Tobold's Blog
Friday, June 04, 2010
LotRO goes Free2Play

I used to have a "lifetime subscription" to Lord of the Rings Online. But starting this fall, I will be a VIP instead. Lord of the Rings Online is going Free2Play in North America and Europe, with the same business model like Dungeons & Dragons Online, which tells me that Turbine makes a lot more money from DDO since it went Free2Play. But as that business model still allows people to "subscribe" if they want, I don't completely lose all benefits from having paid for that lifetime subscription. I get full access to the least restricted version of the game, plus 500 Turbine Points per month. I hope there is only one flavor of Turbine Points, so I can use them for all possible Turbine Free2Play games [EDIT: It turns out you can't use LotRO Turbine Points for DDO or vice versa. Bleh!], in which case the deal is actually better for me than the lifetime subscription I'm not really using. I might even get access to the content of the expansions I never bought!

My personal problem with Lord of the Rings Online is that it is not sufficiently different from World of Warcraft. That is to say if I want to play a MMO where I level by moving from one quest hub to the next, and fight fantasy monsters by targeting them and using various hotkeys, I usually play World of Warcraft. When I am in one of the phases where I am burned out from World of Warcraft, I generally prefer playing something completely different. For me Lord of the Rings Online is definitely the best MMORPG after World of Warcraft using this type of gameplay, but that puts it in a bad place in my playing schedule.

Nevertheless I can very much recommend to try Lord of the Rings Online out when it goes Free2Play. You absolutely need to play at least one hobbit through all the Shire quests, there is great fun to be had there.
LOTRO will introduce Turbine’s innovative new pricing model that allows players to download the game and play for free, purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new LOTRO Store

They sell a little bit too much for my taste ..
It's all good i say. It's a great MMO and i'm at that point in the game where i love the theme/lore/world but aren't playing it nearly often enough to warrant a subscription. It being F2P will certainly rope me in on the odd weekend for some skirmish/ettenmoore/epic fun :)
I'm pretty sure they've already stated that Turbine points are game specific and you can't spend LotRO points in DDO. .... Yep, here it is:

34. I bought Turbine Points in the DDO Store. Can I use those Turbine Points in LOTRO (and vice versa)?
Turbine Points are not transferrable, so Turbine Points purchased in the DDO Store cannot be transferred to the LOTRO Store or vice versa.
I agree with Tob in that it's very similar to WoW, but there are two key things: 1) the commuity is generally better, but 2) having said that, it's much more grindy than WoW. Or rather, the grind is disguised much less. And it's that that really doesn't help it along, despite the massive IP.
I played the free trial of LOTRO and got bored of it pretty quickly. Knowing that it's going F2P though will probably get me to try again and see if I can make it out of the starter areas this time.

Any suggestions on whats a fun class to play? Part of the reason for my boredem is because I picked a generic dwarf warriortype/melee/whatever he was called and came from just playing 2 melee classes in WoW so I just lost interest quickly.
RoM says: Why pay for a bad WoW clone when you can play a good WoW clone for free?

LotRO says: why pay for WoW itself when you can play a triple-A WoW clone for free? :)
@Bigeyez (obviously this is all IMHO)

In LoTRO the guardian (tank), champion (melee DPS), hunter (ranged DPS) and minstrel (healer) classes all do pretty much what you would expect for their archetypes.

The classes with the interesting mechanics are:

Lore-master, Rune-keeper (ranged dps/healer), warden (tank/dps) and captain. I especially like the way that wardens work. Burglar I didn't try beyond level 10.

I do have a current LoTRO subscription but I find the game very frustrating at times. Like Drilski says, it seems more grindy. One of my pet peeves is being forced to repeatedly hack through dozens of monsters just to get from A to B.
Bah, even free, I can't play that game. The avatars are fugly, combat has a weird lag to it, and all the epic quests are group-based.

The f2p move definitely seems to be a growing trend. How long before we see others like Warhammer and AoC do the same thing?

