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EverQuest II Extended Is Dead – EverQuest II Goes All Free to Play November 11, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II, Sony Online Entertainment.
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Another of my demands for 2011 has been met.  The two EverQuest IIs will be reconciled.

SOE has announced an important new aspect of the Age of Discovery expansion… which is apparently they have discovered that their free to play experiment known as EverQuest II Extended worked pretty well, so they have decided to apply the business model across EverQuest II.

No longer will there be a free to play server running in parallel with a pile of servers that run on the old standard subscription model according to the latest EverQuest II Producer’s Letter.

This will all go live in “Early December… or November 30th… or Winter 2011 (December 22 on my calendar)” or maybe some other date.  SOE seems confused on that point.

There is a new, revised subscription chart.  You can see the old Extended one here if you want to compare.

Subscription Options - Nov. 10, 2011

The key item is that Gold is now the top level account, with Platinum being phased out.  If you have a Platinum account and it is set to recurring, you can continue at Platinum, but no new Platinum subscriptions will be allowed.

Gold also now offers all of the benefits that the standard subscription plan offered for the EverQuest II servers, which is a boost for people playing on Extended.

The Station Cash Marketplace is going to be unified across the game now, which will mean the removal of the following items from the former Extended server, Freeport:

  • Power potion
  • Health potion
  • Self-rez scroll
  • Wand of Obliteration
  • Rune of Devastation
  • Mastercrafted Equipment (all)
  • Tradeskill Components

That is pretty much a solid win for the old-school players, the vocal members of which seemed dead set against being able to buy any of the above.

In fact, the whole thing is pretty much a big win for the players who stuck with the EverQuest Live servers.  They felt sidelined by the whole EverQuest Extended experiment, and rightly so.  Extended certainly absorbed a majority of the new players entering the game.

But will this change alone be good for the game?

One of the best things about the EverQuest II Extended was that it took place on a single server.

That single server became a wild, vibrant place, full of life with new players and copied over veterans intermingled.  It was very nice to play on a server where almost everybody under level 50 wasn’t a twinked alt of a level cap player.

Soon the Freeport server will simply be one of 18 EverQuest II servers and new players will be dispersed by whim and random chance across the range of choices.  And a lot of those servers never show anything above a low load level on the SOE Server Status Page.

It isn’t that I want to deny all those other servers the life’s blood that is new players.  It just felt like Freeport really came together as a lively server and I hate for the game to lose that.

Ah well, what can you do?

Comments»

1. HarbingerZero - November 11, 2011

Its a “fail” in my book. I was waiting for the next double Station Cash weekend to amass the last of the Cash I needed to transfer my main over from the regular game. I liked the extended marketplace, and the single server more. Oh well, just means I can free up 12+ gigs in preparation for TOR.

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2. Carson - November 11, 2011

Is it just me, or does that new subscription chart indicate that they are removing class unlocks from the Station Cash shop?

The old chart shows Bronze and Silver having access to 8 classes, with the rest being available “with SC purchase or membership upgrade”.

Whilst the new chart shows Free and Silver having access to 8 classes, with the rest being available ONLY “with Gold upgrade”.

Makes you wonder what happens to current Silver players who have spend SC to unlock a class. Are they going to be locked out unless they pay $15/month? I foresee incredible fury if that is the case.

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3. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 11, 2011

There are definitely some unanswered questions still on this whole conversion/unification thing in addition to what you have pointed out.

I have all my character slots filled in EQII Live. I have more characters on EQIIx. What is going to happen when it is all just EQII? There has been some talk, but I still suspect I am screwed.

How will veteran rewards work now that it is all one game? My first character was made Nov. 13, 2004. Am I close to a 7 year vet all across the board now?

What happens to accounts that are not active? Are those characters flagged as “free” and will they then lose their coinage above and beyond what is allowed for a free character? (5g per level, not all that much!)

And what is to become of the EQII Passport subscription model?

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4. bhagpuss - November 11, 2011

Overall I think this is a good move for players. I think it was probably an essential move for SoE as a business, although they could have just merged Live servers and opened another “X” server I guess. It’s pretty obvious that maintaining so many barely-used servers wasn’t going to be sustainable for much longer.

To no-one’s surprise it’s being taken as the end of the world by some longtime subscribers, but the reaction on the Live forums has been far from universally negative. If the people who really hate the idea do actually leave this time, rather than staying on and kvetching from the back seat like they traditionally do, it can only be for the good of the game.

I do like to play MMOs with other people who actually want to be there, although that’s becoming something of a novelty when it happens. One of the very best things about playing on Freeport for the past year has been the community, largely filled as it has been with people enjoying themselves. I hope that part survives the upheaval.

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5. EverQuest II spots mermaid, veers hard to port « Bio Break - November 11, 2011

[...] “In fact, the whole thing is pretty much a big win for the players who stuck with the EverQuest Live servers.  They felt sidelined by the whole EverQuest Extended experiment, and rightly so.” ~ TAGN [...]

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6. Galivan of Meneldor - November 11, 2011

“Ah well, what can you do?”

With low server populations, what you usually do is consolidate a few servers and boost overall populations. With EQIIx having a pretty active community, I hate to lose that as well. I’m a _very_ casual player, but it’s dang nice to log in and see lots of players, regardless.

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7. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 11, 2011

Actually, I read in the forums (the EQIIx forums specifically, as I found them to be mostly positive with just specific questions) that they were going to merge The Bazaar server in with Freeport, so there will be a new influx of players at some point.

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8. [Links] Something for the weekend « Welcome to Spinksville! - November 12, 2011

[...] TAGN posts on the news that EQ2 is going fully free to play. He also regrets that this will mean F2P newbies don’t all get funnelled to the same server – these games are genuinely very different experiences when the newbie zones are buzzing. It’s one of the biggest flaws of the themepark model imo that players get shunted around so much. [...]

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