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Default Lord of the Rings Online - Pre-Order Program Revealed

January 26th, 2007, 08:11
"Revolutionary" is the adjective in the announcement of the Lord of the Rings Online pre-order program, with offers such as $9.99 monthly subs or a $199 lifetime membership for those that sign up:
Turbine and Midway Unveil Revolutionary Pre-Order Founder's Program for The Lord of the Rings Online(TM)
Thursday January 25, 8:00 am ET
Highly-Anticipated MMO Currently Scheduled to Launch on April 24, 2007
WESTWOOD, Mass. & CHICAGO—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games Inc. today announced the details of the revolutionary pre-order Founder's Program for The Lord of the Rings Online(TM): Shadows of Angmar(TM). The highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game, The Lord of the Rings Online, lets players experience the greatest epic fantasy adventure of all time and join with millions of fans from around the globe in the vast world of Middle-earth.
This exciting Founder's Program rewards all players who pre-order The Lord of the Rings Online with special $9.99 monthly subscription pricing, early access to the game (beta version), character roll-over and unique in-game bonus items. Players can become a Founder by pre-ordering the title at www.lotro.com/preorder or at retail stores nationwide beginning February 1, 2007. This limited-time offer is exclusively available to pre-order customers.
"The Lord of the Rings Online immerses you in one of the greatest literary works of all time," said Jeffrey Anderson, president and CEO of Turbine. "The Founder's Program pricing plan rewards fans for their loyalty with a special opportunity to join Middle-earth from the beginning."
The Lord of the Rings Online Founder's Program(a) offers players two different membership options:
Only $9.99 per month subscription price! OR
Just $199 for a Lifetime Membership! In addition to these special pricing options, The Lord of the Rings Online Founders receive:
  • Open Beta: Guaranteed access provides Founders the first opportunity to create a character and enter Middle-earth currently planned for March 30, 2007
  • Character Roll-Over: Moves the character that you created during the Open Beta into the live service —along with the stats, levels, items, and experience that character earned prior to launch!
  • Bonus Items: Two special in-game items that are only available to those who pre-order:
— Enchanted Cloak of Regeneration — Ring of AgilityThis exciting Founder's Program is available for a limited time until the commercial launch of The Lord of the Rings Online (currently scheduled for April 24, 2007). At launch, millions of fans will be able to explore the untold stories of Middle-earth, interact with legendary heroes like Gandalf, and play a vital role in the War of the Ring. The Lord of the Rings Online is the first and only massively multiplayer online role-playing game based on the Books of J.R.R. Tolkien. The game recreates the vast world of Middle-earth with incredible dedication to the Tolkien lore with an unprecedented level of detail. The game delivers an experience that takes players beyond the books to where they can create their own story within the most famous fantasy world of all time. For more information, visit www.lotro.com.
More information.
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January 26th, 2007, 08:11
Even though the NDA is in full force, word on the street is that this game falls short of expectations like Turbines other high profile license.

It is a shame really and not quite fair to Turbine.

Anything based on D&D and Lord of the Rings has to make peoples PCs spit gold out their floppy drives before they will be satisfied. And they have every right to expect as much from such fabled franchises.

D&D Online may be a good game by some standards but it is not a legend.

LOTRO better be a legendary game or it will be just another MMO struggling to survive.
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January 26th, 2007, 10:45
Iirc this is also a codemasters game which is not a good sign for any game.

All threads on this I have seen in the last 12 hours have been mostly negitive.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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January 26th, 2007, 12:32
Well, what can I say… I smell one of the biggest rip offs ever. Pre-order begins in like 5 days, but the NDA is still active. So I'm supposed to order a game which I know nothing about (unless I've played the beta… but from all you hear you won't order anyway if you did).
Oh I can keep my characters from the open beta, plus the monthly fee is relatively cheap!!! There is even a lifetime membership of 199$. Tell you what. Turbine knows that they have a week product and now they are trying to get the most money out of it.
Apart from that the term lifetime membership is misleading. I seriously doubt that the LOTRO servers will run the next 100 years, and I also seriously doubt that Turbine would keep them running if I were the only one left playing, but had a lifetime membership.

