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LotRO EU is Dead, Long life the LotRO Global Service.
Simply put, there no longer is a Codemasters EU service, instead everyone now plays on a newly unified service under Turbine in the US.
0.1 Migrate your Account from EU to US. https://transfer.lotro.com/
Im not kidding you, there is a Account Transfer Window and you do NOT want to miss this. This is a account transfer, not just a char transfer, CM is legally unable to share your account data with Turbine without your consent. Once this window closes in a couple of ?months? your old CM account will be lost forever, https://transfer.lotro.com/ is the site used to transfer your account. As always on the internet verify your on the correct site by checking the certificates the site holds and its encryption because this transfer does require you to enter your username and PW.
0.2 Servers stay as they are, apart from Landroval.
Official RP server before, official RP server after. Landroval got bumped up to a RP encouraged flag with no changes to its actual ruleset. The old EU RP servers from CM are now operating under Turbine as RP servers with the following ruleset that is in addition to the normal rules though it takes precedence over it on the RP servers(though not landroval, its only RP encouraged, these rules do not apply there).
0.3. Turbine will continue French and German native clients.
To make this more clear, everyone will be able to play on any server in either English, French or German. Same client, you just choose the language. The Servers though will keep their Language designators(EN, FR and DE), so no worry about accidentially rolling on a server full of germans talking gibberish at you.
0.4 CM boxes and GTCs are voided!
You know the drill, new publisher etc. The Turbine account system does NOT recognize the keys of anything sold by CM. Do not buy any leftover pieces bearing the CM logo in your local stores even if its cheap, it simply won't work. Also be careful of only sales or sites like ebay and make sure you buy things that are for the US servers.
1. F2P, what does it mean incase of LotRO?
It means you get the gameclient as a free download at LotRO.com. The site checks your location via your IP and automatically tries to choose the right account/client for you, please verify you got the right one. It also means you can create an account for free and log into the game without being required to enter CC information or some other payment method. The European version is run by Codemasters, the US service by Turbine. CM have a multilingual client(English, French, German) and support. You can play on either or both, there is also a Russian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese site but i know nothing about them. Take lag due to distance into account when choosing where to play, though Europe to U.S. and vice versa is playable.
2. The Store.
Yes there is a ingame store. It uses a currency called Turbine Points, this currency can be bought via the usual means(CC, Paypal, C&B etc) or earned ingame by completing Deeds(around 5k TPs currently known to be earnable, per char). There is a wide variety of items offered, things like pretty and not so pretty cosmetic clothes, consumables from healing potions to one use items granting you rested XP etcpp. Most important though is that a huge pile of content in the game is sold via this store. The good news is that all content is a once per account sale, the bad news is that basicly all quests, instances and Deeds beyond the racial starting areas and Lonelands needs to be bought with points(as far as we know they are always combined in Questpacks, Skirmishes might be sold seperately).
To give you a rough idea, 1k points cost about 10-15$. An expansion costs between 1.5-2.3k points, a questpack for an area that always includes all quests and instances in that area(even raids) around 350-800. You earn between 3-15 TP per Deed. A normal Zone has between 100-245 TP worth of Deeds to do, instances will have less. Points through deeds get earned per character, but get into a account wide pool. Same Deeds on different chars still gives the full Points.
The store currently holds no High Quality gear that would usually be aquired in instances, the 3 relics(upgrades for your weapon) from a community poll that got recently added are a debated issue since they can be used for endgame, discussion about those starts at post 39 in this thread. Wether there are plans to add true endgame gear to the store remains to be see, it is however doubtful since Turbine is usign a store model revolving around content, consumables and convenience sales. Directly selling gear aquired in the content they sell would be shooting them in their own food since it would hurt both content and consumable sales.
3. Who gets what content?
3.1 Similarities - Everyone gets this/has to buy this
3.1.1 Character Slots
The base of charslots is 5 per server, it gets adjusted by MoM expansion(+2), Adventure Pack(+2) and Store bought slots(+1, up to 8x). So the maximum of characters per server would be 17 for VIP, 15 For Premium and 10 for Free players.
The base storage of your char is 5 Bags with 15 places each, Premium and Free players only get 3(upgradeable via TPs to base). You also get a bankvault with 30 spaces that can be upgraded 6 times with either ingame gold or TPs, the last two upgrades for a total of 8 are only available with TPs(150 space total). There is a option for a shared storage, its included with the Adventure Pack and has otherwise to be bought via the store. It has a base of 20 spaces which are accessible to all your characters on the server and can be upgraded multiple times via TPs(max 50 afaik).
