All Access Transition Postponed til April 29th

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

For the third time, the transition from individual Gold subscriptions for each of SOE’s games to a single All Access pass has been postponed. From Dexella on the SOE forums:

Dear Players,

In an effort to ensure that the transition to the new All Access membership plan is as seamless as possible, we are going to be taking a little more time to test. So, we will be pushing the launch date of All Access to Tuesday, April 29th. Because of the portfolio-wide nature of this plan, this may prevent us from doing any individual game updates in EverQuest, EverQuest II, Planetside 2, and DC Universe Online. These updates will resume normally after the All Access launch. We appreciate your patience and you’ll agree that our new membership offering is worth the wait.

EQ2 Producer’s Letter: Lots to Come, All Access

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

So last Thursday, Holly “Windstalker” Longdale posted a Producer’s Letter for EverQuest II. The letter included a few phrases which seemed open to interpretation and so we waited to post these notes to see if there might be some clarification. There hasn’t been, so here’s the letter:

Greetings Norrathians!

It’s been an exciting year so far for EverQuest II and we have a lot more to come!

Since All Access membership was announced earlier this year, as well as news on our new weekly update direction, we’re having a great time bringing more to the game each week. There’s a lot coming up too and we wanted to take a breath and tell you all about it!

As many of you know, our All Access membership changes will go live on or around April 23, 2014. Players who choose All Access membership will get access to SOE games, can claim 500SC a month, and get access to special promotions and offers. Members will also get unique benefits in EverQuest II.

The New All Access Plan Information & FAQ

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

As we found out recently, SOE is making all of their customers who currently have a Gold membership, through credit card, Krono, or game cards, into All Access customers. Players will be able to login to their favorite game once per month and claim 500SC for being loyal subscribers, as well as enjoying a 10% flat discount in all Marketplace prices. Finally, All Access customers will be able to access all of SOE’s games including DC Universe Online (PC), PlanetSide 2 (PC), EverQuest, EverQuest II, Dragon’s Prophet, EQN Landmark, and EQNext when it launches in 2015.

NOTE: The upcoming changes do not affect any of the existing perks for EQ2 Gold subscribers such as Bonus XP and Double Currency, nor does it impact any of the awesome upcoming perks for EQ2 which I’m not yet allowed to talk about. ;)

From the EQ2 Forums:

Thank you for your feedback regarding our membership benefits. The result has led to a brand-new offering that we’re excited to bring to our valued players.

On or about April 2nd, we will be rolling out a simple, new All Access membership plan full of value. In the new All Access plan, members will be able to:

  • Claim 500 Station Cash monthly from within the game marketplaces.
  • Receive a 10% discount on marketplace purchases.
  • Gain access to exclusive promotions and offers throughout the year.

Smedley Delves into Reasons for Subscription Changes (mostly Accounts and Tax Laws)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), StationCash

smedley_fanfaire_community_address

SOE President John Smedley continues to peel back the curtain on the thinking behind Subscriptiongate and why he is trying to make this right for loyal customers, while addressing the Accounting and Tax Law issues which SOE could ignore no longer.

First up, Smed posted his philosophy on game development and how these Subscription changes were never about squeezing players for more revenue:

When I read through all the posts here and on our forums, it never ceases to amaze me how people can think we’re just money grubbing jerks because we’re trying to make money.

I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that’s just not how we think. Most people I know in the games business are in it because there is literally nothing else they want to do ever. From the time I was in high school I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The same is true for a lot of people here at SOE and around the industry.

Obviously one of our goals as a corporation is most certainly profit. And yes, when you guys buy our stuff it makes us happy. But money has nothing to do with why it makes us happy. We’re happy because you guys bought something we (or one of our other players made).

We’re in the middle of developing Everquest Next Landmark (on schedule right now for end of this month). We rebooted the game 3 times. It was a massive delay and it hurt us financially. But it was the right thing to do for us, and for the industry. Most importantly you all are going to get to play something we’re very proud of and we think is a whole lot of fun.

I believe a lot of this rhetoric is the result of us not being transparent enough, so we’re going to change that. I want us to start explaining the “why” in the decisions we make.. particularly the financial ones.

The changes we originally proposed would not have made us more money than the previous plan. Even if some people cancelled, though to be honest we thought our plan was pretty darn awesome and you would love it.

The same is true for a lot of the decisions we make. We’re trying to make life better for you, and yes.. for us too. But while some of those decisions are financially based, most aren’t. It’s usually something to clean up a tangled process or solve other problems.

So. how do we really feel about monetization?

Here it is.

We believe if we make great games, we’ll make money.

