There were some technical difficulties during the first 10 minutes of the EverQuest II: Altar of Malice keynote which was livestreamed from SOE Live last week. Instead of clearly hearing the producer and designers of our game hyping their hard work, audiences at home mostly heard frustrated AV techs trying to get things working. Fortunately, we recorded the keynote in person and are now able to provide the complete event for those who missed it!
So a couple weeks ago, SOE had some DNS issues with one of their servers. As an apology for the up-to-3-days outage for players who couldn’t work around the DNS snafu, SOE granted 2 days extra All Access membership. This sounds great, but when this was announced, a few players were curious exactly how the 2 days time were being granted — either by moving the billing date back by 2 days, or by adding time at the end whenever people cancel. I don’t know that we ever got a concrete answer — until now. It looks like everyone’s billing date was moved back two days. Which sounds great except for two side effects…
- Players are reporting being dropped back to Free-to-Play access for 2 days while their billing cycle is waiting to start again.
- The “Claim your 2500 StationCash for being All Access” monthly timer may also end up skipping 2 days.
The biggest issue here is not a few StationCash, but players being dropped back to F2P because of where their billing cycles end. Hopefully this issue can be resolved quickly.
EverQuest 2 has announced a “Summer Kickoff” event! First up, all players will see 30% off Appearance items and Mounts on the Marketplace.
Now here’s where we split off into the Free-to-Play and All Access groups.
- All players will receive
DoubleBonus XP on Monday, May 26th
- All Access subscribers enjoy
DoubleBonus XP the entire weekend (May 23-May 26).
From the EQ2 Forums:
To celebrate the start of summer, we’re having double experience and sale action!
All players will have double experience on Monday, May 26th, 2014 at 12:00 AM PDT to 11:59 PM PDT. All players will also have 30% off on appearance items and mounts, starting Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 12:00 PM PDT to Monday, May 26th at 11:59 PM PDT.
All Access members will have the entire weekend of double experience and 30% off on appearance items and mounts, starting on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 12:00 PM PDT to Monday, May 26th at 11:59 PM PDT. Note: Yes, this stacks with your 10% off on all marketplace items for being an All Access member.
We hope that you all enjoy the double experience and sales. Have a fantastic weekend!
After the jump, some further comments on Double vs. Bonus…
Last night, EQ2 Community Manager Luperza posted:
Looks like most of the issues have been resolved!
If you go to your SOE Account management page by going to https://www.soe.com/home > My Account >Membership Info, you should be able to see all the information needed as well as when you can claim your next 500 SC.
Let me know if there’s anything that is still not working for you!
This was naturally followed up by 3 pages (so far) of players still reporting issues in Europe, or on comped/lifetime subscriptions from game contests years ago, or players who used to have the $19.95 Station Pass, plus many other edge cases. Luperza has responded to many of these posts with advice, suggestions, and patience.
By the way, the Membership Info page at SOE.com no longer contains a button to get to the list of Entitlements for each game. Fortunately, we tracked down the old URL and provide it above.
From the EQ2 Forums:
Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve matters surrounding the launch of SOE’s new All Access Membership – read all about it at this link! The implementation of this new membership plan across SOE’s game portfolio has been one of the most complicated updates to our billing system to date. As fellow gamers, we know that this has been frustrating and we sincerely regret any inconvenience this has caused.
We’re working around the clock to ensure these account issues are resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime, to show our appreciation for your patience and understanding, we offer the following:
- DC Universe™ Online – 50 Replay Badges will be granted to all DCUO players who logged in between 12:01am April 24 – 11:59pm April 30, 2014. The grant will occur after DCUO’s regular 4:00am PDT downtime on Friday, May 2, 2014.
