Upcoming Changes to Free-to-Play Free and Silver Members Next Week

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

From Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson the EQ2 Forums:

Hi there, Norrathians!

You may not realize it, but we talk about you all the time. All day, every day, we dream up ways to make these games better for you, the loyal players and fans of Norrath.

EverQuest and EverQuest II have both been running as free-to-play games for a good chunk of time now. We’ve learned a lot while that’s been happening, and we can make things better for you.

So, we’re going to take out a bunch of the free-to-play restrictions that you’re used to as a Free or Silver player. Why? Because we want you to play more of the game without restriction. We think that letting you play more of the game lets you learn to love Norrath and gives you more chances to connect with the community and make friends.

As of mid-next week, we’re going to be removing the following free-to-play restrictions in EverQuest and EverQuest II. Free and Silver players will now have access to all of the following options:

  • We are opening up ALL CLASSES except Beastlords
  • We are opening up ALL RACES except Freebloods
  • All bag slots are unlocked
  • All players can now use the shared bank slots
  • The quest journal restrictions are lifted entirely. Quest away!

We hope that the Free and Silver players among us (and there are a great many of them!) will be very happy about this news. These are good things indeed!

Have fun!

David Georgeson
Director of Development, EverQuest Franchise
Sony Online Entertainment

P.S., A few of you may wonder “well, why not unlock all the other F2P restrictions”? The answers are complex, but basically boil down to one of three reasons in every case: a) By design, Gold membership is an “everything is open” option. Free and Silver are ways to choose your options “a la carte” by unlocking them selectively, b) there are some malicious scenarios that can happen when free accounts get unlimited access to certain game features and we need to avoid those, or c) a very few things are restricted to Gold membership to let Gold membership have special privileges that can’t be unlocked via SC purchase. This is intentional, and we admit that it’s incentive to upgrade to a recurring membership.

“All free classes” exception: Beastlord is still only accessible via the “Age of Discovery” expansion pack.

“All free races” exception: The Freeblood race is still an SC-only marketplace option.

What Restrictions Remain?

This announcement made me wonder what restrictions remain. An unofficial list which I need to verify…

  • In-game Mail
  • Number of Character Slots
  • Spell Quality
  • AA Slider
  • Item/Equipment Quality
  • Guild limitations
  • Broker restrictions
  • Chat restrictions
  • Customer Service access

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Comments (28)

  • Lempo of Everfrost

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    In game mail is not being lifted for EQ2 but it is for EQ but bcause of some new game feature, I know that was stated by an offcial but I don’t know where I thought it was in that post but glancing over it I don’t see it.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      In-game mailing of packages is an EQ thing. I cut it out since this is EQ2.

      Reply

  • Loch

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    @Lempo

    You’re right. It was in the announcement listed at the bottom of the bullet point list. Feldon must have cut it out since it didn’t apply.

    Reply

  • Prrasha

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    Hopefully mail & chat restrictions remain… no sense making it too easy for spammers and plat farmers.

    Equipment restrictions are how they force you into paying for the endgame, so those won’t go away (notice there’s no treasured gear at high levels… that’s the “we hope you enjoyed your extended free trial, now pony up” point.)

    Master spells won’t change if equipment doesn’t… it’d be confusing to have only “some” fabled things usable.

    AA slider: I’d like to see that unlocked. It’s a customization thing, not a power thing.

    Character slots: just make more free accounts. But since players can do that, not a lot of sense in limiting it, either. Pretty much a “don’t care” either way.

    CS access: that costs SoE money on an individual basis, so I can see it remaining paying-customers only. I wouldn’t expect a GM dealership to do warranty work on my Honda…

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    With the broker tokens, spell and gear unlockers they wont be changing the restrictions on that stuff any time soon. Its nice to see all the classes being opened up though, but they could have tossed in DoV though.

    Reply

  • Dev

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    I don’t understand why they don’t open up restrictions on gear aa and spells. I get they want money but I would buy more on the store if I could play free and not have to spend money to switch up gear or use spells or even have all my AAs really its been the only reason I haven’t come back since I know I would have to subscribe to enjoy the game. When I would much rather play free and I would just buy mounts and gear skins potions mean really I don’t see why they don’t give a bonus for subscribers like 1 day reuse spells that give them xp, gold, drop rate boots for 1h or 1d. More bag/bank space ect.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    Not good enough. I’m not coming back until they remove the item unlockers from the game. I’m a beta character who has full raid gear, and when I tiered down to free it all fell off, and I refuse to pay for unlockers because I sunk too much money into this game throughout the years of buying expansions, and paying my monthly fee. I’d rather just play another game, which is what I’ve been doing.

    Reply

  • Tarb

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    Eschia, sounds like you just need to farm enough plat and pay for your subs with Krono, it’s pretty easy now. However I use unlocked because they are super cheap, 1.50 for 5, it’s way cheaper than a monthly sub for me for an alt account. However I do agree they should not make people buy unlockers for gear that was already equipped IMO.

    Reply

  • Vortex

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    Honestly, if I actually felt like coming back to EQ2 this would have probably done it for me. This is a step in the /right/ direction. Too bad I can’t forgive sony, and don’t play mmos ~

    Reply

  • Karith

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    I don’t even care about the master restriction. As long a FTPer can use expert(can they?). But the gear requirement totally cuts out so much available content and forces you to pay for each slot’s unlocker, with not a single reassurance that you won’t find a legendary piece in 1 day that will be better then the previous legendary piece that you just unlocked.