In that order.

So I therefore am going to make it one of my personal missions to explain the thought process behind our business decisions. I want to be able to have an honest enough dialog that I can actually tell you “yeah this is important to our bottom line.. that’s why we did it”… and have you at least not question whether that’s the real reason. You may disagree with it, but at least you’ll be able to make a reasonably informed judgement as to whether or not we’re the greedy company some of you seem to think that we are, but at least you’ll hear the why.

My hope is that by doing this we can at least get people to say “ok. that makes sense.. I don’t love it but it makes sense and I’m ok with it”. And if you don’t, then we have work to do.

many more quotes after the jump. Smedley has been a posting machine!

Backlash II: The Sequel — You Really Can’t Please Everyone

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Player Studio, StationCash

eq2forums-burn4

Last Friday, SOE announced changes to their Subscription services, replacing the 500 SC/month allowance for having a Gold Subscription in any of SOE’s games with a monthly voucher to buy ONE item per game, up to 2,000SC, to exclude Player Studio, “bundles“, and an unknown array of other items, presumably “Services“, Experience items (280AA bauble), and expansion unlocks like Mercenaries. Players who buy a number of 100-200SC items would have lost out with the deal, as the voucher only applied to a single item with exclusions. And while it’s a small pool of players, Vanguard players on an All Access subscription would have gotten nothing out of the deal.

Yesterday, SOE President John Smedley halted these changes, bringing back the 500SC/month allowance (although it must now be claimed once per month), and went further, cutting the price of a multi-game All Access subscription from $19 to $15 and applying a 10% reduction in all Marketplace prices for Subscribers. And all was right with the world.

Except…It seems there were some players who were excited about the “one item per month up to 2,000SC” deal, but didn’t say so. I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves

from Kaeros:

Wow, that’s incredible. A bunch of people just b & m’d the entire community out of 4 times the rewards. Way to go forums.

Personally all the people I play with were pretty hyped about the new version once they said they were looking at bundles and player studio items being back on the table for it.

Stick to your guns Sony!

Heroic Characters Interviews Around the Web

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), StationCash

heroic_characters_018

Our invite was once again misfiled, but if you are curious to catch all the info about Heroic Characters, including a few quotes from Holly “Windstalker” Longdale and Dave “SmokeJumper” Georegeson, you’ll want to check out the writeups by Cyliena (ZAM) and MJ (Massively) who endured SOE’s PR firm to bring you the scoop!

heroic_characters_146

And is it just me, or are the 3 screenshots provided by PR kinda the opposite of what you’d expect to see in marketing Heroics? The exclusive armor set and free flying mount, especially on characters ALL BY THEMSELVES are probably the sorest subject for existing players. I guess I can see that players want to know what their $35 (3,500SC at full price) gets them, but I certainly wouldn’t have featured a Solo character in all 3 screenshots.

Frequently Asked Questions About Heroic Characters (and More!)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance, StationCash

In response to a number of questions by players about Heroic Characters on the EQ2 Forums, Caith and RadarX had some answers…

Q (by Errrorr): When will Channellers become available as heroic characters?

We don’t have a date on when Channelers will become available as a Heroic option.

Q (by Errrorr): Is it possible to have certain long and tedious questlines already completed (For example Speak as a dragon)?

Heroic characters are not going to have any quests completed for them. If a quest is so tedious as to be off putting, and is also something that cannot be avoided, I would rather look at the quest itself. I’m not sure To Speak as a Dragon would qualify in my estimation, but it’s something that we can look at.

Q: Does the Heroic Character purchase apply to the character slot, or to the character?

If you unlock a heroic character, and then delete it, it goes away. Whether that character is purchased, or unlocked as your one free, the result is the same. To unlock another heroic character to replace the one you just deleted would require you to purchase it at that point.

The reason we have a try before you buy option is to give people a chance to experiment with classes before unlocking them. Please use some care with which character you want to unlock as your free choice.

and later…

If you delete the free unlock, then no, you do not get another one to replace it.

Update Notes: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 — Heroic Characters, AoD a la carte, Item Unlocks Going Away

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Expansion News, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance, Itemization, StationCash

UPDATE:

The EverQuest 2 Servers will come down on Tuesday, October 1st at 7:00AM Pacific Time* for an update. The expected downtime is approximately 5 hours. 

From the EQ2 Forums:

GENERAL
Memberships have changed!

  • We’ve removed Item restrictions from Free and Silver accounts.
  • Permanent 10% Mount speed and 15% Coin Loot Bonus to Gold membership!
  • Destiny of Velious expansion content is now free for everyone too!