Additionally the variaty of thrash loot has been decreased, and the stacksize increased.
3.1.3 Expansions and other Content
MoM - The Mines of Moria.
Full Expansion. Sold via ingame store or boxed in regular stores. Regular store version(complete edition) has 30 days of VIP access included. This gives access to Warden and Runekeeper classes, two more charslots, +10 levelmaximum, Legendary Items(LIs) aswell as several new zones and instances. Its a prerequisite for SoM.
SoM - Siege of Mirkwood
Smaller Expansion. Sold via ingame store. Gives access to a new zone, new instances, +5 levelmaximum, 6 new skirmishes and removes limits from Skirmish play.
DLC. Deprecated afaik, sales before F2P are honored and grant shared storage + 2 charslots regardless of account status.
3.2 Account Types
Independent of the store there are three access levels which are called VIP, Premium and Free that have a huge influence about what you get and how much its going to cost you to see/do something. Your account go through some or all of these phases, however once premium or VIP you can never become a free player again.
Free - You successfully created an account without spending money
You get -3 base Charslots(2 total) and can access all Quests, Instances and Deeds in the racial starting zones plus Lonelands and you can play the entire Epic storyline without being forced to spend TP in the store. Content beyond that has to be bought by spendind TPs in the Store, but will be available accountwide forever. Major limits in regards to chatting up zones, sending tells to multiple people at the same time or using the auction house(buy only). Crafting, bagspace, max gold, traits and swift travel are restricted. Limit removals, charslots, bagspace and content can still be bought through earned TPs like a premium player. You do not get rested XP and can not do any form of Monsterplay. You also have the lowest priority in Server queues.
Notice: The act of buying TPs would make you premium. The spending of earned TPs however would not.
Premium - Your LotRO account was atleast once involved in earning Turbine/Codemasters money(at any point in time).
You get 2 base characterslots less(3 total, modified further as explained in 3.1.3). You have similar limits as a Free player, but they are usually less severe. Your priority in server queues is higher and you get customer support for 30 days following the purchase of TPs. The main difference between Free and Premium though is that the latter will have alot more TPs to spend getting what he wants, while a free player will have to ration his TPs in a way that improves his TP income(so he can get more content). Your quality of life can be increased greatly by spending as little as 10$ worth of TPs to get two zones to level in post starting zones.
EX VIP, Currently Premium
The act of becoming VIP removes any char limits like travel, gold, bag, bank or trait restrictions, these charlimits do NOT get reintroduced once you stop being VIP, they are however only removed for chars that have been created or logged in during your VIP time. And yes that means becoming VIP for one month is alot cheaper than removing the charlimits one by one in the store for every char.
VIP - Active monthly payment at Industry standard prices(i.e. around 10-15$ a month)
They get everything Subscribers get today, and will get things in the future todays Subscribers would have gotten if they hadnt become VIPs due to the F2P release. Read that again and take it literally. That means they generally do not have to buy Quests, Deeds or Instances in the Store, but it does not include any of the content or perks of the expansions. It does include a 500 turbine points per month stipend though. They are able to participate in Monsterplay on both sides. This is basicly P2P as we know and love(or hate) it.
Notice: Lifetimers are always and permanently VIPs.
Premium and VIP payments run contraire to each other. The more content you buy, the less value you get for your VIP subscription. In an extreme case you would pay 15$ each month just for two character slots, rested XP, swift travel and monsterplay. The opposite extreme would be someone being a VIP for years and then dropping to a premium status with huge content holes(Moria and Mirkwood will likely at some point become medium level content, the latest zone enedwaith is already not included in them).
So do your math if you want to safe money.
4. Random Tipps, Tricks and Info
You can enter Zones without buying them, just not do Quests, Deeds or Instances in them. This does also apply to Zones contained in the Expansions.
Free/Premium membership goes from slightly better than Free to almost as good as Lifetime, the more time you spend twinking(or the slower you level) the more time you will be able to play without paying. Also if you level 3-5 chars through a zone the deeds can make the zone pay for itself(notice the clever amount of chars required, free players get 2 on a single server).
TPs are account wide. If a Free player is persistant enough he can get all content ingame aswell as remove all gameplay related disadvantages by farming Deeds on multiple servers(Server priority, chat & auction limitations are afaik hardcoded into being not a VIP). If you think Lineage was not that bad you might find it acceptable.
Turbine wants to bring Monsterplay as a Store item to premium and free players in the future.
Expansions are particularly good bang for your buck especially storebought MoM boxes.