In this, the post-Warcraft society that we live in, it means everything if you can jump out of the gate running. With shades of The Matrix Online, Midway and Turbine have announced their pre-order bonus plans for The Lord of the Rings Online, due out this April.

By pre-ordering the title now, players will be automatically enrolled into the Founder's Program which offers two very different payment options. Players can opt for a discounted monthly fee of $9.99 (the regular monthly price has yet to be determined), or they can press their luck and dish out a staggering $199 dollars now for a lifetime pass to Middle-Earth. Quite a bit to ask up front for an unproven product, wouldn't you say?

Also on the platter for this pre-order feast is early access to the game itself via an ongoing beta. Not only does this mean you can start playing today, but your beta character will also roll over to the final game. Folks who don't pre-order and start the game at level diddly will love this decision come day one when everyone else is flying around on laser-spewing dragons while hamming it up with Gandalf. Oh, and they also get some sweet rings to beef up their characters. Sup, +1 agility?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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