Next blog -- are subscriber MMOs dying?
This is a most interesting (but not unexpected) development. The Free DDO got me to play, and I enjoyed it. It wasn't WOW, but it was good. Now, I can see myself resurrecting my old LOTRO account and playing some more. But this will only be between WOW down periods. However, some $$$ from me (in terms of LOTRO points) is better then no $$$ from me I guess?
I paid for a lifetime of Champions Online, and if they were to go free to play, but give me Cryptic Cash each month for being a life-timer, I would NOT be upset at all.

All things considered, you're still a lifetime member, and have the benefits of what they term a subscription. I guess they see that more people spend more money, when they don't have to also pay a monthly fee (I call this the MTGO effect [no I don't]).
>Bah, even free, I can't play that game. The avatars are fugly, combat has a weird lag to it, and all the epic quests are group-based.

I heard that lying can get you sued. Please do not lie. On the other hand, saying 'I do not understand these systems' is not lying.

Beauty is a rating of opinion, I cannot deny an opinion. Combat does not lag, either you lag or you cannot understand a single-ability queue system. (Your fault, not LotRO's.) And finally, all epic quests have been reduced a single-player version, and all previously multiplayer epic quests have the choice for you to join the old, multiplayer tuned instance, or a newer, single-player tuned instance.
A lie is a deliberate false statement… pretty sure he believed everything he said to be true. I agree about the avatars (not a big deal to me though) and laggy feel of combat. There’s more ways to describe lag than just your latency; that word actually existed before MMORPGS, just fyi, and it could very easily be used to describe LotRO’s combat.

It’s a bit unfair (and I guess ironically a lie) to straight up call him a liar. Can you be sued for slander?

I agree with you on the weird combat lag, BUT that has already been fixed since the Siege of Mirkwood expansion. Give the trial a try and see for yourself!

Group based quests is a good thing, it is the getting people together for the group quests that all mmo companies fail to a certain degree (No, the looking for dungeon tool in wow is not perfect. It's a step up, but if you're dps, be prepared to wait anywhere from half an hour to 2 hours if you're not at level cap).

Ideally the dungeon should scale to the most number of people you can find.(depending on class ofc)
@ Zaeni: What, so it's somehow the Dungeon Finder's fault that everyone rolls a dps class rather than a tank or healer?

Also, I don't think it really works that well as a tool for social interaction; the cross-realm and need for speed aspects make it a wholly self-centred experience; if it wasn't cross-realm, though, I reckon it would be much better for social interaction.
@Driliski: Yeah, it kind of is the Dungeon Finder's fault that Healers & Tanks save themselves from the random tool for the most part and use "pre-built" groups. Have you participated in many PUGs? For the most part, the tank or healer gets laughed at or fussed at to some degree, DPS ranges from being Too Good at DPS (thus bad at their job), to just half-assing it through the dungeon.

I will never voluntarily run a tank or healer class through the LFG. I hardly do it on my DPS, unless I can get a tank friend to go. Healer, too, if I can find one.

We can agree that the LFG tool is not helping social interaction.

Back on topic!

I think I'm interested in giving LotRO a try!

That's like saying it's the crowbar's fault for not screwing in the nail properly. It's the wrong tool to solve the problem of getting people together. It is however, highly effective at pushing people towards instances. Much of its drawbacks have been said by Avaryse.
One could also say that Turbine has given up to compete with Cataclysm and other major MMOs with more modern engines like SWTOR or GW2.

I have already played everything up to Mirkwood. When will new content be added? A new book update is coming with F2P, but still no word of a proper expansion.

People already talked a lot about the pros and cons of the system, but what about the game itself? I am thirsty for new content, and now I will get a book update in August.

Let's see how fast they will deliver new content in future. I am afraid a "proper" expansion is far away.
If I weren't playing WoW right now I might try it out.

I might still try it out in a few months though.
I'd rather have them open it up for playing from Asia again... I used to play LOTRO exclusively before I moved down here after all. And in all honesty, I like Lotro a lot more than WOW. I got back to playing WOW for a while because I got bored with AOC and I couldn't play Lotro any more.
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