So what’s the MMOG-O-Blog-O-Sphere reaction been to the announcement of the new free-to-play option launching for EQ2 next month? Here’s a rundown, but I’m just hitting the highlights and not going point-by-point:
- Keen seems to be diffident about it because it’s F2P, but positive on keeping the option separate from traditional subscription servers. Then he seems to feel that they may as well have gone whole hog and made the whole game F2P, which he hates. I’m a bit hazy on what position he’s taking, exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s negative, considering that he blew his stack when Turbine made a very similar announcement about LotRO. But he also makes the very good point that the community that will develop for EQ2X is different from the one that currently exists in EQ2 Live.
- Green Armadillo posts a typically analytic reaction. I think some of his tangential points (such as the change causing players to gravitate away from group content and into solo stuff,) are a stretch. But more importantly, as far as I’m concerned, this is the very first time I think I’ve analyzed an assumption more deeply than he has.
- Gordon crosses his streams by stating that EQ2X will drain players away from the subscription servers while noting that the traditional subscription is a better deal than EQ2X’s Gold level membership. He is right on both counts but doesn’t put it together at the end, failing to realize that one point should more or less negate the other.
- Heartless starts with a typically outraged headline and then makes an atypically laudatory post, which threatens to ruin his schtick if he keeps it up. His biggest issue is with the lack of customer support for free players. It’s a valid point, although I will heartlessly ask whether a 100% free player really qualifies as a “customer.”
- Tipa makes the most thoughtful post of all those I’ve seen so far. But she seems also to be hedging her bets, because (I surmise) she knows all too well the population decline situation that EQ2 was already in – any given server is feast or famine, and there are more famines than feasts.
- Salaryn wonders what other games might be worth trying if they had a way to get started for free, and points out that on some level, such a move represents a failure to perform on a game’s part – which is true, but it might be due to factors outside the control of either the game or the developers, and may in fact have nothing at all to do with whether a game is any good or not.
- Anjin takes a wait-and-see attitude, which I find very sensible.
- JayeDub gushes a bit, and seems to mirror my own feelings on the affair most closely.
- The Ancient Gaming Noob provides a gush-free breakdown of how the new scheme will work, and wonders how it will affect, if at all, what Turbine is doing with LotRO. My guess is that it won’t have any effect until at least next year, when both games are over the initial conversion and can react to what the competition is doing – now that there will be competition, since prior to this Turbine had the whole “decent MMOs you can play for free” market sewn up.
- Syp predicts – correctly, although things have settled down a bit now – that the EQ2 community will collectively shit its pants. His post probably also has the best and most reasonable comments.
All in all, I’d call it about even. After re-reading through all the posts to put this together, the overall reaction seems to be substantially less negative than I’d gathered earlier. Not positive, exactly, but less negative.