EQ2 Free-to-Play: A Few Details and Clarifications

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

So despite the exhaustive EQ2: Free-to-Play Frequently Asked Questions, as well as SmokeJumper‘s lengthy Producer’s Letter, there were still a few details and questions that got missed in last Thursday’s announcements.

These EQ2X items are leaving the Marketplace (some previously announced):

  • ‘Wand of Obliteration’
  • ‘Rune of Devastation’
  • Mastercrafted Gear
  • Tradeskill Rares
  • Crafted Arrows
  • Self-Rez Scrolls
  • ‘Guild Charter’ unlocks for creating guilds

These EQ2X items are staying in the Marketplace:

  • Research Reducers (for researching Adept, Expert, and Master spells faster)
  • Regular Bags

Other Points of Interest:

  • Free StationCash for recurring EQ2 subscriptions paid with a Credit Card.
  • What do Gear/Spell/Class/Race Unlockers actually cost?
  • Returning EQ2 players who are considering the Free-to-Play option are less than happy about needing to buy Class/Race Unlocks if their class/race isn’t a Free one.

Devastation, Obliteration Leave Marketplace

The Rune of Devastation and Wand of Obliteration, along with several other items are leaving the Marketplace prior to the merge. Deveryn posted these details:

Rune of Devatation (150 SC Each)

  • Charges: 3
  • Casting: 1.0 seconds
  • Duration 20 seconds
  • Recast: 10 minutes
  • Slot: Charm (Optional)
  • Effects
    • Increases the potency of all abilities by 25%
    • Will absorb all attacks from NPC enemies that are NOT heroic or epic
    • On any combat or spell hit this spell will inflict 5% of max health in heat damage
      • Does not affect Heroic of Epic targets
    • (Does not Crit/Cannot be modified)

Wand of Obliteration (150 SC Each)

  • Charges: 3
  • Casting: 1.0 seconds
  • Duration: 1.0 seconds
  • Recast: 5 minutes
  • Slot: Charm (Optional)
  • Effects:
    • Instantly kills the target
    • Not a player or Player’s Pet and Not Heroic or Epic Targets
    • (Cannot be modified)

SmokeJumper had some comments about the perceived power and popularity of these items:

By the way, these were the absolute worst-selling items of any that we removed. Barely anyone used them, even though they’re handy at times (and extremely cheap to use).

The stuff that sold better was Mastercrafted equipment (only in the 10-40 level range) and Rradeskill Rare components in the 70-90 level range (for obvious reasons). But even still, less than 10% of the players actually bought any of these things at all, so overall, they had very little effect on the game or on the tradeskill commodity market (broker).

However, I could post this info a million times and there are those that would still not want anything to do with them, so that’s why we’re removing them during this conversion.

Personally, I’ll miss the self-rez scrolls I used there. I’m one of those types of players that solos as if it was a contest of how much you can pull and survive. It was fun being able to stand up again after I was wrong.

Guild Charters, Research Reducers, Crafted Arrows, and Bags

SmokeJumper‘s comments:

1) There will be no Guild Charters in the marketplace (as there are on EQ2X). Guilds can be created for free on any server after the conversion. (This will result in an explosion of new guilds as free-to-play folks come onto the servers, but we didn’t like the effect of throttling guild creation on EQ2X. After watching it for a year, we feel that it stifles socialization, which is a bad idea.) We will grant a refund to anyone that purchased a guild charter on Freeport in the 60 days before we launch the free to play conversion

2) The Research Reducer items will stay on the marketplace. Everyone seems to agree that their effect is almost completely innocuous because getting the masters for free is incredibly easy in game. It just takes time, but it doesn’t take effort of any sort.

3) The Crafted Arrows currently available on the EQ2X marketplace are going away.

I’ll repost most of this as an addendum to my Producer’s Letter.

