Lord Of The Rings Online Goes Free-To-Play

By Kieron Gillen on June 4th, 2010 at 2:59 pm.

Will this move be good for the game population's elf?

Gosh. No room for a rubbish gag in the headline. This must be what being Jim feels like. Anyway – Turbine’s actually-really-rather-good MMO is going free-to-play from fall this year. The game’s funding seems to be via micropayments via the Store (From the expansion packs and premium content to stuff like character customisation, character slots and utility items like potions) or become a VIP (Which gives access to all premium content and other bonuses). Worth noting it says that what you spend in the game shop can be earned in-game as well as bought. First impression? Really worth watching and possibly game-changing. Lord of the Rings Online is a genuinely strong MMO. Immediately, other free-to-play games start having a higher standard to live up to… and ones which demand a subscription start looking somewhat expensive. You can sign up for its Beta which launches on June 16th and the full-press release below…

WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™

TO ADOPT GLOBAL FREE-TO-PLAY MODEL

Turbine’s Award-winning Online Game Will Be Free-to-Play Worldwide This Fall

BURBANK, CA – June 3, 2010 – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today that Turbine, Inc. will unveil a major update this fall, making The Lord of the Rings Online™ (LOTRO) free-to-play for everyone. Extending its award-winning story, LOTRO delivers the ultimate adventure featuring a massive world with state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay, and a rich set of features that until now could only be found in premium subscription-based online games.

Launching this fall across North America and Europe, with Codemasters operating the game free-to-play in Europe, LOTRO will introduce Turbine’s innovative new pricing model that allows players to download the game and play for free, purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new LOTRO Store, or join the VIP program to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content for one low price. Players interested in getting a sneak peek of the new LOTRO can sign up for a chance to participate in the Beta program which begins June 16, 2010 at http://www.lotro.com.

“Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is bringing quality games based on The Lord of the Rings to multiple platforms, and the franchise’s expansive adventure story lends itself perfectly for LOTRO free-to-play, giving a wide range of players the opportunity to experience the game,” said Jeff Junge, Senior Vice President Online Games and Digital Games Platforms, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “We are focused on expanding our game franchises onto new digital platforms to maximize quality experiences for gamers worldwide and LOTRO’s new model is a great leading example of this.”

“Turbine’s Dungeons and Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™ was the world’s first truly premium free-to-play online game that ushered in a new era of choice for online gamers seeking quality entertainment,” said Jim Crowley, President and CEO of Turbine. “The popularity of DDO validated the extraordinary demand by gamers for quality entertainment they can experience at their own pace and within their budget. Extending free-to-play to LOTRO will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans.”

“Having successfully taken two titles free-to-play in the past we are very pleased to be doing the same with The Lord of the Rings Online in Europe,” said David Solari, Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online. “It’s a fantastic, award-winning game with a wonderfully realized world and this step will only broaden its appeal and increase its player base.”

LOTRO will offer players unlimited choice!

Ø Free means Free! – Players will download LOTRO by visiting www.lotro.com and join with millions of other adventurers as they explore the most complete and authentic recreation of Middle-earth ever created and participate in LOTRO’s award-winning epic story up to level 50 for free.

Ø Visit the new LOTRO Store! — The LOTRO Store is loaded with thousands of convenience items as well as expansion packs, premium content, additional character slots, potions, character customization and more! The LOTRO Store is seamlessly integrated into the game and lets the player identify new and exciting ways to enhance and customize their experience using points which can be purchased in the store or earned through gameplay.

Ø Be a LOTRO VIP! – Players who elect to become a LOTRO VIP will have unlimited access to all premium content, receive priority server access, 5 character slots, a shared bank slot, and a monthly allotment of points to spend in the new LOTRO Store.

The Lord of the Rings Online is the ultimate adventure. This award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most famous fantasy of all time. From the picturesque surroundings of the Shire to Moria, the most fearsome underground realm ever imagined, players will soon experience the world of Middle-earth for free! For more information, visit www.lotro.com.

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67 Comments »

  1. jeremypeel says:

    You know, I’ve always been impressed by what I’ve seen of LOTR Online, have recently been hankering after a proper LOTR RPG and… this might be it. I think I’m going to play my first MMO.

    • Wulf says:

      Be wary, though. This is World of Warcraft with a Tolkien sheen, have no doubt about that. The systems within are almost identical.

