The Lord of the Rings Online or LOTRO for short, will be making some interesting changes ahead of its latest content release. Update 23: Where Dragons Dwell is on the horizon, and Standing Stone Games have shared information about what they’re changing with end-game gear and lootbox gear.
1. No Gear In Lootboxes That You Can’t Get By Simply Playing
There should be no gear in lootboxes that you don’t have a chance to acquire by playing the game. If gear is in a lootbox, it should also appear on a game vendor or as a reward for content within a short period of time. On the day that new content is released, players should not be able to get the brand-new gear with end game currency or Store purchases. The initial rush of gear needs to come from playing the new content and getting rewards for completing it. As such, the vendors for gear and lootboxes will not appear until a few weeks after that content is released. The exact timing might also depend on how involved the content is.
2. Raid Gear From The Highest Difficulty Will Always Be Better Than Lootbox Gear
Gear that comes from a new Raid at the highest difficulty, or the equivalent raid completion gated vendor, will always have more power than comparable gear that comes directly from lootboxes. If gear comes from a raid, you need to complete the raid at least once before you can obtain the gear from a vendor using game currency. This remains unchanged.
3. New Update 23 Currency Can Be Used To Barter for End-Game Gear
Gear will be rewarded for running content while you level up to 120: from quests and deeds, reputation barter, instance chests, and from defeating bosses in the raid (which will be released later this year). In general, instance gear will be better than questing gear, raid gear will be better than instance gear, and content with higher tiers of difficulty will reward better gear than easier content. This is pretty much how things work now.
The new currency for end game in U23: Where Dragons Dwell and beyond is Embers of Enchantment. Embers can be earned for doing weekly quests, and by deconstructing gear you don’t want. This Disenchantment process may also be familiar to you, as it’s what you’ve been doing with Ashes of Enchantment.
4. Lootboxes Drop The New Currency Too
One big difference in U23 and beyond is you will be rewarded with Embers of Enchantment directly when you do endgame quests, rather than indirectly through lootbox keys. You’ll accumulate enough Embers to buy the gear you want from a vendor. This helps fight random luck when trying to get the stuff you want. The Ember vendors won’t have gear from the most recent end game group content until around two or so weeks after that content is released. So, the only way to get this gear when content is first released is to play the content. Finally, the vendor may have a requirement that you complete the content before you can pick any of the gear.
5. Older LOTRO Content Consolidates Currency
Older content will work on a similar system, with its own currency. Ashes of Enchantment are becoming Motes of Enchantment, and you’ll earn new Motes of Enchantment by running older content. Older gear will also Disenchant to Motes of Enchantment, and Motes items will have their own vendors. Quests that used to bestow keys or key slivers will bestow Motes directly instead of Black Steel Keys.
How do lootboxes fit into all of this? Lootboxes will continue to appear in-game, and you can buy keys from the LOTRO Store to open them. They’ll have cosmetics, gear – with identical gear available from the Ember vendors, and some Embers. The gear and cosmetics will be available on the Embers vendor at the same time it debuts in a lootbox. Both new lootbox items and new vendor items will arrive a few weeks or so after new content is released.
Lootboxes are not required to gear up, but can be used to help you catch up on gearing, and acquire cool new cosmetics. If you don’t want to buy a key for a lootbox, you can instead run content to earn Embers for the items. LOTRO absolutely want to reward players who are awesome enough to support the long-term success of the game by opening lootboxes, and get joy in doing it, but they don’t want players to feel like they are forced to open lootboxes in order to play or excel in the game.