Everquest II goes free-to-play

Sony Online Entertainment offering a completely separate "Extended" free version of MMORPG; will operate parallel paid iteration; beta start date scheduled for around August 17.

The massively multiplayer online market has proven to be a hotbed for announcements thus far this year. Both Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online have gone free-to-play, hype is building for World of Warcraft's Cataclysm expansion, and BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic is marching ahead for its 2011 debut. Today, Sony Online Entertainment added more fuel to the fire, announcing Everquest II will adopt a free business model…with a twist.

Sony wants free to play to be fun to play.

SOE--which recently cut 4 percent of its staff--will unleash a free version of the popular MMO Everquest II titled Everquest II: Extended. The game will operate parallel to the paid version and will be effectively a separate game from Everquest II.

Instead of adapting the entire Everquest II to the free-to-play model like Dungeons & Dragons Online and LOTR: Online, SOE is bifurcating the game and will release two distinct entities. Players will have the option of taking part in the subscription-based game or the completely free game. Extended will give players access to all the paid game's zones, including those added with the game's Shadow Odyssey expansion.

Extended will adopt a microtransaction business model, whereby players can purchase power-up potions, armor, classes, races, weapons, mounts, and more through the marketplace. Additionally, Extended will use a smaller Web-based application download model allowing would-be players faster access to the game.

Everquest II: Extended is currently pegged to be released "on or around August 17." For more on the upcoming release, check out the game's FAQ at Everquest II's Web site. Additionally, SOE compiled a membership matrix for the game's multiple patronship levels.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about EverQuest II?

EverQuest II

EverQuest II

Follow

Discussion

124 comments
7thNCtrooper
7thNCtrooper

I for one enjoy the Free to Play move and I am currently playing, and enjoying, Everquest 2.

Anikung
Anikung

awsome sound track btw

Anikung
Anikung

AWWSOOOMEEEE!!!!! game looks really smoooth

Fusionmix
Fusionmix

This would be amazing, if it would be at all fair for those of us who don't want to use microtransactions.

atopp399
atopp399

I read you cannot go beyond Adept quality spells and you cannot get Legendary+ gear. That is kind of limiting since the whole point of an MMO is basically to build you character stronger and defeat more difficult mobs and most bosses drop Legendary + gear. Any less than that you can buy cheap off the broker and is pretty much considered vendor trash quite honestly. With the severe limits they have in place you would get pretty bored and/or spend more in microtransactions than you would paying the $15/month fee.

Sindath02
Sindath02

Even though this game is going free still don't see myself downloading it

penpusher
penpusher

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bodylotion
bodylotion

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bodylotion
bodylotion

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bodylotion
bodylotion

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@ CarlosY2Jericho " you can buy gear with real money, lol fail. its not free 2 play, its pay 2 win " @ VigilanteArtist "So, I have the options of paying a monthly subscription or playing with people who pay for their gear. Gee, somehow this doesn't make EQ2 any more appealing" @ all other people who look down at Free to play but pay for gear. Here is the thing weather its people who pay for gear or others who have the time = no work.. play 12 hours a day... it is the same outcome. people have an advantage over others. There is no way around this. Unless they allow people to get the same amount of play time and ability to do dungeons there is an unequal playing ground and that is just the way it is.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

Maybe MMO's could last longer if they cut the subscription fee in half.. but then again maybe not.

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

interesting news... sure this would make alot of people happy. ^_^

cardinal_gundam
cardinal_gundam

This is good news for gamers like myself who travel a lot for business, and want something good to play, when time allows but not be tied down with a subscription

Raykuza
Raykuza

Microtransaction system means the game will be unbalanced. Subscription MMORPGs are always better.

Kcube
Kcube

I play EQ2 maybe to much. I'm willing to pay to play and have been for years but Free to play is a good idea to draw more members and fill up the servers that are barren.

Netherscourge
Netherscourge

MMORPG's go Free-2-Play out of desperation, not by choice.

Steyrvolt
Steyrvolt

I tried to get back into EQ2 in a free trial a few months back, but when I got to the main low-level area outside of the first city found it to be completely barren. Population: me. If this brings more players into it, then I may try it again, but I doubt I'd want to pay for it again and the 2 bags and in-game eq 2 ads sound annoying. Plus, I heard that they made crafting really simple and WoW-style, and I loved the more complex crafting from the game back when I was... younger. EQ 2 did provide a solid, sleepless three months after I dropped out of college.

Hellswrath99
Hellswrath99

Without any reason to stay on Live servers over the new servers and with the removal of the normal 14 day trial to the current Live servers, this will kill the influx of new players to the current servers. This will slowly kill of the existing server populations. Doesn't sound like they thought this one through very well.

hooded1man
hooded1man

Hopefully this repels people from the WORSE MMORPg, not that trophy that WoW is. (Mind you I'm playing EQ2 myself right now, so inb4 EQ2 hater)

Ringx55
Ringx55

@sircyrus Well if it's 5 gold per character that isn't so bad considering how hard it is to make gold in EQ2 compared to WoW. And you can still play with only adepts but don't expect to go and raid some bosses or destroy in pvp. Two bag slots is pretty brutal though but you can still manage. At least their not capping you form leveling or expansions/quests (LOTR online, DAD online)

Ringx55
Ringx55

There was a great chart posted on another forum. Bassicly this is what you lose: You have a gold cap, only 2 bags slot, restricted fabled and legandary weapons (not sure 100% what that means) all spells at their lowest form (In EQ2 you can upgrade them buy finding tombs n stuff, but they STILL level) restricted auction house and etc.. Overall it isn't that bad and you can pay $10 up-front to get even more stuff which is a pretty good deal. Hopefully this attracts people to the BETTER MMORPg, not that garbage that WoW is. (Mind you I'm playing WoW myself right now, so inb4 WoW hater)

penpusher
penpusher

-shrug- to be honest it could be good, I mean lord of the rings online has a fairly reasonable model of free to play that I will give a shot after ive read the books so i know what in the world its all about lol

hooded1man
hooded1man

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

reeree746
reeree746

This could have RuneScape pretty scared right now.