Doing a stress test while the NDA is still active was a mistake. You can find a lot of insider info on all kind of message boards since the fileplanet stress test… and most of what you read there is not overly positive. Then again I have to ask myself why they have to keep the NDA active? If you have a strong product, you don't need an NDA 2 months before the game goes life…
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January 26th, 2007, 13:02
Lifetime membership is not misleading. They´re talking about the product´s life.
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January 27th, 2007, 00:08
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Lifetime membership is not misleading. They´re talking about the product´s life.
Which is kinda misleading since we have absolute no indication of how long LOTRO will exist. As I said, I seriously doubt the game servers will be running the next 100 years…
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January 27th, 2007, 00:22
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Which is kinda misleading since we have absolute no indication of how long LOTRO will exist. As I said, I seriously doubt the game servers will be running the next 100 years…
So? What do you expect them to do? Rewrite the offer so it says: 'Turbine guarantees that you will still be able to play this game in March 2107'? Dude, honestly, and I hate to ask you this, but do you maybe share some of the umm… "issues" with the guy that you're using as your avatar?

I mean what is the problem, really? It would only be "misleading" or fraud or cheating if Turbine would already know right now (which they don't) that they are going to have to pull the plug before you would have paid the same amount of money via a regular sub. So at $14.99 or $12.99 or whatever the regular (non-preorder) sub is going to be, it would be kinda lame if they would shut down the game on or before ~13 or ~15 months. You do, however, start saving money the moment the game passes those marks. I'd say that this preorder is a pretty good deal for anyone who is really into this game and plans to stick with it.
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January 27th, 2007, 03:49
Personally (and as someone who only rarely dabbles in MMOs), I think this is an excellent idea. If I'm really keen on LotOR, I can budget a one-off expense and play to my heart's content. Even if I get bored and decide to play something else in two year's time, I can can come back to this whenever I want without re-subbing and by then, I'm not really paying for it.

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January 27th, 2007, 09:06
How did the old saying go "Dont buy a pig inside a sack." or somthing like that. I wouldnt pay 1€ for most mmogs let alone 199€ not even for wow. The chance that this one is really worth it is like finding needle in a haystack.
Last edited by zakhal; January 27th, 2007 at 17:15.
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January 27th, 2007, 11:59
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
So? What do you expect them to do? Rewrite the offer so it says: 'Turbine guarantees that you will still be able to play this game in March 2107'? Dude, honestly, and I hate to ask you this, but do you maybe share some of the umm… "issues" with the guy that you're using as your avatar?
First of all: The Hoff is awsome. There can be no doubt about it. He brought us series like Knightrider and Baywatch, and united Germany pretty much on his own by performing his song "I've been looking for Freedom" on the Berlin wall.

Ok, now about LOTRO and the dubious lifetime offer. Usually I wouldn't mind a lifetime offer, it is in fact not a bad idea once you have an established product. This is however where LOTRO comes in. As I said, in my opinion Turbine has an extremly weak product and they want to get the most out of it as long as they can. I bet they hope that at least a few people will take the lifetime offer so they can get at least a bit money out of it. Ask yourself the following questions. If you have a strong product, and if you believe in the longevity of your product, why should you make such an offer? Honestly, I see absolutely no reason. In fact such an offer is counterproductive for a profit-oriented company, since the longer my product will run, the higher the chances will be that I'm losing money by such deals.
Another reason why I am sceptical is that the lifetime membership is an "Exclusive Founder's Offer" which seems to be available if you preorder now (which grants you a "Special Membership Pricing"). So far there is no indication that this payment method will be available AFTER the game went life.
But preordering now is a tricky thing while the NDA is still active. So far, players that were not part of the beta have no impressions other than screenshots and videos which are extremly unreliable. Even if you are in the beta right now, you don't know what the finished product will be like. I'm sure if you're asking the developers right now, they will promise all kinds of things that they will implement in the following weeks and months. But my experience as a mmorpg player tells me that there is a big discrepancy between what developers will say before and what they will say after you bought their product (just one of thousand examples is Blizzards promise that they would implement the possibility for European players to play on US servers and vice versa - a promise that Blizzard gave us over 2 years ago and has not yet been fulfilled).

