Producer’s Letter: Age of Discovery a la carte, Gear Unlocking, Gold Membership Bonuses

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

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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!

  1. The Age of Discovery expansion – which was our first-ever feature expansion released in 2011 – is going to be available in the game in our Marketplace as a feature bundle as well as individual features for Station Cash (SC).
    1. The features will be broken down, like so:
      1. Beastlord: 2500 SC
      2. Mercenaries: 1500 SC
      3. Tradeskill Apprentice: 1000 SC
      4. Reforging: 1000 SC
      5. Dungeon Maker: 1000 SC
    2. The feature bundle (all 5 features included) will be on sale in our in-game marketplace for 4000 SC.
    3. The standard Age of Discovery expansion in its current form will no longer be available for purchase on the web site or in-game after Oct. 1.
  2. Membership changes
    1. We are thrilled to announce that we are removing the item restrictions from both Free and Silver accounts. No more item-unlocking! We felt that the restrictions weren’t in keeping with a positive experience so we removed it!
    2. Gold Members are going to get permanent increases to Coin Loot (15% increase) and Mount Speed (10% increase) added to their membership benefits.

Also, on Oct. 1, we’ll start selling an item in our marketplace that will raise your character to 280 AAs for 2000 SC.

Next week, we’ll start digging into the Tears of Veeshan expansion details. See you then!

Holly Longdale
Sr. Producer
EverQuest II

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Comments (53)

  • Caela

    |

    I think this is really good news. I might be able to drop my gold sub now.

    Lots of people have complained they won’t come back to the game because most of their equipment would be locked – I guess SOE figures more people playing for free is more people buying fluff stuff for SC.

    I’m going to have to look up what restrictions are still in place for silver accounts…

    Reply

    • Dethdlr

      |

      I think this is really good news. I might be able to drop my gold sub now.

      That’s exactly what concerns me about them dropping the item unlockers. They may be seeing the fact that not many people buy them and deciding that they don’t really need to restrict items because of that without considering how many people have gold subs so they don’t have to deal with item unlockers.

      Hopefully this decision doesn’t come back to bite them by reducing their overall income.

      But from purely a player perspective, yeah, I think it’ll help out those that come back to find they can’t use their gear without subscribing.

      Reply

    • Green Armadillo

      |

      How often were you replacing all your gear? While leveling it was probably cheaper to subscribe, but at endgame if you’re replacing $15 worth of gear monthly you’re not going to be doing it for very long before you run out of content. The same goes for the per-upgrade fee for Master spells, assuming that’s still in the game. Also, unless it’s changed recently, you could pay the fees with double/triple/etc SC so it’s really not that much money.

      That said, thee real driver of this is probably the complete lack of any non-Legendary gear in the game from DOV onwards, which will make those new level 85 premades unplayable. SOE effectively removed treasured gear post-F2P so that non-subscribers would have to pay for the unlocks. Maybe now we’ll have less need for item quality inflation and you’ll be able to loot a solo quest reward without spamming your guild?

      Reply

  • Techup

    |

    These are the only things I can think of that you get being gold over silver:

    – Unlimited selling on the broker
    – Master spells
    – Spell Researcher
    – No advertising pop-ups
    – 7 character slots
    – In game mail (send &receive as opposed to receive only)
    – Unlocked AA slider
    – Full Customer Support

    Reply

    • Atan

      |

      I already wrote a personal hack to auto disable the add popups, so basically there is no reason to sub.

      Reply

    • Vortix

      |

      3 Goblin Tickets instead of 1 per month
      5 LoN packs per month

      Reply

      • Atan

        |

        I hope that was sarcasm, cause I really don’t use those, I’ve not redeemed LoN packs since 2012, and I don’t think I’ve redeemed a single gob ticket.

        Reply

        • Vortix

          |

          You do realize you can purchase unattuners for Goblin Gold on the marketplace, and that LoN packs have a chance for loot cards? Why transmute that Ethereal?

          Reply

  • Wirewhisker

    |

    All I can say is…wow.

    Reply

  • badcat

    |

    OK so I guess all the other stuff is still locked. IE masters and gold limits for free accounts.

    If not then there really is no reason to subscribe now. I am really thinking we already have a game that is in trouble on the financial side. If we open it up, then I am not sure how they are going to make money.

    Reply

    • Caela

      |

      Gold limits were already removed.

      There are still a few reasons to sub:
      https://www.everquest2.com/membership

      Better support (you can call and talk to a person)
      Being able to transfer toons to other servers
      500 SC per month
      Character slots (Silver only includes 4 – but I wonder just how many I have – I’m sure it’s more than 4)
      Unlimited Broker System (though I thought this was lifted, but the matrix still shows limits)
      Being able to send in game mail
      AA Slider bar – though if you are 95/320, you don’t need that bar)

      Having thought about it – I may keep my gold sub. I’ll just have to try it and see.

      But I do think they probably will get more free players buying marketplace stuff with this that will more than make up for any loss gold subs.

      Reply

      • badcat

        |

        For now I will keep mine and the wifes gold sub. I got certain characters like troubadour and others that require a gold sub, plus I got 11 character slots some of those purchased lol.