- Dragon’s Prophet – Douple XP from Friday, May 2, 12:01am to Monday, May 5, 11:59pm
- EverQuest ® – Double XP from Friday, May 2, 12:00 noon PDT to Sunday, May 4th, 11:59pm PDT
- EverQuest II – Double XP from Friday, May 2, 12:00 noon PDT to Sunday, May 4th, 11:59pm PDT
- Landmark – Adding 7 additional days to any 7-day Closed Beta keys that were active during the downtime. This will be applied on Friday, May 2, 12:00 noon PDT
- PlanetSide 2 – Double XP from Friday, May 2, 12:01am PDT to Sunday, May 4, 11:59pm PDT
NOTE: All times are given in PDT. Click here to convert to your local time!
Thank you for your continued support, from all of us at SOE!
SOE Director of Ecommerce
The EverQuest II Membership page has now been completely revamped with the All Access information! More specifically, there is a sale on a year of All Access membership which can be had for just $99.99 instead of the usual $119.88.
Reddit, that last bastion of 1990′s internet look-and-feel, hosted an “Ask Me Almost Anything” with the EQ2 developers and designers this morning and Cyliena of EQ2 ZAM has summarized the most interesting questions which received responses from the team. Here are a few of the more interesting responses:
Q: “Any hints on the next expansion’s theme? Will the level cap finally raise to 100 with it?”
A: “We gave you hints last year at SOE Live! We showed pictures!”
Q: “Hello, can you give an update on the improved Dungeon Finder / Group Builder? Including when it might make its way to the live servers?”
A: “As I mentioned above, we have Dave Kish working on the matchmaking code now. The first task was to create an environment to adequately test and evaluate the issues that are reported on Live and we have tracked a lot down. We will let the community know anytime we have something to report, like when we’d help to test new code on Beta, etc. This is one of our highest priorities.”
Continue reading EQ2 AMAA on Reddit Notes at EQ2 ZAM for a whopping 7 pages of questions and answers!
From the EQ2 Forums:
My name is Mark Tuttle and I head up the All Access Membership team here at Sony Online Entertainment. We’ve been working around the clock to bring you SOE’s all-new game membership. Implementing this new All Access membership plan across our portfolio of games has been one of the most complicated changes to our billing system to date so we appreciate your patience while we completed these necessary updates. With that said, I am happy to inform you that we have officially launched our new All Access Membership!
At SOE, we see our players as part of our extended family so naturally our games are all about our community. It’s fun to belong to something. There’s information, status, and sometimes, really cool decoder rings. Up until now, our Members largely belonged to individual game Communities. The EverQuest members were over here talking about the “good old days” while the EverQuest II members were arguing over Shadowknights, and the Planetside 2 members were running around yelling “pew pew!” Wouldn’t it be great if we were all members of the same Community? Not only just the EQ or EQII or DCUO game Community… but the SOE Community.
From the EQ2 Forums:
Attention players: in order to roll out the new All Access Membership Plan, we will perform a maintenance beginning at 12:01 AM PDT on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. The downtime for this maintenance will be extensive and we will update you as each individual service becomes available. This will impact the following SOE services:
- All SOE Games
- All Official Forums
- Account management
- Commerce functions, including purchases
Thank you for your patience!
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
From SOE President John Smedley‘s twitter:
We have decided to treat krono and our prepaid cards exactly like a recurring sub in terms of benefits.
— John Smedley (@j_smedley) January 8, 2014
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!
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…
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!
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 Come to EverQuest II @ ZAM
- Interview expounds on today’s Heroic Characters patch in EverQuest II @ Massively
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.
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.
If you delete the free unlock, then no, you do not get another one to replace it.
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:
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!
From the EQ2 Forums:
Greetings fellow adventurers!
We’ve got more exciting news to talk about today with regard to Age of Discovery expansion as well as a few changes to our membership structure that will launch on Oct. 1. They are pretty simple, so I’ll get right to it!
From the EQ2 Forums (emphasis added by me):
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!
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.
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.
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
- There is no longer a broker fee for buying Krono from the broker.
Other gaming sites have picked up today’s news about EQ/EQ2 Free-to-Play changes: