As mentioned in post #1000, SOE is asking for feedback with an eye toward tweaking Vanguard’s free-to-play matrix in several significant ways. None of this is firm yet and the discussion is ongoing, with many people including myself making additional suggestions. But here’s what appears to be on the table:
- The currency cap may be raised from 1 plat to 3 plat. I should make clear that this is an immense amount of money in Vanguard. While it will indeed be a hindrance at the level cap of 55, at any point up to then it’s unlikely to be an issue unless you’re doing a lot of playing with the market. Three plat represents roughly a character’s entire earnings from levels 1 to 55.
- The gearing limit for free players may be raised from “common only” to “uncommon and higher,” meaning that an additional level of gear will be available, plus some extra items of varying rarity. I confess that I don’t have a great handle on exactly what this will mean, but loosely, I take it that free players will have access to what in EQ2 would be Treasured and Legendary items, reserving the equalvalent of Fabled gear for subscribers and those who unlock the stuff with tokens from the store. I should also note that when EQ2 went f2p that process came with a gear revamp making Treasured gear much more worthwhile. This was good but unfortunately it left Handcrafted and even a lot of Mastercrafted items in the dust. I’d like to see crafting remain highly viable in Vanguard.
- The limits on mail and broker access for free players wmay be dropped, but the fees for using these services will be higher. This would turn the ruling on these features from being a dealbreaking shackle for some players to a mild inconvenience.
- Free players may get full access to chat. I think this is extremely important. Putting groups together with /tell is something Vanguard players have already adopted, but that won’t be as obvious to new players, and one of Vanguard’s great strengths is the group game.
All in all, this isn’t exactly how I would proceed, but these are definitely steps in the right direction for the Vanguard model, and address several of the most common complaints. Now, we have not yet seen exactly what’s going to be available in the in-game store. That may be something of a wild card, but I don’t think we have any real reason to expect that the selection will be dramatically different in scope from that in EQ2. So we’ll see how things shake out.