Lord of the Rings Online Going Free-To-Play

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Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

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.

It should be noted that players will be able to play for free "up to level 50." Also in the press release it's not specified how often you'll need to pay to stay in the game's VIP program or how much hair for Hobbit feet will cost. 

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.
#1 Posted by BradNicholson (812 posts) -

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.

It should be noted that players will be able to play for free "up to level 50." Also in the press release it's not specified how often you'll need to pay to stay in the game's VIP program or how much hair for Hobbit feet will cost. 

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.
#2 Edited by OmegaPirate (5523 posts) -

Was this even worth getting into at this point? i was never a big fan of the ficiton so to speak, but do love me some online!

#3 Posted by InFamous91 (931 posts) -

YES!

#4 Posted by Jimbo7676 (709 posts) -

This was a really good MMO when I played it. I don't know how much it has changed but I might have to check it out again now.

#5 Posted by xyzygy (9866 posts) -
@OmegaPirate: It got really good reviews. Like in the 9's and such. And, it has the biggest gameworld out there I think... besides Daggerfall.
#6 Posted by Mmmslash (2166 posts) -

LOTRO is arguably the best MMO, if you're a PvE fan. 
 
It also had a very unique PvP system. If you remember the Counter-Operative two-player mode of Perfect Dark, it was like an MMO equivalent of that.
#7 Posted by OmegaPirate (5523 posts) -
@xyzygy: Wow really? i just totally skipped past it thinking it was going to be yet another drop in the massive pool of endless MMOs that are eventually gonna die. 
Might actually have to give it a whirl! 
 
also @BradNicholson:  God damn you that the piece of news i finally get a 1st comment on doesn't count towards the quest - im going to go cry now. x
#8 Posted by Why_So_Serious (803 posts) -

Oh my god I am a huge LOTR fan! The only problem is that I have a MAC not a PC. Since you download it to play do you think they will open up the option for MAC's to download? I really want this if its free!!!!!!

#9 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4237 posts) -

I'm currently subscribed and I think it's totally worth the money. Now that it's f2p it's a steal. Arguably one of the few MMOs out there that are really worth the time and money.

#10 Posted by konakona (16 posts) -

I still play Lotro every once in a while, definitely one of the best MMO's I've ever played. On max graphics the world looks amazing. Hopefully this'll bring the larger audience that it deserves. 

#11 Posted by Milkman (16479 posts) -

I played Lord of the Rings: Online for a couple months during one of my World of Warcraft "breaks" and I actually enjoyed it a lot. It is extremely similar to World of Warcraft in pretty much every way and it's a little shameful in spots on just how much it borrows from WoW. But for it is and certainly for free, it's a quality MMO.

#12 Posted by Contra (247 posts) -

I did play it for a while.
 
And it was good.  And some of their ideas were cool. I just stopped playing eventually... and I really can't remember why.
 
Whats up with all these games going free to play suddenly...

#13 Edited by Landon (4127 posts) -

Jeez. Has anyone else noticed that several free to play online games have been announced in the last two weeks?

#14 Posted by Why_So_Serious (803 posts) -

Does anyone know the answer to my question of whether I will be able to download it on my MAC once it becomes a downloadable game. I really need to play this. I am a really big LOTR fan.

#15 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

Hmmm, havent played an MMO since WOW like 2 years ago. Maybe I'll try this out now that its free.

#16 Posted by DrIntrigue (14 posts) -
@Why_So_Serious:  Sorry, it won't be coming to the Mac, at least not anytime soon.
#17 Posted by Beechbone (109 posts) -

Cool, for free I'd love to play it.

#18 Posted by rohanspear345 (341 posts) -

wooo time wasters free to play mmos seem like the way of the future and i like it

#19 Posted by Why_So_Serious (803 posts) -

@Drintrigue
Dang it. Wow I hate that this is the only computer I have. Why does the MAC get the shaft with all games not made by Blizzard? its a great system other than it has no game options. I love LOTR and its gunna suck I'm one of the only hardcore fans that won't be playing it this fall.

#20 Posted by Frostler (244 posts) -

The best MMO I own (which is many) and now it's free? this is a gift from god ladies and gentlemen.

#21 Posted by Aeterna (1116 posts) -

Thankfully I'm not getting screwed as i'm a lifetime subscriber and still love the game. :)

#22 Posted by Spike94 (735 posts) -

AWESOME. I don't have much more of a comment...Going to check out Eberron Unlimited also though, now.
#23 Posted by BionicIguana (139 posts) -
@Aeterna said:
" Thankfully I'm not getting screwed as i'm a lifetime subscriber and still love the game. :) "
I am a lifetime subscriber too and am kinda worried that we are gonna get screwed more than anyone! Will we definitely get unlimited access to all the premium stuff as lifetime members?
#24 Posted by darkjester74 (1564 posts) -

Sweet!  I still have my Hobbit Champ on there.  I would definitely come back under a F2P program.

#25 Posted by Scooper (7882 posts) -

Cool. I'll give it a go. I sometimes pick up an MMO and play it for a couple weeks when my things to do well dries up. I have been interested in this MMO since it came out but I'm never going to buy an MMO before I get to play it for a while. It's a rule of mine.

