ReadyQuest: EQ2 Extended De-Betas

By Alec Meer on September 29th, 2010 at 8:58 pm.

Everquest II Extended, the free-to-play parallel version of the MMO grandaddy’s only child, has shed its beta tag and opened its microtransaction-funded doors to all comers. Which means it’s a bit more spit’n'polished since the earlier version, plus you get a free flaming staff if you sign up before end of play on Sunday.

“An unmatched quality and quantity of content and adventure that no other free-to-play massively multiplayer online game can offer,” it claims, though I have no idea how you measure that kind of thing. DDO and LOTRO probably have quite a lot of content and adventure too, I’d imagine. I’ll have to get out my content-and-adventure-o-meter to know for sure, though.

Wouldn’t mind looking into this, as I’ve heard from a few places that Everquest II’s a fairly interesting prospect, launching as it did relatively untainted by the WoW-copying frenzy that gripped so many of the games that arrived in successive years. One of these days I’ll take a nose.

Its relaunch (well, co-launch – the subs-funded version remains alongside it) also leads me to wonder, once again, how many other MMOs will switch to the free model before too long. Warhammer Online seems a prime candidate, as does City of Heroes and or Champions Online. The appearance-tweaking of the latter two seem ideally (or terrifyingly, depending on how you perceive F2P) well-suited to coughing up micro-bucks for new costume parts.

Out of interest: who here is still paying for an MMO sub, with the exception of EVE’s curious micro-climate and, of course, WoW?

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26 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    It talks a lot of crap, it does.

  2. We Fly Spitfires says:

    The pricing model of EQ2X is a rip-off compared to the traditional Live subscription and will cost any serious player more in the long run. If someone really wants to try EQ2, they’d be better off just buying the box from Amazon, getting 30 days free play and full access to everything.

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      This is very very true – if you’re interested in playing EQ2, skip the “extended” version and stick with the boxed copy / traditional subscription. You are severely gimped in the free-to-play version, and to only way to reach the same level of power as the subscription-based service is to pay $200 / year.

      It is totally mental that if you pay $15 / month for EQ2 “extended” you can’t upgrade your spells / skills as much as you can in the $15 / month subscription-based version of EQ2 – something that is really necessary if you’re interested in playing the game seriously.

      I would love a sanely-priced free to play version of EQ2, but this isn’t it.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yeah I agree. EQ2 Extended is more of a really gigantic trial/demo version. I thought the content you get and pricing model was just terrible. Plus, maybe I’m just biased, but I would think the old established and subscriber based community would be a lot better quality.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Shakermaker says:

    Haven’t paid a sub since WoW. Tried out a couple of other MMOs (Warhammer Online, LotR:O and Star Trek), but I didn’t stay after the first month. I also never used micro-payments either except for maybe buying one of the Just Cause 2 weapon packs.

  4. Shadram says:

    I still pay my LotRO sub. I enjoy/play it enough to be worthwhile, and with the free store points you get every month, I find it the best value way to play the game.

    I’m tempted to have a look at EQ2, for pretty much the same reasons Alec stated in the post. Don’t have the time to invest in learning a new MMO at the moment, though. Bloody Minecraft is stealing it all.

  5. Nevarion says:

    Still paying my monthly fee for the Euro Version of LotRO. Certainly will continue paying. As far as I can tell after some reading, this will suite me best. Simple as that.

  6. Squish says:

    I will say this about EQ2X, the content is fun, Although, a lot of it early on is, “Kill X and bring back Y” quests. The usual MMO generic quests.
    I swore I would never get into Everquest, ever since vanilla EQ1 when Planes of Power was released (the expansion that killed EQ for me).

    Having played with EQ2X for a bit, content wise, it’s not bad. Granted you’re very limited in what you can play class/race wise. That’s a huge rip off if you ask me. They give you a very limited selection of races to play, which sadly aren’t that interesting. The class selections are also rather bland, and meh.. And the idea is, if you’re on the Free Subscription, they want you to pony up some bucks to purchase the additional races/classes packs. It’s just not enticing enough to make me consider doing that.
    Also, limited gold cap, limited bag slots, limited spell ranks. That’s like trying to compete in the summer olympics, during the swimming competition, in a pool filled with jello.

