Lord of the Rings Online goes Free to Play

On May the 10th, Codemasters, who run the European LOTRO servers, ran a special £75 lifetime subscription promotion. At the time, this seemed an awesome deal.

Codemasters Lotro Lifetime Subscription Offer 499x179

Codemasters' Lifetime Subscription Offer

Three weeks later, however, Turbine have announced that Lotro is going free to play for both US and European servers.

Announcing The Lord of the Rings Online’s Move to Free-to-Play!

Today is an important day for LOTRO: we’ve announced that this fall, LOTRO will begin offering a Free-to-Play option! Players will be able to download the game and adventure in Middle-earth for free. With Free-to-Play comes the addition of the LOTRO Store, where players will have immediate in-game access to a wide variety of special items, account services, and convenience items.

The best part is – as existing subscribers you’re automatically enrolled in our VIP program! As a VIP you’ll continue to get unlimited access to the game and all of the content you already enjoy, in addition to some extra perks!

Still have questions? Here’s a quick FAQ about the key points of LOTRO Free-to-Play:

Is this the same model you used with DDO?

It’s very similar in a large number of ways. The basic structure is the same with some changes made to support LOTRO’s different game world and wide-open environment. Customer levels, the LOTRO Store, and other aspects of LOTRO Free-to-Play are all very similar to those of Dungeons and Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™.

I already subscribe to LOTRO. Is there any benefit to staying a subscriber?

Of course! Once the game goes live you’ll keep all your current privileges, and also accrue 500 free Turbine Points per month to spend as you wish. We also have a set of Loyalty Reward Special Offers just for our veteran players – as long as you maintain your subscription in good standing you may be eligible for up to 3,000 points. If you stay active over the summer you will also earn an additional bonus of 500 Turbine Points per month until launch! For more details see the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

I have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO. What will Free-to-Play mean for me?

As a lifetime subscriber to LOTRO, you will keep all of your membership privileges and are automatically upgraded to VIP status. You will receive 500 Free Turbine Points every month like the other VIPs, but you do not have to pay a monthly fee since you are a lifetime member. All you have to do is keep playing the game and visit the LOTRO Store to spend your free Turbine Points. Lifetime members may also qualify for a special one-time Loyalty Reward of 1,000 Turbine Points. See the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

I am a LOTRO Founder. What will Free-to-Play mean for me?

As a LOTRO Founder, you automatically become a VIP and will keep all of your membership privileges as long as you pay your monthly fee. You will automatically receive 500 Free Turbine Points every month and you can spend them at your leisure in the LOTRO Store. Founding members may also qualify for a special one-time Loyalty Reward of 500 Turbine Points. See the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

When does LOTRO F2P go live?

Free-to-Play will go live when Volume 3, Book 2 releases this fall.

Is Free-to-Play the only thing to look forward to for Volume 3, Book2?

No! Volume 3, Book 2 will continue the Volume 3 Epic Story as the Rangers head south. An all new area, Enedwaith, will be available as well as some exciting new features and many updates to the game including DX11 support! We’ll have more information about Volume 3, Book 2 as we approach launch. Keep an eye out for Developer Diaries and other information throughout the summer!

I still have questions. Where can I ask them?

If you still have questions after reading the full FAQ, please use the LOTRO Free-to-Play discussion forum for questions and comments!

We’re very excited about LOTRO’s move to Free-to-Play and we can’t wait for you to see all the incredible changes the team has already made to the game. Make sure you read Executive Producer Kate Paiz’s letter to the community for some great information on where LOTRO is going!

Sure, lifetime subscribers will get free points every month, but even so, it is a very different situation to the one they signed up for. Given that Turbine and Codemasters certainly knew three weeks ago that they would be going free to play, this seems to me to be somewhat duplicitious. It might certainly have affected player’s decisions on whether or not they would buy a lifetime sub or not. It feels a little like insider trading on Codemasters’ part. Codemasters should immediately offer refunds to anyone who signed up for their lifetime subscription offer.

It’s going to be interesting to see how they retrofit the game to work as a profitmaking F2P. DDO’s modular structure lent itself to this far better than Lotro would seem to. Here are the features of LOTRO that will be monetised. Along with the predictable bag, character slot, and gold limitations are some more surprising ones like a limit on traits. Monster play will be VIP only.:

VIP Premium Player Free Player
POINTS 500/month Free
Can purchase more
Or earn through gameplay
Purchasable
Or earn through gameplay
Purchasable
Or earn through gameplay
World Access * Free Free Free
Epic Story * Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Races 4 4 4
Classes 7 7 7
Premium Classes * Purchasable Purchasable Purchasable
Level Cap * 50 50 50
Character slots */** 5/server
Can purchase more
3/server
Can purchase more
1/server
Can purchase more
Quest Packs * Eriador Ered Luin, Shire, Bree-land
Can purchase more
Ered Luin, Shire, Bree-land
Can purchase more
Inventory 5 bags 3 bags
Can purchase 2 more
3 bags
Can purchase 2 more
Gold Limit Unlimited 5 Gold
Can purchase cap removal
2 Gold
Can purchase cap removal
Priority login Priority High Standard
Chat Unlimited Limited Limited
Auction Unlimited Limited Limited
Mail Unlimited Limited Limited
Rest XP Automatic Not available Not available
Shared bank ** Purchasable Purchasable Purchasable
Skirmishes * 9
More in Mirkwood Expansion
4
Can purchase more
4
Can purchase more
Legendary items * Requires Mines of Moria Expansion Requires Mines of Moria Expansion Requires Mines of Moria Expansion
Traits All 1 or 2 slots per trait type
Can purchase more
1 or 2 slots per trait type
Can purchase more
Crafting * Tier 1-5 available
Tier 6 available with Mines of Moria™ Expansion
Tier 1-5 available
Tier 6 available with Mines of Moria™ Expansion
Tier 1-5 available
Tier 6 available with Mines of Moria™ Expansion
Crafting Guilds Unlimited Limited
Can purchase more
Limited
Can purchase more
Housing Available Available Available
Music Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Hobbies Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Cosmetic system Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Wardrobe Included with 20 slots
Can purchase more
Purchasable Purchasable
Destiny points Can earn and spend Can earn but cannot spend Can earn but cannot spend
Monster play Unlimited Not available Not available
Community features Unlimited Unlimited Limited
Customer service Full access Full access for 30 days following the purchase of points Self-service online

* Purchasers of the Mines of Moria™ expansion get access to the Mines of Moria region and content, premium classes (Rune-Keeper and Warden), legendary items feature, Tier 6 crafting feature, 2 extra character slots and a level cap of 60. Purchasers of the Siege of Mirkwood™ expansion get access to the Siege of Mirkwood region and content, a level cap of 65 and the Siege of Mirkwood skirmishes.

** Purchasers of the LOTRO Adventurer’s Pack get 2 extra character slots and 20 slots of shared bank storage across all characters on the same servers.

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