Everquest 2 Extended – A Deceptive Rip-Off

EQ2X Membership Plans

EQ2X. The ability to pay the same and do even less.

When I first read the news that EQ2 was going free-2-play I was pretty excited. I’m a huge fan of the Everquest franchise having played the original Everquest for five years and the sequel for over three and was looking forward to the idea of being able to dip back into EQ2 without having to pay the full monthly fee. Plus, being a strong supporter of the game, I also liked the idea of it attracting some much needed publicity, attention and new blood. However, instead of following the sensible F2P model that Turbine are introducing with LotRO, it seems that SOE have gone with a system specifically designed to deceive unknowing new players and extract even more money than the current monthly subscriptions.

Before I rip the whole EQ2X model to pieces, I just want to make it clear that I’m a huge, huge fan of Everquest 2. Although lacking the polish, slickness and newb friendliness that WoW offers, EQ2 is in my opinion one of the best MMOs out there, combining a rich backdrop, a great depth of gameplay, the perfect mix of casual and hardcore content, and a fantastic community. It’s also a game that has received a vast amount of love and attention from very talented developers and designers and, having first played from day one, I witnessed how they worked hard to fight back in the face of the domineering WoW and salvage an excellent game from a pretty stuttery launch. Unfortunately it just makes it all the sadder that SOE are trying to deceive potential new players and lock them into more expensive subscriptions.

Deceptive Rip-Off

EQ2X offers four subscription tiers, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum, each one costing more and granting access to more features. This is all fine in principle and I don’t have an issue with the Bronze (free) or Silver (one off $10 fee) plans as they allow people to play the game for a very low price. My issues start though with the fact that both Bronze and Silver come with huge restrictions on them that would make it impossible for anyone to play competitively and the necessary upgrades cannot be purchases individually. Even though additional races, classes and level caps are purchasable separately (again, fine with that), core and essentially pieces of functionality (like being able to use the broker – Auction House – or equip legendary – above uncommon – items) are only available once you subscribe to the Gold subscription at $14.99 a month. Yep, the exact same price as the current monthly subscription for Live players.

The real kicker though is that even once you’ve subscribed to this $14.99 a month plan, you still don’t have access to all of the content, level caps or races meaning that a player is going to have to pay more than a normal subscriber on EQ2 Live in order to access the very same amount of functionality. Utterly ludicrous.

Then there’s the Platinum membership, swooping in at a tremendous $200 per year and granting full access to, well, almost everything. Even with this mega plan you’re still restricted to a measly four races (out of a total of 19) and have to purchase each one separately, only God and Smed knowing how much that will set folks back. SOE also fail to point that a new player could pick up a copy of Sentinel’s Fate (which includes all previous expansions and comes with one month free play) on Amazon for $20 and subscribe to the normal Live version at the annual rate of $140, a full $60 less than the EQ2X Platinum plan. A far better deal plus you’re able to play for 13 months, not just 12, and have unrestricted access to everything in game.

My biggest issue of all is that EQ2X players are segregated onto their own servers and forums and can never transfer off onto the Live service. This means that once you’ve been lured into the game by the free version you have no choice but to pay for either the rip-off Gold or Platinum plans if you want to access the full game. SOE are effectively deceiving new players into paying more than a standard Live subscriber by hooking them into their characters first and then preventing them from moving away (players are forced to create a brand new account and start all over again if they want to continue as a traditional subscriber).

EQ2 Dead

The impact on the current Live servers is also going to be noticeable as not only will the free version of EQ2X attract people a lot more than the prospect of buying the game and subscribing monthly but SOE are also shutting down the normal 14 day free trial. It seems like they have every intention of migrating the player base onto their new high cost service and letting the existing one fade away and die as very few people will be joining the old servers.

Of course, even though EQ2X players can’t move to the Live servers, existing players are being allowed to move to the Extended servers at a generous $35 per character. Hmm… so I could pay $35 to copy one of my characters to a new server and then have access to even less content? Fan-flippin-tastic.

This whole turn of events is an unfortunate shame for the EQ2 community and I’m very disappointed that SOE couldn’t have just mimicked Turbine’s sensible F2P model for LotRO. What’s wrong with allowing players the options to play a cut down version for free, pay for only for the content they want or choose the normal, fair monthly subscription rate like before? It’s a win-win situation that far outstrips the greedy and narrow approach that SOE have taken. I can only hope they make some changes to their payment plans before launch.

-Gordon

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210 Comments

  1. stargrace says:

    My thoughts exactly about this whole mess.

    Being a huge fan of EQ2 and SoE for that matter, this .. horrible horrible idea does nothing but sadden me as a long time player of all their games.

  2. Carthalis says:

    I am a huge fan of EQ2 and love playing the game, I enjoy the marketplace on the live servers where you can buy various items if you want with real cash and have no problem with that.

    But this new idea just smacks everyone in the face and it really saddens me that there planning to go this way. There is current thread running on the official forums and at the last time I looked it was running at page 68 and most of them are very much like your blog post.

  3. Arkenor says:

    Ending the trial for the normal servers, and locking newcomers into Extended is going to kill old EQ2 off. Breaks my Ratonga heart, it does.

    It is very hard to look at it, as it currently stands, and not feel like that is the deliberate intent. SOE believe they can charge a subscription, and also charge for things we used to get included (not to mention have a shop filled with items they couldn’t sell on the old servers). From a corporate point of view, they’ed be mad to not want to push everyone into the more profitable venture.

  4. Ardwulf says:

    I’m not sure I see some of your points, especially with regard to the LotRO F2P package, which includes way less of the game than the EQ2X Bronze deal does. I have some issues with the plan as it currently stands now (particularly with things not included at the Gold level,) and I think some things will end up being changed by launch, but I’m not seeing how this is worlds different than what Turbine is doing with LotRO.

