LOTRO Free Trial and misleading statistics

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Today Turbine announced in a press release that a 7-day Free Trial is finally available.  Nearly four months and several gimmicks later there will finally be a way for players to try LOTRO without having to go through another player.  As many others have noticed the press release included a few interesting notes worth mentioning:

“LOTRO has received critical acclaim from around the globe.  Since its launch in April, LOTRO has quickly become the second largest MMORPG with an estimated 4 million characters calling Middle-earth their home.”

Maybe it’s clever and perhaps it’s absolutely true, but does anyone else think it’s misleading to say you have 4 million characters playing?  It’s like they’re trying to say they have 4 million people playing.  Yes, I’m absolutely reading into this but why not just say the number of active accounts so that they are at least giving a number that means something.  I’ll use myself as an example here as an active subscriber.  I have something like 10-12 characters that consist of name holders, alts, extra bank chars(mules), etc across a few servers.  What if everyone had at least 5 characters on their account?  That’s 800,000 subscribers!  That’s NOT bad!  Personally I don’t think they have that many.  I’ve played on 4 different servers and given the number of current servers there’s no way they have 800,000 people playing the game.

Now how about that “second largest MMORPG” line?  Uh, no?  I’ll try and defend Turbine on this and hope they were just trying to be misleading instead of misinforming.  There are a dozen MMORPG’s that I can think of with more players.  But let’s just assume they were being misleading and they meant to say “second largest MMORPG in North America that requires a subscription”.  First off, we have no way to determine if that’s true because they’ve already made it clear they don’t want to be straight forward with their subscription numbers.  Given these perameters LOTRO has direct competition with (off the top of my head) WoW, CoH/V, and EQ2 in North America alone!  Let’s include the Asian and Euro market and we have Lineage 1 and 2, WoW’s world-wide market, FF11, and so on.  Now let’s take it a step further and count the FREE MMOs.. Maple Story, Gaia, and quickly you can see how ridiculous it is to claim LOTRO is the “second largest MMORPG”.

It’s not my goal to pick on Turbine.  I currently play LOTRO and I plan to keep playing LOTRO for a long time.  The game is starting to really get good and I am SO glad that I stuck with it through the rough times.  I’m simply curious why there’s a need to mislead people?  You have a great game with plenty of people playing and that should make you proud.  Hopefully this trial will bring more people to the game so that we can see continued growth and a long future for both Turbine and Lord of the Rings Online.

  • […] I understand companies have PR machines that need to take whatever is happening and make it look good, but Turbines PR people seriously dropped the ball on this one. You completely discredit your success when you release a report with the number of characters your game has. Either give us active accounts, or just don’t report numbers at all. Or really man up and just show how many people are online, like EVE or Battle.net do. Sending out a fluff PR statement like Turbine did only gets you flamed, as seen here, here, and here. Nice job. […]

  • I actually agree with you on your statistical point of view, though i have always found governments have the ability to throw in statistics to make anything sound good, Turbine is just trying to look good, the same way any other MMORPG does. Yes, you are probably reading into it a little much, though your right, there is simply no way, a year later, that they have that number of active accounts even now…

    I will say that as a founder, buying at special prices the lifetime subscription for 199.00 USD, i was rather peeved (for want of more coarse wording) that they now offer it to anyone with their aniversary celebration for the same price… I was feeling special for but a moment… Being a founder is becoming something easily forgotten…
    Either way, i am in it for life, who’s lifetime is my question….

    http://www.Blades-of-light.net Forums for more…