Earning Turbine Points: Rise of Isengard vs. Riders of Rohan

At the introduction of free-to-play to LOTRO, Turbine rolled out the in-game LOTRO store. It’s main currency, Turbine Points, are obtained through three main methods: purchase with real-life money, a monthly bestowal for subscribers and lifetime accounts, or through completing deeds in-game. This third mechanism is often utilized by players to supplement their Turbine Point balance, and for some, it’s their main source.

Until recently, Turbine has been pretty generous in offering deeds, in-game achievements that measure when a character reaches a certain milestone such as killing a certain number of a type of enemy in a region, with Turbine Points attached, but now they seem to be backpedaling somewhat on their unofficial policy. A prime example of this trend is exhibited by comparing the amount of available earnable Turbine Points in their two latest expansions, Rise of Isengard (released in 2011) and Riders of Rohan (released in 2012).

TP - ROI vs ROR - total

On the whole, the amount of earnable Turbine Points (TP) in-game from deeds is much less in Riders of Rohan than in Rise of Isengard, exactly two-thirds less (380 vs. 570 TP). This gap is due in large part because Rohan’s instances do not award any Turbine Points whereas Isengard’s awards 5 TP for most of them, 10 TP for the meta-deeds.

Rohan’s instances instead award Medallions, an in-game currency used for purchasing a plethora of items, such as armour, potions or cosmetics, but Medallions are not usable in the LOTRO store which offers many items and unlockable content that players can not obtain in-game or are exceptionally rare.

The fact that Rohan’s instance cluster, named The Road to Erebor, does not offer any TP may be partially explained because Turbine was not planning on releasing the instance cluster bundled with the expansion but as a separate purchase.[1][2] Some time later, due to player feedback Turbine added the instance cluster to the expansion purchase.[3]

These instances take place geographically outside of Rohan and are somewhat a tie-in to the film based on The Hobbit released at around the same time as the first part of the instance cluster. The instances are available to new players starting at player level 20 rather than exclusively at the level cap, currently 85, as was the case with the Isengard instances.

If Turbine did add TP to the instance deeds they may see a slight rise in a practice commonly known as TP farming or TP grinding in which players start new characters, earn TP from various low-level deeds, delete the character and do it all over again to obtain a sizable amount of TP.

It is unclear whether this has any bearing on Turbine’s decision not to award TP for these instance deeds, though an indication that they are aware of this phenomenon is seen through the removal of six low-level quests totaling 100 TP (see, for example, the quest From the Forsaken Inn) replaced by remotely bestowed quests (a recently developed technology for LOTRO) but without the TP reward.

Rohan’s instance cluster is only partly released due to delays in releasing the Riders of Rohan expansion.[4] If when the second part of the instance cluster is released with earnable TP from deeds, or if Turbine changes their mind and awards TP to the current Road to Erebor instance deeds, they will partially make up the difference in earnable TP between the two expansions.

Awarding 5 TP to each of the 13 currently available deeds in the Rohan instance cluster would add 65 TP bringing the Riders of Rohan expansion total to 445 TP. The difference between expansions would then be 125 TP. Awarding 5 TP to each of the ten normal deeds and 10 TP to each of the three meta-deeds as is the case in the Rise of Isengard instances would net 80 TP, bringing the total to 460 TP with a difference between expansions of 110 TP.

TP - ROI vs ROR - amount

The majority of Turbine Points in both expansions come from those deeds valued at 5 TP. The large discrepancy between values of 5-TP deeds across expansions come from the instance deeds awarded in the Rise of Isengard. As stated above, equivalent deeds in the Riders of Rohan expansion either award no TP or are not present.

Those at 10 TP are primarily meta-deeds, deeds which are completed by finishing other deeds (e.g., Explorer of Dunland). Meta-deeds fall under the categories of completing instance deeds, explorer deeds, slayer deeds or quest deeds or some combination thereof. At present, Rohan contains only three meta-deeds, one for each instance, none of which awards TP. On the landscape, the closest deeds of this type in Rohan are found in Hytbold, but only award access to a housing decorations barterer upon completion and no TP.

There exists the potential for the addition of meta-deeds to Rohan in the same fashion present in Isengard. Turbine could add three meta-deeds, one for completing all slayer deeds in Rohan, one for explorer deeds and one for quest deeds, and possibly a fourth for completing all three of those meta-deeds (a meta-meta-deed if you will) for a total of 40 TP. This, in addition to granting TP for instance deeds as noted above, would still not bridge the gap between earnable TP in the Rise of Isengard versus the Riders of Rohan.

TP - ROI vs ROR - type

With the “deed” category comprised of the deeds on the landscape (slayer, explorer, quest) and “instance” comprised of the deeds in the instance cluster, the “reputation” category is left with the standard deeds for earning reputation by completing tasks for certain factions. With one exception (The Eldgang), players are awarded a total of 50 TP for achieving the highest rank of reputation with a group of people. Players receive 5 TP for Acquaintance, 10 TP for Friend, 15 TP for Ally and 20 TP for Kindred.

The difference in the “reputation” category between expansions is due to there being two factions in the Rise of Isengard and four factions in Riders of Rohan. While players can obtain max reputation in Rise of Isengard solely through quests, in Riders of Rohan reputation is gated by the Hytbold mechanic. Completing every quest in a region will leave you somewhere on the Friend tier, but players must complete Hytbold quests to further their standing with a faction, though the game limits the amount of Hytbold quests a player can complete to five per day. It will take a single character a minimum of 25 days to reach the highest reputation tier in all four factions.[5]

Slayer deeds, completed by killing a specified number of a type of enemy, have traditionally come in two tiers. After completing the first deed, the advanced deed opens up and requires the player to kill even more of that type of enemy in a region. Every region prior to the release of Rise of Isengard awarded 5 TP to the base tier of slayer deed and 10 TP for the advanced tier.

Rise of Isengard and Riders of Rohan both offer 5 TP for the base and the advanced slayer deeds. The Rise of Isengard, however, offers a 10 TP meta-deed for completing the 9 base slayer deeds in the region of Dunland. It should also be noted that the Great River, a region released chronologically between the two expansions, gives 5 TP for the base and 10 TP for the advanced deeds.

The primary reason between the difference in earnable Turbine Points remains the lack of Turbine Points awarded for instance deeds in Riders of Rohan. While there is a potential to add Turbine Point rewards to existing deeds, this is unlikely and without precedent. It is still unknown whether the second part of the instance cluster will offer Turbine Points for completing deeds.

Of course, Turbine retains full control over which deeds to add Turbine Points rewards. Along with changes to slayer deed rewards and the removal of low-level TP-awarding quests, the fact that the amount of earnable Turbine Points offered by the Riders of Rohan expansion is much less than offered by the Rise of Isengard expansion speaks to a growing trend of awarding fewer Turbine Points to new game content.

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