Lotro Going Free to Play in Fall

from: http://www.lotro.com/news/709

Today is an important day for LOTRO: we’ve announced that this fall, LOTRO will begin offering a Free-to-Play option! Players will be able to download the game and adventure in Middle-earth for free. With Free-to-Play comes the addition of the LOTRO Store, where players will have immediate in-game access to a wide variety of special items, account services, and convenience items.

The best part is – as existing subscribers you’re automatically enrolled in our VIP program! As a VIP you’ll continue to get unlimited access to the game and all of the content you already enjoy, in addition to some extra perks! We know you’re curious how all of this will work and what it all means for you personally, so here are some handy links to all of the details:

  • Official LOTRO Free-to-Play Press Release
  • A letter from Kate Paiz, Executive Producer LOTRO
  • FAQ
  • VIP Chart
Still have questions? Here’s a quick FAQ about the key points of LOTRO Free-to-Play:

Is this the same model you used with DDO?

It’s very similar in a large number of ways. The basic structure is the same with some changes made to support LOTRO’s different game world and wide-open environment. Customer levels, the LOTRO Store, and other aspects of LOTRO Free-to-Play are all very similar to those of Dungeons and Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™.

I already subscribe to LOTRO. Is there any benefit to staying a subscriber?

Of course! Once the game goes live you’ll keep all your current privileges, and also accrue 500 free Turbine Points per month to spend as you wish. We also have a set of Loyalty Reward Special Offers just for our veteran players – as long as you maintain your subscription in good standing you may be eligible for up to 3,000 points. If you stay active over the summer you will also earn an additional bonus of 500 Turbine Points per month until launch! For more details see the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

I have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO. What will Free-to-Play mean for me?

As a lifetime subscriber to LOTRO, you will keep all of your membership privileges and are automatically upgraded to VIP status. You will receive 500 Free Turbine Points every month like the other VIPs, but you do not have to pay a monthly fee since you are a lifetime member. All you have to do is keep playing the game and visit the LOTRO Store to spend your free Turbine Points. Lifetime members may also qualify for a special one-time Loyalty Reward of 1,000 Turbine Points. See the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

I am a LOTRO Founder. What will Free-to-Play mean for me?

As a LOTRO Founder, you automatically become a VIP and will keep all of your membership privileges as long as you pay your monthly fee. You will automatically receive 500 Free Turbine Points every month and you can spend them at your leisure in the LOTRO Store. Founding members may also qualify for a special one-time Loyalty Reward of 500 Turbine Points. See the Loyalty Reward Special Offer Terms & Conditions for full details.

Will there be a Free-to-Play Beta and when will it start?

Yes! The Beta will start in the very near future. We’ll begin accepting signups immediately at www.lotro.com/betasignup!

I’m a new or returning player. How do I sign up for Beta?

Start by registering at www.lotro.com/betasignup. We’ll select entrants from that list once beta starts.

I’m an existing customer. How do I sign up for the Beta?

Existing subscribers do not need to register to apply for the beta – we’ll randomly invite subscribers who have been active in the last 30 days and have an account in good standing throughout the beta. If you wish to register at www.lotro.com/betasignup that will count as an extra entry and may increase your chance of being selected for participation.

Is there any way to increase my chance of getting into the beta?

Sure! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook! We’ll give out special beta entry codes to our fans via social media - so give yourself the best chance of getting in and make sure to keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates.

Are we under NDA during the beta?

Yes. What happens in beta stays in beta! Once you receive your invitation and apply your beta key to your account, you will have access to the private beta forums. This is the only place to discuss anything you see or do in beta. Remember, the first rule of beta is you do not talk about beta!

What can I still talk about on the public forums?

Our NDA specifies that no materials related to the beta (including updates, gameplay or user interface) may be discussed or posted without Turbine's express permission. The NDA remains in effect whether you remain in the program, or the program ends.

When does LOTRO F2P go live?

Free-to-Play will go live when Volume 3, Book 2 releases this fall.

Is Free-to-Play the only thing to look forward to for Volume 3, Book2?

