To start of, I've spent more time on this game than I ever thought I would spend on a single game, be it MMO or not.
(I started playing LotRO through the confines of Steam only recently, the game hours I speak of can be found on my Raptr Profile
under "Most Played")
What is LotRO? It's a "Hotkey-MMO" similar to Everquest 2, RIFT and World of Warcraft. Focusing more on a player storyline that goes through-out your leveling experience. Don't be fooled by that last bit. It's not a 100% in-a-line story RPG experience in a Massively Multiplayer world, there will be level gaps where you'll take time off from the story and do the good ol' MMO questing. That's the short description I can think of.
Aside the basic questing and the Story-line, known as the "Epic", we also have instances (some scalable with your level with a minimum level and some with a set level), skirmishes(scalable to your level starting from the level you unlock them at), raids(same as instances) and PvMP(at the level cap) among some here-and-there lore, references and the like.
The F2P model. Well this is something that rubs a lot of people the wrong way. To be frank, no one likes that a game, advertised as free, has the cash-shop surprise.Is it bad?
It's questionable, but then again, all F2P games should be taken with caution.What exactly is available to you from the start?
The flat out free content includes the majority of the classes (with the exception of Rune Keeper and Warden), all the starting zones (The Shire, Ered Luin and Bree Land) and 1 post-start zone, Lone Lands, which ends around level 32.Account limitations:
No level limitations.
3 bags out of 6.
All crafting tiers are available, but you only have access to the first 2 reputation tiers in a crafting guild.
Gold (100c = 1s, 1000s=1g; yes 1k not 100)is capped at 2.
You have 2 character slots on each server.
Each character has 2 free virtue and race trait slots out of 7 and access to the Class Specialization tree, but not the specialization bonuses (an extra bonus per 5 points in the chosen "main" specialization tree).Is this really it for a Free player? Just this? Seems barely something considering the current level cap is 95, no?
Well, yes and no. You are able to gather the cash-shop currency through gameplay. There are deeds, which are the equivalent to achievements. Majority of the deeds reward the player with the cash-shop currency known as TP (Turbine Points) allowing players to unlock further content for just playing the game. In my time on LotRO I have ran into more than a few players who have been unlocking their way through the game via just that. At times it does feel like a grind, but it is a viable way for a Free player to expand their experience.Where's the, you know, PvMP talk/stuff/review/whatnot?
I have not reached the endgame on the "Free Peoples" side and I haven't spent enough time on the Monster Play side either. Why? I'm more interested in the PvE content of the game, rather than the PvP.Is Lord of The Rings Online Pay to Win?
Well, LotRO is, in its essence, a PvE MMORPG. In that regard, I have not seen a single thing on the VIP features list, nor the cash-shop that would indicate that this is a P2Win game. It really isn't. Yes, it has PvMP (Player versus Monster Player) meaning PvP is in the game which in its essence is endgame Raid PvP and not your standard Arena PvP. Even there I don't see it being P2Win in any way. This is my point of view on this, opinions may vary.What is my stance on the F2P model?
It feels like an extended trial, infact it has enough content to be considered as something more than just a trial. I haven't seen a lot of games with a F2P model as fair as LotRO has. Which is partly why I've stuck with the game.
My experience so far:Why such a long time?
I started playing a few weeks after LotRO went F2P.What have I achieved in the game with that time?
To be entirely honest. Not as much as one would expect. I've never been a fast leveler. I like to explore a lot and alt-oholism takes its toll. The F2P model takes its toll aswell, especially since as a student, my funds are limited and must be used sparingly. Which is why I generally prefer to work on deeds for TP, instead of throwing money at Turbine. My highest level character is around level 65, I have a total of 9 character slots and various convenience upgrades, most of which I've unlocked via Deeds rather than real money.So, am I a VIP or?
Premium. The status between VIP and Free. The player who has spent some money on the game, but isn't sitting on a subscription.Do I love it?
Yes, a lot. I'm a LotR fan and so far I have not been disappointed in this presentation of Middle-Earth.Is it possible that this form of gameplay will tire me and result in me leaving the game?
It's possible. I am quite surprised I've been with it for so long. However I do believe that this is highly unlikely and if I recall correctly the Epic questlines goal is to reach Mordor which is something I would love to personally witness.Final verdict if such a thing is possible with an ever growing MMO (it really isn't in my honest opinion):
It's F2P, try it. If you don't like it then at least you have experienced something different and are that much wiser.
EDIT(s): Grammar and section arrangements for a more sensible format.