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LOTRO – Comparing VIP with Free June 5, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Lord of the Rings Online.
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Turbine has posted a chart that compares the options you will have at the three service levels they offer.

Three?

Yes, three.  There is Free, which I think we all get, and there is VIP, which is akin to the subscription model (and which us lifetime members get) and then there is a middle tier called Premium.

Premium is the tier you get when you have actually purchased some Turbine points.

Here is the chart that compares the three tiers.  Click on it to see it full size.

There is also some fine print that answered the initial “Hey, wait a minute!” reaction that I had.

* Purchasers of the Mines of Moria™ expansion get access to the Mines of Moria region and content, premium classes (Rune-Keeper and Warden), legendary items feature, Tier 6 crafting feature, 2 extra character slots and a level cap of 60. Purchasers of the Siege of Mirkwood™ expansion get access to the Siege of Mirkwood region and content, a level cap of 65 and the Siege of Mirkwood skirmishes.

** Purchasers of the LOTRO Adventurer’s Pack get 2 extra character slots and 20 slots of shared bank storage across all characters on the same servers.

So it looks like if you purchase Turbine points, in addition to being able to spend them on stuff, you also get full customer support access for 30 days after purchase, a rise in the amount of coin you can accumulated (an odd parameter to restrict in my mind, but what do I know), as well as a higher priority in the server login queue.

Of course, I haven’t seen a server login queue since 2007, but with the game going free to play, that might actually become an issue again.

More interesting to me is the comparison between premium/free and VIP.  There are a lot of things on that list I take for granted in the game currently, like rest experience, that you won’t get on the free plan.

I’m also curious to see how they chop the world up to keep the players in the areas which they have purchased.  If you play for free, you only get Ered Luin, the Shire, and Bree-land.  I hope they aren’t going to mar the landscape with a wall or some such.

Comments»

1. Esri - June 5, 2010

I’m sure the gold limit is to hinder gold farmers.

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2. Bhagpuss - June 5, 2010

One thing that confused me at first was the zone limitation. I was thinking if Free players only have access to three Level 1 – 20 zones, how do they have a Level Cap of 50?

On a more careful reading it transpires that Free and Premium players aren’t geographically limited – they can travel to any part of the original game. What Turbine have done is option-out access to quest hubs beyond the three starter zones.

Anyone who doesn’t mind grinding to 50 really can get there for free but if you want to play the second half of the first 50 levels the way you played the first half, you’ll have to shell out.

At least that’s how I interpret it. There’s a beta to come first, though, before anything is set in stone.

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3. coppertopper - June 6, 2010

Doesnt seem bad at all. I wonder how many points you can get from 1-20 – enough to buy the next levelling area? Having done 1-20 on several classes, it seems you get plenty for free until you know you want to really invest in the game or you know you are through with it. And Monster play – who cares.

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4. We Fly Spitfires - June 6, 2010

It does look like the VIP status is the best although it will probably depend on how much the player plays.

I’m curious to how it will pan out for people who have already bought the original game and expansions but aren’t currently subscribed. I’m assuming they get extra character slots etc?

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5. Free-to-Play vs. “Unlimited Trial” « Ardwulf's Lair - June 6, 2010

[...] out on LotRO’s upcoming switch to FTP; some cogent summary and analysis can be found at The Ancient Gaming Noob and Player Versus Developer (both blogs you should be reading anyway.) And there’s a [...]

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6. Kiryn - June 6, 2010

From what I read on the FAQ, the level cap is 50 but you only have access to the quests in those three zones. You can go wandering around in higher level zones and grind on the mobs there if you want, but you can only do the quests if you’ve paid for them.

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7. Zubon - June 7, 2010

It’s a great notion to have a level for “has ever given us money.” If someone never has and never will give you money, that customer is of minimal value. It seems like good business to have a divide between them and players who have proven potential value by spending something.

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8. Wilhelm2451 - June 7, 2010

@Zubon – I hadn’t looked at it from exactly that angle, but that is an excellent point.

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9. Happosai - June 7, 2010

Bone that the game is not 100% free, you get up to a maximum level 50. and if they want more
should be paid. but does not say if a single payment or have to pay a monthly or
As would be the point of turbine, the truth that very clear to me but it would be annoying
having to reach level 50 and not moving there but for everything else that is fine
this game is limited to only the highest level so I do not like and do not convince me. Regards

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10. The nasty hobbits giveses it to us - Excog! - June 10, 2010

[...] Free Realms, it can’t be that confusing. Oh wait, maybe it can. I took one look at the chart The Ancient Gaming Noob provided and my eyes glazed over. Frankly I’d rather pay $15 a month to play on even ground [...]

