The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling!
Turbine announced today That The Lord of the Rings Online would be going Free to Play by this fall. Now, there’s a lot of posts out there about this news already, and you can read everyone else’ opinions on it for the next little while no doubt. There are good points, bad points, and all the ones in between. Personally here’s my stand on the matter.
I’m excited about it. Why? Well, for a few reasons. Number one would have to be: yes, I do have an active LotRO subscription but I very rarely ever get to play, and I really don’t feel as though I get my moneys worth of play time out of the $15 I spend every month. In fact once my billing cycle was up I had made plans to cancel the account until I felt that I had the time to dedicate to it. I own all of the expansions, and don’t even have a level 30 character yet. I love the game, but the amount of time I have just doesn’t match up.
Going free to play allows me to drop the subscription and pay when I have the time to play, and when I reach the content I want to access. I don’t even consider this model exactly ‘free’ to play, because there’s still a subscription for those who pay monthly, and you’ll have to pay to access content and other goodies (don’t know all of the details yet as this is still a ways off) and those who have life time accounts will also gain a bonus. You can read all the details on the lotRO web site. I enjoy tripple A titles going F2P – although I realize the name has a LOT of bad connotation along with it (lower game quality, etc) I have heard that the model has worked for DDO, and I am anxious to see how it pans out for LotRO. Obviously a decision like this was NOT made lightly, and I trust the company to do the right thing for them. Notice that I said for them, and not for me. Despite what we all like to think, companies have to look out for themselves first. It’s just the way they function.
I’m looking forward to being able to spending a few hours here and there in game instead of trying to think of a way to warrant spending $15 for an entire month. I think that in this gaming age with so many people all over the place and playing multiple games, having optional payment methods is a huge deal. How many of us actually play just one game any more? Moving to a free to play model is going to allow me to actually play the game more then I currently do, and that excites me without having to worry about stressing over the cost.
I realize this is not true for everyone, and I know everyone else has their own views, but for now, I’m happy. Whether or not this actually works for turbine will still have to be seen, but until it goes live I don’t quite understand why there are some out there hoping it fails before it even gets off the ground.