        I hope this is the right directions, and it brings in more money, so they can hire back the staff they let go.

        Reply

        • Finora

          |

          There are no classes or races that require a gold sub anymore. Those restrictions were lifted a while back along with the gold, quest, bank & bag slot restrictions.

          So as far as I know the only things in gold over silver are:

          the new coin & speed bonus
          selling on the broker
          can buy from players homes to bypass broker fees
          3 more base character slots
          can mail items
          full customer service
          maybe master spells without unlock, this bit is unclear right now

          Reply

  • Xalmat

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    So the question is, what account restrictions will remain for Silver accounts?

    Reply

  • Le Clown

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  • Gar

    |

    And nothing about the 20aa you get from AoD..

    Reply

    • Kinya

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      Post was updated by Holly and those are free for all

      Reply

  • Tabri

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    I am assuming that your masters are still not functional so I will stick with gold sub and keep using the Krono’s.

    Reply

    • Landiin

      |

      You can unlock spells. Mass brokering is the only thing you can’t really unlock unless you spend alot of sc.

      Reply

  • milliebii

    |

    There will be other consequences of course. Power Leveling took a hit with the introduction of Heroic Characters it takes another hit with SC tokens to give you 280AA s. There will also be an impact on the price of collectables, after all most of these were sold to give you a little AA boost now there is a better way to give you a big AA boost.

    There will be other effects to like reducing the already limited play in older zones.

    Reply

  • Revekk

    |

    I hate to say I told you so… but “I told you so!”

    I predicted this on every forum months ago. It’s a no brainer. It simply brings EQ2 up to the same standards of F2P as basically every other MMO that has F2P options. Exactly like RIFT, and similar to TERA and AION.

    When EQ2 launched it’s FTP originally it was the best F2P option but has quickly become, imo, the worst as all the other MMO’s increased what was “free” Again this is almost exactly like RIFT.

    I don’t see it as an act of desperation, as some have stated. I see it as simply acknowledging that it’s F2P model was more restrictive than most of the competition and when compared Eq2 was simply not going to be someone’s first choice for a new player.

    Reply

  • Revekk

    |

    Example” RIFT
    Every Patron receives a store discount, extra Loyalty rewards, and priority queue status, plus special bonuses to currency, mount speed, and various types of experience. In addition, Patrons have improved daily log-in rewards and exclusive weekly log-in chests that provide the best chance at bonus currency and premium items. Subscribe today for access to all of the following benefits!

    They never had item unlockers as they went F2P later. As you can see same exact thing. I believe this is where the bosses got the “gold rush” idea. Trying it out. Oh and believe me I’m not trying to sell you on RIFT. Horrible endgame imo

    I think we tend to over analyze why big changes are made, but I think it’s simply that you have to offer at least the same value as your competition

    Reply

  • Mentin

    |

    It seems to be the trend to not have negative effects in f2p offers, but rater give extra stuff for subscribing. Bonus xp, extra gold, etc.

    Of course if they give too much away for free their income will dwindle, so it i a very fine balance.

    There is a very real risk the various f2p mmorpg’s will compete each other to death with ever better f2p offers.

    TESO and others are going with subs again I saw.. have they realized competing on the f2p market leads to a quick death?

    Reply

  • Atan

    |

    They’re willingly driving the game into the ground.

    They just decided to give up every boxers extra subs, and many gold members no longer have incentive to pay a sub since they get _everything_ they need to play the entire game for free.

    I swear their leadership has no clue.

    Reply

    • Landiin

      |

      How else are the going to get people to play EQNext past the 1st 30 days if EQ2 is still around? 😛 j/k I agree, I don’t see any reason to stay gold after your exp is maxed unless you like to run the broker system.

      Reply

      • milliebii

        |

        The problem with your joke theory is that EQN is unlikely to appeal to long time EQ2 players in any great numbers. Drive this game into the ground and you just loose customers.

        Reply

    • Quabi

      |

      GW2 is apparently doing very well without even having a sub option /shrug.

      I hope they will do more to increase the value of Gold membership, but if you think Silver is such a great value now, just go with that…and tell your friends, and maybe they’ll provide some revenue for SOE.

      Reply

      • Atan

        |

        GW2, you can buy coin from the cash shop?

        Reply

        • Quabi

          |

          It’s based on player-to-player transactions, similar to how Kronos would work if they gave SC instead of subscription time. But it is within a slick, game-wide, stock-market-style interface, and NCSoft takes some amount of ‘tax’ on the sales.

          Reply

          • Atan

            |

            Aah, didn’t play it long enough to care, seemed like a really boring game to me.

            Reply

          • Vortix

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            Krono should be redeemable for SC. It would make them more money than SC cards eventually.

            Reply

          • Vortix

            |

            Or rather, SC redeemable for Krono.

            Reply

  • Mermut

    |

    The gold and speed bonus they’re giving ‘to compensate’ gold for the loss of gear being a gold perk is a joke. The money bonus is negligible and the speed bonus is not only fluff, but useless if you’re moving and group with somebody w/o it.
    If I didn’t have the effective $7.50 a month sub, I’d definitely drop to silver… they just aren’t offering much of value for the sub any more.

