LOTRO F2P Beta Finally Coming To Europe

LOTRO F2P Preview Event

"Participate or the sign gets it!"

I consider myself a pretty smart guy. I’ve got a top University degree, I spend all day working with things called variables and trying to come up with hilarious innuendo function names (seriously, any computer system that has a “back end” and “members” functionality is just asking for it), and I occasionally write using the word “one” instead of “you” just like the Queen does. I’m also rather modest but that’s besides the point. But honest to God I have no idea how the European distribution of MMOs works sometimes.

Yesterday I received an email from Codemasters inviting me to take part in the LOTRO European Preview Event. Although it didn’t explicitly state it was for the F2P version of the game, Codemasters were offering 500 Points (not Turbine Points note, just ‘Points’) to sign up so I figured what the hey and filled out the form. Fortunately for me and my identity theft case officer it was indeed the European F2P beta I’d just hooked myself up for. No exact date or ETA yet but at least it’s coming our way.

F-r-e-a-k-ing finally.

Like I said, I’m a reasonably intelligent guy but still I cannot fathom why the whole thing is taking so long. No doubt it involves plenty of management squabbles, company politics, backroom handshakes and network engineers mumbling buzzwords such as bandwidth, downtime, gigawatts and flux capacitors and I’m sure there’s a hundred legitimate reasons why these delays have been necessary but still, c’mon guys, just like hurry up or whatever. Remember the ol’ phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way”? Well I do – now go find that will.

I could go on a big rant about how splitting MMOs across different distributors in America and Europe doesn’t work and ends up only punishing the customer (*cough* GOA *cough*) but I won’t because, frankly, I’m just jolly happy that progress is happening and F2P is finally on it’s way to LotRO Europe sometime soon. Better late than never and all that.

So if you’re European, or just feel like playing with some Eurotrash, you can sign up for the LOTRO F2P Preview Event here. I may not be the biggest Tolkien fan in the universe (Hobbits freak me out) but I’m looking forward to bounding around Middle Earth subscription free so you’ll definitely find me there, stroking my hopefully-enormous-virtual-moustache and making delightful quips about those silly Elven girly-men.

Now who wants to bet that the official release date will be December 7th?

-Gordon

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18 Comments

  1. elleseven says:

    Hopefully its comes in time so you can see the Haunted Cellar. Its so spooky and well done.
    One nice thigk too is I have yet to witness any jerks or l33t players in lotr, just really pleasant helpful players.

  2. Scormus says:

    I agree with Elleseven. It has to be soon, so the EU players can see the Harvestmath events on their own servers. Logically, though, I don’t see it happening that soon. Even though a good portion of the bugs have already been worked through, Codemasters and Turbine use different systems for billing and whatnot, so this could significantly affect how Points are distributed. And that’s only one of the many difference that could cause bugs to crop up unexpectedly.

    I see this Preview taking at least a month, and the EU players will be lucky to see F2P go Live on their servers before December. But then I doubt Codemasters wants to launch F2P directly in competition with the Juggernaut’s new expansion, so who knows when it would come out. November would be an optimistic assessment, but I’m leaning towards the second week of December, depending on how long the preview has to last.

  3. Yetian says:

    About time. :) don’t get me started on how European players are treated in mmos though. ;)

    I am not sure if I need to sign up for the preview event as I have a founder sub.

    Whatever happens, maybe I will see you on Laurelin. :)

    • Gordon says:

      Yeah it really gets my goat. Although Blizzard had several months of delays originally launching WoW in Europe, at least they’re fair enough now. And SOE are actually one of my favourite companies for EU distribution, mainly because they give players the option to play on ANY server which I really like.

      • Dril says:

        To be fair, EU forum-goers are still not worth Blizzard development time. Because we’re European, obviously. And everyone knows European gamers can’t write or rationalise their thoughts properly.

        (Swanky linking click me thing: imagine the last sentence as several hyperlinks to yourself, Tobold, Larisa and Spinks for irony. Teehee.)

  4. Carson says:

    Actually I suspect the buzzwords weren’t bandwidth, downtime, gigawatts and flux capacitors – more like pounds, pence, euros, francs, lira, etc. etc.

