LOTRO Becomes Free to Play, But at What Cost?
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.