One Ring To Bring Them All

June 5, 2010 at 3:34 am | Posted in Lord of the Rings Online, mmorpg | 4 Comments
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Is The Eye at work?

Every MMO blogger I read, excepting a few, is posting about Lord of the Rings Online going free to play. I was pretty surprised to hear this, because other than the repeated sales of the game along with it’s expansions for only $10, there was no sign that things weren’t going well with the business model they already had. At one point they had something in the area of 300k subscribers. That’s not too damn shabby. What’s going on?

My first thought was, is LOTRO doing that badly, or is DDO doing that well?

Dungeons and Dragons Online has seen a tenfold revenue jump, and subscriptions have tripled.

300k subscriptions at $15 a month is 4.5 million dollars. At triple the subscriptions LOTRO would be making 13.5 million dollars. A tenfold increase in revenue would mean 14.5 million dollars. I highly doubt the numbers would translate dollar for dollar, but it’s an interesting thought.

As for me, I bought that $10 pack a month ago, and I made it to level 17 or 18. The traveling unfortunately, was killing me. I was dying out there.

I’d log in, get as close to my quest as possible from a stable. It was a champion quest to kill 3 bosses. I spent 5 minutes traveling out over some marsh. Well done scenery but way too much of it. Getting to the marsh, I look around for my target, and after 5 minutes locate and dispatch him. Repeat that too more times. 5 minutes of traveling followed by 30 seconds of fighting. By the time I get back to Bree, I’m trying to force myself to stay logged in. Usually failing. I canceled the sub and haven’t blogged about it since.

A lot of interesting things have been said about the change. They range from the reasoned.

Scott Jennings

As for my take, it seems fairly simple. LOTRO is a game which, while fairly new (about 3 years old), is not likely to generate new subscribers. In addition, a not-insignificant amount of players are lifetime subscribers, whom Turbine will not see any more money from pending a boxed expansion. (Lifetime subscriptions in general are not a good idea for game companies – it’s the classic appeal for short term cash in place of long term income, appealing precisely to the hard core players who are likely to keep a subscription in play over years). Going free-to-play not only brings a new wave of players in who would not have considered a pay-to-play model (see: Dungeons and Dragons Online, Funcom’s experience with Anarchy Online) but also opens the way for cash shop gear that will appeal to all players – including the already-paid-for lifetime subscribers.

To the positive.

Mordor Or Bust

The best part of LOTRO going F2P is that we should see a substantial influx of new players to the game. New players = healthy game = game keeps going. The bottom line for all of us as players is that we want to see LOTRO keep going. I personally can’t wait to get to Mordor and stand in the belly of Mt. Doom, can you?

To the bitter.


LotRO is now destroyed by an illogical act and remarkable ignorance. To take a game that has lasted this long, with numerous expansions, no server merges, top notch story and content, and essentially throw it into the fires of mount doom is unfathomable.

Overall I guess this doesn’t really effect me much. I’d already given up on the game. However, this does mean that come this fall, I’ll probably be playing it again, and that’s not something I could say before.


  1. “My first thought was, is LOTRO doing that badly, or is DDO doing that well?”

    You mused about that in your comment on my blog as well, and had me thinking. Probably the latter…I don’t think LOTRO is doing that badly at all (relatively) but likely DDO is bringing in so much revenue that Turbine (and WB most likely) probably thought it prudent to switch LOTRO over to the same model.

    • Yeah the more I think about it, it’s all about DDO, not about how good or bad LOTRO was doing. As for WB, i’m more prone to think the idea was already floating around when they bought turbine and they sort of pushed it over the edge. but thats just me.

  2. It’s surprising how much easier it is to hook people into your game; then get them to bleed money than getting people to buy into the game from the start.
    I wonder how long till we get the Ultima sort of model? Where the serious pay money to be better than anyone else; and the free players can have fun until the paying players decide to eat their fodder.

    • i doubt it will get that bad, there’s not much pvp in lotro.

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