Friday, June 4, 2010

LoTRO going FtP: a lifer's perspective

I got a serious shock when I did my normal lunch time blog browsing today. Mordor or Bust completely nailed it, Lord of the Rings Online is going Free to Play ala DDO. There are a lot of places you can get info on the website if you dig around. You can read the announcement here and get some additional answers to player questions here. Forum reactions so far are mixed, but overall tending towards positive.

As a life-time subscriber, my primary concern was "what does this mean for me?" I'm selfish that way. As it turns out, very little save perhaps more players in the starting areas and faster content releases. Lifetime accounts get free access to all the content that a monthly subscriber (or VIP account in the Turbine parlance) would without ever having to pay.

As a lifetime subscriber, between now and the launch launch of FtP if you log in to LotRO at least once a month you will get 500 free Turbine points per month (so 1500 or so free points when it launches). After that, lifetime subscribers get 500 free points a month whether they log or not. If the prices in the item store are at all comparable to DDO, that means taking a break for a few months would give you enough points to buy pretty much any single item you'd want from the store and still have a lot of points left over. I wonder if will work out for Turbine long term, or if they will add a requirement that you log every so often to get your points.

Additional details that stuck out, in no particular order (I hope Anjin won't mind if I borrow some bullets):

  • Turbine claims that LoTRO was doing fine as a sub based MMO, but that DDO has been bringing in so much cash that they felt it would be stupid not to switch LoTRO over to the same model (I'm paraphrasing, obviously).
  • With the launch of FtP we are getting a new zone, Enedwaith, about which very little is known from the books.
  • The launch will also include a major revamp of starting zones, as well as improvements to monster play, legendary items, and radiance gear.
  • Radiance gear will not be available in the item shop. However, I'm guessing that scrolls and things for your LIs will be. In fact, I imagine that almost everything you can currently get from skirmish vendors will be in the shop.
  • Warden and Runekeeper are becoming premium classes (still usable by VIPs, lifers and those that have the Moria expansion).
  • Turbine points are not transferable between DDO and LoTRO (doh!)
  • Finally, if you have ever bought any expansions, you already "own" content in FtP LoTRO. For example, if you bought Moria you already have access to the premium classes.

All in all, it's a pretty exciting hunk of news. I'm really enjoying the FtP model in DDO. If this means we get content faster in LoTRO, I'm all for it.

Edit: The blogosphere is absolutely atwitter with this. Ravious did another post from a lifer's perspective over at KTR, while Sente, Syp, Blue Kae, MMO Gamer Chick, and Scott Jennings have all posted their takes. Finally, Syp just put up much more comprehensive list over at Bio Break. Good stuff :-)


  1. I'm happy to see they're not leaving their lifers out in the cold here (but knowing Turbine, I didn't think they would). It almost makes me wish I had gotten a lifetime subscription way back when, but also sort of glad I didn't get one this year.

  2. I think I'd be ticked if I had bought one recently. However, mine paid for itself something like a year ago (I've been playing since open beta). I still don't have to pay, and I get free points. I can live with that :-)

  3. I kind of fascinated watching the fallout from all of this. I didn't catch that the Warden is becoming premium content. Since that class is the primary reason I ever go back to LotRO, I wonder what I will do when I'm locked out of my character while I'm not a VIP.

  4. It really depends on how much you can access for absolutely free. If there is a viable leveling track for free customers, you could buy the Warden for less than the cost of a one month sub. Premium classes run $5-10 depending on the exchange rate in DDO, I presume the same will hold in LoTRO.

  5. Anjin, my understanding is if you've every been subscribed then you're a premium player already, VIP just means you have a currently active subscription. So you should still have access to the warden. In theory anyway.

    Yeebo, I don't think there's any issue for someone who'd recently bought a lifetime. It just means the'yre automatically a VIP and never have to pay again. Obviously they wanted to play since they bought a lifetime before, so nothing has really changed, besides the addition of a cash shop.

  6. @Blue Kae: ahh yeah, that's a good point. I need to clarify that in my post.

  7. I can't honestly remember a day when my reader nearly exploded on me like today, so much posting!

  8. Heh,'s caused quit a frenzy :-)

  9. The blog explosion was pretty amazing today. I think I got half way through a post before I realized it would be like turning on the sprinklers during a rainstorm.

  10. My understanding (after poring over the forums) is that you won't lose anything you've already paid for. So because I've paid for SoA, MoM and SoM, I will have all those quest packs, even if I downgrade to a premium (if you've ever spent a single cent on LOTRO you are considered premium). The gold and 3 bag limit also will not apply to a person who had a VIP account (from being an active subscriber) who downgrades to a's what it says in the FAQ but I wouldn't mind some further clarification. The exception, I think, is the wardrobe. If I understand this correctly, after I downgrade I can only remove items from the slots, not add.

    And I would say purchasing a LTS recently would have been bad for me. I have every intention of going to a premium account after the F2P model goes into effect (thinking of maintain a sub for a month or two, collect VIP points to see how it goes and what I can buy, and then downgrading to play for free) If I had gotten an LTS, say, earlier this year, sure I would get more than enough points to pay for anything I've ever wanted, but...they're likely to be items I wouldn't have otherwise bought anyway. Plus, I'm just way too casual a LOTRO player, I don't foresee myself needing all the perks that are accessible to the VIP members. I would have felt I overpaid if I had gotten that LTS. Anything, that's how I *think* it works anyway, from everything I've read.

  11. @Anjin: lol! Yeah, this is the biggest bombshell to hit us in a while.

    @Mmogamerchick: Nice breakdown. It sounds like "premium" will be a very good deal for anyone that's bought the expansions up until now.

    My DDO account is premium, I actually prefer it to VIP. I buy only the content I'll use. It's like buying a lifetime account piecemeal.