A Crushing Defeat by Freedom

September 10th, 2010

As you're probably aware, Lord of the Rings Online finished its Free to Play transition today and is now available, for free, to everyone. LOTRO follows a similar mechanic to Turbine's other F2P conversion, Dungeons and Dragons Online: players buy Turbine Points and spend them in the item points to unlock content, features, and purchase various bonuses like cosmetics and temporary boosts. In DDO this works out fairly well because most of the core features of the game are available for free: you only really "have" to pay for content. And even then, if you have a paying friend willing to hand out guest passes, you don't have to pay at all to play through the whole game.

LOTRO is not so forgiving, as I discovered when I logged in and found out that my press account had not survived the F2P transition. Unlike DDO, where my account rolled into a VIP, I now have mere "Premium" access to LOTRO, sans any Turbine Points at all. The result was, in a way, shocking and somewhat horrific. First up, I had to lock away some of my characters, as Premium accounts only get 3. This wasn't so painful as many of my alts were rarely-used experiments. The pain began when I got into the game proper, with my level 41 Hobbit Hunter.

All the quests I was doing yesterday, I cannot do today: LOTRO sells quests in zone-wide packs, so if I want to finish off the dozen or so quests I have left in Trollshaws, I'd have to fork out $8 for that. No, I don't think they pro-rate the quest bundles based on how many you've already done! Also, I can't spend any of my destiny points, despite being able to do that the day before. All those skirmishes I was doing? Nope, locked away too. That crafting guild I was a part of? Sorry, gotta pay to unlock that now. Oh, and my monster play character has been locked away for good. Poor thing.

There are a few things to be thankful for, I suppose. Freebies are only supposed to have 3 bags, but Turbine was kind enough not to lock up 2/5ths of my inventory. I'd better not empty the bags though, in case it prevents me from putting anything back into them. I'm also not sure how the 5 gold limit applies to my 14 gold. And at least it didn't kick me out of my kinship or prevent me from chatting with my still-VIP friends.

I wonder how many players who had played before, who have high level characters, will come back and feel just as slammed by the F2P restrictions? Granted, they can just sign up for that subscription and have it all unlocked again...

Posted by: Soulrift

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