MMORPG Info Logo Lord of the Rings Online Free-for-All

Today Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced that Lord of the Rings Online is shifting to a free-to-play model. This is similar to what their strategy with Dungeons and Dragons Online, which they claim as a success, having doubled the subscriber numbers.

The system is a familiar one: you play for free but you can enhance your game by purchasing items. A new currency known as Turbine Points can be earned in-game at a slow rate or purchased at a fast one. Those points can be used at the LotRO Store. The FAQ states there will be over 2,500 items and lists some examples of what you can purchase:

  • additional storage slots
  • extra character slots
  • cosmetic items such as clothing and emotes
  • expansion packs
  • premium content
  • health potions
  • character-customization options

They state that premium loot and rare gear will only be obtainable through gameplay.

You can choose to subscribe to the game for VIP status (given to all Lifetime subscribers) which will net you 500 Turbine Points each month, two additional character slots, five slots in your inventory, and there is no limit to the gold you can carry.

Somewhat worrying is the LOTRO Free to Play Plan Comparison showing that Chat, Auction and Mail will be limited access for free players. Apparently, it will not be possible to spend destiny points nor take part in Monster Play. Customer Service for the free player is described as “Self-service online” which I presume is a polite way of saying RTFM.

Free Players can only carry 2 gold while Premium Players are limited to 5 gold. Once you reach that limit, any gold you earn will be placed in escrow and you will not be able to access it unless you purchase a higher gold limit in the LOTRO Store or upgrade to VIP status.

This new version of Lord of the Rings Online (I refuse to call it LOTRO F2P) is going into beta “in the very near future” (sign-up here) and is expected to go live this fall along with Volume 3, Book 2.

If you want to know more about the considerations that led to this decision, GamePro has a detailed interview with Warner Interactive President Martin Tremblay and Turbine CEO Jim Crowley.



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