Today publisher Warner Bros. and developer Turbine announced that their literary MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online will follow in the footsteps of fellow Turbine title Dungeons & Dragons Online by shifting to a free-to-play model this fall. While the basic game will be free, gamers looking for “[e]xpansions, quest packs, items, and account services” will either have to earn them though in-game points or pony up some cash via microtransactions.
Gamers will still be able to subscribe to “VIP” accounts that grant them access to all premium content, however, Warner Bros. has yet to announce the price for these subscriptions. This “VIP” subscription model mirrors Dungeons & Dragons Online‘s, which seems to have been quite the success considering Turbine reported a 40% rise in subscriptions following the free-to-play switch.
Turbine CEO Jim Crowley stated: “The popularity of DDO validated the extraordinary demand by gamers for quality entertainment they can experience at their own pace and within their budget. Extending free-to-play to LOTRO will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans.”
Gamers who are interested in jumping on this revamped title can sing up for a closed beta test, which starts on June 16.
As someone who has never really gotten into MMORPGs, I’m pretty excited for this. Being a broke college student I just don’t have the cash to pay for a game month after month. Now that LOTRO is becoming free, I’ll finally get a chance to explore Middle Earth outside of my imagination.
What do you guys think? Will you be hopping on LOTRO once it becomes free? Do you think what worked for DDO will work here?