Astute readers have pointed out that while the level cap won’t be going up for 2 years and the market for Masters has already mostly crashed (most masters are now 20-30 plat instead of the stratospheric 100-350p prices we saw just 18 months ago), the bigger issue is that EQ2 is getting a new class — Beastlords. Players will be able to fully Master their new Beastlords in a manner of minutes using Research Reducers, if they are willing to drop enough cash.

On a less controversial subject, SmokeJumper threw this in:

[Regular bags] are staying, but based on sales…nobody cares.

The Problem with Self-Rez Scrolls

SmokeJumper‘s comments:

Yeah, well, [Self-Resurrect Scrolls were] definitely affecting raiding on EQ2X. So it would have affected raiding on the other servers also. *If* we sold it on the marketplace some day, it would have to have raid protection built into it somehow.

A simpler fix would seem to be making them non-combat only.

Returning Players Feeling Burned About Class/Race Unlocks

One reaction this week that has taken me by surprise is potentially returning EQ2 players who have expressed their displeasure at having to pay to unlock certain Classes or Races in order to play EQ2 for free. Again these are players who previously had an active EQ2 subscription. Observers have been quick to remind them that, before Free-to-Play, letting your EQ2 subscription lapse meant you couldn’t play at all.

These returning players have focused on the “fairness” of certain Classes and Races requiring unlocks. Other Free-to-Play MMOs put up paywalls around different content, such as needing to pay to enter a dungeon (the popular Lord of the Rings Online which is often put up as an example that SOE should imitate), while EQ2 has focused on Classes, Races, Currency, Item Quality, Spell Quality, etc.

There was also some confusion due to some outdated information that carried forward to the new Free-to-Play Comparison Matrix. The matrix erroneously indicated that Races were unlockable but Classes were not. Of course anyone who has played on EQ2X knows this hasn’t been true for a long time, and of course it won’t be true on the upcoming combined service either.

Returning EQ2 players will be automatically granted Silver status. They’ll need to buy unlocks if they want to:

  • Equip Legendary and Fabled Gear
  • Scribe Master Spells
  • Unlock Races (in packs of 3 for 750SC) on your account
  • Unlock Classes (one at a time) on your account

After the EQ2/EQ2X marriage, players with a Gold membership, previously known as the bog standard EQ2 Subscription will get to equip all gear, scribe all spells, and roll all classes and races with the exception of Freeblood which remains a pay race, and Beastlord which requires the Age of Discovery expansion.

Unlockers for Legendary/Fabled Gear and Expert/Master Spells

One last detail we wanted to throw in, because there has been some confusion. If you are playing Free-to-Play on either ‘Free’ (previously Bronze) or ‘Silver’, then to equip Legendary or Fabled gear, or to scribe Expert or Master spells, you must buy an Unlocker. If your character already has Expert/Master spells scribed when you become Free-to-Play, then you don’t lose them. So How much to Unlockers cost?

750sc ($7.50 at the standard price) gives you 25 unlocks.

If your character is of a class and race that doesn’t require an unlock, and you buy one set of 25 unlocks, you could conceivably be fully Mastered, with full Fabled/Legendary, and not have to pay anything per month to raid, until you need more unlockers. The only really sticky situation is the plat limits (you stop earning gold at 18 plat at level 90) and bag space but creative players have managed to work around these issues.

Pay for EQ2 with Credit Card, Get StationCash; Pay for EQ2 with StationCash, Get… Cookies?

With the announcement that we’ll be able to pay for EQ2 Subscriptions on a month-to-month basis with StationCash, and the additional announcement that those who pay for an EQ2 Subscription on a recurring basis with a Credit Card will get 500SC per month, a few players wanted to know if they could have their cake and eat it too. SmokeJumper broke the news that the cake is a lie:

You can only buy non-recurring memberships with station cash.

Recurring memberships are credit card only…and those are the memberships that grant 500SC per month. So no, unfortunately, you can’t get the 500SC grant if you buy a membership with SC.

This is not remotely surprising, as SOE has had several double and triple StationCash weekends in the past. With Wal-Mart’s 1500SC cards having a 500SC bonus that also triples, some of us have enjoyed quadruple StationCash weekends. If you did stock up on StationCash at these discounted rates, your EQ2 subscription could cost as little as $3.75 per month. If SOE then threw in 500SC free per month, players could literally be making $1.25 a month for playing EQ2.

Other Questions?

If you have any unanswered questions about the EQ2/EQ2X migration, feel free to ask here in the Comments, or by clicking Contact Us!

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Comments (22)

  • Joe

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    I havnt been able to find those walmart SC cards are they still being offered ?

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    They were whenever the last Triple StationCash weekend occurred.

    Reply

  • Karl

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    there is still confusion regarding character slots
    http://forums.station.sony.com/eq2x/posts/list.m?start=75&topic_id=10441

    the unknown issues are how are
    - how are slots counted for station access?

    - for people with empty PAID slots on EQ2X, will the overflow of characters on live fill up these empty slots – or do they remain empty?

    Reply

  • heremx

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    will you be able to buy the AoD xpac with station cash?

    Reply

  • Karl

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    that’s been answered by SJ on forums

    AoD will not be available for pre-order via SC. Basically, because if someone pre-orders, but then spends all the SC in their wallet, it makes billing a confusing mess

    However, AoD *will* be available in the store on launch day for SC. I know that will create a short delay while you download on launch day (and no one ever wants that), but the only way around that currently is to pre-order the regular way.

    Reply

  • Claviarm

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    Regarding unlocks for free/silver players: Since the item revamp, you can get by pretty well doing almost anything that isn’t Velious with Mastercrafted or Treasured gear and expert spells. This means that you can realistically play for $0 if you aren’t an endgame-focused player.

    In Velious, however, legendary/fabled is a requirement, and if you want to unlock every potential upgrade you find (to claim that extra 0.1 potency!) the cost of unlockers can add up quickly. If you’re an active player and have a few alts, it can be more economical to just subscribe (and from my experience, it seems the majority of high-end players do). But if you are conservative with unlocks, even Velious content can be enjoyed at very little cost.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    the unknown issues are how are
    - how are slots counted for station access?

    If you are grandfathered in, you have 12 character slots. If you let SA lapse, then you’d be back to 7. The new All Access doesn’t give you 12.

    - for people with empty PAID slots on EQ2X, will the overflow of characters on live fill up these empty slots – or do they remain empty?

    Well, you don’t get 7 and 7. I’m guessing that EQ2 characters would fill up your paid EQ2X slots and then any over that would be granted free.

    will you be able to buy the AoD xpac with station cash?

    On launch day yes. See Karl’s comments.

    Reply

  • Green Armadillo

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    The 500 SC for credit card subscriptions is a very interesting feature. Will this also apply to Station Pass accounts? The upgrade to all access is less appealing if you’re forfeiting 500 SC to take it, but I can also imagine where they’d be concerned with granting SC for one game that can be used in another.

    The plat cap does appear to be the last major impediment to non-subscription as a viable alternative payment model. One solution I suppose is to subscribe every few months to post stuff to the broker, vendor stuff, and otherwise replenish your cash supply, since unlike DCUO it does not sound like EQ2 will actually lock up your surplus plat in escrow when your subscription lapses. That said, it’s pretty hard to get excited about paying $15 for this after having paid to unlock your race, class, gear, etc.

    Reply

  • Savas

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    I read somewhere there was a station cash cap you can have on account, did I misread that or how much can you have?

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    https://help.station.sony.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/28924

    Maximum Wallet Balance: 50,000 SC ($500.00)

    Maximum Amount per Transaction: 21,000 SC ($210.00)

    Maximum number of Transactions per 24 hour period: 8

    Maximum Amount in Purchases per 24 hour period: 30,000 SC ($300.00)

    I’ve heard of people getting stopped at much lower levels than this though.

