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Pondering: What does F2P LotRO mean for other MMO’s?
Over the past few weeks, ArenaNet has been piling on the good word about Guild Wars 2. One after another, every announcement is filled with the stuff that MMO gamers’ dreams are made of. It’s like they found a unicorn and forced it to eat fairies and crap out sparkly rainbows all over their press releases. I can only assume that many of those people who are riding the GW2 hype train are taking a stop at the GW1 station to have a visit. I know I’ve given it some heavy thought. But my mood may have changed yesterday when the announcement was made about Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play. I immediately considered my options for a sidekick MMO to my current Star Trek Online subscription. I already have a somewhat developed character in LotRO, it’s more of an open game which might counteract the instanced feel of STO, and I personally can look back and say that I enjoyed my time in LotRO more than I have Guild Wars.
Still, the hype is tempting, and I probably have ample time to check out Guild Wars again before the F2P model kicks into effect with LotRO, but this thought has me curious for the future; what will this change in Middle Earth do to other MMO’s? I don’t expect a big change in something like WoW. If anything, a few people who were looking to quit in order to save a few bucks may switch over so they can still have an open world without the monthly cost. But nothing major. I think it will have a more interesting impact on other free games like Guild Wars, Runes of Magic and Dungeons and Dragons Online. I doubt the casual DDO crowd will up and leave since most people I know who play casually have a regular group that meets for dungeon running. I wonder how much temptation there would be for those who invest more time in game. Will they see the level of content LotRO has to offer and jump over to their sister game, or will they be too embedded to cut their ties?
Time will tell, but I’m always game for irresponsible speculation in the meantime. What do you think? Do you see this change having a big impact on the player base of other F2P games? Will LotRO be the one game to rule…nah sorry, can’t go through with it.