Sauron, you might want to grow another gigantic, flaming eyeball to watch your back, because you're about to make a bunch of brand new enemies. Why? Because this fall, anyone and everyone – graphics cards willing – will be able to play Lord of the Rings Online for the same price as developer Turbine's other wildly successful MMO, Dungeons & Dragons Online. Which is to say:
“Turbine’s Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited was the world’s first truly premium free-to-play online game that ushered in a new era of choice for online gamers seeking quality entertainment,” said Jim Crowley, President and CEO of Turbine. “The popularity of DDO validated the extraordinary demand by gamers for quality entertainment they can experience at their own pace and within their budget. Extending free-to-play to LOTRO will offer another premium game to a broad spectrum of fans.”
Follwing in DDO's footsteps, Lord of the Rings Online will also allow players to get a little extra bang if they choose to part with a buck or two. The LOTRO Store will offer expansion packs, extra character customization options, and more, while the game's all-access VIP program will essentially function like subscription fees do right now.
Still though, you're getting close to the entirety of fairly fantastic fantasy MMO without spending a dime. You certainly won't see us complaining.