Epic Story in Helm’s Deep is PAID!!!


Hey all,

Just in case you hadn’t noticed (like I hadn’t at first), Here’s the official word: As of Helm’s Deep the Epic story isn’t free to play anymore. Here’s an overview of waht’s free and what not with this new expansion:

Quote Originally Posted by cossieuk View Post
Is there a list of what is included in the expansion that is not free for all players. I know the quests are not free, but the level cap rise and the epic quest lines are free. So what do you get for the money and what is free for everyone.


Sure thing.
Requires purchase of the Helm’s Deep expansion pack

  • Battle of Helm’s Deep (Epic Battles).
  • Epic Story
  • Western Rohan/Helm’s Deep Content (Quests).

Does not require Expansion Pack Purchase

  • Class Changes.
  • Level Cap increase.
  • Additional Crafting Tier.

That’s a real bummer! Just to be clear: The expansion starts at Volume III, Book 11. Everything before that is free!

The reasoning behind this move:

The Epic Story in Helm’s deep is very tightly entwined with the Epic Battle system. The story in Helm’s Deep is the Epic battle we all know from the books. We’ve returned to the core story line from the lore and that line leads in a direct path, laid out by the Professor himself, into Helm’s Deep and the battles and heroic deeds that occur there. As a result, this means the Epic story requires the purchase of the Helm’s Deep expansion. Otherwise you’d not be able to complete it as it moves through the Epic Battle system.

I’m unpleasantly surprised by this change of tactics by Turbine. I understand the need to have the additional quests paid for, but an epic story which is “part of” of a free to play game?! I don’t think so. I get the part about the Epic battles, but still……. The rest? Is that all there is as far as the epic story goes? Anyone remember Turbine made a promise the Epic Storyline would be free forever?:

Sep 12 2011, 02:00 PM #627

Sapience's Avatar

Sapience is offline Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon


Re: Official Discussion: Isengard LOTRO Store availability and Turbine Point Cost

I’ve actually seen someone complaining that we’re living up to the promise we made that the epic story line will always be free to all players. I’m not sure what to do with that complaint at all.

Rick Heaton, Community Manager, The Lord of the Rings Online.
Play Games, Heal Kids! Extra Life 2013 As of Sept. 11, 2013 we have raised $5,652.00!!
PMs are answered in the order in which they’re received. Currently serving #249 (This might take awhile)

And only exactly two years later they’re breaking exactly that promise! And mind you, it’s not only the free players who don’t get the Epic story. Premium’s, Vip members AND Lifetime accounts neither get the Epic Story!

One of the forum participants had an excellent solution (at least in my opinion):

They could’ve ended Book 13 just before the actual battle of Helm’s Deep and then the expansion quests kick in. Book 14 begins after the battle with no mention of whether our character participated or not. Easy way to keep it FTP.

Participating in the epic battles as of level 10….. only when you’ve got the expansion. So no hopes for me 😦 I had been looking forward to a preview of these epic battles!

So… Free to play is downgraded to:

  • Epic Story until Volume III, book 11 (I assume every expansion that follows after Helm’s Deep will have a paid Epic Story line as well)
  • Crafting (lucky for me, because I love to craft!)
  • The Shire (Epic story + all quest in the region)
  • Bree-land (Epic story + all quest in the region)
  • Ered-Luin (Epic story + all quest in the region)
  • Lone Lands (Epic story + all quest in the region)
  • 7 free classes
  • Anything I missed?

Like someone on the forums said:

If Turbine follows the HD model in the future, all following content will be cordoned off unless you buy everything there is. Goodbye select-purchase then, we´re back to a subscriber-only-with-a-twist game.

I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have any additional quest packs nor expansion packs yet. Good thing my characters are only up to level 35 and nothing more.

Now I’m thinking I may have to start to do some actual planning on a few things. I’m currently rewriting one novel, I’ve got a second novel to start, I want to get the crafting of my guides up to scratch, get the levels of several more characters upto at least level 35 and grind, grind, grind TP’s. There are so many things I still wanna buy.

Oh, right…. and I’ve got a job. Hmmm…… Do I need to set up a planning per month, week, day, hour or even smaller?

Anyways, back to the subject at hand, keep this in mind: If you’re a free player at level cap and no RL money to buy the basic edition fo the Helm’s Deep expansion, go grind! Cause basically there’s nothing to do anymore, cause not only are the “extra” quests gated behind RL money/TP points, the Epic story is too, so what’s left for level cappers with no money to spend? Grind the new craft level (two days perhaps? The Eastemnet Farmer + Cook took me a day) and than grind, grind, grind, oh and then grind some more so that you’ll have enough TP to buy the expansion once it goes live in the in-game store.

TP Points for this expansion?
The big question now is, “How many TP do you have to pay for this new expansion?”. Well, your guess is as good as mine, but here’s what I think:
Riders of Rohan costs 4295 TP with 400 quests, a free Epic story, instances, etc.
With Helm’s Deep we have to pay for the Epic storyline, 300 quests (mind you, that’s 100 quest less than RoR!),  the Big Battles system (instead of the normal instances). I’m guessing we’ll have to pay more, a lot more, TP for the HD expansion, if only because of the big battles and the epic storyline. I’m thinking we may have to take into consideration the amount of TP we’re gonna have to pay is about 5,000. I know, it’s just a wild guess, but with the above mentioned changes and the class overhaul (granted, shouldn’t be counted as HD content, but is released with HD nonetheless), Turbine (and Warner Bros) will want money for this. A lot more money than they got from Riders of Rohan.

