Brash Thoughts from a LOTRO Lifer

So seems we here at KTR barely got the prophetic drop (thanks to the precognitive post by Mordor or Bust).  Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) is indeed going F2P, and with many players having a lifetime subscription this presents an interesting conundrum.  For I have been pretty much a F2P player for some time because after about 13-20 months the lifetime subscription pays off.  So now everybody gets a F2P status.  Oh noes, how unfairs!!!

Seriously, just like Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) there will be a VIP status available to people that subscribe.  I do not subscribe to DDO preferring instead to buy everything through points.  Now, in LOTRO I basically am a permanent subscriber so in F2P LOTRO I get permanent VIP status.  Seems to me as if nothing has flocking changed.  Oh wait, some things did change…

I now get 500 points per month for the life of the game to use as I wish.  Since I know like clockwork I will get 500 points, I am much more likely to spend those points on some very fun things like new cosmetic items or hopefully something akin to auto-leveling my alts.  Or, I can buy some stuff and just throw it on the Auction House. This sounds like a benefit to all lifers.  We get points for doing nothing.

The other thing is that now more people will be able to play the game without paying a monthly fee.  Eru forbid some virtual special status gets reduced like the exclusivity of my lifetime subscription.  Regardless, more people playing is really only a good thing, and they do not have VIP status.  I don’t understand exactly what the difference will be. I can guess with how DDO works, where there is a significant difference between those with VIP status and those without.

What I don’t like, and I am sure DDO players felt this right before the change as well, is how much of Turbine’s time and energy is going in to this without any more content for current players.  We won’t be seeing Book 2 of Volume 3 until Fall as they beta the F2P service.  Yet, with the boost that DDO got and the amount of content the DDO side of Turbine is now producing, I am hopeful with the aftermath.

–Ravious
the space of seven breaths

43 thoughts on “Brash Thoughts from a LOTRO Lifer”

  1. I think this is good news. I have friends that quit playing due to the cost. Now they can come back and join me. Heck, my whole family of 4 will be able to make a party now. Excellent!

  2. 100% spot on! Thanks for this as we know that people will be flying off the handle with “LOTRO SUXXORS” commentary today.

  3. I’m still digesting everything. It looks like current lifetime subscribers get VIP status for free for life. Current regular subscribers get upgraded to VIP but have to pay to maintain it. That is my understanding so far.

  4. This is certainly big news. If it secure the future of the game and helps Turbine to develop it I am all for it.

    I actually have a life time sub myself even though I play quite sporadically. I guess this means that if ever I do go back to the game I will have a fat pile of points built up to spend on fancy stuff. All good as far as I am concerned.

  5. “cautiously optimistic” is my current view. On one hand, yeah – they made a metric pantload on making DDO F2P, but it made some sense with that game – the adventuring world was already pretty modular, and they had things that were unlockable after getting to a certain point.

    Not that I’m saying I wouldn’t play free LOTRO – I’d be all over it.

  6. The other big plus for lifers is with the Loyalty rewards and free points you can offset the price of upcoming (or previous) expansions.

  7. I’m in the “cautiously optimistic” group. If it gets me closer to Mordor by making Turbine more viable as a business, I’m behind their decision.

    One thing, though, on your last point. I don’t think Turbine has to expend nearly as much energy testing and implementing FTP for LotRO. They have a system that works – one would think they take the code and data structures from DDO and just apply it to LotRO. The beta is more for the completeness of their migration, and viability of the contents of the cash shop, not the fucntionality or mechanics of their pricing model. Or, so I’d think.

  8. I’m all for it, considering I’m a former subscriber who will now be able to enjoy LOTRO for free. My concern lies with what will happen to my gear/characters/gold that currently lie above the “premium” caps of 3 bags/3 characters/5 gold.

    And, if they’re going to start limiting player bag space, they had better do something about all those tokens and alternate currencies I think.

    1. All the stuff you ever had will still exist, but if it does lie “beyond the cutoff” you’ll have to pay to access it.

      And if that limits the number of existing characters you can actually play, you get to pick which characters are available to play without buying the other slots.

