There’s a bit of buzz today over the announcement by SOE that Everquest 2 is going to go completely free to play. (See the producers letter for details.)
SOE have been testing the waters of freeness with EQ2 for a while now, with EQ2 Extended. That must have been a successful enough test to encourage SOE to go all the way with free to play. At least with EQ2. (I wonder if they’ll go the same way with other titles like Vanguard?)
My first thought was that I’ll now be able to get back to EQ2 and spend some time adventuring with my characters. But after seeing how the FTP works, I’m not so sure how this all is going to work with existing characters.
Have a look at the price chart for EQ2. (Click for a bigger version)
You notice a couple of things about the free option, and the silver for that matter.
If you pay for the Gold membership, you’ll have access to all spell tiers. That means you can upgrade your spells and combat abilities to the maximum allowed, that’s master level now I think. However, with the free sub you can only upgrade to the adept level.
Now that’s okay for a new character. I have no problem with SOE encouraging players to subscribe with better character progression, after all they’re in the business to make some money. However, I’m not sure how this works with existing characters.
If I log in free with Bargears, my close to max level Troll Shadowknight, what happens to the many abilities and spells I have upgraded beyond Adept?
Do I lose them completely, or am I just temporarily downgraded to Adept until I purchase the appropriate subscription?
Shared Bank Slots
This is another concern. Over the years I have collected a bunch of items that I have put into the bank, and when I’ve run out of room, into the shared bank slots.
With a free account, not only does the number of bags I can have get reduced from six to two, my shared bank slots go down to zero. What happens to all the gear and items I have in those slots? Gone forever, held in escrow, or something else?
Active Journal Quests
Everquest 2 has perhaps one of the most generous allowances of active quests I have seen anywhere. For a long time WoW only had 25 or so, not sure what it is now, and Fallen Earth only has 20. Even so I found myself bumping my head on the quest limit, and when I departed the game over a year ago now, I reckon I was close to the limit too.
Free accounts now only have room for 20 quests in the quest journal. Again, not a big deal if starting fresh. SOE has to make some money to keep the game running. But again I find myself wondering what happens to those quests above the limit when a player logs in for the first time.
These questions may have already been answered. I haven’t gone looking for a FAQ yet. But there was no mention of the consequences for long established players who have let their accounts lapse and then log in after the game has gone free to play in the producers letter. If they haven’t already addressed these issues, then SOE needs to do so before the FTP goes live. Otherwise there may be some very unpleasant surprises waiting for players.
And that won’t be good for anyone.