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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212 Comments

  1. Werner says:

    GREAT NEWS!

    SOE recently announced that they will merge EQ2X and LIVE servers. They will ALL be the same Free to play model – and the PRICING has also improved tremendously. GOLD accounts now get ALL RACES plus 500SC per month when they selected recurring subscription. 1,3,6,12 month plans are also available, and you can use the 6000 SC you get over the year for either the next expansion or monthly subscriptions.

    WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I gonna preorder AoD SE now!

    • jethrus says:

      The NEW free to play model, while not the huge rip off its predecessor is (read above) is still, well, lame. Unless you pay the standard game rate (14.99/month on a monthly plan etc) you will have access to an EXTREMELY limited game. Yes you can level the whole way but wow does SOE hurt you. For a game thats touted as being “free to play”, you are limited in the races 4, 8 classes (the rest of each can be micro transactioned), 2/7 character slots, spells maxed at Adept level, cannot use legendary or fabled gear, 2/6 bag slots, max 5gold per level, reveive mail only, 0/8 shared bank slots, cannot use the broker system at all, /say /group /guild /tell chat channels only.
      BUT this game is free to play. Even if you are new to the game, using this as a basis as whether you want to pay for the game, you are limiting access to some of the key features of the game. Making each thing micro transaction would have been the smart thing to do instead of saying free to play, but if you want to play a fully functional game you need to pay.
      BTW multiple studies of the last 2 years have shown FTP with micro transactions are far more profitable for the game companies, than those that are monthly subscriptions. To use the most subscribed mmo at this time (warcraft), it makes far less than those that are microtransaction overseas. SOE should realize this from the explosion of users and the number of microtransaction sales with DCUO.

      • Gordon says:

        F2P works because it lures people in and then entices them to spend money for upgrades and unlocks. It’s quite a deceitful system really.

      • Werner says:

        well, free to play doesnt mean its a freeloader game.
        if you expect to play for free with all the same options as a player who actually supports the game and funds it, you should better go playing checkers with your mum :)

      • Ryne says:

        Also, if you got the bonus in Extended of having a lifetime gold subscription, yeah you don’t have that anymore. Even though I am trying to play on the exact same server, I don’t get the benefit that they gave me because their game is dying off. Fuck them.

  2. Max says:

    How about people like me who want to return but all my charcters are of a race i dont own

  3. BobSmith says:

    FAIL 1000100010001 SOE FAILS 1010010011

    OK SOE

    1. Most FTP models have 70% of the game accessible however the best parts being Pay to play, Not 20% of the game accessible to FTP and 80% of it being pay to play…

    SOE Why did you waste the time effort and money to do something that will obviously fail ? i guess if you knew you wouldn’t have wasted our money on that silly card game and used our money on something that made sense like EQ3 Smed has needed to be fired long ago, he has no place in today game market he is FAR to OLD and far to stupid to make this game work agian while he squandered our money making a stupid card game he could have used that money on EQ3, Shader 3.0 or DX10 …ROFL

  4. bobsmith says:

    PS: What this expansion offers it should be $19.99, No new Zones No new levels Some more AA and a NPC henchmen… that’s not worth $39.99

    I am 7 year vet its really sad to see EQ 2 in the final throws before death and SOE trying to rape its customers for the most money and providing the least amount of product.

    PS: it will be 19.99 in the bargain bin before i buy this expansion

    • Werner says:

      this expansion is actually super incredible good.
      you just cant understand it from outside.

      if you would think about it – creating a new zone with quests is LESS work and time. than actually creating new game mechanics that are part of AoD.

      So SOE is not ripping anybody off. they made the game much better. and it you dont like Aod, you dont need to buy it anyway and still can play up to endgame raiding- youlll just miss out on hiring mercenaries, tradeskill apprentices, and the cool rewards that you get out of the new user made dungeons. and some other stuff. like beastlords.

  5. atlasraven says:

    I don’t like the f2p races or classes. How much would it cost $ to buy another race and class?