No! Volume 3, Book 2 will continue the Volume 3 Epic Story as the Rangers head south. An all new area, Enedwaith, will be available as well as some exciting new features and many updates to the game including DX11 support! We’ll have more information about Volume 3, Book 2 as we approach launch. Keep an eye out for Developer Diaries and other information throughout the summer!

I still have questions. Where can I ask them?

If you still have questions after reading the full FAQ, please use the LOTRO Free-to-Play discussion forum for questions and comments!

We’re very excited about LOTRO’s move to Free-to-Play and we can’t wait for you to see all the incredible changes the team has already made to the game. Make sure you read Executive Producer Kate Paiz’s letter to the community for some great information on where LOTRO is going!

Announcement Links:

Official Press Release:
http://turbine.com/news/105-warner-bros-interactive-entertainment-announces-the-lord-of-the-rings-online-to-adopt-global-free-to-play-model.html

A letter from Kate Paiz executive producer
http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=335117

F2P Lotro FAQ's
http://www.lotro.com/news/709

ViP vs Premium vs Free players benefits/features chart
http://www.lotro.com/news/709

Loyalty Rewards Special offers and conditions

http://www.lotro.com/support/policies/loyaltyreward

F2P-Lotro beta sign up

http://www.lotro.com/betasignup/

More chances to become a beta player can be had by using:

http://twitter.com/LOTRO

http://www.facebook.com/LOTRO



I am fairly stunned the max limit is 50 so we lose 15 levels, and there is a gold limit of _5_? unless you are a ViP member???

but haven't read through the discussion pages yet, will report anything new as comments....

new forum area: http://forums.lotro.com/forumdisplay.php?f=459

11 Responses to Lotro Going Free to Play in Fall

  1. TomRiddle says:

    http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/45/feature/4292/page/1
    from: http://forums.lotro.com/showthread.php?t=335135

    Eluros compiled this list of questions

    Here we go… I’ll try to keep updated as we find more. Thanks to Sapience for the sticky. Thanks to all contributors, as well! They are cited when possible.

    Version 6.5

    Non-Comprehensive List of Primary Sources:

    Official FAQ
    VIP/Premium/Free Player Chart
    Loyalty Special Rewards Program

    Now, on to the goods…

    ~~~ACCOUNT TIER QUESTIONS~~~
    1. Will I lose character slots if I maintain my paid subscription?

    NO. From the FAQ: “The benefits and features of the Adventurer’s Pack will remain available to you. Whether you are a VIP, Premium player, or Free player, you will get to keep your 2 extra character slots and shared storage bank.” Additionally, Mines of Moria and any other added slots will be maintained. Thanks, Blackadar.

    2. Will I lose characters if I downgrade from premium to unpaid, VIP?

    NO. You will lose access to them, but you can regain access while paying. From the FAQ: “Other previously created characters will be visible but not accessible unless you unlock more character slots.”

    3. Will DDO and LOTRO points combine?

    NO. “Turbine Points are not transferrable, so Turbine Points purchased in the DDO Store cannot be transferred to the LOTRO Store or vice versa.”

    4. What are the “premium classes?”

    From Sapience: Warden and Rune-keeper. Players who did not purchase Moria and want to play these classes from the start can purchase them separately.

    5. Will there be Free-2-Play and Pay-2-Pay servers?

    NO. Tarrance: “There won’t be a server merge, and there won’t be separate free-to-play only servers. All the servers will remain as they are, and the new population will pick from them just as you once did.”

    6. What is the maximum amount of character slots achievable?

    11. From the FAQ: “At any point, you can purchase more character slots in the LOTRO Store, up to 11 character slots per server.”

    7. What is going to happen to those that already own houses?

    Nothing. All account levels can get housing.

    8. If a VIP Subscription goes inactive, do I lose my gold?

    NO. Tarrance said: “If you are a VIP and you downgrade to premium you will not lose any of your gold.”

    9. What happens when a VIP stops paying to subscribe?

    They become a “Premium” member. Tarrance said, if you’ve ever spent money on the game (subscribed or bought Turbine points) you’ll never be downgraded below Premium.

    10. If a player decides to downgrade to a Premium account from VIP, and that player now has only 3 slots available (and chooses to not unlock any more slots) how will that player be able to select those 3 characters?

