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Turbine's LOTRO Goes Free This Fall

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 13 comments

Lord of the Rings Online will receive a major content update that offers a free-to-play service.

Friday Turbine announced that Lord of the Rings Online will follow in the footsteps of its previous MMORPG, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, by going free-to-play. This new model will arrive sometime during the fall in conjunction with a major update to the game.

"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."

The new free-to-play model will take place both in North America and Europe, with Codemasters taking the reigns of the latter version. Players can download and play the MMORPG up to level 50 for free, however they will also have the option to purchase expansion packs, items, and services through the new LOTRO Store.

In addition to the free-to-play model, Turbine will also provide a VIP (subscription) service, offering everything available in LOTRO for one low price. "Players who elect to become a LOTRO VIP will have unlimited access to all premium content, receive priority server access, 5 character slots, a shared bank slot, and a monthly allotment of points to spend in the new LOTRO Store," the company said.

Turbine plans to launch a beta program for eager fans wanting a sneak peak at the revamped, Hobbit-ridden MMORPG. The program kicks off on June 16, 2010, and interested gamers can sign up by heading here. Expect more details to follow at E3 2010, including videos and screens of the upcoming content.

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  • 2 Hide
    sliem , June 4, 2010 10:33 PM
    I'll stick with my bad company 2.
  • 5 Hide
    proxy711 , June 4, 2010 11:01 PM
    This is great news for WoW burnouts this tides the cravings for an MMO over until the next Gen MMOs come out in 2011.

    At one point during beta for LotRO i thought if i wasn't so involved and had so much into WoW i would have played LotRO. i think i leveled to 35 using the free weekends they offered like every other month.
  • -3 Hide
    knightmike , June 4, 2010 11:45 PM
    First, let me say that I think it's fair to purchase a MMO game and then pay a monthly subscription fee. And if that company wants me to continue subscribing to that MMO, they had better keep me interested with no additional fees. I wouldn't subscribe to a magazine if I got the same issue every month. And for those that think the subscription fee is used to cover server costs and customer support, think again. I have it on good authority (i.e. a Blizzard employee) that only $2-3 is used to cover costs. The rest is pure profit.

    That being said, I love the model set forth by Mythic's Warhammer Online. The game is free to download and all you have to pay is a monthly subscription fee. Unfortunately for me, I don't like the game. Which came as a surprise to me because some of my favorite moments from WoW was PvP combat and Warhammer is PvP oriented.

    I don't care for the model used by LOTRO or DDO. When does it stop? On a personal note, I've tried both games and I don't like either. And this is coming from a LOTR fan and D&D player.
  • -3 Hide
    matm347 , June 4, 2010 11:47 PM
    Sounds good to me! I've never payed monthly for a game and won't until they get realistic in pricing. Do the math, servers don't need the millions of $ each month they are raking in.
  • 2 Hide
    HibyPrime , June 5, 2010 6:24 AM
    knightmikeFirst, let me say that I think it's fair to purchase a MMO game and then pay a monthly subscription fee. And if that company wants me to continue subscribing to that MMO, they had better keep me interested with no additional fees. I wouldn't subscribe to a magazine if I got the same issue every month. And for those that think the subscription fee is used to cover server costs and customer support, think again. I have it on good authority (i.e. a Blizzard employee) that only $2-3 is used to cover costs. The rest is pure profit.That being said, I love the model set forth by Mythic's Warhammer Online. The game is free to download and all you have to pay is a monthly subscription fee. Unfortunately for me, I don't like the game. Which came as a surprise to me because some of my favorite moments from WoW was PvP combat and Warhammer is PvP oriented.I don't care for the model used by LOTRO or DDO. When does it stop? On a personal note, I've tried both games and I don't like either. And this is coming from a LOTR fan and D&D player.


    You're kidding right? I mean, a F2P game benefits the consumer far more than a sub model. If a company wants to keep people paying for items, expansions etc. then they better make it worth it.

    Take MW2 for example, I know a whole heck of a lot of people who didn't buy the $15 addon simply because it wasn't worth it, and IW/Activision would have made more money (ontop of the ****load they already made) if they had have made it worth the money.

    Someone who doesn't have a lot of money, or doesn't play all that often never has to pay a cent for the game - I can't possibly understand why you would disagree with this model?

    Not to mention theres a lot more people playing starup comanies games since they started going F2P, leading to more competition, which again is better for the consumer.
  • 0 Hide
    Dirtman73 , June 5, 2010 3:34 PM
    I quit playing after a year when major mechanics updates turned LoTRO into a gear-centric e-peen WoW clone. Maybe it's time to check it out again.
  • 1 Hide
    knightmike , June 5, 2010 7:41 PM
    HibyPrimeYou're kidding right? I mean, a F2P game benefits the consumer far more than a sub model. If a company wants to keep people paying for items, expansions etc. then they better make it worth it.
    Oh, they'll make it worth it. One week they will have a +1 sword that everybody will want. The next week, they will sell a +2 sword...
  • 0 Hide
    Xatos , June 6, 2010 2:52 AM
    As a LOTRO player, this could end up working out pretty well. LOTRO is a fantastic, let alone beautiful game which is often overlooked.
  • 2 Hide
    zmbcat , June 6, 2010 1:45 PM
    I envy people who can get into mmorpgs...i wish i had some game to waste boring evenings on, but mmorpgs just seem 0% fun, eh.
  • 0 Hide
    HibyPrime , June 7, 2010 6:44 AM
    knightmikeOh, they'll make it worth it. One week they will have a +1 sword that everybody will want. The next week, they will sell a +2 sword...


    I said get people to keep paying, not pay for a month or two then quit :p 
  • 0 Hide
    amdfangirl , June 7, 2010 11:41 AM
    DDO for free is awesome.

    I love not paying money for games :D  (legally of course)

    I can't wait to try LOTRO.

  • 0 Hide
    yannifb , June 7, 2010 6:14 PM
    knightmikeFirst, let me say that I think it's fair to purchase a MMO game and then pay a monthly subscription fee. And if that company wants me to continue subscribing to that MMO, they had better keep me interested with no additional fees. I wouldn't subscribe to a magazine if I got the same issue every month. And for those that think the subscription fee is used to cover server costs and customer support, think again. I have it on good authority (i.e. a Blizzard employee) that only $2-3 is used to cover costs. The rest is pure profit.That being said, I love the model set forth by Mythic's Warhammer Online. The game is free to download and all you have to pay is a monthly subscription fee. Unfortunately for me, I don't like the game. Which came as a surprise to me because some of my favorite moments from WoW was PvP combat and Warhammer is PvP oriented.I don't care for the model used by LOTRO or DDO. When does it stop? On a personal note, I've tried both games and I don't like either. And this is coming from a LOTR fan and D&D player.


    Well that 2-3$ to cover costs seems to make sense. I just wonder why star trek online costs 15$ a month!
  • 0 Hide
    krzyinuyasha , June 8, 2010 2:09 AM
    yannifbWell that 2-3$ to cover costs seems to make sense. I just wonder why star trek online costs 15$ a month!


    The $2-$3 may cover server costs but you gotta figure in development costs for the constant updates MMO games have. I am one who hasn't gotten into the MMO cause of the monthly cost on top of the initial $50-$70 price tag on the games. I agree $15 a month is over kill when you consider the initial game price along with how many people are paying each month to play. Now you make it around $5-$6 a month that covers not only server but update development costs I would be more willing to play. That and drop the level grind scheme just to keep people paying a monthly fee over long periods of time just to finish the story line.