This is a short and sweet one. I’m undecided on whether or not I’ll ever use apparel dummies: I think the concept is interesting, I wish the separates sold as separates, since some pieces are rare and some not-so-much, and I find it odd to see sparkly scarecrows in some of the more remote corners of the world. That said, I’m not offended when reminders of the store pop up in-game, either as objects like the apparel dummies or reminders in the UI. If those very few small reminders get the game all the way to Gondor (and beyond?), I’m okay with that.
If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, the awesome Hymne of Cosmetic Lotro has a great post here.
To sum up my feelings about the apparel dummies: I think the era of huge, subscription-based MMOs (excepting WoW) is pretty much fading. Free-to-play isn’t going anywhere, and while I hope games keep their advertising subtle, I think the apparel dummies are kind of nifty when they’re placed next to vendors in market centers.