The Lord of the Rings Online £6.25 Bargain Pack

Lord of the Rings Online is my current favourite MMORPG, for more reasons that I care to list – chief of which is that it’s great fun just to hop in and play casually for a short while, as well as dive in deep for hours at a time. That fact that it’s set in the daddy of all fantasy realms is just icing on the cake.

LOTRO is free to play meaning it doesn’t cost a penny (or dime) to join in, and you can play all the way from 1st to 75th level that way should you so choose. There are a few limitations and restrictions, but very little that can’t be removed by spending Turbine Points that you can earn through in-game Deeds. Going that route can be quite grindy, but it’s rewarding and can be quite fun in itself if you’re in the right frame of mind.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you plunking down some cash to gain access new Quests, or Subscribe to have a whole load of unlocked goodies, quests and features. I’m all for paying cash where it’s deserved, and the nice folks who make LOTRO certainly deserve our love and support. Plus they need to eat, apparently.

One of the best value things to buy in LOTRO by far is Samwise Gamgee’s Starter Pack. This costs all of $9.99, or local currency equivalent. In the UK right now that’s around £6.25, or thereabouts.

This adds the following to all of your characters (past, present and future):

  • A Bay Steed and Riding Skill
  • 4th Inventory Bag
  • Removes the currency cap

In addition, if this is your first (or indeed, only) Real Money purchase through the Store, you gain an extra Character Slot on every server (from two to three) and 5 Auction House Slots in the game meaning you can actually sell the stuff your PC buys, makes and finds in-game using Middle Earth’s own version of Ebay.

The Riding Skill and Horse is great from the start, though I had a lot of fun with my first character sweating my way through to earning enough gold pieces to buy my first horse, and I’m still quite proud of that achievement. Getting the horse early means getting everywhere much faster (62% faster, to be precise), and that means more time for exploration, and that’s what a game like LOTRO is all about.

For me, the key benefit of the Starter Pack is the removal of the currency cap. Of all the limitations found in free to play, this is the one which you’re most likely to run against the most. The cap limits the amount of in-game cash you have available to 2 gold pieces (in LOTRO, 1gp = 1,000sp), and anything you gain above that is held in a “vault” for you until you do unlock the cap. What this means is you can’t buy anything costing more than 2gp so anything other than the smallest House (yes, you can – and should – own a home in LOTRO) or the more expensive in-game items such as more ornate cosmetic gear (Cosmetic Clothing is a big thing. A very big thing) or weapons and armour are out of your reach.

Unlocking the currency cap alone costs 395 Turbine Points and would involve a quite lot of grinding in-game to achieve. You could unlock it by buying Turbine Points, but when combined with the Horse and Skill and the extra Inventory Bag, this is a much better value option.

It’s worth stressing again that this is unlocked for all characters past, present and future meaning it’s a one-off purchase that adds a horse, removed currency cap and 4th inventory bag to every one for your characters (new or old), forever.

In my opinion, if you play Lord of the Rings Online (and you should!), this is an essential purchase, and may well be the first purchase for many free to play MMORPG’ers.

Recommended.

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