      That is, unless, you consider the main questing as secondary to playing music and farming, which is what I did a lot of when I was playing that game.

      It’s very grind-heavy, though, and it’s a holy trinity (Tank + DPS + Healer = Viability) game, which tends to cause a lot of problems.

      This MMORPG definitely isn’t as forward thinking as something like Guild Wars or Champions Online, using optional grind and allowing solo viability.

      If, however, the World of Warcraft style appeals to you then this is about the best MMORPG you could play, bar none.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Come on, you’re being unfair Wulf.

      I don’t know when you last played it, but the leveling atm is fast and the dps/tank/healer thing is no longer true. Actually there have been raids of full burglars or full loremasters doing pretty well on various bosses. Grinding is almost non existant except at high lvl if you want to optimize your legendary items, but by no means needed.

      There are also plenty of core differences with WoW (traits acquiring, some core classes mechanics, fellowship maneuvers, legendary items, etc.), but they are both theme parks I’ll gladly admit it. What matters here is the ambiance. The tolkien world is very well done, with minimal adaptations to the media, and it can satisfy even die hard fans of lotr.

      Not playing it anymore but still have some friends on it, and I keep really fond memories of the game.

    • Wulf says:

      I retract my claim, then. Since I haven’t played it recently. But I assure you, that when I played what I said about the holy trinity and hard grind was 100% true. I played it quite a bit in beta, and a little bit after release, but the grinding got me down.

      I guess they’ve toned down and pulled back on the holy trinity/heavy grinds requirements, which I couldn’t have known about.

      I apologise for my information being outdated!

      It’s just that past MMORPGs have convinced me that they can’t change, usually if a dev group is inclined to make things a ridiculous grind, they’ll stand by that and never move from it. This was true with Cryptic and Champions Online for a bit, until they stood down and realised what incredible idiots they were being. Of course, there are murmurs now that the design team feels the game is too easy, so that might change soon. :/

      Some developers don’t learn. Some developers can’t learn. Apparently Turbine is the exception, and I’ll take your word for that. I’ll take your word for it because you’ve been a level-headed person in the past and I trust you.

      It might be time to give Lord of the Rings another look. So yes, ignore my previous post.

    • Zogtee says:

      It will be interesting to see how this turns out. I played LOTRO for a while and really liked it. I think it’s a lot more than just WoW with a sprinkling of Tolkien on top. They’re really serious about the lore and it has a much different feel to it. I played solo for the most part, because my job makes it hard to get online regularly and play with friends. I enjoyed just exploring, having my elf prance around in the wilderness and discover old ruins and stuff.

      I quit eventually, because I couldn’t justify paying monthly for a game that I only played when I had some time to spare. I always said I would play it again if it they dropped the monthly fee and went free-ish, though. Hopefully this will bring some more life into the game world and it can move out of the long shadow of WoW.

  2. The Hammer says:

    Veeeeeery interesting. LOTR would probably be my primary MMO if it wasn’t for WOW, and I’m always looking for a “second” MMO to play, when I’m sick to deathliest death of Azeroth. From the little I’ve played of it, I’m rather fond, but I did think the introduction was a little long-winded. I wanted to be able to get to a city right away, but then again, that would have been intimidating to new players, I guess.

    Curious about them only allowing you to play until level 50, too. I wonder if they’re planning on getting all the players with free subscriptions to play the original endgame content. That in itself is a novel idea.

  3. Mark M says:

    LOTRO is not a good MMO. I picked it up when it first came out after having played WoW for awhile, and then quit it, and later returned to it when friends started playing.

    LOTRO is not a good MMO. It is almost always a “meh” MMO with occasional (and probably accidental) flashes of brilliance. The only reason to play it is if you absolutely have to play a Tolkien game. Turbine simply doesn’t have the resources to make it a genuinely strong MMO, and it will forever be second-class. LOTRO has always been the little-MMO-that-could-but-mostly-didn’t.

    The fact that it is going free to play is interesting, however. Is LOTRO not doing well anymore, or have DDO profits risen so high that they figure they’ll make more money from LOTRO this way?

    • Colton says:

      I think the latter and not the former. There must be a hardcore base and finding a way for them to pay a bit MORE then 14.95$ a month in a subscription (buying lots of healing potions etc) seems viable to the company running it.

