Warner Bros. Interactive and Turbine announced Friday that Lord of The Rings Online is now officially free-to-play for gamers across North America. The new free-to-play model offers a maximum level of 50, and the means to purchase premium items--expansions, quest packs, items, account services and more--from within the client.
Along with the new free-to-play model, the latest update--Volume III, Book 2: The Ride of the Grey Company--also extends the MMORPG's overall story and adds a new Middle-earth region called Enedwaith. Book 2 also consists of fifteen solo-able chapters "full of exploration, exciting combat and a healthy dose of mystery."
"Turbine’s innovative pricing model, first introduced last year with Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, has become a proven success with over two new million registrations since going free-to-play," said Kate Paiz, Executive Producer of LOTRO. "We expect LOTRO’s free-to-play launch will only continue to increase the player base and catapult the game to new heights of success."
According to Turbine, anyone can join the game as a Free player--no credit card is needed. However players will automatically be upgraded from Free player to Premium player status with their first purchase of Turbine Points in the LOTRO Store. For a monthly fee, LOTRO's VIP program offers the "best value and the most options for players who like the convenience of having unlimited access to all of LOTRO's game content and features."
The client comes in two flavors: Standard Resolution and High Resolution (for high-end systems).