I've never played LOTRO. Always wanted to try it, but I didn't want to pay the sub. Now that it's going to be like DDO, I'm going to play it. Hope I get into the beta.
Point is, there are a lot of great MMO's out there, and not enough people with the wallet to play it. Turbine's model is flexible enough to be profitable for the company, and at the same time offer consumers the option to pay when/if they want to.
Buying and playing an MMO is like looking for a car. An AAA title MMO is like a sports car. You pay for the box up front, then you pay monthly for the lease. If the car doesn't drive the way you like, you're stuck with it and a montly payment. And if you can't afford to pay the monthly, you lose the car.
Now what Turbine did is it allows you to test drive the car indefinitely. But only the barebones. All the parts for that car are sold by the manufacturer itself. So if you want a cassette player (that's right) or a nice paint job, you'll have to buy it from them.
What they did with DDO was give everyone the same car too. So those who paid for extra doesn't necessarily get a faster car, they just got a shinier car. You don't pay to win. In the case of DDO, you get access to different race tracks if you pay for it. Those who don't pay can still drive around a lot of places, they just can't enter Beverly Hills for example.
That's that for my car analogy.
Hope I get into LOTRO beta.