ParagonFV
ParagonFV

"Extended will adopt a microtransaction business model, whereby players can purchase power-up potions, armor, classes, races, weapons, mounts, and more through the marketplace" Whoever wrote the article should have been more specific. Most of the items in the cash shop will be exactly the same as on live, as in there is no pay-to-win. Power-up potions are experience boosters. Armor and weapons are appearance items, meaning they have no stats and solely exist to make your character look different.

tyco_ex
tyco_ex

Guild Wars 2. That is all.

taxonomic
taxonomic

It's a shame that EQ has to do this to compete. I used to play 1 and 2 and they were fun games, as far as MMOs go. I think the reason WoW has pulled so many people away from these games is because WoW is incredibly easy and simplistic. Hate me if you want, but it takes very little skill and can be played totally solo. EQ is more of a team-work game. Once you hit the late teens/twenties, you have to get in a group. Seems like the industry has moved away from that requirement though, making MMOs more like single player grinding simulators.

boobush
boobush

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Pete9876
Pete9876

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

amerus
amerus

why can't they make swg f2p, i would love that!

penpusher
penpusher

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

sircyrus
sircyrus

Their Platinum model should include everything. Charging players $200/year then making them pay for access to beyond the 4 free races is plain dumb. I can see where they're planning to make their cash: The spell tiers, bag slots, and gold restrictions. With the spell tiers locked at Adept for free (Bronze), and Expert for Silver. Eventually the free players would have to upgrade to Silver to be at all effective. 2 bags slots is brutal considering the amount of loot, and upgrading to Silver only gives 1 additional slot. The gold limit is pretty brutal as well, considering how quickly you can make coin and how expensive equipment can be. But EQ2 going free is pretty cool. I'd subscribed off and on since it's release. The game has a lot to offer. I'll definitely check it out again, but I seriously doubt I'd ever go beyond Silver.

bodylotion
bodylotion

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Hekynn
Hekynn

Now that IS AWSOME NEWS! Loved EQ2 back then. And I'm glad SoE is taking this route since my budget each month is pretty tight!

bartimeo8
bartimeo8

Blizzard ain't taking a step that way if you ask me, they have made announcements of that kind too anyway but given the time wow has been in the market a change in the paying model won't be helping, it will have to face its aging in due time and they have already announced that there are plans in store for other online games that could take over, in other words they can just keep hammering it till it would bleed and switch to free when they would anyway pull the other bunny out of the hat.

penpusher
penpusher

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

penpusher
penpusher

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bartimeo8
bartimeo8

There is no game worth of a subscription of the amount wow is using and EQ2 used, ye we all have heard the "it's the money you paid a newspaper each day" and all, basically the amount rises to silly amounts of money in time. All those games have "dead periods" that you still pay plus after the first 1-2 years of releash they can't be considered state-of-art, especially given the speed the industry keeps running ahead at, and when expansions that refurbish the game do come out you pay for them in addition to the monthly fees...

neomoglin
neomoglin

@bodylotion yeah it's amazing how much a couple million dudes with no life would effect a huge company haha :)

Scottopia
Scottopia

I just scrolled down and saw that they are limiting spell tiers and whatnot, and that is garbage. So, F2P basically means a big ass extended demo. Lame.

VigilanteArtist
VigilanteArtist

So, I have the options of paying a monthly subscription or playing with people who pay for their gear. Gee, somehow this doesn't make EQ2 any more appealing.

Scottopia
Scottopia

I just recently started plying Dungeons and Dragons online, and I think it's really cool that they're giving people the chance to play these games without the subscription fee. The paying real money for in game items thing is kinda annoying, but I guess they have to make a profit from it somehow. As long as it doesn't affect your progress it should be fine. Keep it optional, not forced.

feleas
feleas

Wow... EQ was my first MMO, and I loved it for ten years, but then I left it for WoW when it came out. However, every now and then, I start to think of EQ2, and wonder if I should rejoin it. But the fact that they're making it two seperate games, one free, the other not, doesn't appeal to me at all. Either you go fully free-to-play, or you don't. Can't sit on the fence SOE, pick one or the other.

bodylotion
bodylotion

@neomoglin : Probably twice the payment per month :D, you mean how much Blizzard loses in these 2 months :) I have been quite addicted to WoW and Star Wars Galaxies. Those games make you screw up your work, sports, college, social life and braincells. Luckily both games bored me after a year that's why i don't understand why people still like WoW since it's basically still the same.

neomoglin
neomoglin

@Rottenwood yeah you have add-ons but at the end of the day there just the same level dressed up differently I'd like to see what would happen if for 1 day no-one played WoW no wait like a month or two and just see how much money they'd save plus I agree with @rr2Real 'cause by constantly paying for it and playing it you obviously have nothing better to do

rr2Real
rr2Real

i like this free to play model gives players a chance that have a life against the ones that dont

Blitzman
Blitzman

The benefit to free-to-play are for those gamers who might take a month or two off at a time. I don't want to pay $15/month if I am away playing another title for a while. Then again, I don't want to cancel my membership, either. This is a good option.