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Lord of the Rings Online adopts free-to-play model

Success of Dungeons and Dragons Online prompts Turbine and Warner to offer new pricing this autumn

Warner Bros and Turbine have said that the massively multiplayer online title Lord of the Rings Online is to become a free-to-play game this autumn.

Turbine's other MMO, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, adopted a free-to-play model in September 2009, with the company claiming revenues shot up 500 per cent as a result.

Warner bought Turbine earlier this year for an estimated $160 million as it moved into the MMO market, stressing at the time the attraction of the developers proprietry digital publishing and commerce technology.

"Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited was the world’s first truly premium free-to-play online game that ushered in a new era of choice for online gamers seeking quality entertainment," commented Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine.

"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 Lord of the Rings Online will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans."

The game, which is managed in Europe by Codemasters, will charge users for expansions, quest packs, items and account services from the new LOTRO Store, as well as offering a VIP program for unlimited access to all of the game's content for one price. A beta will begin on June 16.

"Having successfully taken two titles free-to-play in the past we are very pleased to be doing the same with The Lord of the Rings Online in Europe," said David Solari, general manager of Codemasters Online. 

"It's a fantastic, award-winning game with a wonderfully realised world and this step will only broaden its appeal and increase its player base."

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Latest comments (4)

Jakub Reginia11 years ago
Wow. Official forums gone wild! Lotro is a great game and if that will make it survive on the market, let it be. Pity that poeple will have to wait so long now for new areas to explore, since most of Turbine team will work on the f2p beta.
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Private Industry 11 years ago
Sounds like a good idea to have a look at the game without the pressure of having to do that in a specific amount of days.
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Kieran MacGough Studying Computer Games Design & Programming, Staffordshire University11 years ago
I wonder what other game that's coming out soon that's staying Pay to Play?? Oh yeah, Cataclysm! I think this is the main reason for making it free, considering most people don't play WoW for the steep monthly fees. Good call on Turbine's part in my opinion.
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Marten Tonissoo Programmer 11 years ago
As a long LotrO vetaran I am looking forward to F2P in LotrO. I have lifetime and 2 accounts and I do hope that LotrO Store brings us some nice things to have. There is always thing that people will not be happy with but you just have to live with it.

In long run if they see the popularity increase they expect it could increase the content and "fluff" we get so here is hoping for the best :)
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