    But the content, questing, the graphics, not bad. It’s good enough to try for a few hours, to get a feel for the game. I think you’d be better off probably buying the Paid Sub game though. 200 bucks a year for all that just feels like it’s way over priced, when you could pay 40 bucks + sub for the whole game, and get everything right from the start.
    But from what i hear, in the paid sub version, the community is dwindling, and probably not worth it in the long run, which is rather disappointing to hear.

    Well I guess you get what you don’t pay for right?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      What? I thought there were a lot of races. Last I counted there are 19. Yes, you are limited for what classes a race can play, but you still have a good variety. That’s not any different than any other MMO.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Nevermind I’m an idiot lol. I thought you were referring to regular EQ2 for some unfathomable reason. Ignore the above comment.

  7. Mac says:

    Agree – nonsense pricing model – not even worth trying … especially as you can’t upgrade spells to anything reasonable without paying out more £££ than you would with the sub model.

    Insane!

  8. Torgen says:

    City of Heroes has been doing the costume packs for a few years now. I purchased at least three or four before I stopped playing. However, I don’t think it is a good candidate for F2P, as most of the user-generated content auto-scales to your level (so level or zone restrictions doesn’t mean you run out of content.) They’d have to lock out all user-made content for F2P accounts if they went that way.

  9. TV-PressPass says:

    WANT. God do I want.

  10. Joey says:

    I never played WoW more than a free 10 day trial, but I used to pay a subscription for Lotro. I bought it when Mines came out, and stuck around to a bit after Mirkwood. The free to play version is leaving me a bit unsatisfied so if I ever get some spending money again, I’ll pony up for the sub again I think. I’ve played EQ2 during beta and found it more pleasurable than many of the other free MMOs I’ve tried (Allods, Dragonica, Aika). I didn’t realize how limited it really was as far as character progression, but I’ found myself having a decent amount of fun and intrigue during my early play unlike all of the other ones which simply bored me to tears. If you are looking for something casual, free, and fun, I say give it a go. If you want to be hardcore about it, I guess I would go the sub route.

  11. Furybrood says:

    I’ve read a lot about EQ2X, although I have no intention on playing since I still play WoW, but the whole thing sounds like a gimmick to get people to pay for a real sub. The amount you have to spend becomes so outrageous that most people will figure that if they like the game somewhat, might as well subscribe.

    I was subscribed to EQ2 about a year ago for a month. Was very fun the first week and then it just started wearing on me. The content was extremely dull.

  12. malkav11 says:

    I’ve been subbed to EQ2 since sometime last year. With a small group of friends it has a great deal to offer. It’s not as polished as WoW nor does it look as good, but there’s heaps upon heaps of content and the design principle they’ve gone by seems to be if they have an idea they like, stuff it in. The result is a game that does a great deal more than most MMOs, at the cost of bulging in weird places and having some strange balance issues. For example, WoW’s gearflation is nowhere to be found, at least in the first 55 levels. If anything a significant amount of the expansion gear I’ve encountered is -weaker- than gear from older content and 10+ levels lower.

    I’m currently riding around on a “spiked lava cow” (a flaming rhinoceros granted to me by a goblin tribe of unsurpassed dimness) and having a blast.

    Would very much not recommend their version of free2play, however. Just subscribe.

  13. malkav11 says:

    It’s $5 at the moment on Direct2Drive, also, though that’s a very time limited deal.

  14. drillerman says:

    Anyone tried Alganon? Having played many MMO’s (list far too long too mention) I like the graphics, the crafting system, the quests are a bit “go there kill 10 come back” etc, but the world is massive, runs smooth and is quite interesting. It’s F2P as well.
    Population is a bit sparse at the moment. It got a real slagging off when it first started but they have turned things around abit and if you haven’t tried it give it a go!! You also get Mr Smart for free!!!

    Does that sound like an advert?

  15. Grape Flavor says:

    I admit my fantasy MMO interest has been squarely focused on Guild Wars 2 lately, but if Everquest II allows you to play as a CRAZY RED-EYED MUSHROOM MAN I might just have to take a look.

    • malkav11 says:

      Alas, no. The player races get as exotic as tiny winged fairies and lizard people, and that’s about as far as it goes. (Which is to say, not really that exotic.)

  16. Bob Bobson says:

    Currently my only ongoing subscription is to Wurm Online, and that’s cheap as chips compared to the likes of Eve.

