Welcome EQ2 F2P Changes Incoming

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.

5 responses to “Welcome EQ2 F2P Changes Incoming

  1. This far down the line I’m happy to see the changes, but it absolutely was the restrictions of Silver that revitalized my interest in the game. Prior to the launch of the Freeport server I had played exclusively on Test for five years. I only made a character on the Freeport server for beta out of curiosity but I ended up moving full-time to Freeport, where I know have my most fully-developed character and a slew of alts.

    I found the limitations on both bag space and quests positively liberating. Given the freedom to do so I will fill every slot with the biggest boxes I can afford and fill every box with junk. I will also take every quest I see regardless of interest or relevance. Since I also hate to discard anything I end up with *less* inventory and journal space than the restrictions would dream of limiting me to.

    Having to work with just two bag slots and 20 quests made me focus much more coherently than I normally do and it really helped me develop one character fully in the round. That said, I’ve done that now, that fun’s been had. I’m looking forward to logging in later and indulging all my other Silver characters with extra luggage, not to mention adding some more ratongas to the roster!

  2. I would prefer they have left the classes/races as pay-for and gotten rid of the fundamental restriction (for me): the inability, outside of paying for tokens, to sell on the broker.
    Playing the economy is a major part of EQ2 to me (and it pays for my obscene housing addiction). I would literally fill all the box slots with carefully-selected (or bought-at-low-prices) items — that kind of interaction would literally cost me a fortune vis-a-vis broker tokens.
    If they would offer an option to “turn on the broker for all your characters for a month”, or (a la LOTRO) a “turn it on and leave it on” option, I’d be back.
    But in the interview they gave when they announced these changes, they were clear that the broker tokens are staying. Period.
    And thus, I remain playing other games (and directly my dollars into those games instead). Which is a bit sad, since EQ2 otherwise is a great game.
    (For the record, I’d already paid for two race packs and two classes, so no, this isn’t a “i want it all free” rant like so many fan-idiots spout — something fundamental to the game, like the broker, should not be where they monetize; on the flipside, they should be flooding their marketplace with new houses (weekly) and new housing items, since that is a prime mover (as they’ve admitted)).

  3. Good news for you, Ardwulf – if you go back to the original source, the claim is that the quest log and shared bank are ALSO included in the model revamp. As far as I can tell, the only restriction left in game that non-subscribers cannot buy their way out of on a temporary or permanent basis is the AA slider. (This may sound cosmetic, but it’s actually a big deal in the post-90 exp curve because there aren’t enough quests in the game to reach the level cap even if you aren’t forced to send half your exp into AA that you don’t want.)

    http://eq2wire.com/2013/03/07/upcoming-changes-to-free-to-play-free-and-silver-members/

    The place where the race/class combinations was prohibitive was for new players. Back in the day, I had something like 10 level 6 characters before I had a single level 10 character. It just took me that long to find a pairing that I loved, and my connection to that particular connection is just about the strongest that I have to any individual character I play in any MMO. The problem is that as a newbie it would have cost me $75 – or a day one subscription – to find said character. Not a good plan.

    More generally, I agree with your critique – that the model leaves you wondering whether it’s worth playing if you won’t be around long enough to subscribe – with one addendum – you can (and they arguably have) pretty much give up the farm and still not solve this problem. I don’t own the current expansion and have no plans to purchase it because my guess is that it will take me a month to complete, and $45-55 ($40 expansion box and $15 for a sub – or some lesser number if I make the gear unlock tokens etc work) is pretty steep for one month of playtime. You can pretty much never pay them for low-mid level play and then you get hit with really high numbers if you actually want to dabble at high levels.

  4. I really liked EQ2 if my computer didn’t lag or take an incredible time to load the game areas, I would probably still be playing it, though I never got to experience pvp, is there pvp in EQ2 and if so is it better than wow’s pvp??