I just came back to the game about a month ago after being gone since right before LOTRO went f2p. Us lifetime members get VIP status which means you've been racking up 500 Turbine Point every months since the game went f2p. I had a store of about 16000 or so. I was able to buy any expansions that had came out while i was gone plus a few other perks with TP to spare.
I am glad to be back loving the game as i did before RL made me take a break.
1) more populated at all levels
2) more content developed than would otherwise be supported by subscription only
1) more grind (that can be avoided by micro-transactions. just for "convenience," of course)
2) tension at Turbine between doing what's best for the game as a whole and doing what will make the most money...
Lifetime subscriber's have a pretty good deal. 500 turbine points/month to spend on fluff or save up for the now annual "expansion." And still get "free" content updates throughout the year (along with subscribers).
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." --J.R.R. Tolkien (Gandalf, Fellowship of the Ring)