Hands-On Preview: Lord of the Rings: Rise of Isengard & the Pre-Order Items (PC)

Turbine is gearing up for their latest expansion to Lord of the Rings Online, and in the wake of that prep, they’re decided to throw in some pre-order bonuses for players who grab Rise of Isengard now rather than later. What I’ll try to cover here are the bonuses for each tier of the pre-order, and what I’d do as a premium/free player with this latest expansion.

Starting with the Base Edition, you get the expansion itself, a 25% experience boost that runs until you hit level 65 as long as you have it equipped, an in-game title that runs after your name, a Rohirrim-Style Mount with a red colored blanket, and a matching cloak for your character. The bonuses here aren’t terrible, but even for VIP players I think this is extremely bare bones for $30. If I was a VIP player I’d be looking at the next tier of pre-order for Rise of Isengard.

Enter the Heroic Edition. With this one you get the expansion, your exp bonus, title and Rohirrim Style Mount. However, now you get to pick your choice of red, green, or white for your blanket, as well as a nice looking set of cosmetic armor to match your horse, the matching cloak, and 1,000 free Turbine Points to use in the store. If I was a VIP player, this would be the pre-order I’d be snatching up. The Turbine points help make up the extra $10 on this, but you get a choice of armor along with the mount and expansion. I suppose if I was a Premium/Free player and had nearly all the expansions, this would be an option as well. The bonuses on the next one aren’t great if you already have all the packs. As well, if you are a VIP player, you’d also already have access, unless you were VIP and somehow didn’t have Mirkwood and Moira.

As a Premium player with no real packs yet, who just has points to spend and an eye towards dumping them on packs to actually have content when I’ve topped out in the free areas, the Legendary Edition for $50 would be the one I’d go for. Here’s why: you get three different colored mounts of Rohirrim with matching cosmetic armor and capes, the 25% experience boost to 65, the newest expansion that will take you to level 75, a custom title (I’m still jealous of my friend’s Moira title, but he doesn’t have the Isengard title like I do), a thousand Turbine Points to buy more things you don’t normally get for free, like more quest packs, but the kicker for me are the bonus quest packs you get with the Legendary Pre-Order.

When you Pre-Order the Legendary Edition and pop in your code to your account, you get the Path of the Fellowship Quest Packs and Mirkwood, which is a big chunk of the available quest packs. The Path quest pack includes Trollshaws, Eregion, Lothorien, and Moira (the quest pack which is all the quests in the Moira expansion, but not the two classes or two extra character slots). I thought that sounded like a big chunk of content and was curious what that would run me in points, so I popped onto the LOTRO Shop and tallied up all the points if you were to buy those packs with Turbine Points. If you paid in cash it’d amount to what you’re paying for the Legendary Pre-Order in the first place, so that’s a no-brainer of a deal for me. I get the expansion, a thousand Turbine points, and roughly $50 worth of quest packs, plus a bunch of extras for the same cost as the quest packs themselves? GIMME.

Yeah, this might sound like a sales pitch, but really, if you’re a free or premium player, don’t already have these packs and were planning on getting them, you’re doing yourself a complete disservice by not getting the expansion pre-ordered. With those extra Turbine Points you can by another quest pack and unlock skill slots, or whatever you may need to do.

Just playing through as a new character on a new server with nothing unlocked, I have to say I like the pre-order items. My lowbie outfits aren’t all mismatched, as I have costume slots for my Rohirrim gear that pops on over whatever I have on underneath. So while my regular outfit may look like I just got out of the wrong end of a paintball fight, I’m still wearing the really nice looking outfit on top. The experience boost is helping my new toons level like crazy, and having a mount (after I paid the Turbine Points to unlock the skill) for free (they usually cost in-game gold or Turbine Points) as a premium player makes it much easier to get around the game world.

What I’m probably going to end up doing is using some of the Turbine Points I got with the pre-order towards one of the other quest packs, (say, Evendim), which by all accounts will really help me on my road to level 65 and the new expansion coming out in September. But if I’m really serious, I’ll still at least go VIP for a month to get some of those permanent bonuses for my characters that you can’t buy in the store, like the gold cap being gone, unlimited auction postings and fast travel. So if you’re already a VIP player and planning on staying that way, and want the new expansion, go for the Heroic Edition, and if you’re a free/premium player and were planning on getting it, go Legendary and get some really nice quest pack selections to go with it.

Lord of the Rings: Rise of Isengard goes into Beta tomorrow, July 27th, so your time to get these items are limited!

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