LoTRO recently announced a 7 day free trial (good) and that they have ‘4 million characters’. (stupid) Why anyone today would report the number of characters their game has is beyond me, unless you want to compete with the awesome ‘game’ that is Second Life. (It might get you a story in Time however; since that seems to be the only MMO ‘game’ they report on)
I understand companies have PR machines that need to take whatever is happening and make it look good, but Turbine’s 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 misleading fluff PR statement like Turbine did only gets you flamed, as seen here, here, and here. Nice job.
I think this misstep is most disappointing because LoTRO is actually a good game, with great support. Every patch released has improved the game in significant ways, and all the upcoming features also look promising. So LoTRO is not the second coming of WoW in terms of subscription numbers, that’s ok. It has a solid base to build a great MMO from, give it time and let it grow. I think it has sold well enough at this point to warrant that, at least.