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Lord of the Rings Role Playing (Games) Games

Lord of the Rings Online To Go Free-To-Play 138

darkwing_bmf sends word of Turbine's announcement that Lord of the Rings Online will become a free-to-play game this fall. 'The move is another validation of the free-to-play business model, where gamers can play for free and pay real money for virtual goods such as better weapons or decorative gear for their game characters. The business model has been popular in Asia but only recently took off in the US. This move shows the pressure is building on game publishers to shift to the new business model or face declining audiences.' According to a post on the official website, LotRO's micro-transaction system will be "very similar" to how Turbine's DDO store works, and current subscribers will maintain all of their privileges.
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Lord of the Rings Online To Go Free-To-Play

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  • I'm interested (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:42PM (#32463464) Journal

    I mean, I felt obligated to stick with WoW since I was paying for a subscription. And I've wanted to get back into an MMO (I've played Eve for a little while) but I've just come to realize that they aren't worth monthly subscriptions to me, I'm too on and off when it comes to games.

    However, there aren't many games that have the same social aspect of MMO's but also fun gameplay. I wanted to get into guild war years ago and stop playing WoW because GW was free, but my friends would have none of it. Now (of the 12 or so in our local city clique) 9 of us don't play WoW anymore, and don't want to play WoW anymore, but wish for the good ol' days of dungeon crawling with mountain Dew.

    I'll see if I can get them to jump on board with this.

    Does anyone know if that includes expansions, like Mines of Moria?

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:45PM (#32463500)

    Cause if you can charge, you will.

    Much like Everquest ( yes it is still around ), they charge a monthly fee, but you can also purchase ornaments and other items that don't majorly change the game dynamics. It's not like you can buy a sword of awesome +5, just something that makes your sword look more awesome.

  • by rcuhljr ( 1132713 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:51PM (#32463578)
    Talk about wasting potential. I remember release day population. Great day to be on Empire, chaos was over filled on every server so wait times were like 30 seconds for a pvp match. The game was pretty enjoyable up until about level 30.
  • by Delusion_ ( 56114 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:00PM (#32463688) Homepage

    A stealth torrent client for game updates is fine the way WoW does it - informed consent and the app isn't hiding on you when it's running.

    DDO's version of a torrent-based client updater starts up with Windows and operates silently, not even a system tray icon.

    I wrote more about it on when I discovered it, and did get a reply from Pando. Rather than risk traffic my host's server can assuredly not take, I'll just paste it here.

    If this is useful, great, if it's overly spammy, just mod it down and accept my apologies, but I personally consider a stealth torrent client whose only visibility to the user is when they click on a boilerplate EULA for something called Pando Media Booster, and one that operates behind the scenes, on startup, without any icons or program windows to be malware in the loosest terms. I don't mind an MMOG providing an option to get (and obviously, provide) files to and from other users to speed up the overall update process via torrent client. Turbine's, or Pando's, is utterly unacceptable. A bit of quick looking confirms that PMB is part of the LotRO install.


    Underhanded and sneaky: Pando, DDO Online, and Turbine

    Wherein the author takes Turbine to task for running a stealth torrent client on users' machines.
    Date: February 15th, 2010 @ 10:39
    Author: delusion

    A lot of us are familiar with software companies leveraging the BitTorrent protocol. World of Warcraft comes to mind; every update is, if possible, sent to you via the torrent protocol. This is fine, because once you close the updater, the torrenting ceases. You are aware and informed.

    I found something a lot more underhanded the other day while investigating some issues. A program called PMB.exe wanted to access the internet. PMB is another torrent client (Pando Media Booster) used by some other pieces of software to share data (in my case, it was from trying Dungeons & Dragons Online for free for a few weeks).

    The key difference is that, unlike the WoW patcher, PMB was operating without my being aware, and was not making any attempt to keep me informed. As I have quite enough torrents that I deliberately seed, the last thing I need is another client fighting for bandwith, sharing files that I’m not interested in sharing. It was only sharing game data files, nothing of mine, but it’s still an extremely unethical thing to do without my knowledge.

