LOTR Online goes free-to-play Sept. 10

New pricing model for Warner Bros.' flagship MMORPG gets an official release date.

In early June, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment and Codemasters announced that Turbine's popular massively multiplayer online game would go free-to-play this fall. Today, the publisher slapped an official release date on the new version of the Lord of the Rings: Online.

Destroy the Nazguls for free this September.

On September 10, LOTRO will ditch its subscription model in favor of a microtransaction-based method. The game will become WBIE's second free-to-play MMO role-playing game, following Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Lord of the Rings Online: Shadow of Angmar released in 2007 to critical acclaim. Expansion packs followed in 2008 and 2009, and currently a $15/month subscription fee is imposed upon on players. However, when the game switches to its new model, a new LOTRO store will appear, where players will be able to purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte.

LOTRO is developed by Turbine, which WBIE acquired in April to consolidate its control of the Lord of the Rings gaming licenses. The acquisition followed Warner's reacquisition of non-MMO game rights to the franchise in March 2009. LOTRO was originally published by the now-defunct Midway Games.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

54 comments
cocainco
cocainco

I like it very much and i think that u might not spend any money at all in the begging cuz the more quests u do ,the more popular u get and for helping u get points with wich u can buy something .The problem here is that if u don't want to spend money u have to play a lot more from any ather

Clarkinator
Clarkinator

Its not at all unbalanced from the microtransaction system. I jumped on the bandwagon and basically there is a fair amount of content that you have to filter through before you bother with spending any money on the game. And then you only spend like $10 or so just to get your riding skill.

peteywentout
peteywentout

just hope these "microtransactions" don't make the game so darn unbalanced that the only way to raly be able to stand a chance in instances and partys is if you pay to get some items... imo this method might look like a better way to go, but i still find it in my heart that if you pay to get a super nice item, you're a no good player just taking a shortcut, while i bust my ass playing to get an item that is not half as good as your's is...

nord1c
nord1c

LOTR online has the same client from Turbine that D&D online uses. The client causes massive problems on many machines. and they are unable to fix these issues. Very, very bad impression. I will spend my gaming time elsewhere.

ranbla
ranbla

LOTRO still has it's subscription-based model running alongside the F2P model so it hasn't "ditched" it. From what I've seen so far (I'm a subber), you'd be much better off subscribing than trying to nickel and dime your way through this game. My girlfriend let her sub lapse and she logged in and was basically crippled without spending money. I guess maybe the F2P will let you get a little deeper into the game than a trial version would. But man, it's going to be painful.

gt350tsc
gt350tsc

Now if only WoW would go free to play but I don't think that's coming for a long time. darn oh well there's always guild wars 2 :)

traitor_651
traitor_651

Oh and one more thing. Shut up trying to point out that you have to spend a few pennies on the microtransaction. We know how to read

traitor_651
traitor_651

@Gruug Here is a quote for you: "On September 10, LOTRO will ditch its subscription model in favor of a microtransaction-based method. The game will become WBIE's second free-to-play MMO role-playing game, following Dungeons and Dragons Online. " And here is the most important sentence: " LOTRO will ditch its subscription model in favor of a microtransaction-based method." This means that you don't pay-per month but you still have to pay money to buy of the lotro store (microtransaction).Read the article fully before replying next time.

wilson336
wilson336

hmm...I pre-ordered and played in beta too...and the lifetime was $199. I guess they screwed others over with $299