  17. Ezhar says:

    Sadly EQ2 is still as dull as on the day it launched. Same broken old engine too, although now that the hardware has caught up the lousy performance is less of a problem.

    Additionally the severe restrictions on classes and races (and inventory slots) on the free-to-play are quite restricting. They basically put all the fun bits behind a paywall and then still spam you with random pop-ups anyways.

    The boredom got too much for me around level 20.

  18. MrThingy says:

    Anyone else find that mushroom in the screen shot unintentionally hilarious?

    Either way, he looks like a fun guy.

    (sorry…)

  19. sLLiK says:

    My perspective is likely uncommon, having played most MMOs released to date at least briefly and having spent 6 years in EQ1 before going on to play WoW for 5 years. I oscillated from casual to hardcore raider based on circumstances and time constraints, but managed to at least dabble in EQ1 raiding and later WoW raiding from MC all the way up to all of Icecrown Citadel on normal mode and half the bosses downed in Heroic. The burnout was palpable and, when I left the decision for the ‘next’ long-term MMO choice up to my daughter, she chose EQ2. I must have raised her right on some level, because it proved to be an excellent choice. It’s much more polished than when we tried it for a couple of months after it was first released, and I daresay I’ve come to prefer and relish the graphics of EQ2 over WoW with rare exception (some of WoW’s armor diversity is more eye-pleasing to me). I also do sometimes miss the diversity of add-ons available for Wow.

    It should be noted that my transition from WoW to EQ2 was unhindered by strong aesthetic preferences or interface requirements, especially considering my long history with the original Everquest. The adjustment back to EQ-style gameplay was not overly difficult for me, and I would have a difficult time going back at this point. Out of all the other MMOs available out there, this is the one I’m enjoying the most and that’s a big deal imho.

    One big difference is the community aspect. The overall player base is more mature than WoW, but that probably goes without saying for all but the most recently-released MMOs. Guilds are more cohesive because they get to work together on goals above and beyond just getting gear for their members. Your guild has a level as well, and the higher the guild’s level, the more benefits its members enjoy. Housing for both characters and guilds is exceedingly well done, the game is full of diverse housing items that can be placed in each, and most of them are craftable. The crafting system is superior to every other MMO ever released to production, with Horizons being the runner-up and LoTRO in third place. The mentor mechanics are superior and allow high level characters to group with lower ones and still benefit or progress, either with regular experience points or alternate advancement experience. The list of things to do is endless. Their PVP battlegrounds are a bit interesting, but if PVP is your primary interest, I’m sure WoW is a better choice in that arena.

    Take it with a grain of salt, but even though EQ2 is still a Sony product (and I do have a hate-hate relationship with Sony), I would still recommend this game to friends over the alternatives… especially if you’re playing with family and/or are trying to keep it more casual. LoTRO has its place as well and I would also recommend it to friends that don’t think they can get past the Everquest mythos and pace. WoW also still has its place, especially as a good ‘first’ MMO. But EQ2 has both quality and quantity in spades and is worth a try.

    Something else to take note of for those considering the EQ2Extended option. Let’s say you try out EQ2 for free for a month or six months, then decide that you really want to get a subscription account for all the benefits it provides without spending $200 to unlock everything. If you commit yourself to that course fo action, be prepared to either pay for your characters to be transferred to the subscription servers (if that’s even an option… not sure) or start over from scratch. You’re far better off just trying out a free trial of the ‘regular’ game, then subscribing if you feel EQ2 is for you.

    • malkav11 says:

      You cannot transfer characters from the free servers to the paid servers, and while you can pay an exorbitant amount to copy a paid server character to the free servers, it’s a copy only in the sense that a stick figure drawing is a copy of the Mona Lisa. Most of the detail is lost.

  20. ScubaMonster says:

    I know a lot of people will probably disagree, but I was really disappointed when EQ2 ditched the original setup of base archetype classes that branched out into specialty classes. Now you can choose everything from the beginning. The reason I loved it is that you had this really long quest line for each specialist class and it added a lot of flavor to the world. People complained because to try out a class or create an alt you had to do that entire quest line to get to the class you wanted. Which took about 15-20 levels if I remember, it’s been forever ago. When EQ2 first launched I had immense fun. I still think it’s a good game still, but I just miss how it was in the beginning.