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11. Justice - September 14, 2010

This is very disappointing. If turbine says, “Free is Free,” they shouldn’t have put limitations to the free players. I was enthusiastic when I heard that LOTRO became F2P, but when I was about to download it… I learned that it has level cap and some limitations…I’ll just waste my time in it if after all it’s not really free… This marketing strategy is not effective. It aggravates the free players and later on be discouraged…

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12. Wilhelm2451 - September 14, 2010

@Justice – I’m sorry, but I do not find your argument very persuasive. You declare yourself a “free player,” so I assume from that, and the general attitude of your comment (if it is not free, you’ll be wasting your time), that it is your goal to play the game without ever sending any money in Turbine’s direction. And your main complaint is you can’t have everything for free.

You might ask yourself what incentive is there for Turbine to listen to you or your suggestions?

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13. dissapointed - October 3, 2010

@Justice is totally right on this point. Describing this game as a F2P is a total misunderstanding (or deceit – call it as you wish). My character s 24 lvl and now I have no opportunity to neither play on nor level up. Sorry to say that but I kinda feel to be cheated on by Turbine. And its not a matter of some premium stuff, everything everywhere s just LOCKED…

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14. Wilhelm2451 - October 3, 2010

@Disappointed – Well, what you say is actually wrong. You can level up by killing mobs or running skirmishes, and the epic quest line is completely available to you. That you do not find those options attractive is understandable, but it does not change the facts.

And, honestly, you can earn Turbine points in game, and pretty readily from what I have seen. That icon telling me I’ve earned some is popping up all the time. The next quest pack, the Lone Lands, is 350 points. Did you not even come close to getting that many points?

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15. Kaladimus - March 8, 2011

I know this is much later than the topic was posted but since I came across this blog while researching which vocation I want for my newly built Minstrel, I wanted to add my two cents. I played EQ for a long time but had to quit due to work. I travel a lot and found myself not touching the game for 3 months and being thrifty, could not justify to myself paying for something I didn’t use. I think Turbine made an excellent move giving some content free for the casual gamer, offering a little more for those that can’t commit more than a day or two every month or so to play, and even more to those who have the luxury to dedicate more time to it. So the content is a little different between the three as it should be. I may be getting old here but whatever happened to “You get what you pay for?” Seems to me Turbine is giving you alot more than other MMO’s out there ever have for free and taking care of the casual gamer at the same time! Well done, oh and I decided to go with Historian if anyone was curious.

Kaladimus on Imaldris

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16. F2Player - April 29, 2011

I agree. I think the F2P model is the right direction. That way you can choose exactly what you want to pay for.

To those complaining that it’s not completely free, what is ever 100% free? They would go out of business if they didn’t give you some incentive to pay for something.

Btw-I started off F2P and by doing all the deeds in each starter area and doing each quest line(there are quest lines for each starting race that you can play even if you didn’t start there) I had enough points to buy my riding skill, virtue slots, and enough for 1 quest pack so far. I’ve even made it as far as level 30 with the quests/skirmishes and I’m not even out of the starter areas yet. Have a few more quests to go. Even though I’ve now bought points and moved up to premium, that proved to me that if you sink enough time into the game and do all of the tasks they provide, a F2P player can have a pretty good time and even earn enough Turbine Points to unlock a small amount of the features

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17. 4thTieredPlayer - April 29, 2011

So I noticed that with my game play the best way to get content unlocked it to buy 1 month as a VIP member. So I spend the $15 or $30 to get three months during a time frame when I actually care to play the game more than just casual. When you do that the gold limit is removed, all 5 bags are unlocked, and you gain an extra character slot (at least that is what happened to me). Even when the month expired I still had all of those options available. Sure not having rest xp can be a hassle, but that means it will just take longer for me to enjoy the game. So if you are serious player and still want to be F2P, I would suggest an expansion like Mines of Moria that gives you a free month. During your free month get your riding skill (for free after the quest) and then by the time your subscription ends you still have a lot of content available. It is kind of like being in between a VIP and Premium player. I call it my 4th tier.

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