's about.

    Ultimately, customers vote with their wallets. Fernando Paiz was right, "they will complain but they will play and pay."
    Éalá Éarendel engla beorhtast,
    ofer middangeard monnum sended,
    ond sóð
    fæsta sunnan léoma,
    torht ofer tung
    las, þú tída gehwane,
    of sylfum þé symle inlíhtes!

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Braer View Post
    (see the fancy mic setup?).
    That may be Cord's own stuff. He is an ex-radio guy after all and does do his own streams on his own channel. He's talked about what mics and gear he uses in the past.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurallor View Post
    The $99 option is for "whales", i.e. retired folk with piles of money laying around, etc.
    I resemble that remark. However, being an old fogey, who grew up with different values to today's young whipper-snappers, I see no value in pixels I don't actually own and so could never justify paying extra for such.

    If I can get a mount or some cosmetic by doing a few quests, fine. Pay money for a cloak, which I'll probably wear once and then forget when the next nice one comes along, and/or a horse and perhaps a minor stat/XP gain boost (like we don't get enough XP already) and a title? No thanks.

    I waste all my money on computer gear I probably don't need instead.

  21. #21
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    It's clear what they finally decide step away from marketing politic in last years, when SSG introduce timed free 22 questpacks code. It's obvious what old marketing scheme don't working, and now we have 2nd step: mini-expansion set. Maybe we still get questpacks free for VIP players in the future (Elderslade), or we only keep getting different sorts of expansions now... only future can tell. It can be good news, and can be bad news.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altair6 View Post
    I resemble that remark. However, being an old fogey, who grew up with different values to today's young whipper-snappers, I see no value in pixels I don't actually own and so could never justify paying extra for such.

    If I can get a mount or some cosmetic by doing a few quests, fine. Pay money for a cloak, which I'll probably wear once and then forget when the next nice one comes along, and/or a horse and perhaps a minor stat/XP gain boost (like we don't get enough XP already) and a title? No thanks.

    I waste all my money on computer gear I probably don't need instead.
    Imagine your $100 payment is the difference between LOTRO continuing, and LOTRO being shut down.

    Would you then pay the $100 in exchange for another year of entertainment?
    Last edited by Thurallor; Sep 16 2020 at 04:05 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Altair6 View Post
    That may be Cord's own stuff. He is an ex-radio guy after all and does do his own streams on his own channel. He's talked about what mics and gear he uses in the past.
    I don't doubt it's his own gear, but you see it in other streamers that it's the stream that slowly becomes more important than the content played.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Thurallor View Post
    Imagine your $100 payment is the difference between LOTRO continuing, and LOTRO being shut down.

    This is starting to sound less like a business...and more like a charity.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narthalion View Post
    This is starting to sound less like a business...and more like a charity.
    Nah, with the way charities are organized and run these days they're definitely appropriating business strategies and are, in fact, run as business insofar as transactional emphasis (incentives), giving donors the sense they are "buying" benefits for themselves via their donations. Not much difference, in this regard.

    I'd say charity is about "expecting" benefits in return (the feel-good sensation of having supported a cause) and true charities are reliable in delivering that (making sure donations are channeled appropriately). With business there's no guarantee where the money ends up and how much difference it would make as far as "supporting" a business to last.

    Worth noting, many businesses facing financial trouble (including MMOs with uncertain future longevity) are known to roll out new product marketing designed to extract as much as possible from still-paying customers. Of course, with no guarantee how much time will be left to enjoy said products.

    Which is why I keep harping on making own, responsible decisions re: which purchase tier of this "expansion" is worthwhile for each individual. Don't buy the "expectation" (expecting the game to last), buy the practical satisfaction (how much enjoyment will each tier bring *right now* and will the extra goodies in higher tiers add to this practical enjoyment?)
    The key being, of course, to remember that SSG is a business.
    Éalá Éarendel engla beorhtast,
    ofer middangeard monnum sended,
    ond sóð
    fæsta sunnan léoma,
    torht ofer tung
    las, þú tída gehwane,
    of sylfum þé symle inlíhtes!

    -
    "Leaving the game plan is a sign of panic, and panic is not in our game plan." - Chuck Noll

 

 
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