Turbine announced that starting this fall, in addition to their regular subscription option, they will begin to offer a "freemium" model for their MMORPG, Lord of the Rings Online. The previously standard $12.99/month subscription model will still be available, though it will be rebranded as the VIP program.
The Free-to-Play version will come with the LOTRO Store, which Turbine says “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 will operate on points, and VIP members will receive 500 points a month. Those who have previously purchased the LOTRO lifetime subscription will be grandfathered into the VIP program, and will be awarded all the same benefits.
There are still a lot of details up in the air regarding the limits Free-to-Play players may bump up against, and pricing for purchasable content, but Turbine assures that “Free means Free!" They go on to say, "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.”
A closed beta will begin on June 16th and Turbine is accepting beta application from new and returning players at www.lotro.com/betasignup. Existing subscribing are already eligible for the beta, but signing up again will count as an extra entry.