Tag Archives: lifetime

Turbine announces LOTRO going Free to Play

Ironically we were just having this discussion over on Mordor of Bust but Turbine made it official today with the official announcement that they’re adopting the same pay model as they recently implemented with Dungeons and Dragons Online.  Needless to say, twitter has just exploded today with all sorts of discussions and comments.

I’m still a bit conflicted about it, but so far I’m leaning more to the positive side but more on my thoughts later, I’m just going to make this a news and summary post.

I’d suggest reading the new LOTRO Executive Producer’s post on this subject as she not only explains her background and some of the goals but also gives us a few teasers as well.  This will be launched this fall with the second book of Volume 3.  Towards the end of the year into 2011 there will be enhancements to the Legendary Item system, radiance, DX11 support, and Monster play.  Now interesting enough, she does break out Item advancement as a second mention so possibly there’s something else in the works too, but we’ll have to wait and see.  She also hypes the beta signup which existing subscribers are already opted in to the chance to be selected but signing up again will boost your chances.  This obviously answers my concerns over the Isengard program, as they’ve been building all this new stuff for the F2P switch.

Now on to the meat, there are 3 different account Tiers, free, premium, and VIP.  All current subscribers are automatically given VIP status so that’s a nice perk.  For a pretty good chart on the explanation of the differences check out this link. One thing that Patience has already confirmed is that if you already have 7 character slots unlocked you will not lose those, these charts are just assuming you have the core Shadows of Angmar game not the expansions which unlock new slots, classes, and the higher level cap.  For the most part, I like the way they’ve broken things out and I really like the fact that things like storage slots, shared bank slots, and the new cosmetic wardrobe are all purchasable.  For all of us starved for slots, this is awesome as the wardrobe is 20 slots, shared storage is expandable to 50 (currently 20), and I’m assuming you can buy additional bank slots too.  Tons of information in the FAQ although most of it concerns what happens when you swap between Tiers.

For those of you (like me) that are Lifetime Founders there are some additional bonuses.  Lifetimers are automatically VIPs and get the 500 Turbine points for free ever month (just like if we were paying a subscription fee) but also get additional bonus points for being a Founder as well as veteran reward points for a total initial bonus of up to 3500 Turbine Points.  In addition, since it appears that the expansion packs are now part of the store it is possible that you’ll be able to buy those with Turbine Points such that you could save up and not have to spend actual cash if you didn’t want to.

One other point that’s mentioned in the chart but not really expanded is how players earn Turbine points through gameplay.  This will really drive how free it really will be to play as the chart shows that free players only have access to the 3 starter areas (Erid Luin, the Shire, and Bree) so there’s no way they can even approach the level cap.  But if through normal game play you can earn enough points to buy the other zones, everyone should be fine.  You’ll still need to buy the expansion packs, but in theory you can now use your in-game points as opposed to actual cash.

A couple of points I picked out:

  • Max characters per server is now 11
  • It looks like for the most part, downgrading account Tier means you can’t get new stuff but the old perks you had are still available.
  • Monster play is restricted to VIP level only
  • Quest regions are broken out per Tier, VIPs have full access others need to buy the packs
  • Limits on Gold and Inventory bags for the 2 lower tier accounts
  • Rested XP only available for VIPs
  • Can’t spend Destiny points unless you’re a VIP, but you can earn them at any tier.
  • Trait slotting is limited on 2 lower tier accounts
  • Points cannot be transferred between LOTRO and DDO

I’m going to reserve my thoughts on this for a little bit to let this all sink in, but wanted to get a quick summary out there.

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Interesting price announcements for MMOs

So I was going through my normal morning news and stumbled upon a couple of tidbits today.

First up, Age of Conan has announced a new pricing plan for multi-month subscriptions.  For 3 month plans they’re offering a 20% discount, 6-month yields a 30% discount, and 12 month results in a whopping 45% discount.  In addition, these months will apply immediately towards the new “veteran points” system they’re releasing.  They didn’t go into too much detail, but it seems like if you’ve subscribed for 6 months already and switch to a year plan, you’ll have 18 months worth of veteran points (more details on what those points can be used for was mentioned will be released later).  Full article is here.

I’m not real sure what it means for Funcom and AoC but I don’t think it is a good thing – it would appear that people are leaving the game and they’re trying to do whatever they can to entice folks to stick around and pay up-front.  If I were playing AoC (it didn’t grab me enough to dump LOTRO and I’m trying to limit myself to one MMO sub) I’ll admit it would be hard to pass up on the multi-month for the discount you get but I certainly would be on the look-out for something else down the line as this could be the white flag of surrender.

Now the non-sky is falling thought is that they’re just trying to bring their cash-flow a little more up-front in the same way that LOTRO is with their Siege of Mirkwood expansion pricing.  I haven’t been following AoC too closely so maybe it is doing just as well as LOTRO and they just want to bring a little more cash up front to help out with some near term development tasks they want to ramp up or something.

Either way, if you’re a Conan player I would certainly check out the new options as a way to save some cash.

Now the other piece of news comes from Global Agenda, which is an up-coming Sci-fi MMO first person shooter.  Again, this is another one that I’m not following too closely but I found it interesting as it seems like they’re offering an MMO-lite version for just the regular game box price, but then a subscription model on top of that if you want a more typical MMO experience.  Here’s the article over on MMORPG.com.

I think this is a pretty smart move for an FPS as some folks will just want to play a regular shooter, but it opens the game up for more epic style battles if folks want that and are willing to pay for it.  Plus the subscription does offer the growth options that one would expect from an MMO.  Now, I think the tricky part is how an FPS twitch based game will work as an MMO considering lag – I mean I have enough issues sometimes with LOTRO when I’m on a bad connection, I can’t imagine something like an FPS!  Especially when you consider most FPS players expect a pretty high level graphics engine and smooth gameplay.

Overall, I like the fact that gaming companies are trying to change things up a bit – it is not just the $15/month subscription offerings we’ve seen in the past.  I can only hope that more will follow turbine’s lead and offer lifetime subscriptions (I’m talking to you Bioware for The Old Republic).