    • Werner says:

      i recommend subscribing to check it out, and then take a recurring 12month sub . it gets cheaper . about 9 euros or 10 usd.

      anyway a class costs 1000 sc, and a racepack with 3 races costs 750 sc if you dont wanna subscribe (which unlocks all).

      you can buy SC at half price, or even 1/3 at a triple-sc event (likely to happen around christmas again) -

  6. Werner says:

    EQ2 got even better now:

    All servers are f2p now, but the real great stuff is, that all characters that are older than 6 months are grandfathered in unlocked!

    Also, the recurring subscription now gives you 500SC EACH MONTH, and the 12-month sub that I have is as cheap as 8.99.- Euros – and I can use the 6000SC i get for free over the year for even more months, or the next expansion.

    Man, this game’s gotten so good now, you should write a new article, really!

  7. Tim says:

    I just signed up after trying it out free. I have no sympathy for freeloaders complaining about a lack of anything in the game because they can’t bring themselves to beg their mothers for $15 a month. This game trumps all. I am amazed at how many elements make this game up. I started thinking about coming back to the EQ world after many hours wasted in the ongoing soap opera that is WOW. This and the fact that EQ is the only game that offers my favorite character, the Enchanter, or Coercer as it is named now. The ability to take virtually any mob as your pet (even 4 levels above and EQ’s version of “elite”) is an experience unmatched in other mmos. The world is huge and not overcrowded like other mmos. This means you have access to resources you need when you need them. The best thing I have noticed about this game is the fact that the difficulty and intricacy of this game weeds out the kids that would rather play the much easier WOW. I don’t see all the garbage clogging up the chat that WOW is known for.

    I think I have found a better place for my money.

  8. SirTannen says:

    I honestly do not see what everyones getting so worked up over this, $15/m is hardly two hours of work at most in most areas. And besides, Everquest 2 F2P is a great way to get your friends into the game.

  9. graham says:

    well after reading user comments, this read as an apauling games maybe great to play, but limited room,,gold,mail and character, they should of limited the level so people could experience what the game not a friggin half game has to offer, trying to lure people to pay extra b4 experiencing the potential the game has to offer is just plain greed. Also sounds like this game is dieing and i just hate those who pay think they have a right to call other people free loaders, god what an ass, (so playing a demo of a game makes you a free loader)..
    Any game that has to lure people into believing they have to pay b4 they try is DEAD.

  10. dungeontroll says:

    LMFAO, yeah right I am going to pay $15/month for a game made in 2004! It is almost as old as me, haha. Maybe if it was $5/month I would consider, but these people are idiots if they think I would pay for a new game every 3 months, totally insane SOE. Sucks cause I wanted to play this too, and would have since SWTOR sucking bad, but $15/month lolololololl. Keep dreaming SOE!

  11. Kristina says:

    I was surprised today to discover the cost of the subscription.. I am all for paying for an mmo I enjoy, but they are a dying game and actually charging more than much more popular ones.

  12. Alex says:

    Something happened to all my characters! I played of EQ2X before they merged with EQ2 and had several races and classes unlocked along with 6 (or so) characters. I logged on to Everquest 2 day before yesterday and all my characters and unlocks were gone! What should I do?

  13. Eckz says:

    So.. you expected $OE to not ruin their game money mongering?

    Ludicrous. If you really played the original EverQuest, you would’ve already known better. Sony ruins everything.

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  15. kojak says:

    their… no its not fp2. SOE’s version of F2P is like a loan shark saying no strings attached.

    I don’t have a porblem buying races (though really races are useless in the game) Or classes. I’ll even buy content.

    But to disable things like a lil bitch from the core of the game? The chat? The trade? The broker? BEING ABLE TO USE SOMETHING YOU FOUND IN A DUNGEON? Ya.. fuck you SOE lol.

    Played that game when it first came out in all of its god awful lagged up glorry. Watched it slowly gimmick wow more and more with it’s ease of play style. (Ya it used to be damn well dangerous jogging through Antonina let alone the side dungeons) But then in their greed, they did this. I mean a free trial wow player has more access for gods sakes.

    It pains me to see the bastardization of that great game.

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