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Lord of the Rings Online: How f2p Coexists With p2p


Lord of the Rings Online: How f2p Coexists With p2pI believe, many of us gamers who read sites like Massively or Gamesradar already heard early this month about how successful turned out Turbine’s venture into F2P market. According to Turbine, 20% of the former players came back to play and also over a million of new accounts was created during a month after LOTRO went Free to Play, resulting in 300% increase in concurrent users and 400% increase in active players overall. While Turbine bosses are busy bathing in cash checks, looks like it’s safe to say for me that Free to Play clearly wins over Pay to Play business model (okay, there HAD been an mmorpg that went down no matter getting on F2P rails, but that was Acclaim’s fault – we’ll speak of it another time). Now, is that really so?

It’s all about the magic word “free” that hypnotizes everyone who hears it. Most people are either too gullible, or can’t count, or really not smart enough to assume there’s no way in this world someone would give them something for entirely free (just imagine, would you give out something for free to a person you don’t even know? that’s it!). So, if they see “free to play” badge, they totally rush in to get their piece of a free cake. Actually, F2P games are having some piece of their content available with no prior purchase – something like an extended trial or a demo mode. It would be better to say “free to try” than “free to play”, but the crowds won’t buy it that good.
Lord of the Rings Online Goes Free To Play
In case of LOTRO, it’s a very limited content that they give “for free” – what they had for a “6 days trial” before had much more content in it, but who cares as long as it’s “Free to Play”? You have a few character slots, a very limited inventory space, about 60% of normal inventory space – and i’m speaking not of the storage space here, but those bags where you gather loot and store healing potions, etc. Bank space is limited too, and you have a gold cap, which is the worst. Also, you can’t do quests outside of the newbie area. You can go there, but there’s nothing for you to do, no quest would show up. So, if you want to progress further, do more quests, make another character, buy a horse, etc. – you eventually have to pay, and rather sooner than later.

This is where usual F2P games end – people are forced to go to the cash shop and buy stuff to progress further into game. Turbine developed their game with no F2P in mind, so they couldn’t just set up a cash shop and be done with the troubles. They had to come up with something different, and they did – you can play with a very limited “free” content at first, then you’d go to the cash shop and buy stuff, and *then* there’s the option to get everything in one package – to pay monthly fee. As you did before the game went F2P. So, if you used to play as LOTRO subscriber, nothing would change for you that much, except for a special bonus to Turbine – you too can buy things at the cash shop! And they made sure there are such thing that you’d like to buy, like special mounts otherwise available for limited time, or things that would buff your stats, or food to recuperate hp/mp, etc.

So, drawing the final line to sum up this article – in the end the game magically comes back to Pay to Play model, no matter being announced as Free to Play! LOTRO went out quite well because Turbine had kept subscription option for the players that want to, and offered “free” content to psychologically trick other people, that think the subscription-based games are too much for them.

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