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.
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?