    $35 per character copy is the same as the existing transfer fee, by the way. I consider it outrageously high, but it’s not like the actual price point is something new.

    • Kyraine says:

      it’s $35.00 per character. Right now the transfer fee is $25.00 per character.

      Differences: with the eq2x transfer you do not get to bring anything but attuned items and no trade items. You leave all your plat, house items, and anything else behind.

      With normal transfer you can take everything.

    • Gordon says:

      AFAIK, the big difference is that Turbine still offfer their normal subscription for any existing players or anyone who wants it. SOE are only offering that on the Live servers and if anyone pays for it on the EQ2X ones, they still don’t get all of the benefits. It’s all very confusing to say the least.

  5. Ardwulf says:

    I have a couple of additional things to say, because I think there are some finer points that a lot of people are missing here.

    I think that the reason the Gold EQ2X package is inferior to the standard subscription deal is specifically to make EQ2 Live more attractive. Also, see below.

    There’s nothing actually prohibiting new players from starting on live as opposed to Extended. If most people come to EQ2 as referrals (and subscriber refer-a-freind trials are not being eliminated,) which is a reasonable inference, then I think the leak to F2P servers will be smaller than some folks think. Particularly since the character copy deal is kind of unattractive by itself – and established folks will be unlikely to leave the old housing, guild, coin and gear behind.

    You get the entire game for free except the latest expansion and its associated level cap increase. Even given the bag and coin limitations, I think the typical newbie will be kept occupied for months before any of these things become an issue.

    Everybody complaining about the unfairness of the pricing structure seems to be missing the fact that people paying for the Live service at $15/month also get Gold service on the Extended servers. If you think about it, that’s a whole second set of character slots, and you don’t have to abandon either server.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that sensible people playing EQ2X and wanting to drop $15 a month on it are just as likely to get a Live sub instead, get the extra slots and take the traditional server as a ‘hardcore’ option on which you can’t buy tasty gear but have to earn it the old-fashioned way. Contrary to seeing this move as a death knell for the traditional servers, I think it’s a long-term insurance policy for keeping at least a couple of them viable.

    Are merges likely to happen on the traditional servers? Sure, but that’s needed anyway – some of the servers are abominably low population. I have a hard time believing that people will be abandoning the vibrant, thriving community on Antonia Bayle to start over with jack on a F2P server – and then stay there for long.

    All this having been said, I can certainly see how long-time EQ2 diehards feel like this move cuts their feet out from under them. It’s change, and change is disconcerting. But I think that this program, handled correctly (and yeah, the jury’s still out,) could breathe new life into EQ2, a game that in my opinion deserves better than a middling fate, doomed to a slow decline – and it’d be hard for me to imagine anything SOE could have done to rekindle interest in the game on anything like the scale we’re seeing now. I think, short of Stargrace’s place and a few other predominantly EQ2 blogs, that I’ve seen more buzz about EQ2 in the last two days than I’d seen in the preceding six months combined. Nothing short of a F2P announcement would have accomplished that.

    • Gordon says:

      I agree that the publicity is good for the game but I still dislike the way the system is being handled. The problem with segregated servers is that anyone who tries EQ2 for free cannot upgrade and move to Live, they need to completely abandon their account and characters and start all over again. Plus they’re cancelling the normal 14 day free trial on Live.

    • Andreas says:

      You’re assuming that people are sensible customers. I doubt many will have the attention span to do the math.

      • Gordon says:

        Agreed. And it’s exactly why it’s deceptive on SOE’s part.

        • Dave Bacher says:

          Also keep in mind — you’re not paying for the base game here either.

          So Sentinel’s Fate all in one was $50 at launch. Take the $200 platinum, and remove that $50 — there’s $150, annually. Divide that by 12, and you’re way under the gold plan.

          According to the e-mail, existing EQ2 subscribers get Gold level on EQ2X, and also according to the e-mail, all features unlocked from purchasing boxed copies of the product also stay, including races.

          So either you can nickle and dime from the station cash store, or you can go buy a boxed copy. If you buy the boxed copy, you’ve paid exactly what current subscribers have paid, for exactly the feature set that they’re receiving.

          The character COPY service — it’s not a transfer it’s a copy — doesn’t transfer money because if it did, the spammers could have one character on a live server with massive amounts of platinum, and repeatedly COPY that character to EQ2X. You’d basically allow them to print money.

          I agree the cost of the copy is a rip off, and of transfers in general in EQ2.

          • Gordon says:

            Sentinel’s Fate is only $18 on Amazon now which is a great deal considering you a month’s of free game time with it.

            I didn’t realise that existing EQ2 subscribers got Gold level on EQ2X! I think that’s pretty good actually and quite happy with that. I wouldn’t mind giving EQ2 another shot and would like the chance to play on the new servers with new players but I don’t want to subscribe to the new wacky price plans.

          • Monkey business says:

            Well thats not true , I have every addon that ever came out , a station access account , and I still have to buy new races . RIP OFF imo ……

  6. rowan says:

    Sorry to all you EQ2 fans for what I am about to say: I hope they implement this business model and it completely tanks, for a very simple reason. No company will try it again for a very long time, if ever.

    It would be very sad for all the fans of Everquest out there. But it might wake up the CEOs of these outfits to the realities of the market. If enough people vote with their wallets on this, the nickel-and-dime policies of the current crop of MMOs might go away.

  7. Jeff says:

    It is to me at least; the last gasp of a slowly dying company, and the really sad part is DCUO and The Agency actually have a shot at being successful provided SOE doesn’t Torpedo both project with plain stupid subscription/cash shop models which we all know they will. Blizzard for the time being at least still offers some value for Joe customer, it’s just amazing to me that developers are this out of touch.

  8. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    Hopefully more details will come available as time goes on so that things will be much clearer for everyone. But I don’t understand what the argument is here; you praise Turbine for having a cut down version with the ability to pay for the content they want, but isn’t that what SOE is doing with EQ2X?

    I myself having purchased Mines and Mirkwood would be a Premium member of LOTRO, that’s great. But look at what new players who haven’t purchased LOTRO or an expansion get out the gate, it’s pretty limiting. Again, there is still details that need explaining, but these knee-jerk reactions about the death of live servers or EQ2 itself is a little premature.

    • Gordon says:

      I don’t have any issue with the Bronze or Silver plans, it’s the Gold and Platinum ones that I dislike. The reason being is that both prove to more expensive to the player than just buying the game and subscribing to Live as normal.

      • savedr says:

        Well, check out the fine print on the FAQ, though. Yeah, Gold is the same price as a Live subscription yet has fewer features. But Platinum (which won’t be available at launch) is ALMOST the same price as both.

        Platinum will be $200 a year, which I can only assume for sanity’s sake will be billable monthly. If you divide $200 by 12, you get about $16.67, which really is just a little higher than normal MMO monthly price anyway. (Yeah, a lot of them are still $13, but that’s still not that much more a month, and still cheaper than a Station Pass.) That gets you the same features as a Live member, as far as I can tell. And, of course, if you DO do the math you’re likely to end up just getting a $15 Live subscription anyway, where the older, more established user community and purely merit-based gameplay will provide a more enjoyable experience, particularly for PVPers.

        Myself, I never play PVP, I’m much more of a console-RPG-type of MMO player, meaning I play PVE pretty exclusively and usually solo (though a party is fine too). Thus, Extended with a Free membership is a great deal for me; it lets me access a ton of PVE content, purchase better armor rather than spend the time to earn it if I want, play as little or as much every month as I can, and most importantly, experience almost 100% of the content that used to cost a subscription I either can’t always afford or don’t use enough to justify the cost previously.

        To me, then, the downsides of Extended won’t matter. I’m not going to want any of the Gold/Platinum benefits to the point that I’ll pay a recurring subscription for them. (At least, with the last 15 F2P cash shop-supported MMOs I’ve played, I didn’t.) I never play PVP, so I’m not going to experience the unfairness of someone richer than me having bought their way to victory. Since I don’t party up any more than absolutely necessary, I don’t care if the community sucks more than on the Live servers. (And I’ll never know the difference, because I don’t play EQ2 now, I don’t have a social circle or any community experience from Live. Also, we all know that there are such things as ignorant h4rdkk0r3/lamer subscription players, too.)

        In fact, I can play it like a massively multiplayer online console RPG with real money shortcuts. I can play it like it’s a polished, well-realized single-player RPG, yet experience the benefits of playing it online alongside other real players. I can sell any good loot I come across & can’t use at auction, and use the significantly higher gold dividends to buy stuff my character needs.

        And, I’m totally playing LOTRO when it goes F2P, I don’t care if my only comp barely runs it. :)

        • savedr says:

          Also notable is that, if you DO get a Station Pass, that will give you access to BOTH a Live account with all the benefits that entails AND a Gold membership on the Extended servers, which actually seems like a really good deal. Now, if only you could play the same character on both for free…

        • Gordon says:

          “Platinum will be $200 a year, which I can only assume for sanity’s sake will be billable monthly.”

          I believe it’s a one-off, up front fee. Which is why it sucks.

  9. [...] people are calling it a colossal rip-off.  Mainly, because you can upgrade on the F2P servers to a monthly $14.99 subscription without [...]

  10. david says:

    I think it will do well enough that Sony will continue with it and look at it as a model for all future games. As for Rowans wish? Too late, DDO has shown the viability of the microtransaction model, not too mention that this is pretty well the only model that exists in Korea.

    I think it will further reduce the populations on the regular servers, but besides Nagafen and Antonia Bayle, all the servers have been declining. As for Jeff’s comment, this company isn’t dying, and I think that is wishful thinking on your part. The goals of these moves is not to beat WoW, but rather make enough money to keep the shareholders happy.

  11. Spyri says:

    I was really excited when I first saw that EQII was going to have a f2p model, simply because I’ve always been interested in it, but most of my friends that play MMOs either 1)played it and hated it or 2)played it, loved it, but NEVER want to go back to it. With the f2p model, my significant other was at least open to the idea of trying it out (we’ll be doing the same thing with LotRO).

    Then we read the pricing model and fine details. I was very disappointed–sure, I know I could buy the boxed game inexpensively, but I hate getting a new game (especially a sub-based MMO), installing and patching it, poking at it aimlessly a few times… and then making sure my sub isn’t active, uninstalling, and shoving the game into some dark corner in my media area (that’s what happened to Aion, sadly).

    My biggest issue with SOE’s pricing on this is that you CAN’T become a “loyal customer” if you try it out and decide it’s worth the subscription price… at least not without buying a retail copy and starting over, essentially. I wouldn’t want to start over, and I don’t think most other people would either (especially not if they’d already sunk money into the f2p account). That’s also what I love about Turbine’s pricing–if we try LotRO and love it enough to sub, then we get the full benefit of being a subbed member. As you said, with even the priciest EQ2X sub, players won’t be getting the same access that box purchasers and subbers will.

    If SOE changes their pricing to mimic Turbine’s, we’ll probably give EQ2X a shot. As it stands? It’s going to be one of those games I’m curious about, but not enough to drop money on.

  12. KiwiRed says:

    One little detail you missed about copying your character across – if it’s not one of the free races or classes, you’ll have to purchase them before you can play the character. If it’s above level 80, you’ll also need to buy Sentinel’s Fate from the station store, which goes for around US$43 iirc.