    I don’t have any expectations for Pando to live up to; they make stealthware and sell it to other companies. I do, however, have expectations for DDO’s publisher Turbine to live up to. When Asheron’s Call was popular, one of their practices which set them apart was their approach to their customers. At the time, the big massively multiplayer online games were Ultima Online and Everquest. Ultima Online’s developer, Origin (now Electronic Arts) were best known for a rather brain-dead approach; problems with the game were often hand-waved as something the players should sort out, and there was insufficient attention to detail to the ramifications of software changes and how they would be exploited. Everquest’s developer, Verant (now Sony Online Entertainment) was better known for being downright hostile to its users; you were playing their game, according to their vision, and if you had a problem with that, well, you didn’t know what you were talking about and frankly you could go toss off if they didn’t ban you first.

    Turbine was the first of the more popular MMOGs to treat its customers like customers. They were neither ignored nor actively treated like the enemy. Their customers weren’t always right (and anyone who ever played an MMOG is going to cringe at the notion that the customer is always right), but they weren’t talked down, patronized, or insulted.

    This respect for the customer is precisely why this inclusion of Pando Media Booster feels like a bet

  • by the Atomic Rabbit ( 200041 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:18PM (#32463900)

    Anyone know how they're gonna handle the suckers who shelled out for a lifetime subscription?

  • Validating what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twoallbeefpatties ( 615632 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:35PM (#32464096)
    If the free to play model was so great, why does it always happen to the always-ran MMOs?

    Is that a fault of the games themselves, or of the traditional pay-per-month MMO model? There's a lot of different games out there for people to play. For a game to demand that people pay money into every month for the privilege of not going off and playing Red Dead Redemption instead for a one-time price (or insert other recent popular title here), that game has to be not just good but great. Would you willingly pay $10-$15 a month to stay in a game that only got an 8.0 average on metacritic? Having also seen the moderate success of League of Legends, I'm thinking we might just be seeing a trend that what works for Everquest might not work for everyone.
  • by Delusion_ ( 56114 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:01PM (#32465942) Homepage

    I'm a bit disappointed the earlier post was moderated as offtopic. I think luring in new players with a "play free" model and then slipping in a stealth torrent client is something most slashdotters who had any interest in the game would want to know about.

  • It sounded fine... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @10:29AM (#32468578)

    It sounded fine to me, giving DDO another try. It was free-to-play now, so what the hell.

    I ended up with 7 old friends joining up to start playing DDO, reactivating our guild from when the game came out. The game was pretty limited when it first came out and we only played a couple of months the first time around.

    About 3 weeks into it the content, several of us hit "The Wall"--the point at which you have completed most of the free content and have to pay for more or suffer the anguish of running the same instances over and over.

    A few of us went ahead and did so only to realize that we had just made a distinction between us, and our friends--we can go here and you cannot. Unless you pay. It was not something we intended, merely a product of doing business with Turbine and opening up content, but unless all of your friends do so, you will be severing in-game ties with them at some point. Of the seven of us, 2 are still playing DDO F2P, one went back to LotRO, 3 went back to WoW and one gave up on gaming altogether.

    As a player, THAT is the biggest drawback to the F2P model that I can see. My first experience with F2P, a group divided, was not a good one and for that sole reason. DDO as a game was fine, it is the pay model that created the problems.

    LotRO had another problem. At almost precisely level 40, the game split up into 2 means of leveling. Running quests/instances and doing the mini-instances with AI minions. Some people chose one method, others choose...well the other method. So a divide was created in that sense, as well. There was also the issue of having to level not only your character, but multiple weapons and minions. The leveling of weapons was a real drag as you could not do so at the same rate you leveled your character--you had to stop and grind to get your weapons caught up with you. Something changed about the game at level quite suddenly went from cheerfully enjoying Tolkien's world to hard-core grind. The one really good thing I can say about LotRO is that is a beautifully rendered world and the engine is probably the most resource friendly I have seen in any MMO. I was able to run it at max graphics with only moderate hardware and it looked great. A P4 and a $99 dollar GPU gets you a solid 60FPS with all the eye-candy.

    Combined with the pay "Wall" of DDO, I see a preponderance of Fail here, though. The "group-breaking" aspects of the F2P model was something that was simply insurmountable unless all you friends go into it assuming they will be paying anyways. And if that is the case, just give me all the content for $15. It has worked for me and my friends since 98' Ultima Online, why change it now?

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin