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EverQuest Goes Free to Play This March January 30, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
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This just in from the EQ Players site, we have a further answer to my question about what other SOE titles will go free to play.

Hello everyone – I hope you all are doing well early on in the New Year! With an exciting Veil of Alaris expansion just released in November, we’re thrilled to announce the next big adventure for EverQuest®. After listening to your feedback and suggestions over the past few years, I’m happy to announce that in early March 2012, EverQuest will be going free-to-play.

We’re excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best. Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the “Best Games of All-Time” can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way. Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you’re having.

EverQuest players are some of the most loyal, long-standing players of any MMO in existence. With the gaming landscape changing every day, we want to ensure we continue to evolve the game to keep players engaged and bring in even more new players to further expand the community. With no up-front costs or required membership, we might see a new player or two along the way, and more people is always a good thing!

Once we go free-to-play, here are some of the upcoming features and events you can expect:

  • On Friday, March 16th, EverQuest becomes a teenager: 13 years old!!! We will be having some extra added events in the game starting that week leading up to that Friday and we’re introducing some new items within POK to let you know what’s in store.
  • With the free-to-play launch, a renovated everquest.com website will be unveiled and after that, we will bring you upgraded EQPlayers pages.
  • We have improved the functionality of our Map system! Some improvements include being able to view appropriate level content for your character on the map, allowing you to find zone lines much easier; and also showing you your wisps on the map to help navigate to where you want to go!

Also at the free-to-play launch, all players will receive a Welcome Pack containing items to add to your gameplay experience. You’ll be able to summon a unique Mercenary to fight by your side and we’re including some Bayle Marks to help pay for the services of your newly summoned Mercenary. A couple of Experience Potions are also included to help you increase your experience gained while adventuring. For all the collectors that like to show off all the great wares to your friends, we’re giving you an item to display in your home and add to your collection. And finally, you’ll be able to customize the appearance of one of your weapons with a Weapon Ornamentation – also included in the Welcome Pack. So be sure to check the claim window for your free gifts.

We, the EverQuest dev team, are very excited about this new flexible system. Free-To-Play is the best fit for EverQuest and we are looking forward to supporting the game and our dedicated fans for years to come. This is a great year for everyone associated with EverQuest and SOE. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s coming in 2012.

One last note, we will be doing a Community Webcast on Thursday February 2, 2012 covering all of the exciting free-to-play details. Please be sure to send in any questions you might have via the Facebook page or Twitter so we can respond with answers during the Webcast.

See you in game very soon!

Thom Terrazas
EverQuest Producer
AKA “Phathom”

Well, my Station Access just expired and it looks like I won’t need it any further to get my bits of nostalgia.

There is a Free/Silver/Gold feature matrix available, similar to the one for EverQuest II, and a frequently asked questions list.  I wonder how many loopholes they forgot this time around?

Now, how soon until they announce Vanguard is going free to play?  And then what else is left?  Can PlanetSide and EQOA stand alone on the subscription model?

Comments»

1. Brian 'Psychochild' Green - January 30, 2012

Huh, interesting. Makes sense, though.

What loopholes were there in previous games?

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2. Wilhelm Arcturus - January 30, 2012

@Brian – When they did the EQ2 full F2P announcement, players came up with a laundry list of questions that SOE didn’t seem prepared to answer.

Now, a lot of them were around the merging of Live and Extended, how many character slots, veteran rewards, class and race packs, and so forth. SOE took a couple of days to ponder the questions, and eventually just granfathered in any character who was created before the announcement, but for a short span of time they seemed surprised by the questions and had to think on some implications they clearly missed.

EQ should be more simple, though one of my first questions… didn’t we used to get 10 characters per server versus the 8 they list on the matrix for Gold membership?

Anyway, this should make my coverage of the progression server easier, or at least cheaper, and maybe Potshot and I can get back in and try LDON content, which should be coming soon.

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3. Bhagpuss - January 30, 2012

I just read that announcement in-between replying to your previous post and you putting this one up! I nearly speculated on whether Vanguard would go F2P but thought better of it on the grounds that it wouldn’t be cost-effective. I can’t see any way they can leave it as the only SoE MMO that you can only play if you subscribe, though, so I guess it will either have to go F2P too or close down.

I’ll be keeping my Station Access. “Gold” status on all SoE MMOs for £13.99 a month is still incredible value, given that I still spend more time playing their games than every other MMO added together. One thing I find myself doing a lot now, that I never expected, is “dual-boxing” my Gold and Silver accounts together. Sometimes triple-boxing in fact. The combination of having a machine that can easily handle it and not having to pay any extra subs meant I kind of fell into it. Add in a couple of mercs and I could find myself full-grouping Everquest on my own!

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4. p0tsh0t - January 30, 2012

I was just reading your and Bhagpuss’ post about the Vanguard anniversary and thinking how I’ve never given that game a decent go primarily because of subscriptionaphobia.

I think the writing is indeed on the wall for VG.

I’m being lazy, but are there any details on server merges or the impacts on the progression servers?

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5. Wilhelm Arcturus - January 30, 2012

@Potshot – I suppose I should have read the full FAQ. No TLP with F2P.

“15. How will the change to free-to-play affect the Time Locked Progression Servers?

Play on the Time Locked Progression Servers will remain as it was before, with the exception that Gold membership will be required to participate. Feature unlocks on these servers will continue as before, with new features becoming available as the appropriate expansion unlocks.”

So I guess we won’t be trying out LDON and this will not make my TLP coverage any easier.

I was pondering a post last week about whether you could do something like the TLP servers in a free to play model. I guess that is the answer from SOE.

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6. HarbingerZero - January 30, 2012

::golf clap::

I’d give it more but Thom is my least favorite SOE personage. :-p

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7. Wilhelm Arcturus - January 30, 2012

@HZ – I’m not sure why SOE feels the need to put a picture… and a sizable picture at that… of the producer in question in each producer’s letter. That does not add to the producer’s letter experience in any positive way, unless SOE is trying to prove some “yes, we are still staffed by human beings” sort of point.

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8. Brian 'Psychochild' Green - January 30, 2012

@Wilhelm Gotcha. I thought maybe there was some “Haha! I can play for free forever!” trick that someone figured out. I have to admit, SOE isn’t quite as generous as Turbine is about the “free to play” aspects, but it seems they do strive to be clear about where you stand.

I suspect this will be a good shot in the arm for EQ1. I expect there will be a ton of people who used to play back in the day coming back (those that remember their login and password, or have access to the email account from way back when to get the reset notice). Most will probably lose the nostalgia elements quickly, but some might stick around as you did, and relive past glory.

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9. We Fly Spitfires - January 30, 2012

I’m quite happy with the notion that EQ is going F2P, just so long as SOE don’t make the same dog’s breakfast out of it as they did with EQ2. Sounds like they’ve learnt from their mistakes though and I like the idea of being able to go F2P or continue with a normal sub.

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10. flosch - January 31, 2012

I feel strangely dispassionate about the announcement. I tried EQ on the TLP servers last year, but somehow I lost track, and that was that.

EQ might just forever stay the game that I half bemoan not having played while I was a university student. The other half thanks fate on its knees, because I might not have finished at all otherwise.

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11. wizardling - February 1, 2012

Changes nothing for me as I prefer subs and I play on the time locked progression server Fippy Darkpaw.

I do think it’s a shame silver membership doesn’t allow players onto the TLP servers with perhaps the limitation you’re stuck at the previous expansion’s level cap and have an AA cap. That might help boost the population.

However I am glad non-paying customers won’t be allowed on TLP. Not being invested in your character and reputation doesn’t mix well with non-instanced content IME.

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12. Gvaardnefl - February 1, 2012

As a long-time “retread” returnee to EQ1, I’m actually pretty pleased about this. Some of the most fun I had starting EQ was the feeling of ‘the marketplace’ that you had with full zones. While I doubt F2P will do that, I do think it will lead to a fairly sharp increase in server populations, and greater numbers of casual players who are happy plinking around older zones (and by extension, people for me to group my lower-level alts with…)

Economically, I think its driven by the realization that Sony can make up most of the revenue lost to the F2P accounts via in-game item sales.

I’m sure this is going to evolve over time, and I expect wrinkles, but over all, I think it is very much a step in the right direction.

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