going free-to-play early last month. That's the second MMO Turbine has taken from a paid subscription to a hybrid microtransactions-based business model, with Dungeons and Dragons Online doing the same thing last year (important to note: Paiz was in charge of both transitions, switching to LotRO in July). Paiz told us after the panel that LotRO wasn't in trouble, but rather that Turbine did the math and decided the switch would work. "We knew there was more out there for us," she said.
Paiz also shared that 20% of LotRO's former players have returned to the game since the switchover, and that the game has seen a 300% increase in peak concurrency, with three times the number of players online simultaneously, and a 400% increase in active players total. 53% of players have used the in-game microtransaction store (which sells everything from mounts and outfits to XP boosts and character slots), and as you can see above, extra storage slots are extremely popular in the store. And even paid subscriptions have increased. Turbine's lesson seems to be that, as Paiz said during the panel, "when you tell people you no longer have to pay for it, they come in droves."