Yes, this is yet another article about Turbine's controversial "Hobby Horse" mount currently being offered on the test server for "Lord of the Rings Online", so bear with me. If you haven't heard about this yet, don't play LOTRO, or have had your head buried firmly in the sand for the last few days, please allow me to provide a quick synopsis:
Last Friday, Turbine issued a request for feedback on the "Hobby Horse" mount, asking basically if people would be willing to pay 5000 Turbine Points for this item, and if not, what would they be willing to buy at that price-point. They also wanted to know if there were any ways in which they could improve this mount. The official forums erupted in rage over this Store item, and the gaming blogosphere quickly followed suit, so much so that I have no doubt the Hobby Horse will either be offered for a lower price when it goes Live, or removed from the game entirely...
... Which is too bad, because there is literally nothing wrong with this item!
Look, I get it. The price is rather high (roughly $50), and it is more than double the cost of previous mount offerings on the LOTRO Store. But as Raina, the Turbine Beta Coordinator, said about the Hobby Horse: "We are not forcing you to buy it. No one is forcing you to buy it. It's something to be there and be fun for those who may want it."
That is 100% correct! It's really simple, folks. This is a virtual item in a virtual world. If Turbine wants to sell a special mount at a premium price, who are you to say they shouldn't? If you don't like it, then don't buy it, and let others who might want to have it the freedom to spend their points however they choose. Who are you to say this Hobby Horse doesn't have a place in the game?
"ZOMG IT BREAX MAI IMMERZUN LOL!"
I've seen several forum posters and bloggers state this, and to be honest, I couldn't care less about your 'Immersion'. Turbine is a business, and "Lord of the Rings Online" is a means by which Turbine earns money. that's it. While Turbine is interested in following the established lore of Tolkien's stories, it isn't their job to keep each individual player feeling like they are indeed in Middle-Earth. They present a world to enjoy that mirrors, to the best of their abilities, Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Beyond that is our problem.
To be honest, I don't think Turbine has gone far enough. Where is my Great Eagle flying mount? Tolkien himself included flying mount options for both the Free Peoples (Eagles) and the dark minions of Sauron (Fell-Beasts). So why aren't these available in LOTRO yet? The only reason I have seen thus far is more whiners complaining it would 'break immersion' or 'break the lore', although it is actually quite the opposite. Not having a flying Eagle mount breaks my immersion, and most certainly breaks Tolkien's lore!
So as long as the precious Lore is already broken regarding mounts, who are we to tell someone that they can't have a Hobby Horse mount? And who are you all to tell Turbine that they can't sell said Hobby Horse on their LOTRO Store?
Let's be honest here: "Lord of the Rings Online" isn't about You. It is about all of us, every single player there is in the game. And while there are some players who might not want Hobby Horse mounts, let alone Eagles and Fell-Beasts, there are still other players who would pay any price to have those mounts. So with the players having no codified view of what truly constitutes "The Lore", then we must rely on what Turbine says "The Lore" will be. And if that means they feel a Hobby Horse mount is appropriate, then I have no problem with that.
It is their game, after all.
Furthermore, many players have no problem with the idea of a Hobby Horse mount, but complain about the high price. Do you not realize how easy it is to earn Turbine Points in-game? Simply the fact that we are able to earn Turbine Points just by playing the game means the price is completely irrelevant. 5000 Turbine Points? I think Turbine should be selling it for 10,000 Turbine Points! Let's make this truly the rare luxury item it was intended to be, Turbine!
But in the end, I expect the whiners will win the day, and this item will either never see the Live game, or be significantly reduced in price (so every Tom, Dick and Harry have one), and it will lose all of its charm in short order. Meanwhile, the extra income Turbine was hoping to get through this item will be lost or significantly reduced, and hurt the bottom line. At some point Turbine might just stop offering us fun little in-game items to buy, and then what will the whiners do? they'll whine that Turbine isn't updating the game any longer!
You people make me sick!