An excellent post. My only real quibble is that you've forgotten to factor in one thing - Lifers.
Fair points about lifers, but the lifer problem perfectly highlights Turbine's reckless short-sightedness. It may be that too many of the 'old guard' players went lifetime, leaving them with little monthly revenue from subscriptions. To be frank, that's their own fault - if they didn't want so many lifetime players, from whom they see no cash at all after the first 12 months of their play time, maybe they should, you know, not have sold so many lifetime accounts
! Perhaps they saw that on average DDO subscribers stayed subscribed for less than 12 months and again made the mistake of assuming that the LOTRO player base would behave identically.
More likely is that they saw the short-term gains and foolishly went for it, not considering the knock on effects. Which left them floundering in the long term and desperately scrabbling for some means of squeezing lifers for more money when it became clear that they were getting a free ride. The unfortunate effect of that is that they have no way of squeezing lifers without also squeezing subscribers, who are now complaining because they're basically being squeezed twice.
Hence my belief that they are actively trying to dissuade players from subscribing by making it more palatable to go Premium instead of VIP - on Premium you only get squeezed the once. Encouraging your players to stop giving you regular monthly payments in favour of a variable income like buying store points is about the dumbest thing in the world. Once again they are foolishly going for the short-term gains that are systematically alienating their entire player base, with no eye on the bigger picture. Once they have no VIPs at all except lifers, then we will see them seriously
abuse the store.
the store is irrelevant to Turbine - they currently have two revenue streams, one is subscriptions, and the other is buying
points rather than spending them. If a player is not doing one or the other they are no good to Turbine. And if on average every player is not doing one or the other (or both) to the value of at least $17.59 per month, then the entire model is a bust and is less lucrative than having a sub-only game. Encouraging players to stop paying that guaranteed fee in favour of getting them to shell out unpredictable and variable amounts of cash for an unpredictable and variable period of time must play havoc with their projections. It's a monumentally stupid thing to do and will inevitably lead to store shills becoming increasingly pervasive and invasive.
Just like we are seeing already. Oops, Turbine, hope you enjoyed that six months of comparatively good press, because you're going to get crucified in the next 12.