LOTRO – Free Online Beta

Just for shits and giggles I signed up for the Lord of the Rings Online beta to see if I can get in on some of the relaunch fun before the actual free to play relaunch this fall. According to Eurogamer:

You’ll be able to play up to level 50 – the level cap of the original version of the game, Shadows of Angmar – for free. In the LOTRO Store, you will be able to purchase “convenience items”, expansion packs, premium content, additional character slots, potions and character customisation options.

We imagine that the content available to buy in the Store will include that currently sold in the Mines of Moria and Siege of Mirkwood expansions, which between them have raised the level cap to 65.

The VIP offering will grant unlimited access to all premium content, priority server access, five character slots, a shared bank slot and a monthly stipend of points to spend in the LOTRO store “for one low price”. The price is yet to be revealed.

I would like to give this a go just to try out the Middle Earth world, and the concept of free to play is perfect for my pocketbook. I really need to upgrade my laptop to something more suitable for gaming.

One really interesting bit of this story concerns Dungeons and Dragons Online, which went free to play last year.

Since its free-to-play relaunch in September 2009, Dungeons & Dragons Online has attracted one million players, boosted revenues by 500 per cent, and even doubled the number of traditional subscribers to the game. A recent survey put it as the third most-played MMO in the US after World of Warcraft and RuneScape.

Of course that is not WoW is a distant contender, but I imagine the free to play concept will continue to catch on with other MMOs looking for their nitche in the market.

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