    • ulix says:

      I’ve played the following MMOs for longer periods:

      WoW, Eve Online, Age of Conan, Star Wars Galaxies, Warhammer Online and LOTRO.

      And LOTRO was, hands down, the best of them. The only one where I seriously considered going back to.

      In terms of gameplay it is very similar in style and quality to WoW, but the atmosphere and lore are much stronger, as is the community. Question is how the community will change after it going free.

    • bob_d says:

      I don’t think LOTRO ever did nearly as well as they hoped – I think there was some expectation that it would be bigger than WoW. However, I think the change is mostly due to Turbine realizing that they actually could make more money going “free” to play than subscription, at least once the subscriber numbers start slipping (which is usually indicates that an MMO doesn’t have long to live). This allows them to extend the profitable lifespan of the game considerably as well.

  4. Colton says:

    I tried the Beta and was sadly unimpressed. Now I sort of wish I had stuck with it.

  5. Kelron says:

    I still have a 60 day time card lying around. I suppose I should find out if I can do anything with it after it goes F2P or if I need to use it now.

  6. Rakysh says:

    Isn’t 50 the overall level cap? And yeah, can’t wait for this. Played the trial and fell in love with wandering around the shire, but a deathly dislike of monthly payment turned me off it. wheeee

  7. Konky Dong says:

    LotRO has turned into one of the best MMO’s on the market, and this is going to do wonders for the game. Turbine turned DDO around in a major way, LotRO isn’t even doing that poorly and with this announcement, I imagine it’s going to explode.

    • Veret says:

      I heard somewhere that LOTRO players are unusually lore-friendly and respectful to the source material, at least by MMO standards. No idea whether that’s actually true, but if so then this influx of freeloaders must seem like the end of the world to them.

  8. Novotny says:

    Looking forward to playing this again. Once I got my horsey first time round I lost interest.

  9. MikeBiggs says:

    I played this when the beta first came out and loved it! But I never play MMOs because I get obsessive about getting the most for my money and keep playing even after I’m having no fun.

    Now it’s going free I can enjoy it again! :D Happy days

  10. Tei says:

    :-O

    I have played LOTRO a few years, and is a excellent MMO. The feature set is a bullet list this long. Long cat long. The game has everything you may ask a WoW game needed.

    Also, Is based on the brilliant lore of LOTR, and has not ruined it. It has very good elements for roleplayers not interested in combat. And crafters.

    This is not WoW going F2P, but is the next thing. So surprising, I *almost* feels is fake… It must be fake somehow!.

  11. Auspex says:

    Whatever happened to autumn?

    My brother recommended this to me ages ago but I never gave it a shot. Still not sure if I want to start playing MMOs again. They have proven to be very dangerous in the past.

  12. Iain says:

    Intrigiung. I have a copy of LOTRO I never got around to installing due to work commitments and not wanting to waste the initial 30 day sub. Having it go free-to-play neatly removes that problem. My spies do tell me that it’s a very fine PvE-oriented MMO, so it will be nice to finally get around to playing it.

  13. Dawngreeter says:

    Great news, I’m fully supporting the free-to-play push we’re seeing in the MMO industry. I’m hopin’ hopin’ hopin’ the in-game store will be as well balanced as they say it will be.

  14. Thomas says:

    What happens to the people who picked the “lifetime” sub option.. it was about £120 if I recall. Will they get a set amount of.. turbine points or whatever to spend??

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I imagine they’ll be lifetime VIP members.

    • BarneyL says:

      Here’s what the lifetime members get:
      “As a lifetime subscriber to LOTRO, you will keep all of your membership privileges and are automatically upgraded to VIP status. You will receive 500 Free Turbine Points every month like the other VIPs, but you do not have to pay a monthly fee since you are a lifetime member. All you have to do is keep playing the game and visit the LOTRO Store to spend your free Turbine Points. Lifetime members may also qualify for a special one-time Loyalty Reward of 1,000 Turbine Points. See the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.”

  15. Kid B says:

    I tried it recently, a 14 day trial. It seemed a good game, but like most mmorpgs that have been around for a bit, all the early areas of the game seemed empty, low population. I gave up, as I couldn’t find many people to quest with.

    I’m hoping when it goes free to play it will be populated enough again for me to enjoy. I might give it another go when it comes out

  16. bill says:

    I’ve never played an MMO, and I don’t really plan to.

    But I’ve always wanted to explore middle earth.

    I’m thinking of installing the game, ignoring everybody and all gameplay elements, and just hiking around and looking at stuff. and running away from everyone/thing I meet.

  17. Mac says:

    I bet all of the people who have just bought the lifetime sub for £75 in the latest offer are very happy indeed !!!

  18. qx says:

    I will definitely try it out. I always want to go back to wow once it a while, but casual visits don’t warrant a monthly subscription.

  19. Reiver says:

    LOTRO is the only MMO i’ve played seriously so i can’t really compare the situation it’s in at the moment to other games as i lack the experience. That said LOTRO does seem to be in a pretty dire place at the moment.

    The paid expansion (Mirkwood) was decent enough short term but after the first few months its shortcomings have been very pronounced. It’s managed to trivialise old content without replacing it and the extrordainarily stingy itemisation and extreme difficulty of the new raid has left large amounts lacking either motivation or ability to progress at end level.

    Doing the (only) new 6 man instance at the end for the 1 in 8 (ish) chance of a symbol drop so you can gamble it on making a 2nd age weapon that has around a 1 in 5 chance of being decent, 1 in 10 chance of being good and 1 in 50 chance of being what you want… Well it’s not much fun and when you work out the gain from doing this: around 3% extra damage and an extra 50 points to spend on your items attributes it’s not worth the effort over getting a 3rd age. It’s a nice instance but after 100 times we’ve no respect left for it.

    BG (the raid) is dauntingly hard to most kins and a massive leap up from anything else. Unlike other raids the start is probably the hardest bit so failure will come fast and hard. You need to be very organised and have good comms to get past the gauntlet and then the really killer starts. You have 30 minutes to down the boss or you have to do it all again. between pee breaks, DCs and explanations you’re lucky to get two attempts in. This just isn’t good. i know that a lot of kins have given up at this point and i’m sure its been a source of arguments in many.

    Not that success in the new raid has helped kins stay together either. One of the older raiding and PvP kins on my server (evernight) split up after putting BG on farm. They’d seen what the game had to offer and realised it was at best a minor improvement on what they had. They aren’t alone. My kin has been decimated and its people that have been here since Beta that are leaving. It’s hard to say if the overall numbers are going down and whether my impression of the decline has a lot to do with it being my group that are the ones getting sick of the game. Maybe there’s a lot of new blood and these old kins and long term players are being replaced but me and my kinnies have been talking a lot recently about Lotro being a dying game.

    I hope that this is what’s needed. Certainly the consensus in-game has been that Turbine haven’t been putting enough resources into the game so if this gives the game the content boost it needs then great. It’d be nice if it also meant the Dev’s listened more to the players specific problems rather than rejigging them into something that’s equally disliked (legendary lottery remaining a lottery but seemingly harder than before to luck out in). It does make the excellent deals on lifetime subs feel a bit of a scam though.

    erk. TLDR version LOTRO is in a bad place and this may be the kick in the arse it needs

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Pal, you’re being a bit too specific and I’m sure most of that makes no sense to people who didn’t played Lotro recently, even if they did once.

      The point is: there are some minor issues with endgame, although it’s a recurring problem in theme parks. Still, people always tend to hop on the waaaaambulance, especially when you’re talking about hardcore players (who are the more likely to grind to be optimum while it’s not needed/intended, but are the one who’ll end up whining about it).

      Considering the Myrkwood expansion, one has to understand how lotro goes. Expansions are called Volumes, and each Volume contain a variable number of books. Those books are like “stages” of your evolution through the scenario of the volume and contain specifics zones, dungeons, quests, etc…
      Traditionally, Turbine starts expansion with one or two books already in, then they patch it up gradually, bringing more books with more content and making the story progress along the year (think old school Asheron’s Call update mode, made by Turbine too which is no surprise).

      So of course there is some point where the quickest/more hardcore players around tend to hit a wall, waiting for the next book to come. That said, Lotro was up to now a very casual friendly game and most of the population wasn’t really worried by that wall, seeing that they rarely stumbled upon it. Also, community was spoiled somehow by a very good first expansion, Mines of Moria, which was pure genius as far as size, level design and ambiance is concerned, imho.

    • Reiver says:

      Yeah, i got a bit into rant mode but the core criticisms and observations come across without being too limited to someone who is familiar with the game, or ayt least i think so. The lack of content, poor itemisation and an exodus of long-term players (of all types) who have found themselves in a grind without significant reward. These aren’t minor problems but the product of lack of investment. You can dismiss that as whining but that’s rude and stupid imo. The idea that it’s a problem of only the harcdcore is ludicrous.

      I’ve been there since almost the start so know Turbine’s release structure. However i’ve been there long enough to see the decline. I’m very active in the game socially and have read and participated in the official forums for over 2 years. At no time have i seen such widespread and damning criticism of the game as a whole. This isn’t just your usual minority that every game has.

    • jozga says:

      Actually it’s interesting to hear about complaints from an end game point of view. As someone who has just retired from hardcore WoW playing, I would only be interested in a game with an equally well developed raid game and incentives to play it at a competitive level. A timed gauntlet before a boss doesn’t sound great, but raiding guilds quitting after clearing all the content and finding the game stale sounds a lot like what is happening in WoW at the moment – and what happened to me.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      @Reiver:

      Sorry if you took the “whining” comment for yourself reiv, wasn’t intended. I was mostly talking about the phenomenon you can witness of the forums (on all mmos, ftm) where there’s a crazy inflation of the issues, which can in turn lead to other lambda people caring a bit too much.

      I qualify this as “minor issues” because it’s in no way game breaking, per se. I’ve played a burglar and a loremaster to 65 and never been bothered by them, nor did I felt the need to voice any complaints. My kinship felt the same, and most people we played with.
      That’s not to say the game is perfect, there’s a lot of room for improvement (it seems they’re gonna look at the legendary item system), but it’s still very solid if you compare it to similar titles around, imho, and I think you’ll concur.

      That said, there are no more complains in lotro community than there are on other theme parks, really. Endgame is an issue for every game relying on a community being content fed by the devs instead of a more “sandboxy” environment where you create your own.

      Truth is it’s really hard to keep up with the pace at which players master new content, except upping difficulty but then it becomes too difficult and it generates uproars. Vicious circle.

    • Reiver says:

      Cool, sry that i read you wrong. I just have a kneejerk reaction to the term whining (appropriate as it may be in some cases) from several bad forum arguments.

      i agree. The game is very solid. The levelling experience is just wonderful and class interaction and flexibility makes for some great cooperative play. Despite my problems with the game i’d recommend it to anyone as an experience.

  20. The Great Wayne says:

    Wow. That’s a shock, like said above I’m wondering if it isn’t a fake Oo

    Dunno if it’s for the better or the worst, but I sincerely invite people to try it, lotro for free is the best deal *ever*.

  21. cliffski says:

    I tried it, but found it to be this:

    if(Level < LevelMAX)
    {
    KilltwnetyGiantSpiders()
    }

    With all the lack of fun, strategy, atmopshere and gameplay that suggests.

  22. Iain galloway says:

    50-65 is unlocked by buying an xpac at the moment. I see nothing in the press release that changes that. In fact, the chart of all the benefits states that VIP players (i.e. subscribers) are still capped at 50 – presumably until they buy the xpac.

  23. bob_d says:

    I’m not surprised; I’m convinced WoW will do the same thing in a couple years when the subscription numbers start falling. All the RMT pets and mounts they’ve been selling indicate to me that they’re testing the waters and gathering hard data in advance of the change.

  24. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Soon enough WoW is going to be the only MMORPG left with a subscription cost.

    Which is good, because WoW is the only MMORPG worth paying for.

  25. Maxheadroom says:

    Bet all those people who paid for the Lifetime Subscription option at launch feel a bit shortchanged now huh?

    Sometimes it pays to be a tight arse and get the standard edition (not that I played it beyond the free month anyway)

    • Reiver says:

      Nah. I’ve got my money’s worth. I didn’t get the founder lifetime sub but on a deal 6 months after it was out. I think it was £150 so about the equivalent of a year paying month by month. I’ve had two years of enjoyment out of the game and i love being able to take a break but still pop into the game and say hi when i feel like it.

      Also i read in the e-mail they sent to subscribers that the lifetimers will get the VIP package as default so we’ll still benefit from it even after it goes FTP. Not too sure how the guys who bought it recently will feel but for the founders and us other longtermers it’s some of the best money i’ve ever spent!