Gruug
Gruug

@stakex007 - I think you misunderstand. I do not dislike LOTRO. I was playing it just today. What I do not like is the false assumption that this is a true "free-to-play" game that LOTRO is becoming. It is not. It is false marketing (lying?) to tell people that this game is "free". Sure, you can level to 50 IF you pay for the extras you will need. If you don't, you will need to pay for the extra quests and storage and gold in order to do it. Most players will get far too bored just GRINDING to level. So, people will get to TRY some of the game but not be able to play it in full unless they are willing to put down some serious dollars. Doing so does NOT make this free to play. It may qualify as free to try or and extended demo but definatedly NOT free to play. Yes, I did purchase the game and have played it since closed beta. I also purchased the pre-release Lifetime sub. I do not begrudge anyone wanting to try the game under the new system. I do disagree with someone that is trying to sell it as free to play when it is not. That, as mentioned, is just dishonest and is why I am just trying to warn people beforehand. If people wish to play the game..do it. If they find that they can not access it all, at least you have been TOLD ahead of time.

stakex007
stakex007

@Gruug - Its people like you that prove some people are just never satisfied. LORTO right this minute would cost you $40 to buy, and $15 a month to play. After Sep 11th you get the original game pretty much for free, with some limits of money carried, character slots, and community interaction it would see. But you can still level to 50 and play the whole original game... you just need to buy the expansions to continue. Considering they are not only giving you the game for free, but letting you play it for free... Id say thats more then fair. Yet some people out there, like yourself, are never happy. They give a high end MMO away, and let you play it for free... and you complain about it? Even if it was the extended demo you claim it to be (which its not) it would still be far better then what it is now. You're probably just pissed becuase you actually bought the game, so you're trying to trash it for everyone else.

Yajarobi
Yajarobi

It's nice these games are going F2P. it really is, However, to pay for in game items sucks. it creates such an annoying imbalance(if you play regularly). But, I suppose they have to make money some how. When you buy a non MMO, you buy the game and thats pretty much it. MMO's need to be modulated somewhat. An excuse for allowing people to pay for in game content. We all know they will...

TfcIan
TfcIan

@daveversion1 Possibly, but Runes of Magic is free-to-play with the option to buy in-game currency, and that works fairly well. You can play it without paying anything, but, of course, paying will help you out. Let's hope they have the balance right, I've wanted to play LOTRO for a long time but the trial version was too big for me to download.

daveversion1
daveversion1

I'm glad of this because now i will actually play it as i've been wanting to for a long time and have not wanted to pay the subscription, however it is unfortunate as they obviously did this because they cannot compete with World Of Warcraft. But will the free to play part be limited making you really have to pay money to get anything out of the game?

mishdogg
mishdogg

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pete5506
Pete5506

@krazeeguy Its Fang from Final Fantasy Xlll

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

might try it, we'll see. Looks interesting anyway. Never hurts to try :)

EchoEcho
EchoEcho

@sixty7velle -- Why would you feel sorry for Lifetime subbers? You have to understand that the Free-to-Play option for the game is going to have quite a bit of limitations; a subscription is still the best way to experience the game if you're in for the long haul or want this to be your primary MMO of choice. Most people who own a Lifetime account have already had the account pay for itself by this point, and those who haven't will continue to get access to all the subscriber-only benefits after LotRO goes F2P. I have a Lifetime account, and I don't regret it one bit.

krazeeguy
krazeeguy

@Pete5506 whats your avatar of?

BloodMist
BloodMist

Everybody should give this a try, it's a really well done MMO.

Gruug
Gruug

This is not free to play. You can try it for free and level to a certain point. At that point, you have to PAY. If you PAY it is NOT free to pay. I know, I play LOTRO and know how it will work. It will be very limited what you can do before you HAVE TO PAY. It is more of an extended demo.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Play this a bit tell GW2 comes out

stakex007
stakex007

LOTRO was a solid game, and was quite a bit of fun... it just seemed like way too much of the same to spend $15 a month on. Now, I just might give it another shot.

Darkstar_Sinada
Darkstar_Sinada

No, it's free to play. Just certain items and such are micro-transactions.

Gruug
Gruug

Free to try. NOT free to play.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

@ jpsaply Thanks for the link! That's something they should really add into the article, don't you think? Freemium is a very interesting play model, that's for sure. I hope it works for them - given that LOTRO is (amongst the folks I know) regarded as a very good game, I think it will. I'm also sure that while the playerbase will go up, that subscriptions will keep up as well. Subscribers do get the best of everything...

