Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). Like most free-to-play MMORPGs, the publisher of the game earns income by selling perks and hard to acquire goods for real money. In LotRO, real money is spent to purchase Turbine Points (TP), which can then be spent in the Turbine Store. Besides real money expenditures, TP can also be earned in game for free through concerted effort. TP is gained slowly in this manner and is best hoarded for optimal use. If you are playing the game entirely for free, the following are the most important things you should buy with you Turbine Points.
Gold Cap Removal (495 TP) – Your first expenditure of TP should always be to remove the gold cap for all of your characters. Until you make this purchase, all coin earned in excess of 2 gold is locked away, unavailable until the cap is removed. If you spend money once you reach your cap, you do not make the locked coin accessible, but you can then earn more coin again until the cap is reached. This purchase removes the cap for all of your character and allows you to store and spend impressive amounts of gold.
Bags (495 TP each, up to 2) – At the start of the game, you have three bags available. For a fee you can unlock a fourth and fifth bag for every character you have. Bag space gets tight as you go up in level and this quickly becomes critical on long quests away from civilization. The fourth bag is crucial for characters over level 30. You can probably hold off on buying the fifth bag, possibly forever, if you play conservatively.
Expansions / Quest Packs (600 – 2495 TP) – The cost for expansions and quest packs is very high. A single character cannot earn enough TP to pay for them. The only way to earn enough is to play multiple characters and complete deeds. If you do farm enough to buy an expansion, this will open up more levels and areas in the game. Quests are less important since there is enough content to level you through the game, but without quests, some areas will be incredibly dull to journey through.
Auction House (495 TP each, up to 5) – Each expenditure on the auction house will open up 5 slots for selling. The auction house is the best way to earn coin especially if you enjoy crafting, and can help you preserve bag space. The first auction house slot is probably more important than the second bag slot for most players.
Mount (795+ TP) – There are cheaper mounts, but they are temporary. Only buy permanent mounts and only buy one.
Classes (636 TP, 2 separate classes) – There are two classes you can unlock in the Turbine Store. Since the classes are not crucial to play experience, this is a perk you should avoid unless you desperately want to play a specific class. While this benefit does work for you entire account, it basically only will be used once, maybe twice ever.
What to Avoid – Never spend TP on anything temporary. You should try to only purchase items that affect your entire account, but if you buy all of the crucial benefits, you can start looking at single character benefits. In general, you should only buy these things for your main character.
Sales – Turbine regularly has sales. If you intend to buy a particular item, keep an eye on the forums and wait patiently. Most items in the Turbine Store go on sale at least once every 3-6 months.