When Turbine changed its subscription model to “free to play” (I like calling it “freemium” to differentiate it from the usual “f2p” models which only have item shops but no way to pay a subscription) players were worried about the kind of items we would see in their shop. Patience, back then Community Manager at Turbine, reassured us that the shop would offer “convenience, not advantage”. That was on June 5, 2010. When you’re now searching for that thread in the official forums, you will not find anything. It seems this thread was deleted (or “moved”, I think. If I remember correctly, Turbine doesn’t delete threads but instead moves them to an area that’s not publicly accessible).
Fortunately, Google Cache helps us out here: Convenience, not advantage.
With Update 3 came six new relics. Three of them can be “produced” in-game (by “melding” which can be done by every high level player). Three other relics are shop-exclusive. One of those relics is arguably one of the best for tanks. Of course, just buying this relic isn’t enough. You can’t get it out of the weapon once it’s in there. So if you ever want to switch your weapon, you’d either have to buy the relic again or buy the relic-removal scroll from their shop in order to remove said relic. Clever, eh? ;) Players are not too happy about that. Of course, you can argue whether you really need to buy this relic or not. The same goes for weapons, though! You don’t need to buy the better weapon from an item shop in f2p-game XYZ. You can just play with a weaker weapon. No problem, right? But when it was promised to the player community that there wouldn’t be an “advantage” in the shop and then they add something which is an advantage… well, not nice.
The inofficial EU LotRO community talks about it as well. – By the way, the community also always welcomes US LotRO players, of course! Critical comments on LotRO and Turbine won’t be deleted there either. ;) Well, unless they’re flaming or trolling. But common sense should tell you that. ^^
Edit on January 21, 2012: I just saw that this posting was linked to in Justin’s recent “Road to Mordor” on Massively. :) Unfortunately, I realised that I hadn’t actually put up the screenshot from Patience here. I thought I had. There’s only the link to Google’s Cache up there and it’s not valid anymore. Valandir sent me the screenshot in its original size which you can see on the left now.