EverQuest II launching free-to-play servers

#1 Posted by bunnyboiler (397 posts) -

If anyones interested.
  EverQuest II launching free-to-play servers! : PC Gamer 

In a bold, unexpected move, SOE announced today that EverQuest II will be free-to-play…on some servers. It’s a bit confusing, so allow us to break it down for you. EQII’s existing subscription model will remain completely unchanged on existing servers, but in addition to them , SOE is launching new servers that will house an “EverQuest II Extended” version of the game that allows anyone to download the client and play through all of the content up through, and including, The Shadow Oddyssey expansion for free.

While the content will be free, some races, classes, and spell tiers will be locked to Extended edition players and need to be purchased separately. In addition, the usual potions, items, and boosts will also be available in the cash shop. In addition, New Halas, the newly refined starting zone will also be available to players who choose the free-to-play route.

The most unique aspect of this jump to free-to-play, that really separates it from LOTRO and DDO’s optional subscription models is that the two versions of the game (live subscription and Extended edition) will be housed on completely separate servers. For all intents and purposes, they can be considered two unique games. Existing subscribers will be given the option to “copy” their character to the new realms, but there will be some limitations on what gear/item will be copied with it to ensure there isn’t massive inflation on the new free-to-play servers. Players that do copy will keep their existing character on the live servers and the two characters will level up completely separately. The beta is scheduled to go live August 17, so free-to-play servers will be up then. There are several types of payment options on the Extended servers, click the image below to see a full-sized breakdown of how all the different account types will work.

In an exclusive interview this morning, Producer Dave Georgeson told me that he’s very exited about the potential for the free-to-play version of the game to grow the player base rapidly and told me that the existing subscription players have been clamoring for it for a while. But the same players also insisted that these players be kept entirely separate from existing players who want to pay a subscription and level up their characters in a completely cash shop-free environment, which fueled the decision to launch new servers for the Extended version of the game. He expects both versions of the game to exist side-by-side indefinitely, and while not opposed to merging the two types of servers sometime in the distant future if players demanded it, the current plan is to keep them separate forever. While he wasn’t sure if this sort of business model is the future of the entire MMO industry–he told me that if he was launching a new MMO, he’d probably try a subscription model first–he knew it was right for EQII at this time, calling it a “giant trial version” that removes any barriers for players who were on the fence about giving EQII a try.

We couldn’t agree more. With so many quality MMOs on the market, its tough for gamers to try them all out without throwing down a massive wad of cash. Every gamer wants something different out of their MMO, and the more MMOs that offer a free-to-play version to let gamers find out which MMO is the right one for them, the happier everyone will be!

For full details, read SOE’s press release and the FAQ page.

#2 Posted by Mikemcn (7057 posts) -

Once you start EVE online, there is no playing other MMOs lol

#3 Posted by ReV_VAdAUL (44 posts) -

With this wave of subscription games going F2P in some form there's two (or perhaps three) possible explanations.

1) HEY GUYS THIS IDEA SEEMS REALLY NEAT! lemming rushing / free publicity

2) Research suggests this really is a good idea for non WoW MMOs.

2b) While direct economic benefits are suspect it might help to lessen the appeal of WoW's subscription only service, to undermine Blizzard's PR blitz in the run-up to Cataclysm.

#4 Posted by ajamafalous (12230 posts) -

Interesting, I'll have to try it out.

#5 Posted by MattDementous (103 posts) -

 I can say, first hand, that Everquest II Extended is not very restrictive--It's got more features than most free-to-play MMORPG games. Also, the graphics have aged very nicely, with regular updates. It's not as pretty as Age Of Conan, but for a game released originally in 2004, it looks amazing. No two characters are ever alike, visually or statistically. The playerbase has exploded too, which is awesome! Try it, it's not a big client, it downloads as you play.    

#6 Posted by melcene (3034 posts) -

I have to agree with the last post above me.  Sure there are some things that are restricted, but for the most part, I feel as though I'm playing on the live servers. 
Also, I've heard suggestions that this new pricing model may be the way to make money.  I mean, they charge you if you want to upgrade from Bronze to Silver, then there's the Station Store, where you can buy all sorts of ingame stuff with Station Cash, which you purchase with real money, much like Bioware Points.  Even the live version of the game deals with the Station Cash, etc.  So really, this game has become about microtransactions.  And looking at other MMOs, it seems as though that's the trend.  It will be interesting to see if Blizzard follows in those footsteps, or if the game to overtake Blizzard ends up being some sort of microtransaction-hybrid.

#7 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5161 posts) -

With DDO and LOTRO why would anyone want to play EQ2? 

#8 Posted by melcene (3034 posts) -
@Mr_Skeleton: Because DDO and LOTRO suck?  I mean, I'm not saying that to troll.  But I did kinda go through all three this weekend and EQ2 was the only good one, to me anyway.
#9 Posted by Vexed (313 posts) -

Here's to hoping FFXI goes F2P at some point.  Everquest 2 felt like a clunky WoW knockoff to me, couldn't get into it.

#10 Posted by melcene (3034 posts) -
@Vexed: Funny, considering it came out before WoW.  No seriously though, I wouldn't say it's a WoW knockoff.  WoW and EQ2 were both knockoffs of the original EQ.  But of the two games, they each have their pros and cons over the other.
#11 Posted by Vexed (313 posts) -
@melcene said:
" @Vexed: Funny, considering it came out before WoW.  No seriously though, I wouldn't say it's a WoW knockoff.  WoW and EQ2 were both knockoffs of the original EQ.  But of the two games, they each have their pros and cons over the other. "
  I didn't say it was a WoW knockoff, I said it felt like one.  EQ2 went through drastic changes after it was released, becoming more and more like WoW.  The last time I played EQ2 that's all it felt like, a dirty WoW clone.  MMOs that appeal to me are the ones that focus on party dynamics from the get go like the original Everquest and FFXI.  So I hope this becomes a trend that reaches one of those two games =)
#12 Posted by CornBREDX (6254 posts) -

Ya i played EQ2 for awhile at it's release. For an MMO that WoW was copying, it's not bad and the graphics have always been pretty decent. It's one of the more time consuming MMOs out there, though. I don't know if they ever really fixed it but in the starting areas (a few of the expansions felt a lot better as they got more open and way better travel paths) it will take you awhile to do ANYTHING. Well, it used to, again I havent played it in a few years. 
I originally did a user review of it back in the day on Gamespot. It's not very good (which is why I don't make reviews- i suck at it) but one thing I remember touching on was how far everything was away from your city (where you can buy a house and decorate it and whatnot). That's one thing that always bothered me about it.
Other than that, though, it's a pretty standard MMO and not a bad one. There's a lot of decent content and it was a fun MMO from what I recall. I remember I only stopped playing due to no time and I actually just kinda moved on from it after that. It's not a bad MMO by any means, though, considering other games that copy it.

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