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Gambling comes to Middle Earth

Ever since Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) went to F2P, they've come up with more and more ways to monetize the game. Most of them could be easily ignored. But with the latest update, they've gone perhaps too far, introducing slot machines into the game.

Hobbit presents, a rather innocuous name, right? Well, in reality, they are slot machines. When you now enter the game, you are given the opportunity to "open" a free "silver" present a day, or if you are a subscriber, a free "gold" present a week. When you go, it's randomly generated, almost like a slot machine, including showing you what you could have won if you were just a bit luckier.

Once you use up your free spins, you are given the opportunity to buy more, using the new currency Turbine added to the game, mithril coins, bought with Turbine Points of course.

But wait, this is just optional, right, even if it is thrown right in your face?

For many, perhaps most of us. But someone posted a heart wrenching story about his wife, a LOTRO player and gambling addict. Long story short, she won't be able to play LOTRO anymore, because she had to avoid all forms of gambling.

I think the gaming industry needs to take a step back and look at itself, what it is doing. If people want to gamble, fine. But gambling doesn't need to be inserted into things.

What happened to just making a better product?

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