    They will be allowed to select/pick which three characters you have access to. From the FAQ, you can “…pick the characters you want to play. Your other previously created characters will be visible but not accessible unless you unlock more character slots.”

    11. If a player goes down to Premium for a few months, but then re-sub to VIP, do they keep MoM and SoM, and the adventurers pack benefits?
    YES. You keep ALL benefits you paid for. Source from the FAQ, “The benefits and features of the Adventurer’s Pack will remain available to you. Whether you are a VIP, Premium player, or Free player, you will get to keep your 2 extra character slots and shared storage bank.” As well, “when LOTRO Free-to-Play becomes available you will still be able to access the content and features of any expansions you have previously purchased. Whether you are a VIP or a Premium player, the content and features of these expansions will be available to you in their entirety. If you decide not to join the VIP program or decide to downgrade to Premium player status, the content and features of these expansions will still be available to you. You will still be able to play your Rune-keeper and Warden characters as long as they are in character slots you have selected or have unlocked by visiting the LOTRO Store.”

    12. Do current subscribers lose any benefits if they continue paying?
    NO. Current subscribers “keep what they have.”

    13. How long is a “Play Session” and is it per character or per account?
    All you must do is log into your account. From Marketroid: It’s only a login. Simplest criteria we could establish.

    14. What actions will be taken to ensure that Free Players don’t abuse gold scamming/Real World Trading?
    From the FAQ: Free players can send in-game mail less frequently than Premium players and VIPs. Free players can use in-game chat but cannot send more that one tell every 5 seconds. Free players can bid and buyout auctions in the Auction House but cannot post items. These restrictions can be removed at any time in the LOTRO Store buy purchasing the corresponding items.

    15. Will Turbine honor your current pricing plan in the future?
    YES. Per Marketroid, “The price of your plan remains the same. That subscription plan will simply start to provide VIP benefits once we launch the new release.” Thanks, Belisana, for the help!

    16. If you have 2 subscriptions on 1 account, will points be based on account or subscription?
    Per subscription, according to Sapience.

    17. Will you get credit in the future for months you are subscribed this summer?
    YES. Sapience confirmed the use of a “back pay” system.

    18. Will a VIP-turned-Premium (VIP who stopped paying) lose access to monster characters?
    YES. Access will be restored when they regain their VIP status. From the FAQ: “The monster play feature is reserved as an exclusive feature for VIPs. If you want to play as a monster and join Sauron’s dark forces, you can do it at anytime by upgrading to VIP!”

    19. Can Free/Premium players earn in-game points, and buy anything (including expansions) that VIP members can?
    YES. According to Sapience in this very topic, “There will be ways in game to earn various amounts of Turbine points. In theory, you could never spend a penny in the store but still acquire enough Turbine Points to purchase everything you would want. It would take a great deal of effort, but it would be possible.”

    20. What should Lifetime members do to earn the maximum amount of points until the release of the new Store?
    Log in at least once a month. Lifetime Membership Subscribers must have at least one active play session per month during the Special Offers Eligibility Date.

    21. Will Turbine be offering Lifetime Subscriptions again?
    Sapience has spoken; no plans to offer lifetimes again, at the moment.

    22. Where can I get a “promo code” for the Beta?
    Currently, there are no codes. Go ahead and apply.

    23. Does my beta entry stack with my auto-entry for subscribing to the game?
    YES. If you subscribe to the game and enter via the form, you have two chances at beta.

    24. Will you get retroactive points for gameplay objectives completed now that will give points in the future?
    NO. Rather sad news confirmed by Patience in this thread.

    25. When does Beta start?
    June 16. Thanks to KouklaGirl for the heads up!

    26. What areas and quests can Free Players access?
    They can access all quests in the Shire, Ered Luin, and Breeland. Additionally, they can access all epic quests in Book 1. They can access all Eriador areas, but will have to purchase access to their respective quests. There are several sources, but a consolidated interview is the best.

    ~~~ITEM STORE QUESTIONS~~~

    1. Will I be able to buy epic/raid loot at the item store? Will this diminish the value of raid gear?

    NO. Quote from the FAQ: “While items in the Store are designed to immediately enhance your in-game experience, premium loot and rare gear are the rewards of adventure and are only obtainable through gameplay.”

