I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the Fall Festival in LotRO this year. Not only has Turbine released what I consider to be the best festival content to date, but the crop of new players coming in with Free To Play has really increased the energy, and activity, around the festival areas. It’s really nice to see (sure, I’ve seen stupid MMO-leet-speak in Regional chat for maybe the first time, but that’s minor compared to the shot of adrenaline the Vilya community seems to have received).
The Haunted Burrow is, quite plainly, approaching genius. One, it’s about time that the Shire got it’s own Festival content; Duillond has its shrew-infested garden and Bree has its Hedge Maze. Two, it’s refreshing to have something to do in the game that is pure fun. It’s an amazing contrast from the Mirkwood areas with their dark, foreboding, and war-torn atmosphere. Not that Mirkwood is bad, but the festival this year comes at a perfect time and has the perfect measure of irreverence and silliness about it.
There’s one downside, however. Well, not so much of a downside as a decision Turbine made that has got me (and a lot of players) into a frothing frenzy. The Skeleton Horse.
First and foremost, the thing is amazingly cool-looking. Secondly, I have a thing about mounts; it has long been my goal to achieve every mount in the game (as well as fully complete several others types of “achievements”) with my main. Funny thing is, I’m not even sure I would make it my main mount. But seeing it, I immediately thought, “I must have that…” Trouble is, obtaining it doesn’t seem to be a matter of effort, but of sheer luck. And I’m not generally a “lucky” person. In order to obtain this mount, players must be fortunate enough to obtain an item that is a rare drop. From a chest that can only be opened once every 24 hours.
This means I only have 30-something chances to get my hands on this item. Two things that make me very nervous about Turbine’s decision. One, personal effort has little to no bearing. Players could log in like clockwork, every day during the festival to check the chest, and never receive the mount. That’s a lot of effort with no return, leading (potentially) to a lot of frustrated players. Two, if I am lucky enough to get one, seeing these available in the Store at some point in the future would be a huge slap in the face to everyone who worked hard and got lucky.
Hopefully Turbine has considered these points, and designed it appropriately. My hope is that, as much as the item is a rare drop, that player effort has some bearing on the chances of receiving the mount. Even an increase of a few percentage points in the chance, for those who log in every day and try, would be very much appreciated.