    It’s starting to make $25 mounts look economical.

    • Bru says:

      “You will always maintain entitlements to any expansion you have purchased, regardless of which service you currently use.”

      As bad as the way the current service is setup, at least they’re not forcing you to rebuy the expansion.

    • Corpsegoddess says:

      I think you’re wrong on the first one, and I know you’re wrong on the second because a red name addressed that.

      I believe that if you transfer a toon that’s a “locked” race, you will automatically unlock that with the transfer.

      And they’ve stated clearly that if you already own SF, you’ll have it when you transfer over as well.

    • Alice Kaye says:

      Posted by SmokeJumper 7/30/2010
      “If you copy a character over to Extended, you get to use that character, regardless of your membership level or race pack purchases.

      In other words, if I haven’t purchased any race packs and am a Free player, but I copy over a Ratonga Shadowknight, then I can still play that character on Extended. However, I wouldn’t be able to create a NEW Ratonga or Shadowknight character because I hadn’t purchased the Ratonga race pack, nor had I upgraded to Gold (to get access to SKs).

      Make sense?”
      http://forums.station.sony.com/eq2x/posts/list.m?start=0&topic_id=115&#910

      As for the Sentinel’s Fate, judging by what Smokejumper says, you have full access to that character regardless of class/race if you pay the $35 to copy it over.

      However, I’m not sure on the character level thing. Perhaps you have access to that too or perhaps it mentors you down to level 80. Regardless, Sentinel’s Fate is for sale at Gamestop for $29.99 if you buy the boxed copy.

  13. Yetian says:

    I agree with all the points on this post and am dissapointed to say the least. Am I suprised that SOE are moving to rip off players? Of course not, I half expect it since station cash was released.

    I’ve played EQ2 since beta and I can see this been the beginning of the end for the game. I don’t agree with comments such as it can breathe new life into EQ2, if that was their intention why not allow characters to be transferred over to the live servers?

    They should have come up with a F2P model allowing people to play on the live servers, don’t forget they came up with some daft new subscription plans recently too.

    The only thing SOE would need to do to get more players into EQ2 would be to actually advertise the game for once. WoW has TV adverts, EQ2 has nothing like. SOE’s marketing is so bad I actually wonder if they have anyone working on it sometimes.

  14. Bob says:

    I’ve been playing EQ2 since launch (5 years or thereabouts), and I’ve just cancelled my subs. The reason being that SoE has gone blindly after the money and done nothing for it’s loyal playerbase. The playerbase wanted a larger population on existing servers, but this will do the exact reverse. Better F2P solutions were put forward to SoE by the players, but as usual they didn’t listen.

    I’ll miss the game, but I’ll never miss SoE. Time and again over the years I have seen them ignore their customers. I will never be playing another SoE game ever.

    Roll on SWTOR.

    • Gordon says:

      Indeed. SOE have become a lot more blatant about going after money than ever before. They started with the exchange servers and then brought in a shop and now they’re fooling people into paying more with their F2P plan. Not cool.

  15. Lomax says:

    Thanks for the spot on article Gordon, its so rare to read a non-EQ2 blog where someone understands the issues.

    I’m no fan of F2P at all, but some sort of F2P/extended trial would have been fine with me on the live servers. But its not F2P that SOE are trying to sell here, but RMT items, self revive potions, temporary extra damage buffs, cure all pots, heal 100% pots etc.

    I know they are saying its an alpha, but they are just showing they’re not gamers, or interested in fulfilling gamers desires, instead they just want a farmville styled virtual skinner box. I still love EQ2 despite its recent shortcomings (the game has been badly neglected the past year), but like Rowan I’d love to see at least EX2X go belly up as a monument to stupidity for the whole industry to admire.

    Just like SWG’s NGE.

  16. Jackie says:

    I’d like to point out that they’re opening a new server specifically for EQ2X and it’s not effecting live servers. As far as they’re telling us on the forums, gamers on the live servers don’t have anything to worry about. They can continue paying $14.99 (USD) a month and have every feature available to them.

    I spoke to a few EQ2 peeps already and they’ve mentioned completely quitting if it does hit live servers. :(

    • Bru says:

      What your pointing out is exactly what has most people up in arms. Segregated servers for this game is a bad, bad idea, period. It doesn’t matter if the regular live subscription is better, all new players will be filtered into Extended first. And with no current way to transfer to live, they’ll be disinclined to drop everything they worked on just to reroll. People are already talking about ponying up cash to go to the Extended service, because even with the lame limitations currently in place, they’d rather play on a server with a healthy population.

      Live servers are going to die if this service goes into place as-is.

      • xXJayeDuBXx says:

        More conjecture about a service that hasn’t even started yet. No one knows what the effects will be, unfortunately you like many others are taking the sky is falling route instead of waiting to see. I do believe that SOE could help the current active community by having server mergers relatively soon.

        • gareth2w says:

          Well seeing that the free trial is being turned off for the current servers, and all new players are being funneled to Smedleys RMT version of EQ2 I think we can assume the effects won’t be good for EQ2 as we know it.

      • Jackie says:

        My toons on the live servers aren’t going anywhere, nor am I joining the new server with new characters. I don’t like the restrictions that they have for free accounts.

        Not sure why Sony decided to do this, but it’s going in the wrong direction. If they truly wanted a “free to play” game, they should have started from scratch, instead of ruining a perfectly good game.

  17. Ferrel says:

    Great write up man. I pointed out how bad a deal it was a few times but a lot of people initially were resistant to that thought. There is basically no situation where you’d want to use EQ2x over EQ2 Live. You also have to note that when you pay your $35 to transfer to EQ2x you don’t go exactly as you left. You lose all your coin and a lot of other items! Read the fine print.

    It does make me sad that this is the new plan for EQ2. I can only see the live game suffering in the long run. We’re second class citizens now. We just pay less for more.

  18. Greenpark says:

    LOTRO FTW

    Competition sucks, doesn’t it SOE.

  19. grimjakk says:

    A few points:

    The only thing missing from the $14.99 gold membership is the full slate of races – and the latest expansion which isn’t included in a Live subscription either.

    The character copy is a ($35) COPY. Not a ($25) transfer. Your original character stays put. The new character takes his attuned and no-trade gear. So you don’t LOSE anything… you GET an extra copy of your geared up character on the X servers.

    Bronze members are basically free-trialers… they’ve never had access to the broadcast channels or broker. (Imagine the constant gold-spam if they did.) They DO have access to 80 levels of content now. They can also equip all Mastercrafted (rare-tradeskill) gear… so while they won’t be first-pick for the raids, its not like they aren’t viable.

    Silver members are the lapsed-subscription, casual-access base level of the new service. Yeah, it does cost a $10 one-time fee, but they get full chat access and (some) shared bank slots.

    NOW, I DO think silver should also have the option of unlocking individual races and classes, so that if you downgrade from gold, you can at least continue to play your characters if they aren’t one of the 8 bronze classes. And limited access to the brokers would be nice… but there’s always the old-school /shout method, and the /auction and /traders channels.

    And I DO think that gold should have access to all races.

    As for the platinum membership, if you buy anything from the marketplace (you will… you know you will…) the $60 of station cash and the 3 extra character slots make it an attractive offer. I’d like to see something similar on Live.

    But… deceptive rippoff? Um… no. Not even close.

    • Era says:

      anyone can unlock races for 750 sc ($7.50usd) for a bundle of 3 races – usually 1 good one and 2 meh ones.

      NOBODY can unlock classes except by buy gold or plat membership

      SF content is unlocked by buying the box or a plat membership

      • Grimjakk says:

        Smokejumper posted that, “CURRENTLY, you have to be a Gold member to get access to all classes. They are not purchaseable individually.”

        Emphasis was his. So I’m reading that to mean there is a possibility that they’ll open this up.

        Frankly, I just want to know that I’ll be able to at least ACCESS my characters, regardless of the membership level I have at the moment.

      • Grimjakk says:

        Smokejumper posted that, “CURRENTLY, you have to be a Gold member to get access to all classes. They are not purchasable individually.”

        Emphasis was his. So I’m reading that to mean there is a possibility that they’ll open this up.

        Frankly, I just want to know that I’ll be able to at least ACCESS my characters, regardless of the membership level I have at the moment.

    • Gordon says:

      Buying Sentinel’s Fate from a shop (Amazon has it for $20) will get you a month’s free gamage and access to all content. To get all of the races for Gold on EQ2X, you’d have to spend a lot more than $5 ($20 – $14.99 for 30 days play) so that means you’re worse off money wise right from the bat.

      Plus don’t forget that Live offers price breaks if you subscribe at 3, 6 or 12 month periods making it even cheaper than $14.99 a month.

  20. Wonderwyrm says:

    Why pay 14.99 for a sub with limits, when you can go to the live servers and pay the same and have all the races/classes etc etc?

    Epic fail right here.

  21. grimjakk says:

    What limits? You get to play to 80 without buying a box! Buy the box and you get to play to 90. YES, the extra races should be available to Gold members, IMO. But if you’ve unlocked ‘em as a bronze or silver, they stay unlocked.

    Like I said, the only thing that bugs me is that if you let your sub lapse, which I tend to do while college is running, you can’t play your non-bronze class characters. I’d be willing to pay to unlock my shaman on those occasional weekends when the homework is done and the exams are still a few weeks out…

  22. Brian says:

    Why do people continue to insist that segregated servers are going to kill the game? They have segregated servers NOW in the bazaar server, so this isn’t going to change that.

    Also, how many new players have you run into in, oh, say the last year? Honestly I can’t remember the last time I ran into someone that was new to the game and wasn’t someone rolling an alt. The number of people actually coming to the game as a new subscriber have to be pretty low.

    People continue to think of THEIR experience as an EQ2 player. There’s a huge number of players out there who have no interest in ever buying anything on the broker, in ever getting legendary items, who want a fun couple of hours a month. A free server will let them play to their heart’s content. People continually place too much emphasis on what THEY think the game needs to consist of, instead of what many others crave in a game. I know a couple who quit the game a few years ago because they had a child and simply didn’t have the time nor the desire to pay $15 a month (x2) for subscriptions to a game they might play 5 hours a month. They are loving the idea of being able to come back for free and play the game they loved on their schedule for free.

    • Gordon says:

      It’s a very good point and I’d like to stress that I really have no issue with either the Gold or Silver plans. I think they’re good ideas, in fact.

      I only have issues with Gold and Plantinum because they make the gamer pay more than if they were on a Live sub PLUS there’s no way to transfer to Live once you’ve started on the free trial so effectively you’re locked into higher rates with no way out.

  23. Norsehawk says:

    When I first saw the announcement, I was excited about it. Once I started to read the information that Sony posted, I quickly started to lose interest.

    1. You are segregated to a server set away from all the other players.
    2. You only have access to a fraction of the races and 1/3 of the classes.
    3. If you don’t pay at least $15 a month, sony says that they will bombard you with frequent advertisements to start paying.
    4. If you do decide to start paying, you still are limited to the free races/classes
    5. There is no mention of being able to earn points in the game unlike other f2p games.
    6. This could have been a great thing, but the whole model this is set up on kills it for me.

