If you are thinking of starting Lord of the Rings Online, you may be wondering if this MMORPG game is completely free-to-play – and for good reason. Many ‘F2P’ games seem free at first, but then restrict free-to-play players in a variety of ways later on.
Lord of the Rings Online is technically a free-to-play MMORPG, but much of its content was initially restricted to additional paid purchases. The devs announced that a lot of old and additional content will now be free, as part of update 33 which went live in April 2022.
Although the Lord of the Rings Online has already been free-to-play, technically speaking, free-to-play players now have the option to partake in many more activities than ever before. Stick around to find out what’s become free-to-play in the recent update and how it affects the game for players.
The Lord of the Rings Online (Overview)
The Lord of the Rings Online (previously titled The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows and OS X set in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, taking place during the time period of The Lord of the Rings.
Developed by Turbine, Inc., the game launched in North America, Australia, Japan, and Europe in April 2007 as The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Players could create characters of four races and seven classes and adventure throughout the region of Eriador.
In November 2008, Mines of Moria expansion was released, adding the region of Moria and two new playable classes. It was followed by the Siege of Mirkwood in December 2009. In 2010 the game underwent a shift from its original subscription-based payment model to being free-to-play, with a paid subscription and an in-game store.
The game saw continued development, alternating between paid expansions and free updates, which added new content in the regions of Isengard, Rohan, and Gondor. In late 2016 it was announced that the publishing of the game would transfer from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to Daybreak Game Company, with development being taken over by Standing Stone Games, made up of former Turbine staff.
The game development continued and in 2017 the Mordor expansion was released, bringing the main storyline to a close. The story then shifted to showing how various inhabitants of the Middle-earth deal with the downfall of Sauron, with Minas Morgul expansion released in 2019 and a Gundabad-themed expansion announced for 2021.
How Much Does Lord of the Rings Online Cost?
Lord of the Rings Online is technically a free-to-play game, but players did and still do have the option to invest real-world money in the game in exchange for activities and content.
Releases and Subscription Model
In North America, players who pre-ordered the game were offered a special founder’s offer, a lifetime subscription for $199, or a reduced cost of $9.99 per month. The standard monthly fee was $14.99 with three, six, twelve-month, and lifetime discounts available. European players had a similar program from Codemasters.
A holiday subscription was available in December 2007 and January 2008 for $9.99/month for a 3-month commitment. A special edition, which cost $10 more than the regular edition, included a full-color manual, an item called “Glass of Aglaral,” a cloak of regeneration, which is visually different from the one in the regular edition, a “Making of” DVD, soundtrack, and a 10-day buddy key.
The one-year anniversary edition included a $9.99/month subscription or a $199.99 Lifetime subscription, which was again offered during the lead-up to the release of Mines of Moria. However, the lifetime subscription option is no longer available and is unlikely to return.
On June 4, 2010, it was announced the game was to add a free-to-play option in the autumn, with an in-game store. Free-to-play was successfully launched in North America on September 10, 2010. After a delay in Europe, free-to-play went live on November 2, 2010. During the following six months the company reported tripled revenues from the title. On April 26, 2011, it was announced that Codemasters would relinquish control of the European service back to Turbine, and on June 1, the servers were transferred.
After a transition period of a few days, they reopened under a unified Lord of the Rings Online global service. Finally, on June 6, 2012, The Lord of the Rings Online was made available for download on Steam. On November 1, 2012, a beta of the OS X version was released and a 64-bit client was added in June 2019.
Is Lord Of The Rings Online Completly Free To Play?
The Lord of the Rings Online is technically F2P, but there are still additional expenses and payments available to players, meaning it isn’t completely free in a sense. While these payments are optional, it does change the experience compared to completely F2P players.
F2P would initially get you 4 free areas, Ered Luin, the Shire, Bree-Land, and the Lone-Lands. If you would do all the free content there, you could get to level 35. The Epic Questline is free through most of the game, but it would not get you enough XP to keep up with it.
Is Lord of the Rings Online Free-to-Play Worth It?
While the Lord of the Rings may not have been worthwhile for free-to-play players in the past, F2P players may find it far more rewarding going forward. Plenty of content has become free, offering new adventures and possibilities for players.
The change came as part of update 33, which went live as of April 2022. It makes a massive difference for players, as every notable piece of content released for LOTRO through till the 2013 Helm’s Deep update is now free.
F2P players are now free to explore without as many limitations as before. Players can play with the High-Elf race and the Rune-Keeper, Warden, and Beorning classes in addition to the already existing free content. Players can explore everything there is to see through level 95.
While players can VIP players aren’t technically F2P players, they will also get free content as a bonus, including access to the Standard Edition versions of the Mordor and Minas Morgul expansions, as well as the War of Three Peaks. They’ll also be able to utilize 5 additional active quest slots, and the new Shire expansion – Yondershire – is also free for VIPs.
If you’re a dedicated F2P player and have been waiting for an opportune moment to get into Lord of the Rings Online, it doesn’t get better than this – not to mention the amazing Anniversary inclusions. Now’s the time to jump into LOTRO without the worry of being heavily barred by additional expenses!
Is Lord of the Rings Online Pay to Win?
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. You could only spend on the buying game expansions/new zones and the occasional stack of mithril coins that can be used to unlock fast travel routes without having to make your way to the stable master the slow way.
On the other hand, you can spend tons of money on tons of shortcuts if you’re trying to race to the endgame. But, since the value of this game is in the journey, many gamers can argue that such an approach isn’t really winning. That would be more like “pay to lose”, than pay to win.
As we said above, Lord of the Rings online can be completely free, but it will take a much longer time to get to the endgame. If you want, you can spend a lot of money on shortcuts, as well as cosmetic purchases.
That said, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy playing this great game. We have a great guide about Lord of the Rings Online: Best Class and Best Solo Class, which can very much help you in your journey through Middle-earth.
Lord of the Rings Online is F2P, but not completely, and it was previously quite limiting for free-to-play players. But, the recent update 33 revolutionizes the way content is made available to players, offering much more fun and adventure for players of all payment preferences.