Lord of the Rings Online Goes Free-to-Play This Fall

LordOfTheRingsOnlineFreeToPlay.jpg

Walking in the footsteps of Dungeons and Dragons Online, Turbine’s other MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online is adopting a new free-to-play business model. Personally, I don’t know if this is good news or bad news, as I was hooked on the game for months when it first launched and only gave it up because I couldn’t keep up with the monthly subscription. It’s definitely my favorite MMORPG since the original EverQuest (WoW just doesn’t do it for me at all).

Now that it’s going to be free, I’m afraid I’ll get addicted all over again!

The Lord of the Rings Online‘s free-to-play model will function similarly to other free-to-play MMOs.

At the base level, you’ll be able to download and play the game for free all the way up to the level cap of 50, but will also have limitations on character slots, gold capacity, chat and auction features, and so on.

Upon your first purchase of Turbine Points to use to buy premium items (expansion packs, additional character slots, etc.) from the integrated LOTRO Store, you will be upgraded to the status of a Premium Player and have some of the free player limitations lifted. Also, if you’ve played the game before and log back in with your old account, you will automatically earn status as a Premium Player.

Finally, if you choose to pay the $15 monthly subscription fee or maintain your subscription cycle if you are a current player, you will be treated as a VIP member without any feature limitations. Additionally, you will be allotted 500 Turbine Points every month to use in the in-game store.

This major free-to-play update will launch this fall across North America and Europe. Turbine will also be hosting a beta test for the new model on June 16th. Beta registration, an FAQ on the free-to-play model and a chart outlining the available features for each tier can be found here.

“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.”

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!