    Reply

  • Techno

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    I’m not sure why the class/race unlock issue caught you by surprise. It’s about perceived fairness.
    The platinum F2P players are receiving the AoD expansion for free because marketing “implied” they wouldn’t have to pay for expansions.
    My RoK retail box “explicitly” states that the expansions allows me to choose 19 races including the Sarnak. Fae and other new races were clearly a marketing point of expansions live players have payed money for. Anyone that bought the live expansions should receive the corresponding races and all classes unlocked. They’ve already payed for them. To ask for them to be payed for again is a slap in the face.

    Reply

  • Sole

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    thats crazy, also for returning players, they lost her charakters and the one they can play, must pay for race unlock…i really cant understand how dumb SoE is. I would logon after f2p to chat with a few people…but maybe i will not even do that… Sounds like NGE 2.0

    Reply

  • Rick777

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    Thanks for putting up those details, especially for the gear unlockers and such. As a raider who was going to completely walk away from the game it’s nice to know I can just keep my masters, buy a race unlocker and a gear unlocker and keep doing what I do.

    Feldon do you have any links or are considering an article on how people get by the plat limit? This would be the only obstacle in returning as F2P, I wish SOE let us purchase a plat limit unlocker.

    Reply

  • Tekadeo

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    Stop belly-aching about unlocks. Pay for the game, or don’t; nothing really changes unless you aren’t willing to pay your full sub fee. Smoke’s point is that before, if you didn’t pay your subscription, you couldn’t log on at all. It makes perfect sense imo that they can limit you if you don’t want to play the full game.

    Reply

  • Claviarm

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    @Rick777: People get around the plat limit by stockpiling crafting fuel, specifically pristine repair materials. Crafting fuel sells for 100% of its value, and pristine repair materials are 60g each, which means 120p per stack.

    It’s a pain, though, and doesn’t help you buy anything that costs more than your plat limit. I’d gladly buy a coin limit unlock if I could.

    Reply

  • Quarex

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    Complaints about race/class unlocks are valid, period. Do you know why they are valid? Because the current system arbitrarily rewards people who created characters of the “right” type when initially playing, and punishes all those who did not. If my main character had been a Barbarian Berserker instead of (as it stands) an Ogre Troubador or Iksar Shadow Knight, I would be able to come back and enjoy playing the game again. But I am not going to waste my time creating a new character when there are a billion other games out there for me to play. The idea that they think they will make more money by putting in blanket restrictions than by grandfathering in characters from people who actually have given them money in the past is ridiculous. They will, factually, make less money.

    Reply

  • Rick777

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    Thanks Claviarm, good to know. I don’t agree with those that say you need a full sub to enjoy the game, and I’ve got several raid equipped toons. It seems like SOE really did give us a decent option IMO. Being a raider I find very little need for coin anyhow, I’ve got all my master spells, all my gear, I don’t buy SLR gear, food/drink is cheap enough, I just don’t often see a reason for plat, especially since from what I hear the existing plat on my toons will be grandfathered in.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Quarex,

    An Ogre Troubador? ;)

    Reply

  • Newtron

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    If you copied a char from live to freeport, you got to play the character even if you stopped your live sub. No matter what class or race. So i dont see any reason they should stop it now, except because they just want more money.

    It is unfail that I should be able to play my erudite wizzie and my friend cannot play her gnome wizzie just because we didnt know those classes were not going to stay free.
    I have a recommendation.

    Let the people with premium races login and allow a race change popup to allow you to change your race to one of the free ones.

    Reply

  • Joe

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    Here’s a question that I’ve not seen asked.. previous subscriber, if I came back, but paid, re-subscribed, would my characters be as they were? If my account has automatically been converted to a silver one, does that mean I have lost all the savings I had, about 50pp if memory serves…..? Or would my characters be intact if I paid to play again?

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Subscribing, or buying Character Slots, allows you to ACCESS more than 2 or 4 characters.

    Subscribing, or paying for Gold, allows you to EARN more than 20 gold per level (18p at level 90).

    Characters and plat are never lost/deleted, but you can’t access more than the limits until you unlock.

    Reply

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