HEROIC CHARACTERS & 1 FREE HERO’S CALL OFFER
Heroic characters can now be created! Answer the Hero’s Call!

From now until Oct. 15, you can take part in our 1 FREE HEROIC CHARACTER ‘Hero’s Call’ Offer. All existing accounts created prior to Sept. 22, 2013 will have access to 1 free Level 85 Heroic Character! All accounts created after Sept. 22, 2013 will get access to 1 free account per household. These free Heroic Characters will be unlocked permanently!

Producer’s Letter: Coming Right Up!

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

From the EQ2 Forums (emphasis added by me):

Mighty Norrathians!

Since SOE Live and Game Update 67: Darkness Dawns there’s been a lot of focus and excitement here about Heroic Characters and this year’s expansion, Tears of Veeshan. We’re well on our way and working hard!

To begin with, we have some date adjustments. Our expansion launch date has moved out a bit to mid-November and our Level 85 Heroic Characters are likely coming in the first week of October.

We got some great feedback on Heroic Characters and we wanted to polish it up to make it more user-friendly before we launch! We are still working on fine-tuning the details and I will have more info soon, I promise. Until we nail it down, I don’t want to throw misinformation about.

The introduction of Heroic Characters also made us change a few other things, like including EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious zones into the Free and Silver account access so Heroic Characters have a place to play! And while we are still going to offer theEverQuest II: Age of Discovery expansion, we will also sell the features individually, including the Beastlord class, Mercenaries, Dungeon Maker, Reforging, and Tradeskill Apprentices. We’re still working on pricing and have some other cool things in progress we’ll announce shortly.

Our 10th expansion, EverQuest II: Tears of Veeshan, is getting closer to Beta. This team is putting together an expansion that will be something special! The overland — Vesspyr Isles, the Eternal Broodlands — is really amazing. Flying through it is incredible with more and more variety and flavor every day. The dungeons are coming together beautifully and the content is too! We appreciate all the feedback we got during SOE Live and are grateful for all the playtests of the Channeler class. We are putting final touches on that too.

When Beta opens on Oct. 15, we hope you’ll come take a look at Tears of Veeshan and give us feedback!

There will be lots more to come so you’ll be hearing from me sooner ™ rather than later!

Holly Longdale
Senior Producer
EverQuest II

Krono Purchase Fix in the Works

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

So it turns out that the issue players have been having with purchasing Krono from the Broker is more complicated than we’d originally thought, as evidenced by the feedback from players who have been able to buy some of the Krono on the Broker but not others. The issue is that the game thinks some Krono are invalid and so is not allowing their sale.

From Nandy “Zoltaroth” Szots:

Krono that return the error are in a bad state and should remove themselves from the Broker. In the next hotfix, they will remove themselves automatically.  If you move down the Broker list you will find ones that can be bought just fine.

So for now, just look further down the Broker. And if you are someone who has one or more misbehaving Krono on the broker, remove them, /camp, and then replace them on the Broker and the issue should be resolved.

Krono Not Purchasable on Broker

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

It’s now 10 days since the Consignment fee was removed from buying Krono on the Broker. This was a great change, except this has unfortunately meant that certain Krono cannot be purchased from the broker, as players receive a message stating that the item is no longer available for consignment.

NOTE: If you remove one or more Krono from the broker, you will need to camp and then login your character again for the items to appear in your Inventory and/or Currency window. For now, if you want to buy/sell Krono, you’ll need to take to the open channels, or possibly the nearest convenient tunnel.

Update Notes: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Raiding

From EverQuest2.com:

MEMBERSHIP UPDATES
The following restrictions have been removed on Free and Silver accounts:

  • Class selections (Beastlord still requires Age of Discovery)
  • Race selections (Freeblood still requires purchase)
  • Bag slots
  • Shared Bank slots
  • Active journal quests allowed

GENERAL

  • There is no longer a broker fee for buying Krono from the broker.

EQ/EQ2 Free to Play Changes Picked Up on Game Sites

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

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

December 2012 EQ2 Winback Program – 15 Days Free Gold Sub

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

On Wednesday, a number of players noticed that their Silver or expired EQ2 accounts had been temporarily upgraded to Gold. This turns out to be part of a Winback promotion that is granting players 15 days of Gold subscription to come back and try out EQ2 again. We’ve read through the announcement and broken this Promo down:

Former EverQuest II players!

Get in the game now and take advantage of FREE GOLD MEMBERSHIP time from 12/19/12 – 1/3/13*.

Also, enjoy a FREE Adventurer’s Welcome Pack gift just for getting back into the game.