    • Chiller says:

      The free-play thing is actually more like an extended trial. Rest assured that most life-subbers play on their max level chars (I mean lvl 65) which they (presumably) wouldn’t be able to access at all under the free play model, which caps at 50.

      Nothing seems to change for people who pay, really, unless they happen to believe that playing lvl 1-50 chars with huge limitations for free is better than continuing to play their main chars (or alting without said limitations).

      The only (reasonably reasonable) concern that has been brought to light was that LOTRO might suffer an influx of immature, transient players. At least on my server, Laurelin, we are hoping this won’t be an issue because they will be scared of the RP tag :D

  26. Bret says:

    No puns?

    I never thought of it before, but Jim must live a truly benighted life. Thank you for bringing this tragedy to our attention.

  27. Razz says:

    Interesting. I’ve been meaning to try this out for a while, and was actually set on buying the game and paying the subscription cost for a couple months during the summer. Mostly interested in the lore/world, was meaning to just do some casual questing as I’ve got my hands full with other games. This deal seems pretty fantastic for that, although I’m wondering if the community’ll go down the shitter. It seemed fantastic when I checked out the official forums, which just boggled my mind being used to WoW’s.

  28. John P says:

    Reiver’s analysis of LOTRO is spot on, in my experience. I’ve been playing the game regularly for 3 years, so I’m very familiar with it. I don’t share Reiver’s optimism, though.

    General statement: Regular long-time LOTRO players have become bored with the game. I’ve noticed it very clearly in my kin. It’s my own experience too. Reasonably interesting questing (in volume 1, Shadows of Angmar) has been replaced with grinding. Grinding for radiance gear for raids, but more seriously now, grinding to improve your ‘legendary items’, which take hours upon hours upon hours of repeating the same content over and over to improve. It’s a dreadful, woeful system. I really hope Turbine will make big changes soon. They must.

    The reason I don’t share Reiver’s optimism is because I see this move to free-to-play a way for Turbine to keep the money coming in without adding new content. Turbine knows the long-time players are getting bored. They know many have left the game already. They probably also know they can’t produce enough content to keep them happy. (And as Reiver says, the endgame content in LOTRO at the moment is pretty appalling — only 3 bosses in a boring raid that’s filled with trash to make it last longer.)

    So Turbine makes the old game (volume 1) free to play. It gets a lot of new players into the game. Enough of them, Turbine hopes, will buy expansions or microtransactions to replace the lost money from bored long-term players.

    In short: instead of offering new content for the long-term level-capped players, Turbine is trying to get money from new players instead. Which will totally, completely suck for those of us who have been playing since launch.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair. Maybe a boost in revenue will allow Turbine to keep employees on board and keep producing more endgame content to keep players happy. It’s possible. But I’m not optimistic. This feels like a workaround to the problem of losing long-time players, not a direct solution to the problem.

    • Starky says:

      I see nothing wrong with this to be honest, games have a life cycle if you can’t just keep churning out new content (and no one can, eventually you run out of idea’s, or it becomes non-viable cost wise) , long time players have enjoyed it for 2-3 years – and as you say there is probably no way a small company like turbine with so many projects on the go can dedicate enough time and resources on it to still make a profit.

      And you never know, maybe with loads of new blood and more money new content will become viable for the company again.

    • Torgen says:

      IIRC, DDO has been FTP for a while, yet they still make content updates to it. Your fears may be misplaced. If LOTRO started bringing in 3x the revenue like DDO did after going FTP, that pays salaries of content makers that they couldn’t otherwise retain.

  29. Nimic says:

    I’m… considering it, actually. I always found it interesting. Though I’ve also been “considering” playing Age of Conan again, and I haven’t done that yet.

  30. Shnyker says:

    Wow, nice to see Turbine making ANOTHER free-to-play. They must’ve seen good results from DnDO. They’re quickly becoming one of my favorite companies out there. ^_^

  31. Starky says:

    I’m glad this is coming to Europe too… I’d really like to play Dungeons and Dragons Online (I missed it first time around) but it’s still subscription only here, and I refuse to pay X a month for a game I’ll only play a few hours a month (work + Uni + girlfriend + stuff = very little gaming time)

    I’ll defiantly give it a shot, never player LotRO either, and FTP with Mirco-payments sounds perfect – no barrier to entry and if I enjoy my time in game I’ll happily part with some cash.