    2. Can you buy expansions with Turbine Points?
    YES! From Sapience: you can “save them up for a big purchase like an entire expansion or something similar”. So, you can presumably get paid expansions for free if you save up!

    3. Do points ever expire?
    NO.

    4. Do individual characters earn and spend points, or does your account earn and spend them?
    Points are by account, not character. “Turbine Points will be automatically credited into the player’s account and will be made available for use in the LOTRO Free-to-Play Store after the launch of the LOTRO Free-to-Play service”

    5. Will the store be like a pop-up ad?
    NO. Per Sapience, the store “is a UI window much like your character sheet or inventory. Or even more accurately, much like accessing the Lorebook in game. It does not pop up of its own accord.”

    6. Will the item store devalue crafted items?
    NO. Sapience has explicitly stated that this will not occur, and encourages participation in the Beta to further test this.

    ~~~EXPANSION QUESTIONS~~~
    1. Will there be a new landmass in the next update, Volume 3 Book 2?

    YES! Enedwaith is on the way: “We’ve revamped the game’s starting areas, added the new region of Enedwaith, and will continue the journey of the Rangers south in Book 2 of our epic story.”

    2. What areas will content released after Volume 3 Book 2 focus on?

    “Improvements to the Item Advancement / Legendary Items system, to Radiance, and to the monster play system.”

    3. What is the “Wardrobe System”?
    Per Sapience: “Wardrobe is a special storage for your cosmetic items. That way they don’t take up inventory, bank, vault, or housing storage.” Thanks to Unique for the find!

    4. Will the new PvMP changes include something leveling creeps up to 65?
    No, according to a sarcastic post by Frelorn.

    5. When will the next landmass release?
    This fall, according to Sapience.Thanks, Fiat77124, for the info.

    6. Will new servers be added due to the influx of players?
    YES! Patience has confirmed it in this very thread.

    7. What will Enedwaith be like?
    It will be a primarily level 62-65ish zone.

    8. Will the level cap be raised during the next update?
    NO, it will remain at 65.

  2. TomRiddle says:

    Okay about 40 pages read so far

    if you play lotro now everything you have you keep, whether your plan lets you play it is another thing

    I earlier said we lose 15 levels as the charts shown in the first post have level 50 as the highest level

    doh! level 50 is also the highest level you can play in lotro!

    WITHOUT purchasing Mom to reach 60, and purchasing SoM to reach 65

    okay it seems almost everyone playing now will be at least premium, to play Pvmp you need vip

    A lot has been mentioned (in my recent reading) that turbine was the first NA game maker to go f2p with DDO here is a link to what DDO’s store has and what amount of tokens the items are which might give SOME idea of what thecoming lotro scheme will be:

    http://compendium.ddo.com/wiki/DDO_Store_Guide

  3. Spitt says:

    Thank you for posting this, and keeping on top of it.

    My initial thoughts are this is a good thing. It’s shite for the lifetime members, especially those who bought the lifetime recently – however points every month, could make up for some of it. I would also expect an explosion in the amount of players you see in the game, once it’s public play. So all your complaints about not having a lot of players out there, will be null soon.

    Additionally, I would expect an explosion in powerleveling and gold farming again. Unfortunately I suppose, you will also see increased gold spamming. I remember asking a while ago, if my leveling company should expand into lotro, and being told that no, it’s not a good idea. Also that all the gold farmers left the game, since there were no buyers. Thats about to change.

    I did notice a couple things which I expect that gold farmers are going to take advantage of. If you make any purchase in the store, then your account becomes premium, even if you never purchase again. With premium, you can sell on the AH, but free basic users, cannot. It makes sense that gold farmers will use free accounts, to accrue items, and then transfer items to a premium account, where they can then make gold off the AH.

    Overall, I think this was a smart move by WB, but I still wonder why they haven’t done something similar with Asheron’s Call.

    I also wonder if this was their big announcement that you had mentioned might be coming on at E3 (http://mmoexploiters.com/guides-strategies/lotro-a-look-ahead/), or if they have something else they plan to bring up as well.

