Returning Players “Grandfathered” Characters

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Expansion News, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

When EQ2 went Free-to-Play two days ago, emails were sent out to people who had played in the past but were not current subscribers.  The emails mentioned the conversion to F2P and that they would be able to return and play at the Silver level for free.  But when a lot of these players made it back, they were hit with quite a surprise.

After installing 14 gigs worth of game files (for those that didn’t choose the streaming client) they headed to the character select screen.  That’s when they were kicked in the teeth.  Unless they got really lucky and picked a race/class combination that was free, they were staring at a list of locked characters.  In order to play, they would have to pay for race/class unlockers.  If they wanted to create a new character, they would have to delete all but three of their old characters since silver membership only has four slots.  The only other choice was to create a new account that wouldn’t have silver access.  This was not a good way to welcome back returning players.

SmokeJumper agreed.  Today this announcement was posted:

Hi, folks,

We’ve been listening to you since we launched the Free-to-Play service across all servers. One of the most frequent issues is from folks that used to play EQII Live and are now coming back to the Silver membership level and becoming very confused because they’ve never played under those restrictions. “Why can’t I play my characters? Why are they locked?”

Of course, the reason is because those players are returning to a Silver membership (which is free of charge) and those older characters are often locked behind the Silver membership race/class restrictions. There are two easy ways to get around those restrictions: Upgrade to Gold, or buy the race/class packs.

But, we don’t really want to force those decisions on returning players. It’s not a fun experience to come back to something that seemed exciting (F2P) and then get hit with a bill as soon as you arrive, just for the privelege of using your current characters.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

*Every* character that was created before 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am will be grandfathered in without race or class restriction. This means that regardless of your membership level, you will be able to play any character created before 12/6 without paying for race- or class-pack unlocks.

For any player that previously subscribed to EQII Live servers, or as a Gold or Platinum member on EQ2X, we will also refund all the class/race pack purchases made after 12/06/2011 at 12:01 am and before the time of this posting (12/08/2011, 4:30pm) so that no one loses any SC due to this change.

Of course, this doesn’t affect new characters created from now onward. If you are playing at Silver or Free membership levels and want to create a *new* character, you’ll still be subject to the regular membership class and race restrictions.

We think this should make a lot of folks happy and we’ll get this done as soon as humanly possible, either today, or first thing tomorrow.

See you in-game! Enjoy!

Personally, I applaud Smokejumper for doing the right thing for our returning players. -Dethdlr

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Comments (26)

  • Kwill

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    Pretty shocking, in a good way!

    Reply

  • Kwill

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    Ummm…just an ironic note. Better hope your characters are on a server that is allowed with a silver membership. My characters now show up on Butcherblock with a locked server message.

    Reply

  • Randomness

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    Servers shouldn’t be locked. I’ve been having an issue sporadically where I try logging in, and it says all the servers are locked [ie, servers down for maintenance]. However, quitting out of the game and relaunching resolves that problem.

    Still it’s annoying.

    Reply

  • Brigh.Guk

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    Great! Now howzabout fixing character slots that are locked despite being paid for! ><

    Reply

  • Xalmat

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    I still think those that purchased all of the expansions since launch (including the base game itself) should have all race/class combos unlocked, period. That said, I’ll settle on this.

    Reply

  • Dyadem

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    (does a happy naked dance)

    Reply

  • PaulWS

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    How much are they going to keep givin in to these cheap a__ ?

    Reply

  • Me

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    I’m going to assume equipment restrictions still apply even for equipment already on the toon?

    Reply

  • Anaogi

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    Should have been done to begin with. That they didn’t see that coming really, really makes me wonder.

    You don’t invite old-timers back, then lock them out when they show up. That’s just idiotic.

    Reply

  • Merr

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    It’s still pretty dumb if they don’t unlock legendary/fabled items, too… Almost all of these old players’ equipment is legendary or above.

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    I just had to laugh at this one. My wife had the same issue on her account so I am pleased that they realized the error on this. :)

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Yeah the only acceptable approach is if returning players can play EverQuest II completely free-of-charge!

    {/sarcasm}

    Reply

  • Wurm

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    @ Feldon, thats not at all what this is about.

    You purchased the original game… you should have access to all the races and classes that were included. You bought the EoF expac, you should have access to fae. It really is as simple as that.

    New FTP players get the limited stuff, but making someone who dumped the money on the game and expacs pay money just to play their old toons isn’t going to get those people to play and pay again.

    There is no such thing as “FREE TO PLAY”, Remove the L out of the third word and you have the truth of the matter.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    You purchased the original game… you should have access to all the races and classes that were included.

    By choosing NOT to pay for an EQ2 subscription, you aren’t actually entitled to anything.

    You agreed to pay $15 a month to maintain access to the game, and so you are breaking that agreement and subject to different terms and conditions if you want to play for Free and still gain access to races, classes, Legendary, Fabled gear, Adept III and Master spells, 6 character slots, etc.

    You bought the EoF expac, you should have access to fae. It really is as simple as that.

    This is the only argument I’ve read that has some possible merit. Same with Iksar/Sarnak with Kunark.

    Reply

  • Anaogi

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    If they’d previously been paid, why, by the logic you just used, can’t those options/gear be considered unlocked for those characters?

    Frankly, this says more about the flaws in the F2P system than it does about any sort of equitability. But hey, nobody listened before, so who cares now, right? Make ‘em pay for what they…um…already paid to have!

    Sorry, this is a fix to a botch. I can see not allowing new instances beyond the basics, but the old characters should have been good to begin with, because the players had, y’know, already paid for them

    Reply

  • Taka

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    “Same with Iksar/Sarnak with Kunark.”

    I believe Iksar were already available from plain vanilla. Right?
    What you said with Sarnak.