#26 Posted by Aeterna (1116 posts) -
@BionicIguana said:
" @Aeterna said:
" Thankfully I'm not getting screwed as i'm a lifetime subscriber and still love the game. :) "
I am a lifetime subscriber too and am kinda worried that we are gonna get screwed more than anyone! Will we definitely get unlimited access to all the premium stuff as lifetime members? "
It's up on the FAQ. It'll be converted to a VIP account which will earn us more points. Those  points can then be used to 'buy' expansions or other items.
#27 Posted by Gdizzle (13 posts) -

Awesome news, signed up for the beta.Giantbomb meetup/adventure anyone?

#28 Posted by DukeTogo (1504 posts) -
@Landon said:
" Jeez. Has anyone else noticed that several free to play online games have been announced in the last two weeks? "
Free to play is the future of MMORPGS (some could say the present actually), there just aren't enough people to play that kind of game for the length of time needed to make more than few of the games profitable.  But charging a dollar here and there for little things is where they can make money.  Eventually all MMOs will go this way, simply because it will be harder and harder to justify $15 a month when competing games are free.
 
WoW continued to charge since there really wasn't a free game that came close to competing, but with games like this it is going to start making them a little nervous.  I never played LOTRO, but it looked like a decent MMORPG with all the usual features.
#29 Posted by yani (413 posts) -

  I might start playing some mmo's if this trend continues.  Never liked the idea of paying $15/ month for a game as I'd feel bad for not playing it enough.  I really hope the Old Republic goes this way.

#30 Posted by outerabiz (645 posts) -
@Milkman:  true but then again Warcraft lore is basically just a clone of LOTR lore, so its basically all just a big mish mash of lent ideas by now
#31 Posted by outerabiz (645 posts) -
@yani: it wont ´. im pretty sure ea/bioware is confident that they can compete with acti-blizzard after spending so much money to make an mmo.
#32 Posted by TheChaos (1158 posts) -

Always wanted to give this game a spin, can't wait for beta and hope I get picked.

#33 Posted by yani (413 posts) -
@TheChaos said:
" Always wanted to give this game a spin, can't wait for beta and hope I get picked. "
  You can always go here and try the game free for 10 days.  I'm gonna give it a go.
#34 Posted by mattysen (822 posts) -

My ideal design of an MMO is something that makes itself equivalent to a retail game E.G  
Lvl 0-10 free 
Lvl 10-50 $40  
Lvl 50-70  $30  

#35 Posted by Olivaw (1215 posts) -

Lord of the Rings Online is actually a pretty good MMO!
 
I liked it more than Warcraft, at least.

#36 Posted by spiceninja (3055 posts) -

Lord of the Rings Online is one of the better MMOs out there, especially if your a huge fan of the books or movies. This will get me to play it a lot more than I previously did that's for sure.

#37 Posted by MeatSim (10732 posts) -

Sure why not, everyone else is doing the free to play model these days.

#38 Posted by JeanLuc (3564 posts) -

I played the game when it first came out for like 3 months. I liked it, but as with all MMOs, the fee usually isn't worth it. I might pop in LOTRO and see how its changed.

#39 Posted by SleepyDoughnut (1187 posts) -

Wow this game was going to be my first foray into mmorpgs, but I wasn't sure when i was going to have the time or money to start playing. This is great news!

#40 Posted by ISuperGamerI (1880 posts) -
@Jimbo7676 said:
" This was a really good MMO when I played it. I don't know how much it has changed but I might have to check it out again now. "
Exactly it felt a lot like WOW but in a good way cause the game was really fun, so this is great news. :)
#41 Posted by Radar (887 posts) -

Great move, with WoW and TOR coming soon I wouldnt have even considered LOTRO. Now I will probably play it.

#42 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -
@Radar said:
" Great move, with WoW and TOR coming soon I wouldnt have even considered LOTRO. Now I will probably play it. "
I imagine TOR will have a similar payment model, with a free to play plan, at least for the single player portion.  The multiplayer in that one seems very much seperate. 

I think developers have simply learned that people aren't willing to constantly pay a subscription for most games like this, especially with things like Guild Wars 2 really pushing the envelope and offering more content than what most subscription based games provide.
#43 Posted by liako21 (519 posts) -

didnt know dungeon and dragons online was free....might check it out...

#44 Posted by Bones8677 (3208 posts) -

If this trend continues, and it most likely will, then Blizzard is going to have to do this too. When WoW goes free-to-play then that will be the final nail in the coffin for subscription based games.

#45 Posted by Skytylz (4023 posts) -

Yes! I played the Beta, but my old computer chugged while playing it and it looked pretty cool.

#46 Posted by jakob187 (21640 posts) -

I thoroughly enjoyed DDO after it went free-to-play, and I've always wanted to dig into LOTR Online.  This is the perfect opportunity!

#47 Posted by GozerTC (454 posts) -

I like the DDO F2P system.  I actually have a character there even though I haven't paid for it since the Free Launch.  Nor Have I played it since then.  But it actually made me play the game and I woudln't mind bringing others into it.   
 
I look forward to more companies going to a similar system, though I think we can rightly (and do on MMO sites. :) ) discuss WHAT you pay for. 
#48 Posted by Kilnik (73 posts) -

Sometimes it's just fun to hang out with friends online, smoke some tabac and play a friggin' lute. And hunt some fawking BEARS.

#49 Posted by natural_deadhead (272 posts) -

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#50 Posted by Tregard (140 posts) -

Those people who bought the lifetime subscription are going to be mighty pissed.

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