  4. TomRiddle says:

    the big announcement will most likely be Harry Potter Online

    even if the new “kids” (most fears in the forums is that the new players will be the unruly types that drove them away from their previous game TO lotro) do try the game the gold cap limits on the free, premium (3g, 5g) accounts will negate the need for gold selling, plus everything really useful in game is _mostly_ bought with unsellable barter items so there will not be much demand for gold, powerleveling is a maybe but the game is so simple that you cant, not level quickly…

    the only plus is those that are strapped for storage should be able to create free mule accounts but the mule might have a no trade restriction….

  5. Spitt says:

    I don’t know why WB/Turbine keeps choosing dead end games. SOE did it with the Matrix and SWG, Turbine did it with DDO, there’s a new Marvel superheroes mmo on the way… all these types of games already have limited worlds. Now they want to add Harry Potter to the list. Not well thought out.

    Nah, they won’t make a free2play system, where you can’t trade, then they would shoot themselves in the foot on trying to make a viable free2play, with players wanting to come to the game.

    However a tip for premium/vip is that because they can’t use the AH, full members might be able to sell their services. Services could be buying products for 1/2-2/3 the going AH price and relisting, or selling items on commission.

    I have to say though, a gold limit that low is gay. To that effect, it makes sense to buy items with gold, on items that rarely go down in value, but are priced high enough that it will be a good bank item. That’s not to say that all games are not created equal, WoW even has a gold limit, but it’s 330k per character, which makes a maximum of about 3.3 million per account.

    I kinda feel sorry for the people who buy LOTRO subscription cards now, and resell them. I wonder if any of them will be able to get refunds, lol. I also wonder what the people who do have them, will be able to do with them, once the game goes free to play, will they automatically get something like 1000 points each time they use them, or another benefit as well… I guess we will see…

  6. TomRiddle says:

    A Harry Potter game would be fantastic except for:

    a) Turbine/WB is developing it
    b) should have been out there around the order of phoenix’s movie release when the frenzy for harry was a bit higher, look at the millions who play wizard 101…

    back to lotro

    As I understand it, you can walk all the way to the gates of Moria as a free player. The landscape is open to you, it’s the quests that would need to be unlocked with points.
    from: http://forums.lotro.com/showpost.php?p=4695617&postcount=3

    Free players can join kinships, but not start them
    from: http://forums.lotro.com/showpost.php?p=4696948&postcount=6

    Transfers have to be done manually (which is why there’s a fee and a waiting list). So unfortunately we won’t be offering free transfers.
    from: http://forums.lotro.com/showpost.php?p=4696977&postcount=3

  7. TomRiddle says:

    There is a survey at: http://www.esurveyspro.com/Survey.aspx?id=03d68c93-a7bf-48f1-a280-14a11ff3fe89 password = lotro which according to ->

    Patience’s Avatar
    Patience Patience is online now
    Senior Manager, Community Relations
    It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.
    Turbine, Inc.

    Join Date: Jan 2005
    Location: Westwood, MA
    Posts: 3,113
    Patience the Watcher of Roads

    Re: BE HEARD: Take a poll of what you want in the F2P store
    This is feedback we’ll be looking at pretty hard during beta. So make sure you’re signed up

    <- will be looked at, but no questions about rad gear, which of course is the only thing I would even consider buying...

  8. Spitt says:

    well, as per rad gear, they might release gear that looks rad, but has no actual stats on it. This is the standard for gear sold, to not give an actual perceived leg up on the other players, by purchasing items. However there may very well be gear which gives a distinct advantage by purchasing it.

    In WoW, they released a fast flying mount, which also worked as a ground mount. This item could be bought for $25, and was good on any character on the account. The significant value was actually in the savings. Per server a player could have this mount up to 10 times (10 characters), and would save the player upwards of 10k in gold. At a retail value of around $5 per k, that was a savings of $50.

    In RoM, they sell chests to hold items in your “apartment”. Instead of having just the one chest, it allows the player to hold more items, which cannot otherwise be held on the characters. The advantage should be obvious. At first, you could only buy the items for diamonds, and the diamonds could not be traded, they were available in the shop. This gave the buyer of the diamonds an advantage. Now however, players can trade diamonds to others, so there is no longer the perceived advantage.

