After my post on Lotro yesterday I got a question by Caligan and one by email about how much Lotro costs and if there was a trial version. First of all, I want to say that Lotro is a free-to-play game now and as such, you can try it anytime without any real commitment on your part. If you want to get technical though, Lotro operates on a freemium model meaning that at some point down the road you will have to spend real money to make progress through the game.
So today I’m making this post to help out anyone wanting to try this great game and also explain a bit the different options of the store because I found the official website was a bit of a mess to navigate through and find the right info.
Before though I want to start with a bit of a warning. Lotro is a mmo built on the older model of MMOs (think Vanilla WoW) and is heavily focused on exploration and immersion into Tolkien universe. This means that it is way slower paced than what we’re used to and it aims to be as faithful to Tolkien as possible, even when it’s not to the player advantage. For example, if it makes sense for the quest to make you run through the whole zone three times in a row only to talk to some NPCs, then it’s what will happen.
If like me, you have a strong explorer vibe in you then you won’t mind at all the extra running around and the slower pace as it’s only more time to enjoy the sights. But, I know this kind of game is not for everyone.
How free-to-play is it really?
From the start you get access to all the races, all three starting zones(Ered Luin, Bree and the Shire) and all the classes minus two (Warden, Rune-master) which were introduced in the Moria expansion. You also have access to all the normal game features like bags, banks, crafting, housing and so on. Some of these might be more limited like no shared storage, only three bags or a gold cap but you can pay to have all of these upgraded.
You also get LoneLands which is the third zone (second if you play human) that you will visit. The reason is that Bree is a gigantic zone which can really be broken down into two parts. The human starter area(east) and the west area which all races visit when they’re done with their starter zones. All in all, you get content up to nearly level 30 which can easily amount to a month or two of playing and more if your into alts or if you want to complete everything a zone has to offer. Zones in Lotro are huge.
So bottom line, everyone gets around a two month worth of solid play out of the base game without even spending a penny.
Planning your purchases
Whether Lotro will be an expensive game depends on a few factors, the first being how much time you spend in-game and the second being how smart you are about your purchases. Lotro uses Turbine points (TP) as a currency which can be acquired in-game in small amounts by completing deeds in different zones. You’ll never be able to acquire enough to buy everything you might ever need but they do stack up and they can save you a purchase here and there.
Turbine is also often offering discounts, coupons or gifts that can amount to quite a few purchases if your good at spotting them. Finally, there’s also the possibility to buy different bundles that can be quite advantageous. For example right now, Turbine is offering the Mithril edition through Gamestop/EBgames which is quite a good offer for a new player who’s serious about playing.
Finaly there’s the subscription(15$) option that unlocks a lot of content as well as giving you 500TP a month. The downside is that a lot of the content is only unlocked as long as you pay for the sub but it’s agreed by most that if you’re a heavy player, this is the best option by far.
For those wondering I’m not subbed and have yet to spend a single dollar on the game after a month of playing. I did have quite a few things paid because of my long account history but still, not a cent spent so far.
So, I hope this has helped some shed some light on the different options for Lotro.
PS: I currently play on Arkenstone server, look for Henin, a hobbit warden if you want to get in contact with me.
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