Lord of the Rings Online becomes a free-to-play MMO

MMO fans around the world will be able to play Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) for free after an update this fall. It’s surprising news, considering the popularity of the fantasy MMO. After the update, the game client will be free to download and play. A LOTRO Store will also be added. According to the announcement, it will be “loaded with thousands of convenience items as well as expansion packs, premium content, additional character slots, potions, character customizations and more.” Items will be available for purchase with points that can be purchased or earned through playing the game.

There will also be an option to become a LOTRO VIP member, which will grant access to “premium content” in addition to giving you priority on server access, extra character slots, and a monthly allotment of points that can be used at the LOTRO store.

Above: Players interested in the beta for the free-to-play update should head to The beta is scheduled to begin on June 16

It sounds like Turbine and Codemasters are opting for a mix of pricing structures common in many other free-to-play MMOs. The “velvet rope” option will require players to pay for access that “premium content” via the LOTRO Store or a LOTRO VIP membership, and the LOTRO Store itself sounds like a typical micro-transaction system.

Above: Dwarves drink ale and Hobbits eat pies. LOTRO is a beautiful place

We’re used to seeing such radical transitions in pricing schemes with premium MMOs that received mediocre reviews – not with popular high-end games, like LOTRO, so this announcement comes as a surprise. We’re also left wondering how longtime LOTRO players feel about the radical change that’s in store for their virtual world this fall.

Jun 4, 2010

Can MMOs save PC gaming?
Lord of the Rings Online developers pop the MMO bubble myth

How to be a Lute Hero
Learn how to upgrade your Dwarf’s musicality with a Guitar Hero axe in Lord of the Rings Online


  • FunkyDarkKnight - June 5, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    Hey, cctvlin: THIS IS NOT FOR ADVERTISING. Now onto a serious comment, I'll gove this a go considering I play WOW but if it's not up to scratch then I won't bother. P.S. The weird glitchy thing that I poste about in the 10 greatist gaming april fools thing applies here aswell. Why isn't it solved yet? Plus once again, this is one of the only articles that let me type something. Also when i try to sign in on other computers the Sign In button doesn't work. :( Please TRY to fix it.
  • frmonth - June 5, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    Been thinking about getting this for a long time but held of because of incoming exams now that it's going free to play I'm even more encoruaged although I never pay for microtransactions. As long as they don't lock off existing content for the microtransaction store then I think I will be happy and also appently you can pay for a VIP membership in a one off payment which sounds good to me.
  • Hexar - June 5, 2010 7 a.m.

    I've got seriously mixed feelings here. No more than two days ago I re-upped my account (for three months no less) with 4 other friends. I really wonder where it's going to leave the paying members. I prefer to pay the monthly fee and know that I'm getting as much content as the developer's deem necessary, not how much I'm willing to shell out. Might have just killed it for me here Turbine.
  • michaelmcc827 - June 5, 2010 1:19 a.m.

  • grappler51 - June 4, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    sounds like LOTR online is copying DDO. Though I guess they are both made by turbine. I might try this out when it comes out,but I've never been that big a fan of MMORPGS
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - June 4, 2010 9:26 p.m.

    For the most part it sounds pretty nice, though with 'premium content' would that hold people back from potential dungeons/raids? If you're held back from some of the fun stuff (new dungeons/raids) then it might be a little difficult to get into it (without paying of course).
  • AnonymouZ - June 4, 2010 9:10 p.m.

    db you son of a bitch, you always type my words out of my keyboard. though, i was actually gonna say something like: dude... this looks like oblivion, but for the ps2, yuck! tho... if it's for free...naw, who am i kidding. after aion, who'd want to play THAT? if i want to go back in graphics i'd choose tibia over this.
  • yonderTheGreat - June 4, 2010 7:58 p.m.

    I've actually been resisting using this as my return to MMO's (still burnt from SWG). This might push me over the edge. Or... can I hold out until LEGO Universe?!?!?!
  • db1331 - June 4, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    I can't wait to continue not playing this.

Showing 1-10 of 10 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000