As of today EverQuest II Extended – the new free-to-play server – is up. I spent some time in it, and worked myself to level 10 in the Frostfang Sea starting area.
Bluntly, EQ2’s free-to-play model (still in Beta, although characters will not be wiped from this point forward,) needs some work. In terms of content, you get quite a lot (far more than you get for free in LotRO or DDO,) but some basic game functions, including the ability to create guilds, are crippled unless you pay. Your ability to buy upgrades piecemeal is severely limited – indeed, almost nonexistent. And the Gold ($15 a month subscription) membership is sorely lacking in comparison to what you get for that amount of money in DDO and LotRO. I may get into more details of what I think ought to change later.
The appeal of EQ2X for me is the ability to play at my own pace, without committing to a subscription – and I have to say that I am increasingly leaning away from subscription games, given the free choices available now or in the next few months. I plan to upgrade to Silver tomorrow, but I don’t see spending much more for a good long time – the Gold package as it stands today isn’t worth it, and I’d never consider sinking $200 into Platinum.
But like I say, this is still technically Beta – the details could change, and indeed some of them have already shifted since the original announcement.
The Ebon Tribunal is not yet formed in-game, by the way, but we have an excellent start and I’m looking forward to getting us going properly tomorrow.