Is this fraud? Nope, it's not… and I never said so. Does this sound very reputable? Sorry, but not from my point of view.
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January 27th, 2007, 13:44
At the risk of being positive, I think the game looks great. Nice balance between graphics and realistic system specs, and very nice art direction. I'm tired of the cartoony MMO's personally.

I've also heard lots of positives over the last 12 hours. Its polished, runs far better than Vanguard or EQ2 and key areas like the Shire and Brie look fantastic. Most negative comments are coming from usual source - people who havent tried it.

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January 27th, 2007, 14:40
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I've also heard lots of positives over the last 12 hours. Its polished, runs far better than Vanguard or EQ2 and key areas like the Shire and Brie look fantastic. Most negative comments are coming from usual source - people who havent tried it.
I'm sorry to say it, but this is just a claim without proof. Right now, the NDA is still active which means sources that tell you the game is good are as creditable as sources who tell you the opposite. Right now it is impossible to discuss the game because no one (with a few exceptions like people from game magazines, and even those are limited in what they are allowed to say) who has played the game is allowed to talk about it. Which is, as I already said, part of the problem. Let me assure you though, that my own statement that Turbine has a weak product is not just based on my assumptions. That does not mean that there are no people out there who might not like the game - I'm sure there will be. But in my opinion the overwhelming part of players will be disappointed.
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January 27th, 2007, 15:28
Go read the BluesNews thread, there are some comments there from people in Beta - NDA or otherwise.

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January 27th, 2007, 16:35
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I wouldnt pay 1€ for most mmogs let alone 199€…
Hehe, you don't have to… the Euro lifetime membership is "only" €149.99 vs $199.99 (US) .

Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks
If you have a strong product, and if you believe in the longevity of your product, why should you make such an offer?
Maybe because they've hired one of those market research firms who figured out that the average MMOer (and even players of "strong" products such as WoW) is subscribed to a game for only 3 or 4 months and that players usually drop out waaaay before the time where the lifetime membership offer would start to cost Turbine money instead of making them money?
This offer could entirely be based on market research and economics.
It could also just be an experiment to see how well the market accepts such a preorder "flatrate" offer.
It doesn't have to be "uh-oh our game sucks so let's milk them suckers while we can". It could… but it doesn't have to be .
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January 27th, 2007, 17:40
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
Go read the BluesNews thread, there are some comments there from people in Beta - NDA or otherwise.
Or I could just go to the room next to mine and have another look at it.

Maybe because they've hired one of those market research firms who figured out that the average MMOer (and even players of "strong" products such as WoW) is subscribed to a game for only 3 or 4 months and that players usually drop out waaaay before the time where the lifetime membership offer would start to cost Turbine money instead of making them money?
This offer could entirely be based on market research and economics.
It could also just be an experiment to see how well the market accepts such a preorder "flatrate" offer.
It doesn't have to be "uh-oh our game sucks so let's milk them suckers while we can". It could… but it doesn't have to be.
Well, you are right of course. There could be alot of reasons why they are offering such a lifetime membership. I was just giving my own personal opinion here… based on what I have seen so far. I'm sure other people will have another opinion.
In any case, I can say that my feelings towards this kind of membership are deeply ambiguous. It certainly has its advantages, but the customer also loses a very important method to put preassure on the provider of a particular service - his ability to cancel his account on a monthly basis (or at least after a certain period). And let's face it… you don't have many other possibilities to do that. And a lifetime membership isn't of much use if I'm not content with the service offered…