    Reply

  • Caela

    |

    Why does EQ2 even need a sub at all? Just because people will drop to silver does not equal the end of the game. It means they are still playing.

    Guild Wars 2 doesn’t even offer a sub, and they seem to be doing fine with selling fluff stuff.

    If the game is completely free, more people will play – and the more eyeballs you have in your game, the more people will spend. How much does it cost SOE to add a new subscriber at this point? Probably nothing – the half full server hardware is already there.

    I asked my husband if he would play again after October 1st – he said “hell yeah”. And he’ll probably end up spending a few dollars here and there – that’s a few dollars here and there that SOE is going to get that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Multiply that by all the other folks that would play if it was free.

    Reply

    • snowdarc

      |

      Star Trek Online. Totally f2p,and a very vibrant community,active devs,constant updates,etc… It can be done

      Reply

      • Kinya

        |

        And in STO you able to earn MarketPlace currency (ZEN) by doing daily normal stuff and refining dilithium you get from it 😀
        This works great imo.

        Reply

    • Eric Poling

      |

      Does it matter how many people play for free who “might” drop a few dollars on station cash now and then? They are giving up a lot of people who are guaranteed to give them $15 a month for a subscription plus a few dollars station cash now and then. My wife and I have been discussing it this evening and it is likely that we will be cancelling at least one sub (guaranteed $15 loss) and very probably mine as well. Losing a guaranteed $30 a month is worse business than gaining free players who are not guaranteed to spend anything.

      Reply

      • Blacktop

        |

        I agree, i am 6 boxing atm and have 6 gold subs running, today i dropped 5 subs, i used krono’s but someone payed for it, there for i dumped all my krono’s on the marked, and alrdy the price of krono’s dropped from 900 to 500pp in a few hours, so they miss out on 75 dollars on krono’s a month from me.. how can you justify that ?

        But then again, i like to see some more skilled player so i wont need 5 other toons 😛

        Reply

    • Mermut

      |

      A few dollars ‘here and there’ aren’t the steady income that subs are. From the short term player perspective, sure, it’s more players and that might be good. But the loss of revenue going into SoE are likely to have long term negative impacts. They just sacked a bunch of people working on EQ2 and now they’re ‘encouraging’ a bunch of current players to spend less money on the game…. how is that good for SoE having enough money to justify keeping EQ2 going in the longer term?

      Reply

  • Melanore

    |

    Now they should just lift the restriction on Master Spells, and the model would be perfect!

    Reply

  • Blacktop

    |

    What about the splitting of AoD?

    I am missing the 20 extra aa’s in the list !

    Reply

    • Quabi

      |

      The 20 extra AAs will be included in the base game for everyone.

      Reply

  • Kamdin

    |

    The 20 AA’s will be placed into the base game, so everyone gets them.

    Reply

  • striinger

    |

    Since most groups split coin, do gold subs get a 15% larger split or is their portion of the purse increased by 15% then split equally across all group members? I.e. is the bonus applied when you get your cut or when the total purse is calculated?

    On the speculation about how the math works out, DJ has always said that they know all of the real numbers. We can only guess. I’d they are being told the way to make the most is pure numbers of logins then they probably will make more money that way. Consider all of the free stuff time shares give away to people with no intention of signing up.

    Reply

  • milliebii

    |

    A thought occurs. If you are currently a top tier raider and are SLR to get plat to buy Kronos, will you continue to want Kronos after this change?

    … and if you do not want Kronos will you SLR?

    Reply

    • Mermut

      |

      People SLRed before kronos, I don’t see any reason they’ll stop even if they stop buying krono.

      Reply

      • Filly67

        |

        This

        Reply

      • milliebii

        |

        Really?

        Think back a little before Kronos it was SC cards to buy subs. Cant do that anymore either. So why SLR if you have nothing to buy with the Plat?

        Sell plat for RM I suppose, but that was never as prevalent as game cards and then Kronos.

        Reply

  • Trabu

    |

    So did anyone notice a reduction in xp in SS and Kael – contested zones?

    Reply

    • Kruzzen

      |

      Yes, I brought it up days ago in channel and no one noticed. Lost about 75% of the xp I normally saw. 🙁

      Reply

      • Taivr

        |

        I have also noticed this, and even Sebilis appears to have been reduced, though not as much as SS and Kael.

        Really hoping this was unintentional.

        Reply

  • Sievert

    |

    They’ll make exp so hard to get 1-85 that you’ll sell your kids to get money to buy a HC. They don’t need subs when you got all these altaholic buying HC from the market.

    Reply

    • Charn

      |

      Whoah . . . that’s something I hadn’t even considered. That WOULD be very sneaky and underhanded of them to do that . . . making leveling to 85 so slow now by reducing experience gain you just say, “Screw it.” and buy a Heroic character . . . OR tons of exp potions and vitality restorers along the way. A good business decision . . . if people can’t prove it. ‘Cause it’s gonna P.O. people if they find out it’s true.

      Reply

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