The Lord of the Rings Online Interview

The editors at Gamertell have put online the second part of their LotRO four anniversary Q&A, dealing with the MMO transition to F2P and what can be expected from E3. While it doesn't provide concrete data it's still an interesting read. Here's a snippet:
GAMERETELL: Turbine achieved great success when Dungeons and Dragons Online adopted a F2P format. So far, do you see a similar pattern emerging from LOTRO?

Mersky: Yeah. The game has certainly grown from free to play, there's no doubt about that. LOTRO had a much larger base when we made the transition, so I think that certainly, additionally, DDO's percent of increase was very high. But we have seen the same kind of growth, we have seen subscribers grow, we have seen lots of new people coming in. I think anybody can see that when they log in the game. Any region that I go to now, any major center there's other players running around. And it's been very good for us.

I think that, much like we did the first year with DDO's operations, we're still in optimization mode and that's how do players feel about the value of the things in the store? And we're making adjustments as we go. What things can we do? You know, the LOTRO store is much larger than the DDO store so what kind of feedback is that? Are there too many items? Is it hard to find the items? Things like that are what we're constantly testing on with players, with our beta community things like that.

So I think we're learning new things every day, but in a very simple term, we have seen success like we did with DDO. We're fully behind this model and we think it works. A lot of people still have the misconception that we walked away from subscription but all we did here was add another option to the existing subscription model. And we think that's been partially responsible for our success.

Campbell: I think that's certainly one of the counter-intuitive things in the go free to play and see our subscriber numbers grow.

Mersky: Yeah, the players get in, they see the value, they find the community and then they realize that best value of the game is still to subscribe. And we see them go through that process.

They also have an ongoing giveaway contest for 500 Turbine Points in case you're interested.