  9. As a lifetime subscriber, and after some thought, all I can say is that if I will be able to buy more bank slots with the veritable bounty of Turbine points that should be coming my way, this should be all win for me.

  10. I guess with my lifetime sub I will be buying a lot of horses with those monthly turbine points.

  11. One other thing to consider: lifetime member will possibly be getting expansions for free in the new model. We’re not paying for VIP status but we’re getting 500 points every month. If there’s nothing in the store you want then they’ll just pile up until an expansion comes out. So, either you get the expansion for free or at a discount.

    1. The cynic in me would place a bet against future expansions being available to be purchased with points, but don’t listen to him; he’s largely the ghost of dick moves past.

  12. Wizard 101 led the way with this wide choice of pricing model method. As soon as I experienced it I hoped it would turn up on other MMOs I play.

    I do like the option of a single monthly payment that gets me everything, but it’s much better that that’s not the only option.

  13. I’m ambivalent about this. I’m indifferent to the game by now, but that doesn’t really mean I wouldn’t care if it disappeared. We need more games, not less, even if I wouldn’t play it. So if this ends up working like a DDO-ish shot in the arm, then full sail ahead (I have my doubts, but we’ll see).

    On the other hand, I’d like to know just WTF kind of world we’re living in that “The Lord of the Rings” IP needs to go F2P in order to stop the bleeding.

    1. It might not be to stop the bleeding. It might be about positing themselves in a changing market. Just a thought.

        1. Well, come on guys. What kind of business (specially a rather large one like Turbine) radically changes its flagship’s business model if “all is well”?

            1. I just love the disconnect. When DDO goes F2P it was done in order to save a failing game. But when LOTRO does it, it’s staying at the vanguard of industry trends.

  14. Free to play Lotro. Seems 2010 will be the year of the F2P. What with Clone Wars Adventures, and Lotro, big name high-profile titles will finally be free. In the past, if I heard free-to-play, I always assumed it was a bad game that was desperate.

  15. From my reading, it seems that Facebook/Farmville is the 50 ton gorilla that no-one seems to see …

    These puny MMOs are just fleas.

    1. Farmville is certainly a 50 ton gorilla, but what that means is open to a wide range of interpretation. Is it a 50 ton gorilla in the sense that it’s going to set the trends, or simply in that it’s making lots of money. Does it portend future growth or merely highlight the stratification of it’s own market. I don’t pretend to have those answers, and to be honest we’re still asking much the same things about WoW this much later, so it’s unlikely we’ll have good answers any time soon.

  16. Since we are going this way now, let’s get Asheron’s Call and heck even Asheron’s Call 2 running on the same model.

  17. Like a kinmate said last night in the nteenth discussion of this, LoTRO’s F2P model is quite a bit more restrictive than normal ones. It’s really just a slightly expanded version of the demo they’ve had available for a long long time, with microtransactions on top. The free model makes any play past 20 very annoying, and even the free premium one will make play past 35-40 problematical.

    Think about it…with the free model, you cannot hold enough gold to buy a horse. Travel would really stink.

    1. It may be hard to get through the game completely free but, for the cost of a few quest packs and a gold cap upgrade, you could probably get four months of content for less than you’d pay for a single month now. Plus, it’ll be awhile before you really start to feel the restrictions. You’ll at least be far in enough to know whether or not the game warrants dropping a few bucks.

    2. You have fine points, but just fwiw there are cheaper slower horses available already. And as Bissrok point out… you want your free players to be enticed, not satisfied.

      1. “as Bissrok point out… you want your free players to be enticed, not satisfied.”

        An excellent observation, but that’s a dangerously thin line to walk between satisfied, enticed, and dissatisfied.

        Meh, I don’t really need a Flaming Balrog mount.

        Ooh, that Flaming Balrog mount looks awesome!

        I can’t believe they’re asking $10 for a Flaming Balrog mount!

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