Lord of the Rings Online goes free-to-play

The wonders of Middle-earth can now be accessed for free. Following in the footsteps of its fantasy MMO predecessor Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, developer Turbine Entertainment has opened the gates to Lord of the Rings Online, offering a free-to-play option.

Potential players can download the client from the game's official website and get started at zero cost. The free-to-play option allows gamers to level up to level 50 for free in the most basic way available, while they may visit the new LOTRO Store to purchase expansions, quest packs, items, and account services piecemeal. Existing paid subscribers will automatically be enrolled into the new VIP program, providing unlimited access to all of the game's premium offerings.

The update to the Tolkien-based RPG includes the latest book, The Ride of the Grey Company.

"Having sworn to protect the heirs of Isildur, the Dúnedain responded with all haste to the urgent message from Elrond.  Players will join the newly-formed Grey Company in Rivendell as they depart on their journey far from the relative safety of that hidden valley into the new region of Enedwaith.  Book 2 consists of fifteen solo-able chapters full of exploration, exciting combat and a healthy dose of mystery."

A new edition of the seasonal event, The Return of the Harvest Festival, is also featured in the update. The latest edition of the game extends the epic storyline and expands the world into Enedwaith.

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36 Comments

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People who don't like it are the kiddie console lovers. They never like anything on a PC. WOW fanboys also will trash it because it doesn't have the cartoonish graphics that WOW has.

I like the movie Lord Of The Rings very much, its my favorite. I also enjoy playing this online game.

Although its not really totally free. I also can't believe one post here actually expected the game to be for Linux... you got to be kidding.

Company of Heroes Online is in Open beta now... and I have always loved COH... The best RTS IMO. Although I will miss the british...

Well I downloaded it today. Played through the tutorial and got to the first town. I exited about 5 minutes after getting there. Free or not I won't be trying it again because it's just not for me.

Tried it 3 years ago, wasn't impressed. Tried the f2p during the beta stages to see if they improved that, and.... seen that they didn't do much at all to make the game more interesting over the past 3 years.

No wonder they have to go free....-ish to get more people into it.

Oh, bad timing releasing this as the Cataclysm PTR hits US/EU servers. 99% of WoW's population are going "no life" for the upcoming week at least, you should see Brill (EU normal server), Azeroth is crowding with low level hunters People are having a hard time completing even starter zone quests ...

Really bad timing ...

Why's that, they are after a different set of players. Unless something's changed lately, WoW (even your Cataclysm PTR) is Pay to Play, where LOTRO is now Free to Play (with restrictions, if you really want to play the whole game, it's going to cost you some $$). If it was such bad timing, why are there record numbers of players on the system now, lol.

Yeah I know, I just said that they could have chosen a better timing. Say 2 weeks ago, there was absolutely nothing to do in WoW, just wandering around and doing dailies. All the guys that got left out by the beta invitations would have jumped on the opportunity to try something new, now they're all on the PTR as that's as close as they get to the beta experience.

I don't mean to sound like WoW is all that exists in the MMORPG scene, just that it's a big chunk of the community that would have happily jumped to experience the game if the timing wasn't so bad.

In a similar note, I think a lot of games have missed a great opportunity by not overtaking warcraft when a large portion of the population was 80 and everyone was bored to hell. Now things are getting exciting and it'll be very difficult to get some hits at Blizzard as they can throw a pre-cata live event anytime and get all the attention again.

Drunken Beard said,
now they're all on the PTR as that's as close as they get to the beta experience.
Note, the WoW PTR has only game systems updates - no world/quest update, or new classes, or archaeology. It's not *that* interesting.

Kirkburn said,
Note, the WoW PTR has only game systems updates - no world/quest update, or new classes, or archaeology. It's not *that* interesting.

True, but being on PTR will get a lot of people in to play it.
It also means (and i've heard rumors) that Cata final will be out "soon". (2 Months)

Raa said,
True, but being on PTR will get a lot of people in to play it.
It also means (and i've heard rumors) that Cata final will be out "soon". (2 Months)

It's possible. I've been fortunate enough to be in the beta since the start, and it has evolved a *lot* since then. There's still stuff missing, but I expect much of it is already done (just not implemented).

AKLP said,
http://www.lotro.com/free.php
if you check this, you will see that its not a f2p, its a pay-for-life2play

You can play for free with restrictions. You unlock more content by spending points. You get these points by either paying cash, or progressing in the game.

Depending on how much you play, you can pay as little as you want.

This is more free-to-try , not f2p - as theres tons of stuff you have to pay for if you want to actually enjoy the game. This kinda pay model is more expensive than a subscription for the serious mmo end gamer.

MightyJordan said,
Anyone know when the F2P will be available in Europe? It's not there yet.

Think we will have to wait a couple of months before we get the F2P model in Europe.

I bought the game first time round, like 3 years ago. It's the equivelant of the Blizzard battlechest with a mini figurine, a book of Lore and the game disk. I got to about level 12 and go SOOO bored of it so went back to WoW. Even a free-to-play campaign won't get me back into LOTR OL.

