Please, Turbine, Never Again

Let me preface this post with a few facts. One, I am something of a freak about mounts. It has long been my goal to own every mount in the game, even if I never use many of them, or have no way to show off said accomplishment; I had set myself this goal long before the introduction of this year’s Harvest Festival. Two, I think that, overall, this year’s Harvest Festival is the best festival yet. Hand’s down. With one exception.

Dear Turbine,

On behalf of the many players, showing monumental persistence and patience, who have not been graced with good fortune this Harvest Festival, I would like to request the delivery, at your immediate convenience, of one (1) Skeleton Mount. We’ve certainly worked hard enough for it, and considering that effort in LotRO has nearly always paid off in the past, we don’t find this to be an unusual request.


Barring that option, I would request that the mechanic used to “reward” this coveted item, a limited-time-only random draw based purely on luck, never be used again. Never.

Perhaps, in their zealous pursuit of designing something new and exciting, the Design Team failed to realize the impact that this particular decision would have on their players. Let me describe to you what I have been seeing, and personally experiencing, over attempts to obtain the Skeleton Mount.

There is a ton of frustration, and even some despair. I know. I’ve felt it; I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will not achieve one of these mounts. This doesn’t stop me from checking the chest every day at 6:04 AM EST, like clockwork. But it’s a little painful every day, to feel my hopes rise just that little bit as I watch the progress bar fill and wonder, “Is today the day?”. And every day is one less day we have a chance.

Are these the feelings you want to create in your players? Frustration? Resignation? Jealousy? These feelings aren’t fun. They rob us of our enjoyment.

It’s not that it’s a rare drop. We, the players, have shown that we will endure nearly anything for a chance at a rare drop, running instances time and time again, ad nauseum. The odds don’t matter to us. One-in-one-hundred or one-in-one-thousand; we don’t really care.

There are two factors that make this particular lottery so tortuous (and I call it that because that is what it is). One, it’s a limited-time offer; we have 30-some chances at this, and that’s it. We will face down any other odds with a smile and hearts filled to the brim with sunshine because we know, for any particular item we want or need, that no matter how rare it is to see one, we can always try again tomorrow, or next week. Or whatever. The only limit to our chances is our determination and the effort we put forth.

Which brings me to factor two – that our effort has no bearing on our chance of success. It doesn’t matter if we log in once or once a day. As far as we know, our chances are the same every day. For someone who has dedicated years to playing in your virtual world, this is something of a slap in the face. LotRO is supposed to be fun – it’s a game, remember? Like a sport. And while any sport will have winners or losers, part of the reason it’s fun is because our effort counts. With a lot of determination (and, yes, sometimes a little luck), we can try for victory, and even if we lose we know that we tried our hardest, and that our effort made a difference.

The Skeleton Mount isn’t fun. It’s not a game, it’s a lottery.

Perhaps I’m the only one (but I don’t think so), but I’m beginning to sense real jealousy over these mounts. Not the coveting-what-I’ve-yet-to-achieve kind of feeling so typical in an MMO that is gear-centric and achievement-driven. But the real jealousy that comes from another attaining something we desire out of sheer good fortune. Not because they worked for it, or deserved it for some reason, but because the numbers just fell in their favor that day. I get enough of that in Real Life; I don’t want it in my entertainment of choice. In a world where our effort is always rewarded, this one thing is a glaring blight.

I’m not asking for the mount; I’ll keep trying on my own and, hopefully, I’ll get lucky. I’m not asking that the mount be given to everyone. What’s done is done. I’m asking that those with the power to do so decide to never implement this kind of system again. It’s not fun. It taints our enjoyment.

Thank you for your time.
Drannos Tannaren, Vilya Server

5 responses to “Please, Turbine, Never Again

  1. Pingback: Quote of the Day « Bio Break

  2. First off, I should say that I am a collector/packrat in just about every game that I have tried. I, too, want my characters to have every horse/goat that is available in LOTRO and I will soon be aiming for all the new rep ponies I can get my little hobbit hands on. So far I have gotten the skeleton painted steed on only one character. The others have more jars of bugs than they know what to do with, but it is no consolation. I will try my luck every day until the end of the festival and hope another skeleton painted horse is in the cards. I agree it is frustrating.

    Ok. Now that that’s out of the way…

    Why is this such a bad mechanic for what is, essentially, a cosmetic item? There are no deeds or quests tied to the acquisition of a skeleton painted horse. The horse does not have stats any different from the ones you can buy with gold and tokens.

    “It’s not that it’s a rare drop. We, the players, have shown that we will endure nearly anything for a chance at a rare drop, running instances time and time again, ad nauseum. The odds don’t matter to us. One-in-one-hundred or one-in-one-thousand; we don’t really care.”

    It certainly seems like you care that it is a rare drop. Yes, it is only available during the harvest festival which may mean you only have 30 chances if you try once a day. But you mention that rare dungeon drops don’t have this same problem. What if the dungeon has a lockout? That effectively limits the number of times it can be run in a 1-month or 1-year period as well. Plus, those rare drops probably do have increased stats you are looking for as well.

    “For someone who has dedicated years to playing in your virtual world, this is something of a slap in the face.”

    You went there? Really? C’mon. 😛

    Again, I’m not saying that the randomness and rarity are not frustrating if you want this horse. I am just pointing out that it is no different than many other things in the game. Being a cosmetic-only, it is actually better than most of the other lottery-randomness you’ll find. You want to really lay into a rant, how about taking on the crafted legendary weapons that can turn out to be complete garbage when brought to the forge-master? 🙂

    • Yeah, there are probably better things to lay into Turbine over. This one just struck close to home, and after this morning’s failed attempt, I guess I crossed a line.

      At this point, even if I get the damned thing, it will be forever tainted…

      I don’t care that it’s a rare drop, or that it’s purely cosmetic. I care that it’s a RANDOM drop that I only have 30 chances at, where my effort means nothing. I can’t honestly think of another thing in the game where effort doesn’t count for something. Even with lockouts, I can try for any item for the duration of the game. If I really want a full set of Rift Gear, I keep running it until I manage to get all the dropped gems. The point is not the rarity, but the combination of pure randomness with the limited-time availability.

      The Symbol of Celebrimbor is the closest example I can bring to mind, and even that has an alternative path to obtaining it.

      And, yeah, the whole “slap in the face” thing is a bit much…I’m just frustrated. In hindsight, well…whatever.

      And for all the other things you mention – crafted LIs, etc. – the thing about those is that, with enough grinding, you can always gather up the materials. It’s not like Turbine has said, “For This Month Only you can get the Symbol…after that…”

  3. I just got one on my alt, for whom I spent 1.6g for a harvest festival mount on the weekend.

    The key thing here is it’s a FREE MOUNT.

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