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LOTRO Becomes Free to Play, But at What Cost?

June 4, 2010

I found out through Twitter, Ark’s Ark, and Massively that LOTRO is going free to play in the Fall.

I find it to be an interesting move, but I still wonder what it’s going to cost to restructure the game into a F2P sort of deal in terms of manpower and whatnot.

Let’s look at this from a couple of different viewpoints:

1. We have no idea how they’re going to structure their content in order to make it F2P. Presumably, expansions will cost Turbine LOTRO Points (Turbine DDO Points are a separate pool), and there’s a good chance that certain content updates or sideways upgrades to the game will cost Turbine DDO points.  So Cosmetic/Housing stuff + Exp Potions and stat boosters for sale would be ideal.  Add to that maybe additional bag space, special mounts, and character slots and that’s a lot of options without compromising the game’s overall theme.

2. There ought to be an influx of new gamers giving LOTRO a try from AROUND THE WORLD: I’m assuming their servers can handle it, but it’s still a valid point to think about.

3. This feels pretty much like a Warner Bros. move and not a Turbine move: To wit, I don’t think LOTRO was doing badly at all (I could be mistaken though), so to perform a seemingly drastic change like this can either end badly or end really well. Is Warner gambling with Turbine?

4. Will they lessen the people working at Turbine if this fails? —> This is my biggest concern. I want Turbine to succeed as a company, but I get the distinct mental image of a guy in a suit in a stockholders’ meeting saying: “Harumph Harumph… I know nothing about the MMO business, but I heard so much buzz about Allods Online when it came out that maybe we should do this free to play thing in our other game harumph harumph.”

If this plan of action fails, it’s going to be the people at Turbine who are going to lose jobs, and I sure as hell don’t want that.

5. It’s a brave new world out there.

More info and thoughts on the matter can be found on Doc Holiday’s LOTRO blog.

UPDATE: Ark’s linked post above now has an awesome table summarizing most of the salient points of what you can and can’t do as a player. It should be one of the LOTRO websites, but hell, I can’t open the webpages now for some reason. Check it out.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 22:55

    3 Words

    Will not fail

    This is the new way. Studies have shown more people will try a game that is free, and a lot will stick it out. Imagine it as free advertising for the game.

    I am personally an LOTRO hater (the biggest…especially when the Community Manager even knows who I am, and deletes me from all “Free Returns”…lol), but this makes Turbine a winner in my book.

    cheers

    • victorstillwater permalink*
      June 4, 2010 23:02

      Well, I’m hopeful too, though I’m looking at Ark’s updated post (now with a table) and I’m thinking, “Man, it sucks to be a free player.”

      Still, I hope things change and they make the content accessible without having to pay A load of cash for Turbine points.

  2. June 5, 2010 02:37

    I don’t think it will fail either, I agree with openedge in that this seems to be the new way to go. The success of DDO probably led them to make this change with LOTRO, with the hopes that it will bring in more revenue. Did WB have anything to do with this? It actually didn’t occur to me initially, but I guess yeah, I guess it would be naive to assume the parent company would have had no impact on this decision.

    • victorstillwater permalink*
      June 5, 2010 07:54

      I certainly hope it works out well for both Turbine and players. :) Hopefully their beta test will shed more light on it.

      Besides, if Keen says that LOTRO was destroyed by this act, then it must be a good thing.

  3. June 5, 2010 03:40

    i wonder who had more subscribers, Lotro or Warhammer… wonder if WAR will go the same way.. (probably not b/c its Mythic and EA)

    • victorstillwater permalink*
      June 5, 2010 07:55

      You can always ask OpenEdge through his Xfire game. :)

Trackbacks

  1. Town Hall: The Community Weighs In On F2P LOTRO « Bio Break
  2. Change Happens, and We Must Accept It « Games and Geekery

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