    Reply

  • Trueflight

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    If they would at least bump the gear available up to legendary and leave fabled locked, I might be ok with it. (as they said at last years fan faire, but apparently forgot. The simple fact is that there are games which are just as good these days that have no restrictions and no subscription fees. As soon as they figure that out and make changes accordingly, EQ2 might become a viable option to MMO gamers again. They are at least headed in the right direction again, but as usual for SoE, they stopped short of what would have made a good announcement a great one.

    Reply

  • Dark

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    I’ve been saying all races and classes should have been open from day one, about time it actually happened. I still say legendary gear shouldn’t be as heavily restricted as it is now, but this is certainly a step in the right direction for real F2P instead of the Free 2 Try thing they have going now.

    Reply

  • badcat

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    changes nothing for me I have a gold membership, the way I look at it if it brings more folks in and the spend money in the store, it keeps my game going, who cares. As long as they don’t give gold memberships away for free.

    Reply

  • Ruatta

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    Free To Play…I’m aware of that term being applied to many games that have since faded from the ranks of good MMORPG’s. I hope that EQII will not be heading that way. Perhaps by lifting the restriction’s covered in this recent missive it will make a new persons game experience better, and will encourage them to purchase a membership. Please, don’t fade away, EQII.

    Reply

  • Sadres

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    That’s nice, but it’s too little too late.

    Especially given that there aren’t going to be any more expansions, why bother coming back? Game’s dead in the water.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Especially given that there aren’t going to be any more expansions, why bother coming back?

      Have you ever heard of libel?

      Reply

  • tarb

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    No more expansions? LMAO

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    During last year’s interview, Georgeson discussed how SOE had been trying to get away from doing large expansions and instead move toward smaller and more regular game updates. He also indicated that Chains of Eternity should be the last official EQII expansion pack. Players would still get new content; it’ll just be part of free game updates on a more regular schedule than the yearly expansion cycle.

    Swiped from massively.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      During last year’s interview, Georgeson discussed how SOE had been trying to get away from doing large expansions and instead move toward smaller and more regular game updates. He also indicated that Chains of Eternity should be the last official EQII expansion pack. Players would still get new content; it’ll just be part of free game updates on a more regular schedule than the yearly expansion cycle.

      Yeah and that’s all been pretty much debunked. The EQ2 team is working hard on the next Expansion.

      Reply

  • milliebii

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    The “smaller and more regular updates” line has been used before. Then they said that “Expansion Packs” would be features based and not content based. We know how long that lasted. Of more relevance is the stated design limit of the game: the maximum level anticipated in the design was 100. Awfully close to that now.

    Will they really commit time to extending that beyond level 99? I think that is about as likely as a new client and a whole new re-skinning of the game textures.

    But I could be wrong, I have been before.

    Reply

  • milliebii

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    BTW the lack of headroom in the level cap is what makes me think that we will see EQ Next late this year. EQII will probably lift the level cap to 97 and then 99, so that is two more expacs before they have to get real creative and/or spend lots of money. It would be smart to have at least one of these for after the release of EQ Next to keep the game ticking during the transition.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      BTW the lack of headroom in the level cap is what makes me think that we will see EQ Next late this year. EQII will probably lift the level cap to 97 and then 99, so that is two more expacs before they have to get real creative and/or spend lots of money.

      The EQ2 code limitation was enemies over level 100, not players. I believe these limitations have all been resolved.

      Reply

  • Sadres

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    Libel is an interesting thing to jump just for taking an article posted literally a day ago at its word. (Yes, Massively’s.)

    Where was this debunked?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      I apologize for using the word libel. I did not realize Karen had reposted that interview snippet from last year.

      Georgeson says a lot of things at SOE Live that end up changing before implementation. Look at how Mercenaries and Dungeon Maker were presented in 2011, and then what was actually released. Totally different. At 2012 SOE Live, he wanted to have “Point of Need” buttons all over the EQ2 interface to buy rezzes, and all kinds of other convenience items. That got vetoed as a bridge too far. He talked about reducing the number of new Marketplace items introduced in-game, and instead putting most of that into Crafter recipe books. Didn’t happen. So… in 2011, he said that all future expansions starting with Age of Discovery would be feature packs only. Then we got Chains of Eternity. Then he said CoE will probably be the last expansion pack. Forgive me if I have my doubts.

      From speaking to EQ2 Devs, I know they are hard at work on the next Expansion. If you want official word, that will have to wait til August.

      Reply

  • Gunthore

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    What about the coin restrictions?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      What about the coin restrictions?

      Removed November 2012.

      Reply

  • Moo

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    I feel sexually violated for SoE not making this game part of my healthcare plan. It should be free, and everything else should be free as well in this world!

    Then again, even if it was completely free, I would still attempt to complain about something…

    Reply

  • foodcity

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    Yep Feldon, the house items going into recipe books is a bit of a stab in the back at carpenters… Made worse with each time I read the sentence “In addition to what Norathian crafters can make” on each addition to the SC marketplace

    Reply

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