Everquest II Adding Free-to-Play Option
Before you get too excited, let me explain a few things. The game isn’t going completely free-to-play. Instead, it’s adding a new service called Everquest II Extended. This new service, along with features, will be available on a separate server packed with all the game’s original content all the way up through The Shadow Odyssey.
Current subscribers can transfer characters to the the free-to-play servers. If they choose to do so, they’ll lose that character’s gold, but they will retain bags, no-trade items, and attuned items. As is common in most free-to-play titles, players will be able to purchase things like additional races, levels 80 – 90, extra gear, or potions in the game’s marketplace.
The interesting thing here is that SOE is setting this up as a completely separate service, and not as a part of the existing game. While talking with Massively, EQII lead producer Dave Georgeson said,
“We knew, for instance, that we didn’t want to roll it all into one thing like some of our competitors were doing, where everyone is forced to co-exist with the F2P marketplace and the different kinds of players that are attracted to that opportunity.
We knew that our established subscribers absolutely didn’t want that, they were very clear about that on the forums and we were listening. So we wanted to set it up as a completely separate service, so if you’re a current subscriber, you don’t even have to be aware that it exists if you don’t want to. They have separate forums, server rooms are completely separate, you just don’t need to be involved in it at all unless you want to.”
EQII is just the latest MMO to add this option, and I don’t think they’ll be the last. The MMo landscape is shifting before our very eyes, and free-to-play is the next thing to become really viable. With major MMOs like LotRO and EQII adding these options, don’t be surprised to see many others do the same.
If you’re interested in more info, you can check out the whole interview over at Massively.