It's amusing to come back after 8 months or so and still find topics like this, not a dig at the OP at all, it's a valid question and there is certainly a sliding scale over what kinds of advantages you are capable of getting through real money in most F2P games. I stopped playing not because I hate the game or anything, and certainly not because there was nothing to do..on the contrary it felt like the mountain of things to do was nearly insurmountable.

Basically speaking, F2P model always offers some advantages to those that give money, there needs to be some carrot and stick for you to open your wallet, and games aren't developed for free, which most people agree is fair. Mostly, these advantages are 'bypass time sinks' variety and the old school die hard fanboi types would always argue that all advantages are of this type because you can earn real money currency (TP) in game..this is true in fact but really, unless you are willing to work at it for an effective rate of less than a sneaker manufacturing child in Tunisia is not particularly practical, but then again if you enjoy it and have nothing better to do with your time is indeed possible, ya know, like if you are a philosophy major at college

What I found annoying as an OCD must get everything 'maxed' type the mountain became too high, and full of effort, and even a VIP membership required, on my time budget which was at the time quite extensive (go philosophy!), significant, further purchases of TP to accomplish my goals became a requirement...and this is why one day I woke up feeling liberated from my LOTRO addiction and still do, I don't think I've logged in for more than 2hrs total in months..mostly just to make sure all my housing was still intact and paid up.

If competitive edge in whatever form is your thing F2P in general, not just LOTRO, is not for you, if however you want to stroll through the land of Middle Earth and couldn't care less about being top of your game and are just content to play it for what it is, you needn't worry or give a cent, and will no doubt enjoy it!