Everquest II Entering New Age Of Free Play

By Adam Smith on November 14th, 2011 at 9:30 am.

That may be the happiest tiger I'll see today

Another day, another gobbet of news about pricing options in an MMO. This time it’s Everquest II, which has been running two parallel worlds, one for subscribers and a lesser world for those who want their fantasy for free. Confusingly, the slimline free world is called Everquest II Extended, presumably because Everquest II Shrivelled didn’t focus test well. Soon, that world shall be no more and subscribers will find themselves playing alongside all manner of freeloaders as the playerbase is merged. Non-subscribers will find some features limited, including access to the new Age of Discovery expansion. More details and a trailer below.

See, it used to be enough just to say “free to play”. That was quite an exciting proposition. Not anymore. People are often scandalised by the very idea of playing a game for free, collapsing to the ground, struck down by the vapours at the very idea. After all, what did that game ever do for them?

That’s why Everquest II is “Free to play. Your Way.™” They really have trademarked that, which makes me wish other less flexible free play systems were forced to use the phrase: “Free to play but don’t get any big ideas, poverty-face.”

‘Your way’ refers to the option of purchasing additional content and opting for a one-off payment to activate a silver membership, which allows the forming of guilds, four character slots as opposed to two and extra inventory slots, among other bits and bobs. The full details are all here, but a swift bullet point list of the limitations that jump out is below for those who don’t ever like to leave the warm halls of RPS.

  • Only two character slots
  • Four selectable races
  • Two most recent expansions must be purchased
  • Limited chat ability
  • Frequent upgrade reminders
  • I’m not sure if this will be enough to tempt people (back) in but there is a huge amount of content to play, built up over the years. Maybe worth a dabble. It’ll be interesting to see how much impact these changes have on subscriber numbers in various games over the coming months.

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    18 Comments »

    1. Valvarexart says:

      Might check it out when I’m done with Skyrim. Actually, scratch that. I won’t be done with Skyrim until 2013, and everyone knows that the world ends 21/12/2012.

      • Mac says:

        I’m looking forward to the extra 9 days in your prediction, but isn’t the end of the World predicted as 12/12/2012?

    2. ho-g says:

      that tiger’s scary

      • archimandrite says:

        EQ2′s art hits the Uncanny Valley Button in my brain hard.

    3. UnravThreads says:

      Bloody hell, that’s one cut down game. Out of the ~19 races (I think?) you can have for EQ2, they give you four.

      That’s a joke.

      • TheApologist says:

        Free jokes?! Sign me up!

      • sneetch says:

        You can buy access to the other races, I’d be interested in seeing how much they cost, but assuming it’s not extortionate the F2P deal seems quite reasonable to me.

      • edrick says:

        $7.50 for 3 races.

    4. JackDandy says:

      Anyone wanna wager on how long it lasts before they close down shop?

      • sneetch says:

        I’d say it’ll add several years to the lifetime of the game. I’m personally waiting for Warhammer Online to go F2P, I’d love to play the game again, love to drop in and out every now and then and I wouldn’t mind spending cash on it but I can’t justify a subscription to it and I’m sure others feel the exact same about EQII.

      • edrick says:

        A very long ass time? EQ is at 12 years, F2P does not mean the game is dying, contrary to popular belief. DCUO saw a 1000% increase in activity after one week of F2P.

      • archimandrite says:

        Warhammer Online is already F2P in the way that Warcraft is F2P: You can create characters and level them up to 20, but no further.

    5. BrendanJB says:

      Needs a “smiling tiger” tag.

    6. Carra says:

      SW-TOR comes out in a month. Until then I can keep myself busy playing Skyrim & Anno 2070.

    7. Big Murray says:

      I’m kinda amazed that Ultima Online hasn’t gone through any kind of FTP model yet.

    8. malkav11 says:

      It’s a good game but their initial stab at F2P was horribly misguided and even now they seem to be crippling free players overmuch.

    9. YourMessageHere says:

      The Catmanthing seems to have a wrist-mounted dolphin. These MMOs get more and more bizarre…