EverQuest II Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

It really surprised me when Sony Online Entertainment, one of the biggest MMOG publisher in the industry, became the first company to think outside the box.  Global Agenda’s Conquest option aside, it has been a given that if you’re playing an MMOG, you’re paying $10-$15 a month for the subscription.  It doesn’t matter if the title is AAA, indie, niche, ten-years old or completely failing.  You’re paying a basic, all-or-nothing rate.  “No longer!” says SOE.

SOE announced yesterday that returning players (or accounts for the multiboxers) of EverQuest II would be able to select a new subscription rate, thanks to the “EQII Passport.”  The time-limited rate only runs $5 a month, and allows for three consecutive days of play.  When my eyes first glanced at the announcement my brain did a backflip at the possibilities.  People could save money on secondary accounts, get their friends to play with them for a weekend here and there, or just taste test patches and fixes.  It seemed brilliantly simple, and ridiculously tempting.

Then I read the fine print; Lil’ XT’s cry instantly popped into my head.  Hit the jump to see where SOE should have went with the genius plan.
Why SOE?  Why did you take such a fantastic idea, one that MMOG players have been crying for for years, and tarnish it with ridiculous restrictions.  Three consecutive days?  “No Newbs Allowed?!”  Come on!

Star Trek Online or Fallen Earth would have me as a subscriber (again, in the case of Fallen Earth) in a heart beat if those companies offered this deal.  I’d happily play either game for $5 a month for only three days of access.  The not-in-a-row type of three days.  It’s not because I don’t have the money, I do.  I just can’t convince myself to pay a full subscription for games that I know will take a backseat to WoW, Global Agenda, DDO, and the various console and PC games I play.  Since it’s only $5, I wouldn’t even care if I didn’t login all month.

I can’t see many currently-running games mirroring the deal, especially my version of it.  Hopefully, future titles will offer the option.  It’d be a perfect entry rate for many titles.  How many of you would pick-up another MMOG if it only cost you $5 a month?  Which would you chose?

I would even return to Champions Online as an uber casual player under that model.