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

For an MMO it has pretty good narative. It could easily have been a pile of crap. I felt it was worth the subscription and its especially good as F2P.

jpsaply
jpsaply

@wilson336 Just wanted to correct you there since you are telling people to do there homework. You mentioned. "The lifetime subscription was only available when the game came out, for $199, 3 years ago." Negative. First off, $299 for life sub at launch of game. Second, they stopped the offer for about 6 months and brought it back to $199. It wasn't until sometime earlier this year they stopped offering it most likely because of the development of the free to play service. How do I know this? I have been playing since beta.

mardinn
mardinn

This is interesting. I will definetaly play this game!

wilson336
wilson336

@ archlvt: If you do the free to play and like it, you can always switch to the regular monthly subscription. It will still be offered, so you have no complaint. @sixty7velle: The lifetime subscription was only available when the game came out, for $199, 3 years ago. Since there are 12 months in a year and it is $15/month, and 15 times 36 (3 years) is greater than @199, they have more than made up for the $199. Plus, lifetime subscribers will continue to get all the expansions that free to play people have to pay for. Do your homework.

sixty7velle
sixty7velle

I feel sorry for those people who paid the lifetime subscription fee when this game came out...

archlvt
archlvt

What they fail to mention is that you cannot hold more than 2 gold unless you pay them. You cannot level because they don't give you enough quests - unless you pay them. You can't get a decent speed mount, unless you pay them. This game is CHEAPER to play with a monthly fee than it will be with microtransactions, because the microtransactions will be MANDATORY in order to play. It would be like making devil may cry 4 totally free, but instead you have to pay them $10 for every skill and weapon upgrade you purchase with souls. People see "free" and they actually think it's free. Sure, it's "free" unless you want to ENJOY the game, then you gotta pay.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

I'm interested in the change, although I fully realize that not every company will do this, not every game will need to do this, and there are pros and cons to both models (even free-to-play MMO's have failed - its no guarantee of anything). @VR_Verdugo What did you think of the move DDO made? As I understand it, subscribers have the best of everything, and the free people aren't being subjected to "pay to win" that some micro games do.

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

I'm really turned off by the whole microtransaction business, particularly where items are concerned. I feel this unevens the playing field. When I found out about it, I canceled my LOTRO subscription and I don't see the point in going back. I would rather buy a game like Guild Wars 2 where I won't have to put up with a subscription or a microtransaction store.

paullywog
paullywog

i will start playing sept 10th :)

jamyskis
jamyskis

Good move and good foresight on the part of WBIE. As APB has shown, the pay-to-play model is dying a slow death. The only game where it's really viable these days is WoW, and that's only because of the sheer size of the user base.

Dan21278
Dan21278

I bet triple the amount of people will be playing after this. There is really no point in charging for an MMO. Shame they didn't figure this out earlier.

NerdusMaximus
NerdusMaximus

@UnknownSniper65 Actually, lifetime subscribers get all content unlocked, and get a monthly stipend of Turbine Points that they can use or save to buy future expansions. So really, especially if you got lifetime at launch, it's still a good deal.

portal-fan21
portal-fan21

i will try it but guild wars 2 is still no1 in free mmos

monson21502
monson21502

great news. now i will give it a try. after wow and runescape i will not pay to play any mmo

UnknownSniper65
UnknownSniper65

People who bought a lifetime subscription can't be too happy about that.

RE3_UBCS
RE3_UBCS

A lot of side quests will be locked, and abilities too as well as entire expansion areas. Its basically a big free trial.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

MMOs are dying, people are sick of paying monthly to play a game, a type of game that ends up like work. You should get paid to play a MMO, not have to pay. The only hope is SWTOR but I think it will be too little too late (SWG did not work, no sense to think another Star Wars MMO will)