    The DDO and LOTRO f2p models are not perfect, but they are better than this. In DDO you can do pretty much anything in the game if you work at itdoing little tasks and earning points, and from what I understand, you can do that in LOTRO as well, meaning that you can do enough to unlock all the expansions for free. I assume that that would mean a lot of work in both games, but it is possible. Also, they don’t separate the free players and people who started as free players off in a leper colony.

    Also based on the DDO model, the stuff you could buy in the store was helpful, but not game breaking in what it could do, and it really revitalized the game bringing in lots of new players that stuck around and pay a little here and there to keep the servers running.

  24. numtini says:

    EQ2 will always have a special place in my heart. It was the first game I ever raided in. I have so many good memories. I was excited at the notion I might be able to take my character in once or twice a month and pick up an instance or something. Alas, it’s not to be. This is just not playable.

    The key to running a cashshop game is to boil the frog slowly. Get people interested and then start them paying money and collect more than a subscription fee would have been before they even notice. This is the opposite really. It’s like a textbook on how not to run a cash shop game.

  25. [...] was, but every other blog and news site has covered it to death.  If you want the details, please check out Gordon’s breakdown over at We Fly Spitfires.  The bottom line is this:  SoE wants people to have free access to a gimped version of EQ2, but [...]

  26. Bhagpuss says:

    Very long thread and I’m late to it, so I’ll keep this short. I’ve posted enough about this elsewhere, anyway.

    I am absolutely thrilled about the new EQ2X service. I’m currently finding it quite hard to concentrate on other MMOs I’m playing because I can’t wait to get started on my new EQ2X characters. Ardwulf near the top of the thread about covers most of my reasons for being so excited.

    I have a Station Access account that I’ve held since they were invented. I betae’d EQ2 and have played it ever since. I’m logged into it as I type this. I could have the Gold version of EQ2X as a SA subber, but I am going to start a new, Bronze account and upgrade it to Silver, buy the Ratonga race and play EQ2 the way I think it should have been from launch – less bloated, more streamlined, on servers heaving with people having fun.

    I am not going to cancel my SA account. I will be keeping that and playing my regular characters too. With EQ2X I feel that there’s a good chance I will be able to play EQ2 for the foreseeable future. Without it, the only prospect was a slow, inevitable decline.

    • Gordon says:

      I miss EQ2 and I like the idea of being able to play it with new players on full servers but I’d want full access to everything and therein lies my problem. Even if I paid the Gold fee per month, I’d still have to pay more to unlock everything. No matter how I look at it, I’d be faced with paying more than a traditional subscription in order to play on the new servers with the new players…

  27. Gliddin says:

    Platinum is a good deal, and your argument falls flat on it’s face in light of it.

    Live Subscription -> 15$ x 12 = 180$/year
    Platinum Access -> 200$ = Live Subscription + 500SC/month; 140$ after benefits

    That SC can be used to purchase one expansion per year, plus the races left out. You’re actually coming out ahead.

    • Noizy says:

      Actually, if I read the chart right, you don’t have to purchase expansions with the platinum package. If that is the case, then platinum access is actually cheaper than live subscription. You just have to pay for a year in advance. Ouch!

    • Gordon says:

      The Live server has price breaks if you pay for more time in advanced.

      Live Subscription -> $140
      Plantinum Plan -> $200

      Now let’s throw in the initial box purchase for Live, an additional month’s play because it includes 30 days free trial, $60 worth of SC to make things even, all of the extra races on EQ2X and you get something like this:

      Live Subscription -> $140 + $20 + $60 = $220 for 13 months play, unlimited everything and 6000 SC left over worth $60
      EQ2X Platinum -> $200 + $15 = $215 for 13 months play, kinda unlimited stuff (in the 13th month you’ll be screwed because you have to resub to Gold and receive restrictions on your account or fork out another $200), and only 2250 SC left over worth $22.50.

      EQ2X Platinum nets you a total loss of $32.50 after you sum the sub and SC difference. It’s even more once you consider that you’d need to pay for the level cap increase if you switched to Gold.

      And all of that is assuming you even want the SC on the Live sub ;)

  28. [...] about shoddy administration, business decisions and poor customer service, I was thinking.  Boy was I wrong. MMO EQ2, [...]

  29. Leo says:

    Most people posting here are already playing EQ1 or atleast did at one time. You are the people the Live servers were made for. You are also treating the average person like an idiot. You really think their are people who will not do the math when money is involved?

    I am coming to EQ2 because of how the servers are being handled. I have a job, which means I have a reasonable about of money for my entertainment budget. But, as I have a job, and a family.. I do not have alot of time to farm.

    To all you people complaining about population segrigation between servers.. would you really be happy with them implementing the option for me to put down 500 bucks and after day 1 buy myself into gear better then the gear you have earned over the last few years? Because thats exactly why I plan on playing EQ2 extended.. because the improved market place.

  30. mel says:

    Maybe pit costs more in the long run because its free for longer in the begining ….like intrest on a loan, banks do this all the time!

  31. matt says:

    this is just a beta, of course soe has made alot of bad decisions in the past and i dont forsee them making good ones anytime soon, but this whole thing may get worked out to fit the users a little more, i myself would rather shove that 200 dollers up my arse than pay them to ruin yet another game.

  32. Jumpin Jehosaphat says:

    FYI, I am an old MMOer going back to EQ. I bought EQ2 at launch but didn’t stay with it as my machine could barely run it (the whole “designed for the future” crap that ran me over like a steamroller).

    I came back for a month about a year or two ago, but didn’t get hooked in. Probably because I just never found any friends; the zones in question were almost barren.

    Fast forward to recently and I notice the Extended version availabilty about 4 days ago. I was just rummaging around, checking out what was new on the MMO scene. With F2P available, I thought I’d give it a try. I was itching to try EQ2 again anyway, so why not?

