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Everquest II Entering New Age Of Free Play

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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