Toady’s EQ2 game update will roll some significant changes into the game. In addition to a smattering of fixes and tweaks, the big changes are the recently announced changes to the game’s money model.
These boil down to the removal of a bunch of restrictions on Free and Silver players. All classes (except Beastlord) and all races (except Freeblood) will be available to all players with no additional restrictions or costs. To get the excluded races you’ll need either the Age of Discovery expansion for the former or the one-time unlock for the latter. The patch will also unlock all bag slots for all characters.
While nice, this is stuff you could have paid Station Cash to unlock before. I do still have a few characters who are locked due to these restrictions, so it’ll be nice to have access to them again… but then, I’d have paid for the races, classes and slots when it became important to me; I have plenty of characters already and the amount of time I have to play them is damn close to zero, even though EQ2 is one of the games I consider myself committed to in the long term.
On the other hand, the structure of EQ2′s money model up to now has posed a problem stemming from this exact issue. It happens to be spring break, so I have about a week to play games, after which it’s back to the grindstone until the end of the semester. Do I really want to pony up a month’s sub for five days worth of play to avoid the onerous hard limits of free and silver accounts in EQ2?
The answer is no, I do not. EQ2 has been my primary summer game for the last three years, because over the summer I can buy a three month sub and feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of it. But if I’m not subbed, I find the quest cap limit, which you can’t buy your way out of, to be a big hassle in a game that tends to throw huge numbers of quests at you. I also find the unavoidable shared bank limits to be stifling; I use the shared bank to manage cross-character tradeskill and harvesting inventory (I run multiple tradeskill characters, and my array of alts are much more crafters than adventurers,) and having only two shared bank slots screws up my system for doing that. For some people these two limits are probably trivial but for me the one is a significant inconvenience and the other is close to a gamebuster.
Thankfully, both limits will be gone completely as of later today. I personally would have been happy to be able to buy back the shared bank slots or a bigger quest journal, had that opportunity been offered, but lifting them gratis is perfectly cool by me. Some other limitations, most notably the locked AA silder and the requirement to buy tokens to equip some abilities and gear and to be able to sell stuff on the broker remain in place. These are things some people have squawked loudly about, but for me, with my playstyle, they’re relatively trivial.
So good on SOE for making this change, which makes it viable to me to play during the periods of a week or two during the school year when I have the time but don’t want to subscribe.