    First off, I didn’t get the subscription model. So, after starting a human and playing about 11 levels, I decide I want to go “live”. So, on the launch pad next time I start to load up, I click on the “UPGRADE” button. I choose the best option available. $15 bucks later, I notice all the races are not available. Uh oh…

    I go ahead and buy SF from Steam after figuring out where I messed up, and while it’s downloading, I put in a ticket. After downloading, I can’t play! After much searching, my account shows SF but it prompts me to upgrade to “EQ2 Starter Pack” in order to proceed. I do that, and update my ticket. I’m expecting some refunds now.

    Within the day, SOE customer service refunds my Gold level purchase, and the starter pack purchase (the latter one not being required, so it was some kind of software glitch). So, in the end, I got what I wanted but it took some doing.

    So, after reading through this discussion, the F2P modely has me playing again and I’m liking it, so it got another live sub. I completely agree that the sub model is very confusing. Part of the reason I bought the Gold was because it appeared to cost the same, and I was not offered a clear “Live” choice, so I thought I was buying the right thing. So, I would take issue that when new players WANT to go to live, they are not clearly given the choice.

    One other oddity: while building my toon I had a glitch at the name entry. The server rejected my name. When that happened, my appearance changed. Looking back, I think the alternate appearance somehow flipped. I when ahead and kept the new look and played through level 13. Not until the next day did I notice that the server I chose (Mistmoore) had somehow changed to Vox! I did not want a PvP server. Sooooo, I started over…. AGAIN!

    Whatever the causes, it has been very bumpy. This is not a good sign for the fresh players that EQ2 needs. Personally, I would hope that the veterans hold off quitting just a little while longer and see how this pans out. I really want to give another go at this world. I suspect there are many players like me. Give us a chance, then if it doesn’t pan out I don’t blame you for voting with your money. That’s what I do too.

  33. Fire and Ice says:

    Well, I started Eq and Eq2 from virtually day one. Yes I have grey hair, lol. I have no problem with monthly subscriptions etc, but the SOE greed factor is out of control, and has been progressively doing so for some time. I have pulled out of both games with multiple accounts as a bit of a protest. But I doubt they’ll notice. I only mess with Eq2x now and have started with Guildwars. Superb Graphics, massive active community and excellent gameplay. Questing is very similar to Eq but with instanced zones for groups only, No raids (very sad). It does however sadly lack a marketplace or any sensible form of selling. It’s a one-off purchase and there are NO monthly subscriptions at all. I wait with anticipation the forthcoming release of Guildwars2 which apparently resolves these issues. Unfortunately, the word is out that movement control by the mouse has been removed, so I guess I’ll be staying with the original GW. In all, a message to SOE > “Get your poop together because your going to lose your place in the on-line market place. Between WoW (which I really dislike) and Guildwars, your’e going to get creamed”

  34. Flash says:

    I think it is a brilliant idea. I’ve been a paying subscriber to EQ2 on and off for the past 5 years. I hate shoving out 14.99 a month to play EQ2 ontop of other fee based MMO’s that I subscribe too. I like the idea of the new membership levels too. Kudos to Sony! More people can play and enjoy without investing their life savings into this game.

  35. Elevane says:

    I am a 3yr vet of eq2 on Blackburrow, I also play EQ2X. I personally like the idea of extended. How many people have you talked into playing then they had no one but your max level toon to group with because the current Vets no longer quest lower levels even on alts? How often have you in chat seen people ask for a group for Stormhold only to be told to solo that @@@@ because apparently everyone can solo heroics on their first gimped toon.
    No, you don’t get classes for the gold membership and here’s why. Go to the SOE website and look, there is EQ2 and EQ2X looking at the site you get options. There is ONE server for Extended it’s obvious SOE wants people to move to live not the other way around, or to purchase the 1yr sub. Common sense tells someone that $15 at extended isn’t as good as $15 in live. What SOE simply failed to do is link that as an option within the extended area of the site and the launchpad.
    The limitations within extended I assume were made based on what SOE (myself as well) expected the different members to want. The totally 100% casual player is ok using Adept spells and combat arts no need to go any higher really and they can wear what they get from quests. Silver gets Experts and MC. That’s a load of crap that you can’t get anywhere in MC and Experts. My Illy was in ALL MC and Experts running the new SF content including instances and did just fine. No, they can’t raid but what raider in their right mind would be so casual as to not want to pay anything?
    I personally like it all. Smokejumper confirmed the option to buy classes is coming soon and I can play on extended with my silver membership without having to be bored to damn tears solo leveling yet ANOTHER alt because 90 content has become so repeatable. SF instances every single day with the same raids 3 days a week No thanks. I Now log in for raids and play my funnest game in extended.

    • Gordon says:

      I like the idea of reinvigorating the community too but I’m unhappy in how the payment plans have been dealt with. For example, you’re enjoying EQ2X but what happens after you’ve invested dozens of hours into those characters and decide that you do want to raid with them? You can’t transfer your character to Live, that’s been made explicitly clear, so you either re-roll again completely there or fork out $200 to unlock everything and stay on Extended. Not cool :(

  36. [...] though I’m still sulking over SOE’s deceptive and greedy price plans for EQ2X, I am happy to see new life getting breathed into the game. MMOs revolve around their communities [...]

  37. Kevin says:

    Why gold is the same price as a live subscription is because you get all of the expansions up to TSO free. The reason it is more than the regular subscription to buy platinum is because you get all the expansions, extra character slots, and 500sc a month. That sounds like a pretty decent deal to me, and not so much of a scam.