    But I’m happy to hear that they’re finally sorting it out for you guys!

  5. Longasc says:

    The true question is, free or not, will you like it? You were in doubt already over one year ago as I encouraged you to give it a try with the Siege of Mirkwood release.

    If you have become a LOTRO player can easily be measured – you must have made it past the North Downs. They revamped the Lone Lands, another area of the game where many stopped playing, so I am not sure if “must have made it past North Downs or Lone Lands” is still valid. But if you should get bored in the North Downs, Middle Earth is vast, go to the Lone Lands! :)

    (I personally think the North Downs are just a huge zone that requires you to do some exploring what you can do where, making people feel lost at times between numerous wolves, wargs, spiders and trolls. There are many quest hubs and LOTRO is quite quest driven, but there are not too many breadcrumbs leading to them. But maybe it is a good thing to overcome the -> ! habit you might have fallen victim to!)

    • Gordon says:

      Totally. Which is why I’m looking forward to the F2P version because it will give me the chance to level up a character and get properly stuck into the game before having to shell out any money. If it grabs my attention, I will definitely subscribe.

    • Bhagpuss says:

      Mrs Bhagpuss and I got well past North Downs before we gave up. My highest character was in the 40s somewhere and we’d gotten as far as that icy place that looks fantastic.

      Sadly, beautiful though the gameworld is, the gamepley was becoming attritionally tedious. I really, really don’t like quests being used as the primary means of gaining xp. I’d much rather just be able to go out and kill stuff and do a few quests as sugar on the top, but the xp for grinding mobs in LotRO is so diabolically low it sucked all the fun out of it. That and the major inventory management issues.

      Consequently we didn’t feel it was worth continuing to subscribe so we stopped playing altogether. The new F2P model should allow us to enjoy the world and potter about without feeling that because we are paying we have to play more than we want to.

      No sign of any emails yet, though, and when I tried to register yesterday it didn’t seem to recognise my email address as having an existing account attached to it.

      • Longasc says:

        Icy place that looks fantastic – must be Forochel. :) It is also a huge area and, while epic due to size, quite tedious as a downside. Turbine unfortunately requires us to grind faction with the Lossoth before one can get fast travel.

        Which really amuses me, because by the time you have reached high faction standings with the Lossoth, you will leave this area for good and will never ever return. ;)

        My favorite icy place are actually the Misty Mountains. Some hate it, but for me it was a wilderness where I could kill tons of Wargs and stuff. It also had a few outstanding quests. Hard to say why, but Forochel was just huge, the Misty Mountains and their icy slopes really touched me somehow.

        These explanations are probably useless as you got bored before, but LOTRO changes a lot depending on expansion:

        Shadows of Angmar plays very differently to Moria, which also changes with Lothlorien and Mirkwood. Mirkwood on its own is a fantastic ride gameplay wise, flawed a bit by the same dungeon farming endgame (Swordhalls) and both Mirkwood and Lothlorien are absolutely stunning to behold. Moria is well worth a look, it is a gigantic super dungeon. But interestingly after a few months most players absolutely wanted to get out of it!

      • Dril says:

        Seconded. Got past North Downs on my Cap’n and went into Evendim, thought “yeah, it looks okay (with DX10 and everything on full)” and then walked into a quest hub and realised it was still crap gameplay.

        While I advocate the quest system, good questing is not a substitute for good combat.

      • Gordon says:

        I got an email today saying the event starts today (Monday) and ends of Wednesday. Fantastic notice eh? :) Also apparently you have to download the entire game again and it comes through really slowly. A little disappointing really.

  6. Longasc says:

    I wonder if will get the 500 pts for participating in the preview event that runs till Wednesday, I got some ~100 kbps speed for the preview client only despite passing the connection test and telling my router firewall explicitly to let the Pando Media Booster (somewhat sneaky torrent style downloader) pass.

    Well, it just dropped from 120 kbps to 24… some other users get 450 kbps, I am very unlucky. With this speed the event is over before I have even finished downloading.

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