I'm starting to view the paid-for period of an MMO's life as the pre-pubescent stage: the inevitability of growth into F2P is starting to look like it's in the DNA. Both Everquest and Aion are noticing other MMOs, worrying about their acne and taking an interest in clothes. Aion in particular is experiencing a growth spurt, finally readying version 3.0 for everyone to play.
Both games have feature comparison charts for their various models. Aion's goes into a lot of detail on the varying amounts of access the tiers receive, down to the time you'll spend waiting to return to instances. Those seem the most crippled stats, with the rest being relatively generous. It seems all free to play games disallow freemium types the ability to send items to friends, which both games limit, but the rest is rather generous in Aion. Everquest seems a bit more restrictive in its offerings, mostly because there are two paid for tiers rather than Aion's one. If I was a paying customer of the $5 tier, I'd be pissed off that they only offer limited customer support and you're still hit with adverts. Especially with the leap to the next level being $15.
A long, long, long time ago, in a magazine far far away, we all gathered to look at NCSoft's Aion 3.0 vision trailer. Ever since viewing the bonkers update, I've kept one eye on Aion for it's fabled 3.0 release. Now that day is soon: no more walking into the wrong toilets or bashing nose-first into lampposts for me. I can use both eyes again. With my newly restored depth perception, I have looked at the trailer that accompanies the release of the actual, non-visionary 3.0.
Pretty, but it wasn't worth going cross-eyed for. It's not quite ready for Europe, but Americans get 3.0 on April 11th. It lands in Europe in the Spring.