Dungeons & Dragons Online transforming from a subscription-based MMORPG to a freemium (hybrid of free-to-play and subscription models) title was a shock. Lord of the Rings Online following suit was a bit unexpected, but not earth shattering. Sony Online Entertainment tossing EverQuest 2, the behemoth of its Station games, into the fray returned my jaw to the floor.
I’m not familiar enough with the game and community, but I don’t think as many people will be screaming that the decision will “be the end of [insert beloved object here].” That’s not because the news isn’t shocking. It is. It’s because SOE is segregating its freemium players from the standard subscribers, which should allow the subscriber base to keep the hair on their heads.
The subscribers will not have to deal with newbs, like myself, because they will be playing on entirely separate servers called EverQuest 2 Extended. These servers will allow interested parties to play for free (Bronze) with a variety of limitations (see thumbnail) that should be familiar to anyone following DDO’s or LotRO’s conversions. Pay a small one-time fee (Silver) and gain some additional perks such as expanded chat options, more character slots and higher spell tiers. Or you can even subscribe (Gold membership) on the freemium servers to guarantee yourself a nearly limitless experience. A one-year membership (Platinum, which costs $16.66 a month) nets you the full plate and an additional $60 worth of Station Cash. I can only assume that you would use it to purchase expansions and fluff items.
Before you ask, there’s a very good reason to have subscriptions available on the segregated servers. You may not realize how much you enjoy your characters, guild and the game (and how much you’ve spent piecewise) until you’re time committed to your realm. You’d hate to be forced to leave all that for uncharted territory, right?
Head over to the full announcement to read more.
To the EQ2 players out there, is the sky falling? To the rest of the MMOG community, do you welcome this trend, or fear it?