BIG EDIT: Despite my post below it now seems that welcome back week has indeed ended. Now I am red faced. It seems I may be guilty of spreading misinformation.
You may have heard hat the European launch of Free to Play (f2p) Lotro was delayed days before the promised launch date of 10th September and we are still waiting for a confirmed date. Commentators have pointed out the missed opportunity here and have pointed out that many Europeans who would like to try Lotro may go to the current free US servers instead.
Well I just discovered that you can actually play Lotro for free with Codemasters in Europe already. This post explains it all but the gist is that returning ex subscribers can avail of a free "welcome back" deal which allows them to play for free until f2p launches while totally new players can use the free trial and they too will be able to keep playing for free until f2p launches. The welcome back package also includes accelerated XP and free horse travel for all players.
It's a pretty good arrangement actually and someone staring on the European servers today will have access to more stuff than someone starting a brand new free account on the US servers. The only problem is that Codemasters aren't telling anybody about it. The official Lotro Europe website doesn't explain it and only people who trawl Codemasters forums are likely to find out about it. Codemasters seriously need to overhaul their marketing department because this is not the first time they have had a special offer and not told anyone about it.