Good move I think, but I've outplayed that game now. Started in early 2007 and the leveling is fantastic, fun and filled with great LoTR characters. However the endgame has progressed to a massive grindfest (I know it's hard to avoid) but turbine made some really bad decisions with radiance/legendary items that just ruined the game for me. I'll keep an eye on it and perhaps give it another whirl if they straighten things out a bit, but at the moment im just holding out for SWTOR

Not a bad game F2P MMO, but I'm more excited for Vindictus (and others that will be released later). I've been moving away from the hotkey spamming, point and click stuff to more action-oriented titles.

Thanks to Codemasters?

You sound like Codemasters are holding back on purpose.
They are holding off to save us from the horrendous bugs that have plagued the American servers.

Actually they are doing you a favour and saving themselves from thousand of bug reports they already know of.

Darkmiss said,

They are holding off to save us from the horrendous bugs that have plagued the American servers.

Actually they are doing you a favour and saving themselves from thousand of bug reports they already know of.


Thousands eh? I'll take those thousands of imaginary bugs and enjoy one kickass game.

Darkmiss said,
Thanks to Codemasters?

You sound like Codemasters are holding back on purpose.
They are holding off to save us from the horrendous bugs that have plagued the American servers.

Actually they are doing you a favour and saving themselves from thousand of bug reports they already know of.


You know there's a reply button to reply to people rather than making a new post, right?

TCLN Ryster said,

You know there's a reply button to reply to people rather than making a new post, right?

yes, just hit the wrong button.

randomevent said,

Thousands eh? I'll take those thousands of imaginary bugs and enjoy one kickass game.

you obviously haven't listened to what's been happening on the US servers have you.
and I didn't say their was thousands of bugs, just a few dozen, bad enough to cause havoc.

What I did say however was Thousands of bug reports.

Darkmiss said,
I didn't say their was thousands of bugs, just a few dozen, bad enough to cause havoc.

What I did say however was Thousands of bug reports.

Dude, that's a really cheeky appeal to semantics.

In a popular game, a single bug may be reported by lots of people. It's still just a single bug.

randomevent said,

Thousands eh? I'll take those thousands of imaginary bugs and enjoy one kickass game.

Step 1: Head on over to official LOTRO forums and peruse the posts
Step 2: Insert foot in mouth
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Profit

Seriously though, it's pretty terrible. If you enjoy horrendous lag, "instanced" zones, crummy draw distances because of server load, and queue times to even get in, then yeah, it's pretty kick ass. Not to mention the absolute gaudiness of how they've implemented the store into the game and the tons of forum posts of peoples turbine points either not showing up, not getting accredited when completing deeds, etc and things just disappearing out of one's inventory.

As someone who was a subscriber before and has logged on to check out the new F2P system, I'm pretty confident in saying that this game is going right into the toilet.

Intimidator said,

Step 1: Head on over to official LOTRO forums and peruse the posts
Step 2: Insert foot in mouth
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Profit

Seriously though, it's pretty terrible. If you enjoy horrendous lag, "instanced" zones, crummy draw distances because of server load, and queue times to even get in, then yeah, it's pretty kick ass. Not to mention the absolute gaudiness of how they've implemented the store into the game and the tons of forum posts of peoples turbine points either not showing up, not getting accredited when completing deeds, etc and things just disappearing out of one's inventory.

As someone who was a subscriber before and has logged on to check out the new F2P system, I'm pretty confident in saying that this game is going right into the toilet.

The lag just started since the real free2play people got in-game, the Headstart was fine as far as that goes. The points not being credited is either fixed (I've gotten all mine I've been due since the patch the other day specifically for that). I did finally get my free points since I've got an active sub, and my founder points, so I'm more than happy with the way things are going right now (although the lag was bad last night, it didn't keep me from playing). I've also only hit the login queue maybe 3 times in 4 days (on Meneldor).

As far as the store, I'll grant you they've made a mess of the login screen (just need to resize some buttons), but in game, it's just a tiny button on the right side of your action bar. I will say they need to add a 'don't show this again' button to the popup whenever you earn points though. At this point, I'll continue to play the game as I have since release...

My only real complaint, they need to work on the name filter, as lots of the names have NO Place in any MMO, let alone LOTRO..

Intimidator said,

Step 1: Head on over to official LOTRO forums and peruse the posts
Step 2: Insert foot in mouth
Step 3: ?????
Step 4: Profit

Seriously though, it's pretty terrible. If you enjoy horrendous lag, "instanced" zones, crummy draw distances because of server load, and queue times to even get in, then yeah, it's pretty kick ass. Not to mention the absolute gaudiness of how they've implemented the store into the game and the tons of forum posts of peoples turbine points either not showing up, not getting accredited when completing deeds, etc and things just disappearing out of one's inventory.

As someone who was a subscriber before and has logged on to check out the new F2P system, I'm pretty confident in saying that this game is going right into the toilet.


I did head to the forums, and the only profit I have is more time wasted. I just jumped in for a bit and got no lag at all, but the queues are annoying. I might have to make some chars on a newer server until the traffic levels out.