The Lord of the Rings Online will be genuinely free-to-play from 10th September 2010 — in America, the UK, and Europe. “No subscription or credit card required”. The West Midlands connections are two-fold: Codemasters is a local company, exploiting a fantasy world created by a Birmingham man.

I’ll certainly be taking a peek, come September, if only as a virtual tourist. The developers have had three years to knock off the rough edges that are inevitable with any massive multiplayer game, and the game has gathered good reviews and a strong community.