    Reply

  • Derek

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    You bought the EoF expac, you should have access to fae. It really is as simple as that.

    This doesn’t make sense at all. If you purchase ANY expansion pack with the exception of AoD your buying EoF, plain and simple. It even says on the box, if I was someone eyeing EoF, I’d surely pick DoV since EoF is ‘included’, by that logic all players who buy any expansion pack should have all races and classes unlocked until that expansion came out.

    Reply

  • Isest

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    This is the kind of mess you get into when you decide to change the way you do business. I kind of on the fence on this one. The way I see it is. If you bought the xpac that gave those classes then they might should be grandfathered in.

    However with free to play those race/class restrictions are in place, you have to unlock them, or pay a sub.

    The way I see it before if you canceled your sub or you did not renew, you played nothing, nada. No log in no do nothing. Now you get to log in and everybody has their hand out wanting something for nothing.

    To me this once again sounds like I am paying my sub so somebody could freeload, thus subsidising their play. This is how I feel about it. You want to play the game without restrictions then sub up, or unlock. Otherwise there just more folks not contributing anything to the game other than lag on the servers because they think they have a right to play for fee, and are owed the game they way the left it. However we have a new game with new terms.

    Anyways its a hug mess, and no matter how I feel about it there are going to be the freeloaders, the unlocker, and the subs. The only way the game is going to get better is for folks to spend their money and soe manages it correctly, the rest of the freeloaders does nothing but eat up bandwidth, and cause lag.

    In a way i’m glad they did this, but in another way, those folks don’t have to do anything other than log in and have their game the way it was before, and I subsidise their game play, while they don’t contribute anything as in paying soe. That is why I hate free to play a lot of folks paying, for a huge amount of folks playing with no intention of supporting the game.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Derek,

    Very good point. Every expansion up til AoD included all past expansions by definition.

    It goes back to, people seem to feel that since they paid for past expansions, X number of years of subscription, that they should be able to now play EQ2 indefinitely with no additional charge.

    This is NOT the point of F2P. Honestly, EQ2 F2P right now is what I think it should be — a free trial that is permissive enough for people to really try out the game and get to like it. They can pay $5 and get a lot more access. If they like it, they can get a full subscription.

    I would think that the 3 groups of folks who truly play an MMO for any length of time absolutely free are:

    * MMO Tourists who try a game until they hit all the roadblocks, maybe buy an unlock or two, and then move onto the next game.
    * Spammers using the account for marketing or laundering plat.
    * Masochists :)

    Reply

  • Froak

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    say you are a returning player that hasnt subbed in a year or more, what good is logging in your toons to check out the game when your toon is naked. most people returning will have outdated gear and need to upgrade it anyways as they explore the game – buying unlockers when/if they so choose. but outdated gear is far better than naked. they should let all granfathered toons equip what they had on.

    they took this action to get returning players to try out the game, see whats new. but it is next to impossible to do anything naked with an insane coin limit. go to town and buy white con armor from an npc that only has mitigation and no other stats? wouldnt stand a chance against anything past original launch content.

    no im not a F2P or returning player, but i would like to see people actually trying out the game again.

    Reply

  • Wurm

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    There is enough restriction that those who return and decide to stay will end up paying money.

    Forcing people who return to pay to see if they like the changes after making a huge deal about the game being now FREE TO PLAY is shooting yourself in the foot (granted, something SOE seems to do on a weekly basis).

    When the announcement was made, a friend of mine who made an Iskar in 2004 and played to the release of TSO, contacted me about the email that SOE sent out. He asked me about the state of the game and if it would be worth at least coming back to check it out. I told him that I was enjoying myself and that I liked a lot of the new content and that he should use the FTP return invite to see if he liked it as well.

    Then he couldn’t log in.

    I haven’t heard back from him even after letting him know about the grandfather clause, and I’m not sure if I will.

    If they want to make money using this new sub/ftp hybrid, then they just need to stick to adding interesting things to do and fluff appearance items to wear while doing them.

    Reply

  • numtini

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    It’s probably the poorest implementation of a so called F2P system I’ve ever seen. It’s simply not playable given the current restrictions other than as a low level trial.

    Reply

  • Gunthore

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    Imo, gear equipped while an active subscription is / was present should not be unequipped. Require gear unlockers to put on new gear, but don’t take off what has already been earned.

    Reply

  • Purriclese

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    >>>I would think that the 3 groups of folks who truly play an MMO for any >>>length of time absolutely free are:
    >>>* MMO Tourists who try a game until they hit all the roadblocks, maybe >>>buy an unlock or two, and then move onto the next game.
    >>>* Spammers using the account for marketing or laundering plat.
    >>>* Masochists

    You missed the fourth. Parents with kids. They don’t care if their kids can’t play every race/class combination, and it may mean they don’t have to pay for a WoW account monthly.

    Reply

  • aapple(baz)

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    I played eq1 then eq2 at launch. Then I lost my job in 2007 when the economy took a dump. Just couldn’t afford playing anymore.

    Fast toward, last week got email…. EQ2 FREE! yes heck yeah! Super excited. Log in….toons all locked. Sad n …confused! Created new account just…. to getthe into gameold n seethat whats up. Find out all the restrictions and must pay for this n that. I craved my level 60 bruiser and all old toons n guild.

    Got on the phone with soe. Log into old account…..silver membership. Still some restrictions but playing. Im satisfied. Could use more bag space and on many toons couldn’t wear old legendary items which was frustrating.

    I recommend if you come back don’t don’t choose to instruments your gear you wont be able to reattune them. Im still locked out of two of my toons hopefully I can get access back for them.

    Other than that glad im back.

    Reply

  • Timmy™

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    I’m able to triple-box with my two spare toons that I stopped paying for. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.

    Reply

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