Now, call me overly pessimistic, but that's how I'm seeing it. But hey, I'm always ready and willing to change my opinion. If Turbine should be extremly successful with LOTRO and will keep up the offer of a lifetime membership even after the launch of the game… well, then I'm the first one to admit that I was wrong. But to be honest, I think, we will see only one of these to things going to happen.
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January 27th, 2007, 20:49
I think I'm breaking the NDA saying that i'm in the European Beta… but I don't think they can know who I am in their beta… I hope ;-)

What I know for sure is that I've played lots of mmorpgs over the years (almost 10 years now… years playing mmorpgs not my own age ;-), so I have *some* experience. LOTRO is definitely a decent mmorpg, some people will think it's the best, others won't. I personally find it a bit boring, too "kind", too "nice", I like more brutal/violent games, with a much heavier emphasis on PvP. But it is already, 2 months before release, more polished than several games on the market, it is stable, runs smoothly, has very little bugs for a beta version, lots of quests and things to do in the lvl 1-30 areas. It has a lot of features : all the ones found in other mmorpgs such as WoW or SWG (auction house, mail, mounts, etc) plus a few new/rarer ones such as built-in voice-chat, an interesting perk system (reminscent to that of AC2), a very nice emphasis on lore & story, and good incentives and rewards for "doing things well" : the Accomplishments system, etc.

So all things considered, Turbine is not at all ripping people off with a 199$ life time subscription provided the servers stay online for more than a year. By the standards in the mmorpg market, LOTRO in its current beta stage already provides enough content and quality to justify the 15$ monthly fee.
Now the question is, are you sure you're going to play LOTRO for at least a year, otherwise indeed 199$ would be too expensive. I personally can't answer that question, I don't think I would, I've only been playing it for a month, I like, but I don't love it, I'm not really addicted. I think I'll buy it, play through the main story line and reach level cap, which should take about 3 months this summer, then stop. Unless I can manage to wait until October for AoC to release (more violent more PvP and something else than the oh-so common dwarf/elves heroic fantasy world).

What I think would be really fair, is that Turbine extends this offer after release. Say you buy it, play it a month or two at 15$/month love it then do your math and decide 199$ will end up being cheaper. And as Moriendor said, a life-time subscription is a great way to pause when you're a bit bored, play something else then come back.
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January 27th, 2007, 23:31
Originally Posted by Ionstormsucks View Post
Right now, the NDA is still active which means sources that tell you the game is good are as creditable as sources who tell you the opposite.
By your own rules, you aren't credible.

The reason a company who believed they have a good product would do this is ridiculously easy: WoW.

When you are trying to carve out a play base against something overwhelmingly dominant, you need to be creative. They owe it to their investors to get the best return they possibly can - whether or not the product deserves it.

From a buyer's side - caveat emptor. If you are not in the beta but are prepared to plonk down $200 sight unseen, why should I care?

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Last edited by Dhruin; January 28th, 2007 at 03:56.
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January 28th, 2007, 02:00
True. To make it a perfectly fair offer, they should lift the NDA ASAP and offer up an open (truly open - no BS restrictions) beta week(end) so everyone can get a chance to demo the game.

The way that it is now it's definitely a bit of a huge bargain for anyone who has not had a chance to play the game yet but for the typical MMO nut (I'm thinking about people who hop from game to game every few months and often resub to games that they have previously played) or hardcore LotR(O) fans, it still seems like a pretty good deal overall. Those people are bound to get their money's worth out of this offer eventually.

It's an interesting new(?) payment model at least and I'm hoping that something like this will be considered if and when SWG 2 should ever get made (no, not by you Sony - please don't even think about touching this licence ever again) .
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January 28th, 2007, 07:31
@Acleacius-what's wrong with codemasters?
the 2 games i own that they published are games i enjoyed greatly:blade of darkness and second sight.
but as this is an online game i'll almost surely skip it.
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January 28th, 2007, 07:44
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
It's an interesting new(?) payment model at least and I'm hoping that something like this will be considered if and when SWG 2 should ever get made (no, not by you Sony - please don't even think about touching this licence ever again) .
Its not new. WW2OL has had it for several years and there might be others.
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