I’ve never done this before. Oh I’ve ranted and blown off steam about this game or that, some broken feature or other, but I’ve never sat down and deliberately written a ‘letter’ to a company about why they have upset me so much. I suppose it’s mainly because I don’t think it would do any good – no company is going to listen to me are they? I don’t mean this on a personal level, but I am just a player and they have plenty of those without worrying about me. Still here I am and here is my letter to Turbine via their Community Manager, Sapience (aka @rickheaton). Now he’s a busy fella so I’ll get right to the point.
I have loved LOTRO since I started in May 2011, enough that although it was my first ever experience with an MMO I gladly became a subscriber the following month. Since then I have played extensively and had an incredible time in the wonderful, beautiful world you have created and have happily spent several hundred pounds there in both subscription and store & Turbine Point purchases.
Yet now I find myself so upset by a single recent decision that I will not be renewing my subscription this year and I will not buy a single Turbine Point from your store again. I will do my utmost to ensure your company never has a penny of my money again.
Why you may (or may not) ask? What have we done to illicit such a strong negative response from you?
The answer is simple. The Update 6 premium wallet.
Now it is true that over December & January I grew sick of the grindy nature of the levelling & Legendary Item system, but I am not an idiot & I know that grinding is a part of pretty much all MMOs. No, it was not this that led me to my final decision.
It is also true that I have been looking around for a new MMO to play; from Star Trek to The Secret World to Guild Wars 2 I have been itching to try a new game, but never at the expense of LOTRO. Whilst I may not have endless hours of free time, I have enough to accommodate more than one game. Besides, my first love is always going to be Tolkien’s Middle Earth aand I have no intentions of giving that up.
Also don’t think I’m against the concept of in-game stores & micro-transactions: I’m not. You are a company. you need to make money to pay wages and develop games. I’m happy to pay for the service you provide in the full knowledge that your developers and staff can carry on making this and other games.
And please don’t imagine that I’m acting in anger over your recent “hiccups” in terms of communications and store items. Yes Isengard was messy; no I don’t care about stated items & even if the Landscape Solider was a total damp squib I don’t care as we all get things wrong. You are a games company & not a hospital and therefore when you get something wrong it is highly unlikely anyone will die.
No. What has so upset me is what I consider to be your totally unreasonable request that I pay 995 Turbine Points (that’s £10 to me here in the UK) for the convenience of using your new Premium Wallet feature. This is wrong.
As a subscriber I do not expect to be charged for an update to the game’s mechanics. This is not a storage expansion slot for my inventory or vault, this is extra functionality being added to an existing part of the game and that is what I expect my subscription to cover.
Now it is true that since you announced this wallet I will probably have received enough Turbine Points from you in the form of my 500 per month stipend to purchase this without spending another extra penny of my money, but I’m afraid that is not only not the point, it is simply not good enough. I do not like to be dictated to on how I spend my points, I do not like to feel forced in to a decision. They are my points, not yours and even though I have about 10,000 of them just sitting there I will not be told how I should spend them.
So even though I have the points. Even though I have the disposable income. Even though I have bought inventory, vault & wardrobe storage space from you in the past. And even though I have no need in the game for the wallet as reputation and barter items are not an issue for me, the decision to charge me £10 for this feature has so angered and upset me that I will not renew my subscription at the end of June this year and I feel certain I can foresee no circumstance in which I would subscribe to another game your company ever produces.
I say this as a calm and rational customer, not a febrile fanboy furious over the lore behind a bearded dragon. After all, I expect you to stare at my open wallet with naked hunger, I just don’t expect to find you trying to pick my pocket as well.