Like we didn't see this coming?
I have had LOTRO installed on my HD for months now. A dormant and lifeless waste of space until the company started giving free weekend playtime to older members. I guess this is what they call the "winback weekends." These winback weekends must have been test patterns to see if they had increased traffic.
Due to the enormous success of Turbine's (now owned by Warner Bros.) decision to make Dungeons and Dragons Online a free to play model, it must of been very obvious that moving over to a model of free client with item shop was the way to go. I don't hold it against them because I never forget that this is a business. Businesses have one goal in mind: Growth.
LOTRO has always been one of the better MMO's out there and this new change will help them grow their user/subscriber base even further. I have read reports that DDO's userbase has increased 500%, which had to lead to better profitability of the game overall. They have a system that works and they are shifting the entire franchise over to what will be best for the company and their customers.
For every 3 people that will get mad and leave they should pick up 9-12 new players. Who wouldn't give LOTRO a download now that it is free, its a AAA title for heavens sake! I am not a huge fan of LOTRO, but I signed up for the beta.
I was surprised to hear this news on my return from vacation. It made me realize that RMT is inevitable and that the rest of the mmo community should realize this and go with the flow. What is your worst case scenario if every single mmorpg adopted the F2P model?