Gold Pieces: Everquest II Extended Open Beta

There's nothing quite like a nice big logo.

As previously reported, Everquest II is adding a Free-to-Play option. The story is no longer true. It’s gone into Open Beta, so now totally has a free-to-play option. The unique twist is that it doesn’t touch the traditional game at all, instead offering a parallel Everquest II Extended free-to-play option. So if you want to play a sub game you can, and if you want to enter a more micro-payment option, you can do that too. You can download the client here, which has Guild-War-esque streaming tech to allow you to start playing rather than waiting for Gigabytes of stuff to squeeze out of your internet-pipe. Also, according to the FAQ, despite being a Beta, there won’t be a character wipe when it goes live properly, so all your progress (and expenditures) will carry across into the full launch. This free-to-play second-life for 3rd-wave MMOs is very much a trend of the year, and you can see the Gamescom trailer below…


  1. says:

    I want to play this, to get back to EQ2, but I facepalmed when the main subscription option was $15/month for less than you get in the full game for the same price, so it’s not like I could subscribe if I got into it again without switching to the proper servers. At least DDO gives you proper access if you pay the sub.

    • Zomby says:

      @frightlever: Check out Project 1999. Although personally I found I wasn’t hardcore enough anymore to play something that looks and feels that dated.

    • We Fly Spitfires says:

      Yep, the entire EQ2 Extended thing is a complete rip-off. The paid subscriptions to it (required to unlock the full content) actually cost *more* than a traditional subscription. Crazy.

  2. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Micropayment, eww gross.

  3. Dyst says:

    Free to play games are all the rage, and it’s making me angry. Not sure why because it should be a good thing really.

    Anyway, giving it a try even though I wasn’t a massive fan of EQ2. I’ll report back on how it is.

    • BooleanBob says:

      It’s been bothering me for a while too, now. I think if I were to sum up my problem with the free-to-play-with-micropayments model, or “time vs. investement”, into something hopefully pithy, it’s that with these games you seem to be paying to play the game less, and if a game is built around that ethos then I can’t help but wonder how anyone is coming off ahead.

  4. psyk says:

    Log on screen
    English(US) station name
    English(UK) Station username


  5. K says:

    I just cannot get over how bad their art direction is. While they have quite impressive technology with shadows and lighting and all that stuff, it somehow ends up looking totally ugly. The animations feel weird, the colours are off, the proportions make no sense, the particle effects are just primitive and it looks like a comic. Except it tries hard to not look like a comic. I honestly believe WoW looks far prettier, despite having a tenth the polygons and texture resolution.

    • Ezhar says:

      Yes, the engine has massive issues, from what I’ve seen most of them are the same that plagued EQ2 when it launched in 2004 and haven’t been addressed since. It still feels rather sluggish even after 6 years of hardware improvements.

      Nonetheless I’m going to give it a try, although I’m sure it won’t last.

  6. Luke says:

    Áfter reading the article i wanted to try it out, but while starting the game crashes over a missing arial system font. seems to be no solution to this, cause even SOE tech support cant help me with this. uninstalled the game in a jiff.

  7. The All Soup says:

    I’d like for this to be popular enough to make SOE drop the subscription to vanilla EQ2 or (more importantly) to Planet-motherfucking-side.

    Furthermore I don’t understand how a maglev tank hitting you and then running you over at 60Kph can NOT be a one-hit kill.

    • ZephyrSB says:

      Maglevs got the nickname ‘lawnmowers’ in early days for a reason….

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Ick. Every time I see footage of Everquest 2 (and some other ‘realistic graphic’-styled MMO games) I remember just why I used to love WoW so much. Of course, since EQ2 graphics have improved (Dragon Age, for one, has pretty good graphics) so as to evoke less uncanny valley-type reactions in me.

  9. Mac says:

    It;s not really free to play is it … you can’t upgrade spells/abilities above adept which means you will basically get your ass kicked.

    They have an option to give you access to everything, but that is $200 per annum … that’s right, you pay more per year than you would with a sub and in a one off up front payment. Absolutely barking pricing plan.

    I really like EQ2, but I doubt I can be arsed to install this until they take another look at their pricing.

    • says:

      Not being able to go above Adept makes Coercers terrible. :(

      A Coercer with their level 20 charm at Master is the most fun class in the game, and all the higher levels do is increase the duration and HP/MP regeneration, you don’t need them at all and will probably die horribly anyway because you’re so squishy.

      Best class.

  10. Oliver says:

    I liked EQ2 better than most any other MMO I’ve tried. It just was simply more FUN to play, making me feel really powerful, even as a newbie.

    Personally, I think most people are overlooking the Silver membership, which is a one-time $10 fee. If you’re hardcore, obviously this isn’t the way to go. But ostensibly, this is for casual players anyway, and for a $10 buy-in, you’re going to get a heckuva a lot of playtime before you actually “need” to upgrade past it.

    • malkav11 says:

      As long as you don’t want to play 75% of the races or classes (percentage may not be accurate), or do heritage quests (the most fun I’ve had so far in the game), or….

      Honestly, as far as I can tell the $10 upgrade gets you next to nothing over the “free” version, while you still have to subscribe for much of the gameplay, if not so much the actual zones.

    • Mac says:

      I can’t see why Silver Membership is worth it … an extra bag slot, and an extra character slot …

      The gold membership just looks strange – same price as normal sub, but restricted gameplay

      The platinum membership is just crazy

  11. Meh says:

    … Call me SOE dies.

  12. malkav11 says:

    Everquest II is a very enjoyable, high quality MMO (and I’d be happy to extend a recruitment invite to anyone who’d like to try it). Their version of free-to-play, on the other hand, is a terrible misjudgment.

  13. bjohndick says:

    Do all ‘free-to-play’ MMOs try to extort money out of everybody this blatantly?

    8 out of 24 classes
    4 out of 19 races.
    Only 2 bag slots.
    Spells limited to adept.

    I’ve only created a character, and played for like 5 minutes and I already have such a bad taste in my mouth I can’t continue.
    I simply wouldn’t even let myself get suckered into paying for this bullshit, so I don’t really see the point in even trying it.

    • malkav11 says:

      No. Most free to play games are terrible grindfests that survive on cosmetic items and potions and shit. And the other subscription MMOs gone free-to-play, DDO and soon LOTRO (or maybe now LOTRO? I forget) have much more reasonable structures that emphasize paying one time fees for adventuring content, not basic gameplay systems.

    • malkav11 says:

      On, I should emphasize, the same servers as the subscription players, and with subs not crippled in any way.