Playing Devil’s Advocate here
Well, many people state Turbine has promised the Epic story would remain free to play. Point is, I’ve been doing some digging (and believe me, it really was some digging!) and it was actually never really promised the Epic Story would be free forever. It seems Turbine promised the Epic Storyline until Moria would be free. In their press release they stated:

Free means Free! – Players will download LOTRO by visiting www.lotro.com and join with millions of other adventurers as they explore the most complete and authentic recreation of Middle-earth ever created and participate in LOTRO’s award-winning epic story up to level 50 for free.

Yeah, I hear ya. Back then the highest level probably was level 50 (don’t know for sure, cause I wasn’t there then), so that was considered end-game. Then came Moria…. And with it paid versions of the Epic Story, or so I’m told. At some point they changed that again and the epic story was once again free. Next expansion was Rise of Isengard and Sapience said the following about that:

Sep 28 2011, 05:50 PM #7

Sapience's Avatar

Sapience is offline Community Manager & Harbinger of Soon


Re: isengard free areas

Shortly after we launched Free to Play last year we made a commitment to allow players to access new areas and participate in the Epic story line for free. Isengard continues that commitment. You can access the landscape, and participate in the Epic story for free. However to gain access to the more than 300 quests in the expansion, the new raid and the upcoming instances you’ll need to either purchase these things a la carte in the LOTRO Store, or purchase the full expansion via the web store.

Rick Heaton, Community Manager, The Lord of the Rings Online.
Play Games, Heal Kids! Extra Life 2013 As of Sept. 11, 2013 we have raised $5,652.00!!
PMs are answered in the order in which they’re received. Currently serving #249 (This might take awhile)

And yes, up until now the epic story parts which were actually in expansions or updates were free, but …… I guess the Commitment is only “until the next expansion” for which Turbine decides each time seperately if they commit to the Epic story being free again?

Hmmm…. much to think about.

What do you all think? Is this a wise move made by Turbine? Or should they try to work on a different solution?


About Ilse Mul

Junior Game Designer, Author, Lotro addict, Puzzle Pirates addict

10 comments on “Epic Story in Helm’s Deep is PAID!!!

  1. WOW! Yeah lots to think about…
    Great blog and thanks for digging that up about commitment vs promise…

    My opinion is also that it was quite doable not to mix epic with battle system…

    Now time will tell if Epic continues being free except for the BIG battle…

    I am disappointed, more so as the community was not informed of this before…

    • You’re welcome 🙂 And thanks for the compliment!

      I’ve been wondering too, if the Epic Story could do without the Epic Battles. Or perhaps give the players a little role for a one-time quest, as a little preview, for when they want to buy the system.

      I wonder if Sapience knew about this before the news was released…… This is not good for business, I think.

  2. Nice post. I posted the story at lotroplayers.com about this. For that post, I also did some digging to find Turbine’s original ‘promise’, and came to the same conclusion as you. It was never promised that the epic would “always” be free. It was simply a matter of the expectation being set over several expansions worth of free epic content. The problem is that that expectation translated into “promise” in the minds of many players who have become very disgruntled (and in some cases, left the game) with Turbine.

    My biggest problem now is with the term “free to play”, which lotro now obviously is not. They seem to have that covered as well, as their website simply says “play for free” and never seems to claim to be a “free to play” game. It’s a subtle wording difference that can make a big difference in the game’s business model. Anybody who refers to LOTRO as a “free to play” game is now doing so in error.

    • I totally agree with you. In the past I had tried out Lotro for the trial period, but at that moment my computer couldn’t handle things. When I had a better computer and heard Lotro was Free to play, I decided to go and check it out, especially since I’m on a tight budget since I don’t have a high-paid job anymore.

      I guess play for free could make people think they can actually play it for free, but the difference is there…..

      From now on I won’t refer to Lotro as free to play anymore. Hmmm.. I might have to do a full check of my blog to see where it’s all referred as free to play….

  3. Where/when is the level 50 quote from? Moria, and possibly even Mirkwood was out before the game went FTP, so if that quote is from when they went free to play they’ve gone far and beyond that promise if everything up to Helm’s Deep is now free.

    I have no idea though.

    Braxwolf: I don’t see the difference in those wordings. Even if a game is free to play, there shouldn’t really be any guarantee that everything is free. There are a heap of different models, all the way from completely free to completely broken.

    • The level 50 quote is, like I said, from their own press release at that time.

      I am aware they have evolved way beyond level 50, exactly as I have pointed out.

      I guess many people thought the epic story would indeed be forever free. It’s all on how they put it in wording.

      Thank you for coming here and discuss things 🙂 I like it!

  4. […] the Epic Story with three new books and Epic Battles. Nope the Epic Story is NOT free, as I explained earlier nor are the Epic […]

  5. Well this is too bad! I am a free Premium player and just reached Vol 3 Book 11 and saw the locked quest symbol above Nona in the Wildemore cave. I was just a tad disappointed. Then I come here and read the whole story. Looks like my days in LOTRO are over.

    To all those folks on Brandywine server that took the time to help me with the Epic Storyline instances and game itself – THANKS! I had a great time playing and was only sticking around to do the Epic Storyline.

    Chocoholic thank you for the great blog post. You did a bang-up job getting all the details.

  6. Seeing I only have 550 Turbine points the whole grinding out points deal isn’t going to fly for me. 4295 pts would take me a long long long time. Don’t have that kind of time to spend on the game. 😦 Oh well…..

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