It appears that Dungeons and Dragons: Eberron Unlimited was such a success, that Turbine has opted to wrap Lord of the Rings Online in the same package. The studio and its new owner Warner Brothers Interactive collectively announced this morning that LOTRO is going free-to-play, offering users a way to download and participate in the Tolkien-rich MMO without spending a dime this fall.
Of course, with every free-to-play MMO there's a reason to spend money (and/or points earned through the game in LOTRO's case). Turbine is setting up a new storefront for the game that will sell expansion packs, character slots, potions, customization items, and "premium content." The VIP program, which was popularized by DDO, is a thing that will be in LOTRO as well. The program will give people who do want to pay some sort of fee "unlimited access" to premium content as well as five character slots, a shared bank slot, and a monthly allotment of points to spend in the store.
Even though this new style of LOTRO won't launch until fall, you can jump on the free-to-play wagon early via a closed beta test. The game's official site is currently holding a sign up for the test, which is slated to kick off on June 16. Don't get too busy with it, though. E3 will be happening and you'll miss all fun stuff.