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Turbine Takes  Lord Of The Rings Online  Free-To-Play
Turbine Takes Lord Of The Rings Online Free-To-Play
June 4, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

June 4, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Turbine Entertainment's flagship MMO, Lord of the Rings Online, will be going free-to-play, the company announced today.

It's a major move for the premium-level online game, which Turbine says will now operate on a pricing model that allows users to play for free and purchase quest packs and items "a la carte" from a new game store. Users can also join a "VIP program" and elect to pay a monthly subscription for unlimited content.

It's a similar model to the one the company rolled out when it took Dungeons and Dragons Online free-to-play last year with the Eberron Unlimited update -- a move it says ultimately boosted the game's revenues 500 percent.

Warner Bros., Turbine's recent acquirer, will continue operating the game in North America, and publisher Codemasters will handle things in Europe.

Warner Bros' online and digital games senior VP Jeff Junge said Lord of the Rings Online "lends itself perfectly" to the free-to-play model, and that the move is part of the company's strategy to reach new audiences by offering more options: "We are focused on expanding our game franchises onto new digital platforms to maximize quality experiences for gamers worldwide and LOTRO’s new model is a great leading example of this," says Junge.

"The popularity of DDO validated the extraordinary demand by gamers for quality entertainment they can experience at their own pace and within their budget," adds Turbine CEO Jim Crowley. "Extending free-to-play to LOTRO will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans."

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driver 01z
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Huh, interesting. I may find some time to play this a bit then... that's the problem, there are plenty of other games I want to play and I just don't enjoy typical MMO gameplay.

Zach Grant
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Anyone know a date when this starts?

Adam Bishop
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I played the LOTRO beta for a bit and found it fun, but I just have no interest in paying a subscription to play a game so I stopped once it was released. I'll definitely be checking this out, and I hope more MMOs go this route in the future.

Jeremy Reaban
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From a player's point of view - these games first start off by expanding the userbase (which is good). But once that stagnates, it slowly becomes a case of extracting all the revenue you possibly can from the existing player base. And squeezing them tight.

For instance, making all new areas so difficult that you need to buy buffing items from the cash shop. Pretty much SOP in F2P games for content past a certain level (usually the initial level cap)

Jonathan Osment
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This never results in good game design, rather design with a focus on extracting revenue. I also believe the communities (quality) of these games end up taking a hit.

Samuel Wissler
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I have high hopes for this change. I bought a lifetime subscription for LOTRO when it first game out, but I ended up not playing that much because my friends played WoW and I couldn't handle two MMOs at the same time.

I keep planning on going back to it because it's such a great game, but it's one of those situations where you go back and all of the content for your characters is a ghost town. I hope a lot of people will try this game now. I definitely plan on starting again as soon as the free to play change hits so that I can have people to level with.

If you haven't played this game yet, I definitely recommend giving it a try once it's free to play.

Matthew Mouras
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ugh! And I just got into this game a month ago and bought a years subscription. Ah well... I'm sure they are nice people at Turbine and can put the money to good use.

Joe Random
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IMO this game bombed because there was no PVP in it worth a damn.