    In Evony, someone who buys points in the store, can actually have a distinct advantage, not one which is simply perceived. The buyer can level his or her buildings above level 9. In Evony, players are given the right to build 1 level 10 building, unless paid for. Normal players thus have a choice to build a level 10 town hall, which in turn gives them more access to producing resources or they can build a level 10 barracks, which gives them the right to build catapults. Those who buy can conceivably have both. However the true advantage comes in, when a player decides to build many level 10 buildings, these players can dominate attacks on rival cities, and build their catapults more quickly.

    In some emulators, products are sold which give huge advantages, like packs which hold 40+ items (versus 22), weapons which deal superior damage (1 hit kill), armor which can allow a player to take damage from all mobs with hardly a scratch to their HP.

    Unfortunately, not all game stores are created equal, but the difference in a perceived versus distinct advantage can be crucial. If the producers are truly for equality, they will make a perceived advantage, their only items available in the store. To do anything else will usually alienate any other player in the game, and drive down possible sales.

  9. TomRiddle says:

    One last thought on the coming free to play

    Lotro has had an almost constant 10 to 14 day free trial period so getting a chance to TRY the game was never a problem

    So the question is billing…. and the F2P looks like you can pay as you go which might FEEL better but add up to more than a subscription for say three months might be…

    It has been mentioned that the entire SoA world plus the first volume of the (so called) epic book quest line will be free but the quest hubs outside the three beginning areas, will not be free.

    so if you level real slow the pay by the quest hub might be a good value if you do crafting and such you could spend a lot of time without paying anything….

    the troubling thing was when I said in group “I can no longer recommend Lotro to a new player” and everyone reluctantly agreed………….

    I hope the free servers are separate so that the new players can play with other new players who DON’T know whats lurking around the next bend in the road and can experience the fun of discovery without someone on their tenth alt ruining everything or worse being 65 with a bunch of level 10’s on their first group quest but basically relegating them to being luggage..

    already with the quest focus option (or moron mode) new players will never have to suffer through the confusing directions like we did in 2007 so they will not need help, and again I hope they can play and immerse themselves in middle earth…

    one major reason of not being able to recommend Lotro is that the pvp or freep vs creep system is a VIP feature only and that sounds like it will be a big deal but from the get go the devs had said in 2007 that monster play was added last minute (they couldn’t market a game without SOME kind of pvp) and it was designed as sorely a means for freep players to garner destiny points, with the creep players making this a not easy task. But if you were tricky at the beginning (April 2007) ( a creep player can start when of their pve chars hits level 10, a freep char has to start at minimum level 40) you could have earned as many destiny points as you wanted before the first players reached level 40, this trick would work again if the f2p players start on new servers…….

    so one of the major benefits of being a VIP member is to monster play but it is about one the most criticized parts of the game but read the forums; but be advised that the forums have been “pruned” 3 or 4 times now since launch (and REALLY negative posts often disappear)

  10. TomRiddle says:

    If you are wanting beta a little more info just was posted.

    from: http://forums.lotro.com/showpost.php?p=4719223&postcount=72

    quote

    Re: beta invites?
    OK everyone needs to back it down a notch. Here are some things to consider.

    New players in Beta bring a different view to the game. As they’ll be placed in the group testing the new “free” customer level, only they can test it. They’re also the only group that can test the new lower level areas and not have an “I liked it better the other way” bias.

    Returning players will be testing the Premium customer level. These players will help us verify that those things they should be getting as a Premium member, they are actually getting. They may be able to note things that have changed that are more or less intuitive than they remember.

    Existing players will, obviously, be testing the VIP levels of the customer model as well as the new content at the higher levels. They can also log into Live and compare and contrast and provide direct feedback on that level as well.

    All three of those tests are equally important.

    end of quote

    So they are recruiting three types and personally I would have rather seen the starter areas but cannot….

  11. TomRiddle says:

    Lunatuna at mmorsel sure can distill information and write succinctly 🙂

    the new post: http://lotro.mmorsel.com/2010/07/how-free-is-free.html really sums up the ftp better than the charts or anything else I’ve read and even had a new thought I hadn’t considered before (doh me)

    With 11 servers a free player who is limited to one player per account, CAN play all 7 free classes (no wardens or rk’s) and if you find a total favorite even re-do that class a different gender or race with the other 4 servers available…..

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