I've never played LotRO, but I was considering giving it a try, so I had a look. One thing that I always look at is the business model, to figure out how much it will cost to play a game the way I want to. In the case of LotRO, it sure looks like the answer is quite a lot.
Like a lot of games, LotRO has an optional subscription that they want you to buy. Unlike most MMORPGs that have such a subscription, it's not all-inclusive in giving you all of the basics to play the game, or even most of them. They want you to buy the subscription, and then also still buy a bunch of other things separately.
It looks like free players get access to very little content, while subscribers get access to somewhat more--but still only a minority of the game's content. There are quite a few other games that want you to buy the latest expansion to get access to it, but LotRO wants you to buy every single expansion separately. Mines of Moria released in 2008, but to play it, you still have to buy it separately, as it still isn't included in a subscrption. Without expansions, it sure looks like you're done at level 50, rather than just having to skip a little bit of side content as you would in DDO, or getting most but not quite all the way to the cap as you would in WoW.
I saw the announcement that they're now selling an expansion bundle, and this is apparently a large discount as compared to the previous offerings. But it's still $100 to get access to all of the game's content, on top of the $15/month subscription. And, of course, that excludes future expansions.
So the game is $100 plus a subscription? Oh no no, we're just getting started. There are seven races in the game. Subscribers get access to four. You can buy the others for about $13 each. There are ten classes in the game. Subscribers get access to seven. You can buy the others for about $10 each. Subscribers get 7 character slots, which is more than the 2 that free players get, but if you want to play those extra classes, then additional slots will run you about $8 each.
And then you want shared storage to pass goods back and forth between your characters? I can't think of any other MMORPG that has such a thing and has a subscription, but doesn't include shared storage in the subscription. In LotRO, it will cost you $13, or more if you want anything beyond the smallest possible capacity.
Want to stop gaining experience so that you can actually play through the content you've bought before you level past it? That will be a little more over $1. Per character. They're nickel-and-diming you on so many of the obvious things that I suspect that if I actually play the game, there are other critical things that I'd have to buy that I don't yet realize.
Yes, you can get discounts of sorts by buying points in larger bundles. So maybe I could play how I wanted by spending something like $100 up front, plus a subscription, with the prospect of needing to spend another $100, in addition to continuing the subscription, upon reaching the original level cap of 50. And that's without even touching the usual pay-to-win whale bait.
Is there something important that I'm missing? Because that looks way too expensive to consider picking up a older game that looks on paper like it might merely be decent. Most MMORPGs are a lot cheaper to play than that. Older games commonly offer a discount eventually to try to get people to give the game a try. LotRO seems to have gone in the opposite direction.