Update Notes: Monday, November 26, 2012

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

From the EQ2 Forums:

GENERAL

  • Fixed a bug where items that dropped from epic monsters that were pre-adorned were not tradable when they should be.
  • Spellscrolls will now be more accurate when saying whether or not they’re locked [ed. note: Silver vs. Gold account] based on spell tier and account subscription level.
  • Auto-following while on a flying mount will now cancel your flight if the follow target enters combat.
  • Call of the Veteran is now treasured instead of fabled so that all account levels can properly use it.

ABILITIES

  • Spells that rely on increments on a target will now successfully check against your implied target if your target is in the same group/raid as you.

QUESTS

  • The visage of fear in Vanishing Act should no longer become stuck in an unkillable state.

On Beta: Coin Limit for EQ2 Bronze, Silver Players is Gone!

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

This should help with Bronze and Silver players wanting to buy subscriptions via Krono. From the Beta Update Notes on the EQ2 Forums:

GENERAL
Memberships: There will no longer be coin limits on any account types.

UPDATE: For those who doubt this is really coming to the Live servers, Massively quoted the news and then the official SonyOnline account retweeted it.

Player Poll Results: 65% Favor Self-Rez, Health, Power Potions for Solo play

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X), SOE Wants Feedback, StationCash

From EverQuest2.com:

In our last in-game poll, we asked players what they thought of us selling health, power, and self-rez potions for solo, group, and raid players.

The results are in! Overall, for all items, there was an average of 65% support for the solo versions in all three categories (and, in fact, there was only a minor variance in the percentages for each item). Group and Raid items averaged at 55%.

As we saw with the EQ2X (Freeport) server, where we sold similar items, these types of items help the solo player have fun while adventuring alone. We also added limitations to these items so they will not affect group or raid players.

Starting on Friday, May 18, 2012, you will see the solo health, power, and self-rez items for sale in the marketplace! These items will be found in the Consumable category, under Combat Skills.

StationCash: Cure and Luck Potions Pay-to-Win?

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

UPDATE from Piestro:

The potions were put in on accident and quickly removed. If we do decide to reintroduce consumables we’ll certainly mention it.

Taking a page from Disney, SOE placed certain StationCash Marketplace items on hiatus a while back into a so-called “Brell Serilis vault“. This type of scheduled demand is intended to drive sales and create pent-up demand when said items are returned to the market. An example is the Prowler mounts first introduced just over 2 years ago.

We paid little attention to the unlocking of the vault announcement as SOE already does a fine job of communicating their weekly StationCash deals, to the exclusion of almost everything else about EQ2.

As a result, we missed two items which were previously EQ2X / Free-to-Play-only which slipped through. Cure Potions that cure 500 levels of any kind of detrimental, and Luck Potions that increase coin drop amounts from mobs by 25% (we are attempting to confirm if this includes or excludes treasure chests containing platinum).

The Brell Serilis Vault items are available until May 6th (we’re not sure if that is May 5th @ 11:59pm PST, or sometime on May 6th). Discuss this on the EQ2 Forums

StationCash Marketplace Evolution In-Game Poll

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

We’re a bit late on this, but on April 4th, a new in-game poll was added to EQ2 about the StationCash Marketplace, specifically some items that were previously only available on the Freeport (formerly EQ2X) server. This issue is being discussed on the EQ2 Forums. Here are the contents of that in-game mail:

Greetings, Norrathians!

Most players spend a lot of time exploring and soloing, or delving into dungeons with a mercenary. There are items that would be extremely useful for these activites that used to be available on the marketplace on the Freeport server. We’d like to hear your opinions about those items and there is no predetermined plan for them. We are asking to get a fair representation without forcing everyone to debate on the forums.

Safe travels,

~ The EQII development team

After the jump, the in-game poll questions about Self-Resurrect Items, Power Potions, and Health Potions.

Massively: Dave Georgeson Talks Free-to-Play at GDC 2012

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

From Massively:

Like it or not, free-to-play is rapidly coming to dominate every corner of the gaming industry. While that’s good on the surface, it also blurs the line between business and design, and it creates a lot of tension for both consumers and developers who are increasingly faced with the challenges inherent in separating monetary decisions from gameplay decisions.

One of the more interesting GDC 2012 round-tables featured Sony Online Entertainment executive producer Dave Georgeson, NCSoft publishing director Steve Levy, Perfect World VP John Young, GamersFirst monetization director Joe Willmon, and Digi-Capital Limited managing director Tim Merel, all of whom convened for a mind-meld on successfully migrating subscription games to F2P.

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