The grandfather of MMOs, EverQuest 2 is going free-to-play sometime in December after a 7-year long run as one of the most popular RPGs on the market. After speaking with an enthusiastic Dave Georgeson, Executive Producer of EQ2, it seems that the transition will be a fantastic one all around and that longtime EQ2 players will especially be pleased with the move over to free-to-play.
"Part of caring for our customers is listening to you and hearing what you have to say," Georgeson said in an open letter to the EQ2 community. "Additionally, we need to be aware of changes in the industry, changes in player expectations, and larger economic trends in general."
With the move to FTP, Sony Online Entertainment expects that EQ2 will see a huge surge of players join the game. With more people playing, everyone benefits. The move also introduces payment flexibility, allowing you to pay how much you want, when you want to. On the dev side, by merging EQ2: Extended and EQ2 together, SOE will only have to focus on one game instead of two.
"We believe the key to meeting your expectations is to provide more flexibility and to deliver what you want when you want it, whether it's basic game content, full subscription access to the game, or something in-between," said Georgeson.
How that works is a sort of tiered payment structure. You can begin playing at the free level and upgrade to a Silver or Gold membership if you want to play with no restrictions. It's up to you to decide how much you want to pay for your personal experience. Here's a breakdown of the payment models:
- Gold membership in EverQuest II will provide access to all races and classes (except the Freeblood race and the Beastlord class) and is identical in all ways to the current subscription status on EQII Live servers.
- The free membership level will be called "Free" instead of "Bronze."
- Silver membership now costs 500 Station Cash instead of 1,000 Station Cash. (If you purchased a Silver membership in EverQuest II: Extended within the 60 days before the launch of this change, 500 Station Cash will be refunded to your Station Wallet.)
- Players can no longer purchase a Platinum membership. Existing Platinum memberships will continue until they expire.
SOE is also introducing non-recurring Gold memberships that you can buy with Station Cash or real-world currency in 1, 3, 6, or 12 month chunks.
For existing EverQuest 2 players who want to keep paying and enjoying no restrictions, the only the thing that will change if you choose to keep paying is that you'll simply be called a Gold member instead of a subscriber. When the transition launches your current subscription status will roll over to an equivalent recurring Gold Membership. "There is no difference in service and you don't need to do anything unless you desire to change your membership status," said Georgeson.
If you want detailed information on each of the payment tiers then check out the EQ2 FTP payment matrix which offers a fantastic overview of will and will not be available to everyone.
With DC Universe Online seeing a huge increase in subscribers, up to 1 million, after little more than a week of going free-to-play, it will be very interesting to see how the transition will affect EQ2 subscription rates. Will you be venturing in to Norrath after the game goes free-to-play?