  38. [...] think Gordon from We Fly Spitfires has hit most of the issues and I can’t say I disagree with him.  Frankly, I woke up Sunday on [...]

  39. Rosehip says:

    I quit EQ2 last week after 5 years. I signed up for Lotro 14 day trial, paid £9.99 for the game which includes 30 days sub and now have 44 days of gaming for a tenner. Then I will decide if I am going to sub or f2p.

    Beat that soe!

  40. lost gamer says:

    Everquest 2 was my favorite mmo. I mean nothing beat it, such fun starting out. Then I was saddened when soe killed it by being idiots.

    I quit when I found their was really no one else left besides the same guys running the lv 80 zones again and again. But I was overjoyed to log onto extended to find their were people running around. The old zones were alive again. Stormhold, blackburrow, the wailing caves, all of them ran with groups once more. And what was more, IT WAS FREE!!!

    Then I found the errors. The god awful loading, the cheapskate approach of charging for races, for characters, for talking in out of combat, for even using the damn broker. Hell I can’t even page a guild recruiter for Christ sake.

    It’s pathetic how far they fell. And how far they continue to fall. If im gonna pay for anything, it sure as hell ain’t gonna be that ripoff they call new and free.

  41. mavisbeecon says:

    Maybe i’m giving the average mmo player too much credit, but i personally think some of you give the average mmo player too LITTLE credit. I just started playing eq2x about half a week ago, and it got me completely hooked into the game with my level 22 brigand. I decided i wanted more choices, so i looked at the pricing models, and SURPRISE, i found out how bad a deal they were after looking at them for merely 5 seconds. Now i already ordered the box collector’s edition SF and will be switching over to live servers, so if there are any other players with at least a lick of sense like me, im guessing you should all be seeing an influx of if not a large amount, then at least somewhat intelligent players onto your live servers.
    So ill see you on the live game and hopefully others will follow my lead, but like i said maybe im smarter than i think or maybe people are really dumber than i think…

    • Gordon says:

      That’s great that you are digging EQ2. I think it’s a brillant game and also enjoy new seeing new players get into it. Also glad you bought the box and are going to play on Live. I think you’ll find it a lot more cost effective in the long run!

  42. A.Jentsch says:

    SOE killed my favourite MMO Star Wars Galaxies some time ago.

    IMHO this companies goal is all about cash – which is good for a company ;)

    What bothers me is the way how they do it – i really don’t like how they deal with their customers.

    SOE does not deserve to be on the market because their aim is wrong and their CEO’s will not learn it until they find their fat arses back on the street looking for a new job.

    I am so sick of those kind of guys. They make me want to vomit all over them :D

    But i found a sollution for me:

    I quit, turn around, walk away and never look back

    Its like the sting of a bee. It hurts when pulling out the sting at first but after that its all getting better ;)

    Have a good day all

  43. Nick Smith says:

    Back playing Eq2 on Extended after a few years hiatus. Wonderful to be on a living breathing server, with easy grouping at all levels.

    I personally think that Gold should have included all races and classes, but that seems to me the only flaw in the subscription offers.

    And SOE will probably end up having more of my money than if I had paid fro Live, but I’m OK with that – I have been given a choice.

  44. Melissa says:

    This is my favorite game of all time. That being said, they totally screwed the subscribers on regular servers by making sure no one ever moves to the regular servers, and they totally screwed the f2p servers by robbing them. And THEN, when we asked questions, we got ignored and were actually told by smokeblower “just trust us, we won’t screw you over”.

    I’d love to know how many subs they’ve lost since they implemented this bit of idiocy.

  45. RogerH says:

    I am not at all surprised about this. I played EQ for several years with 3 accounts and also EQ2 for a year (had a station subscription) I left because I considered SOE manipulative, greedy, and not responsive to customers. I couldn’t see paying the hefty amount for each addition (x3) when it looked like they were running out of ideas. I started playing the free version to see if it was worth going back to EQ2, it isn’t. I have 2 accounts on LOTRO while no MMORPG is flawless at least I am not coughing up money every six to 12 months for an extension. I have a 90 day account and don’t pay anything for additions (there has been 1 major one and one minor one since Moria) there are periodic additions to the game too.

    The free to play addition for Lotro is better and less restrictive than EQ extended, my niece and nephew play EQ2 and are now playing it. In this difficult economic time this may be a serious blow to SOE’s player base.

  46. Smaggy says:

    Actually, losing the 14-day trial has one good redeeming factor: how many Plat spammers have you heard from in the extended version?

  47. crob000 says:

    I played eq1 back in the day and they started messing with price plans back then. It was only 10$ a month and if you bought a year subscription, it came to 8 dollars. THAT is reasonable. 14.99 a month comes to roughly 5, maybe 6 new game purchases in a year… THAT is not reasonable. THEY DON’T add 5 games worth of content every year to their games… making it a huge rip off from day one. The eq community died in eq1 when they did this and started their expansion run for even more money. Greed got the better of them and they lost what actually made this game good, the people.

    I put everquest to rest years and years ago and will never look back… THAT is why SOE is a dying out company. They offended their customers.

  48. kxle11 says:

    Well back to eve online not that i ever left after reading this… God damn S.O.E way to fuck up a good thing you all fail.

  49. Son of a bitch says:

    Holy fuck I’m glad I found this before I paid for anything. I really like the game but have been playing on the extended and contemplating buying platinum grade. After doing some number crunching I went surfing the net to find out if it is a upfront payment instead of monthly. And I am so glad I found this. :( I knew SoE had been going downhill but really? I see the points made through each point for and against but in the end the truth still stands. They fucked their playerbase over way to many time for us to take it and just when I thought about coming back they decieve me?

  50. [...] fan/player based articles I read were centered specifically on how they felt this new payment plan was intended to milk more [...]

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