I know I said I was leaving, but this news is too big not to post. Press release below, if you’re interested.
How do you think free-to-play LOTRO will work out? I’m not so sure it’s a good idea. One of the things that makes free-to-play DDO work is that quests all have multiple difficulties, which means you can repeat single quests over and over again. If you don’t repeat quests, you’re more or less forced to pay if you want to reach much above level 4 — once you get to that point, you’ll find that leveling becomes difficult as a free player, as so much of the game is locked behind a pay wall. Without repeatable quests, LOTRO will struggle to emulate the DDO model.
Further, LOTRO’s strength has been its community, and I really question the effect this will have on our current community.
Let me know what you think. Click that comments link and post.
Update: The e-mail I received from Turbine’s PR agency notes that LOTRO f2p will be playable at E3. While I’m not attending, I’ll try to get information for you from the Vault folks who are.]
WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™
TO ADOPT GLOBAL FREE-TO-PLAY MODEL
Turbine’s Award-winning Online Game Will Be Free-to-Play Worldwide This Fall
BURBANK, CA – June 3, 2010 – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced today that Turbine, Inc. will unveil a major update this fall, making The Lord of the Rings Online™ (LOTRO) free-to-play for everyone. Extending its award-winning story, LOTRO delivers the ultimate adventure featuring a massive world with state-of-the-art graphics and gameplay, and a rich set of features that until now could only be found in premium subscription-based online games.
Launching this fall across North America and Europe, with Codemasters operating the game free-to-play in Europe, LOTRO will introduce Turbine’s innovative new pricing model that allows players to download the game and play for free, purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new LOTRO Store, or join the VIP program to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content for one low price. Players interested in getting a sneak peek of the new LOTRO can sign up for a chance to participate in the Beta program which begins June 16, 2010 at http://www.lotro.com.
“Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is bringing quality games based on The Lord of the Rings to multiple platforms, and the franchise’s expansive adventure story lends itself perfectly for LOTRO free-to-play, giving a wide range of players the opportunity to experience the game,” said Jeff Junge, Senior Vice President Online Games and Digital Games Platforms, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “We are focused on expanding our game franchises onto new digital platforms to maximize quality experiences for gamers worldwide and LOTRO’s new model is a great leading example of this.”
“Turbine’s 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,” said 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 LOTRO will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans.”
“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, Vice President and General Manager of Codemasters Online. “It’s a fantastic, award-winning game with a wonderfully realized world and this step will only broaden its appeal and increase its player base.”
LOTRO will offer players unlimited choice!
Free means Free! – Players will download LOTRO by visiting www.lotro.com and join with millions of other adventurers as they explore the most complete and authentic recreation of Middle-earth ever created and participate in LOTRO’s award-winning epic story up to level 50 for free.
Visit the new LOTRO Store! — The LOTRO Store is loaded with thousands of convenience items as well as expansion packs, premium content, additional character slots, potions, character customization and more! The LOTRO Store is seamlessly integrated into the game and lets the player identify new and exciting ways to enhance and customize their experience using points which can be purchased in the store or earned through gameplay.
Be a LOTRO VIP! – Players who elect to become a LOTRO VIP will have unlimited access to all premium content, receive priority server access, 5 character slots, a shared bank slot, and a monthly allotment of points to spend in the new LOTRO Store.
The Lord of the Rings Online is the ultimate adventure. This award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game delivers an interactive experience brimming with life and filled with the familiar people, places and monsters from the most famous fantasy of all time. From the picturesque surroundings of the Shire to Moria, the most fearsome underground realm ever imagined, players will soon experience the world of Middle-earth for free! For more information, visit www.lotro.com.
Turbine, Inc. is a premier creator and operator of massive, persistent online worlds that foster powerful social gaming communities. Turbine is wholly owned by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and has created some of the world’s most popular and award-winning online games, including The Lord of the Rings Online™, Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™, and Asheron’s Call®. For more information on Turbine, its products and services please visit www.turbine.com.
About Middle-earth Enterprises
The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises f/k/a Tolkien Enterprises (SZC), is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising, and other rights in the literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. SZC has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on the Tolkien works for more than 30 years. Its headquarters are located in Berkeley, California and its Middle-earth Enterprises website may be found at www.middleearth.com.
Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience across multiple gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae DiRT, Race Driver GRID, Overlord and Operation Flashpoint; the company recently secured the exclusive worldwide video game rights to FORMULA 1. Codemasters is headquartered in Warwickshire UK, with North American operations based in Universal City, California. The company also maintains operations in Germany, France, Spain, Benelux and Malaysia. Codemasters receives over two million visitors to its web site every month, discover why at www.codemasters.com.
About Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, is a premier worldwide publisher, developer, licensor and distributor of entertainment content for the interactive space across all current and future platforms, including console, handheld and PC-based gaming for both internal and third party game titles.
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THE LORD OF THE RINGS ONLINE™ interactive video game © 2010 Turbine, Inc. and patents pending. All rights reserved. Middle-earth Poster Map © 2007 The Saul Zaentz Company, d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises f/k/a Tolkien Enterprises (SZC), under license to Turbine, Inc. All rights reserved. “The Lord of the Rings Online”, “Siege of Mirkwood”, Middle-earth Enterprises logo, “The Lord of the Rings” and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SZC under license to Turbine, Inc. Turbine and the Turbine logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Turbine, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.