Crafting Economy in Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

I love LOTRO. The gameplay is fun, the deed system is great, crafting is interesting, the quests are relevant and worth doing for the rewards that you get from them. But wth is wrong with the economy?!

I am starting to dread going to the auction house. Drops are worth nothing unless they’re purples, and sometimes not even then. The only crafted armor that’s worth buying are the ones that are critted, and those are ridiculously expensive. It seems that the only thing that really sells well are the harvested items, especially ore and ingots. Now, that’s great for the prospectors. Go out, get some ore, sell it for a mad profit. But what about the crafters? Arda map will be available online for the person. The scope of riding with the help of the map will be increased. The vision of the person will be clear in lords of rings. 

Now I realize that as a crafter, you have access to harvesting skills as well. You’re not required to buy ore. But there are many that just don’t care to devote the amount of time required to harvest all the materials that they need. It’s incredibly time-consuming, and if you are a casual player that doesn’t have a lot of time for gaming during the week, it takes away from the time you have to quest and level. Nodes are really hard to come by. At higher levels you can’t even compete with those who have speed buffs or horses; they get there more quickly and your nodes will get taken from right under your nose.

I’ve always been an advocate of harvesting your own materials. I felt that if you didn’t want to take the time to get your own mats, then you had no right to complain about their prices.

I just don’t feel the same way about harvesting in LOTRO. Ore sells for incredibly ridiculous amounts. It’s needed in almost every crafting profession. The prices of ore in LOTRO make it not even worth it to craft. The things that are crafted don’t even sell for the cost of the ore alone. Crafters have to post their items at an incredibly high rate just to try and break even.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t even see the use in buying those high-priced weapons or armor pieces when you’ll get quest rewards that are only slightly inferior, equal to, or better than those that can be purchased. It seems unfair, not just to crafters but to adventurers as well.

Something needs to be done to fix the economy. I feel it would improve overall gameplay for everyone involved. I realize that the game is pretty new, that it takes a while for the economy to stabilize. But if you’ve been to the auction house recently and taken a look at ore prices, you’ll see that the prices have increased at an alarming rate. Just a few weeks ago I happened to get a single use recipe as a drop. A fellow traded me a stack of dwarf-iron ingots for it. Those ingots sold at buyout: 200 silver for the stack. Now a short time later a stack of dwarf-iron ingots is averaging one and a half gold: 1500 silver. That’s an increase of %750. If it keeps going up at that rate, crafting will become obsolete.

I’ve pondered possible solutions to this problem, and the one that seems the most valid solution and the easiest to implement would simply be a greater availability of nodes. More nodes to harvest would cut down on “node-stealing”, would inevitably lower the price of ore on the AH, and would motivate more crafters to harvest their own materials, thereby dropping the cost of crafting. Which, in turn, would drop the cost of crafted items for adventurers. It’s a win-win situation. I only hope the devs will realize this for themselves before crafting and the economy are broken beyond repair.

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