Executive Producer The Lord of the Rings OnlineOnline status:Reputation:
Welcome to LOTRO Free-to-Play!
Today we announced a couple of big changes for LOTRO, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about them. Last year my esteemed colleague and friend Jeffrey Steefel moved over to a new project at Turbine and I am now the Executive Producer for LOTRO!
As far as my background goes – I have been a producer in MMO development for 10 years. My career began in the industry working on the social world of There.com, where I designed and managed the implementation of There’s new player experience and commerce suite, including There’s 5000 product in-game catalog. I joined Turbine in 2005 and helped launch Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. I’d been leading the DDO development team for some time when we decided to transform the game with our hybrid business model, and after Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited launched I joined the LOTRO team as Jeffrey segued onto his next project.
Given my background, it’s hardly surprising that I believe very strongly in the power of providing gamers with a choice in how they pay and play our games. By adding a free–to-play component and store offering we will open up LOTRO to millions of players who simply won’t play a game that requires a subscription fee. I’m sure many of you have lots of questions about this decision, and I want to say clearly that the decision to introduce a free-to-play option was based on the desire to take the game to a new level by bringing even more players into the world of Middle-earth. LOTRO is one of the most successful MMOs in the world and has been doing very well as a subscription-only game, but with the success we’ve seen with DDO it seemed clear that this move is going to be hugely beneficial for the LOTRO community.
For our LOTRO VIPs the game will not change, except there will be more players around to group with, and there will be the ability to use the new LOTRO Store, which is completely optional for all players and gives access to hundreds of convenience, cosmetic and consumable items! You’ll be able to check out the Store in the Beta Program, and I encourage any of you who are interested to click here to sign up for it! For more details, and to learn about the differences between VIPs, Premium players, and Free players, click here.
When we launch LOTRO Free-to-Play this fall, the change will bring with it more than just the transition to the hybrid business model. We’ve revamped the game’s starting areas, added the new region of Enedwaith, and will continue the journey of the Rangers south in Book 2 of our epic story.
As we go forward beyond this major update, we’re going to be giving our players the same great content and feature releases that you’ve come to expect from LOTRO. In late 2010 and into 2011, we’re going to be working on improvements to the Item Advancement / Legendary Items system, to Radiance, and to the monster play system. I believe this is going to be a very exciting time for LOTRO, and hope that you all continue to share your perspective on the game as it grows and changes as we continue our journey toward Mordor. Please sign-up for the Beta Program and let us know what you think about the way Book 2 is shaping up!