Turbine has posted a chart that compares the options you will have at the three service levels they offer.
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.