    • user@example.com says:

      You can play on the US servers with D&D Online, I think? The European population isn’t too bad, from what I remember.

  32. user@example.com says:

    LotRO was incredibly expensive for me. I ended up with a fancy hardback copy of LotR and the Silmarillion, even though I had both in paperback, and was harassed repeatedly by supermarket staff because I kept setting off their alarms. Turns out my decade+ old copy of the Hobbit (no, not stolen) still had a security tag stuck in it.

    The game was p. good too. I was in the Knights of the White Lady, a nice socialish guild on… Landroval?

  33. Frozenbyte says:

    I was thinking of starting D&D Online, but damn. This blows D&DO right out of the water.

  34. ChampionHyena says:

    I seem to recall hearing that Lord of the Rings Online was one of the few big-name MMOs that was actually seeing positive subscription trends, along with EVE Online and World of Warcraft. Maybe Dungeons & Dragons Online is actually doing well enough that microtransactions are a more viable platform?

    Very much anxiously awaiting this. I need an MMO I can play with friends that doesn’t involve dragging them back into WoW after they’ve sworn it off or struggling in vain to convince them that EVE is actually fantastic.

    • Matt W says:

      Available indicators suggest that it’s one of the most successful subscription MMOs on the market today. It gets bugger all press coverage, but it seems to be doing very well for itself.

  35. Arathain says:

    Great news. My wife and I played for a while, although since there’s no Mac version we could never quest together, sadly. It’s pretty, has solid amounts of questing to get you levelling, including some pretty decent ones in the story book quests.

    The class design is particularly good. Each class has a range of abilities that really suit the theme, and feel powerful, while still lending themselves to establishing a role for yourself based on your own preferences. Stylistically, I really like the replacement of health with morale, making Minstrels the primary ‘healer’ class, but also letting lots of different classes have healing-type abilities without breaking theme.

    Complaints about the end game are merely academically interesting to me, as I never play these games expecting to raid should the unlikely happen and I hit level cap. Altitis for the win.

    • Joras says:

      You can play LOTRO on a mac with crossover and pylotro. It’s a bit tricky to set up but works pretty well.

  36. Devan says:

    Hmm, I’ve got a lifetime subscription (although don’t have time to play very often), so I had to see what that translates too with the FTP model.
    Apparently, subscribers become “VIP” players (ie. we don’t lose any of the features that we already had, which you now have to pay for). There’s one minor advantage, too, which is 500 free “turbine points” every month, which can be used for things like extra character slots and whatever else they’re selling in the virtual store.
    So, overall a good thing, I guess.

  37. Idleivey says:

    If your going to play a Turbine game it should be Asheron’s Call, nuff said.

    • Nick says:

      Ahh, I remember beta testing that. Was quite fun.

    • Idleivey says:

      It’s still alive and kicking. There should be a 14-day free trial available. The games changed quite a bit over the years, well except for the graphics :) Although we should be getting new textures here in a month or so.

  38. neolith says:

    Free to play means pay to win. If they want to go down that road they’ll have to do it without me.

    • Dominic White says:

      You’ve been saying that in a lot of threads, I’ve noticed, and it’s quantifiable bullshit. Any half-decent game with a cash shop usually sells convenience and cosmetic items. You pay to look pretty or to get fast-travel, not to win.

    • neolith says:

      How many threads is ‘a lot of’? I remember saying this three times over the course of several months. Could be wrong though, maybe I am forgetting about things as I grow older.

      I disagree about the bullshit though. I know a girl who used to play WoW just to collect as many pets and unusual dresses as possible. Until Blizzard brought up the itemshop. After that the game was practically ruined for her.
      Even though I know that this is by no means how it works out for every player you’ll have to admit that there is more to playing a game than acquiring better loot and slaying monster XY in the name of progress. If there wasn’t, then every stupid Diablo clone would be god’s gift to gamers. Winning and losing sometimes lies in the eye of the beholder.

      Truth is neither you or I can absolutely predict where this course of action will end for any given game. There might be items for sale that disturb the balance in the game for a player that you or I don’t even see. On the other hand I can be sure that this will not happen if there is no ingame shop and the game is still subscription based. And chances are that – only given enough time – something undesireable happens because of the item shop.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Yeah except Turbine ftp model is different than your usual korean ftp. Gather some infos and you’ll see the differences.

  39. ogle says:

    lmao @ TROLL