I found this an interesting point: since switching to the free-to-play model barely over a month ago, LOTRO’s revenue has doubled. That’s a pretty big increase, considering that paying at all is optional (sort of.) Apparently 53% of all players have used the in-game store, though that’s a fairly useless statistic, in terms of actual money they’re making, since you earn Turbine Points by playing. There is in fact a new-character quest that involved an NPC giving you 10 Turbine Points and making you buy an item (for 10 points, naturally) in the store to complete the quest. I’m hoping that they aren’t including that purchase in their 53% figure since if they are, it means that 47% of players never even made it to level 5…
For those who haven’t heard, Lord of the Rings Online is now free-to-play. As I’ve played the game before and found it pretty much fun (though not QUITE as much fun as World of Warcraft), I found it impossible to resist returning to the game.
As with any so-called free-to-play game, free is quite a bit of a misnomer. Sure, you can play the game for free, but at the end of the day, SOMEBODY has to pay. The company running the game (Turbine) isn’t a charity – they need to make money somehow.
In this case, the ‘free-to-play’ part of the game is pretty limited. You only have full access to part of the game, specifically three zones (Ered Luin, Bree-Land and the Shire), all of which are starting areas for lower-level characters. These zones will have enough quests to get you to level 22-24. After that – well, there are a few options.
That’s according to NPD. That’s a whole lotta World of Warcraft subscriptions. I was a tad surprised by the number 2 game, Runescape. Who plays Runescape? Lord of the Rings Online is number 3, a well-deserved spot, I think. Final Fantasy XI is number 4, followed by City of Heroes.
Here’s an interesting MMORPG development: City of Heroes is going to add a system in which players will be able to generate content which other players will be able to then experience. Actually, content is too broad a word most likely: it seems limited to the creation of missions (which are basically dungeons with storylines), not artwork or anything of that nature.
This is (as I sort of already said…) an interesting development in the MMORPG field. I can imagine a lot of extremely interesting things that players could do with this sort of thing, assuming, of course, that the developers make the tools powerful enough.
For the past month or so, I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings Online. Its not really a terribly deep game – hit things with a sword until they die, take their loot, repeat – but I’ve been having fun so far. Its a rather casual game. Well, so far, at least. World of Warcraft promised to be casual too, at low levels, but it lied… So far, though, I’ve been doing fairly well in LOTRO just playing off and on solo.
In some ways, the game manages to combine some of the aspects of WoW that I like (in that its virtually a clone, mechanic-wise) with some of the aspects of UO, specifically the ‘real world’ feeling.