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.