Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yes or No: EQ2 Extended

Do I give SOE’s EverQuest 2 Extended free-to-play service a try when the beta opens up August 17th?  That is, assuming I’ll be able to get into the beta in the first place?  After all, I’m a former long-time player of EQ2.  What could it hurt, right?

The first thing is to examine the options to figure out if the F2P version is even worth bothering with.  I have 4 plans to choose from: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.  Well, actually 3 since the Platinum version is not available at launch.  And getting the Platinum version would be pretty silly right now anyway.  And quite frankly, Bronze is not an option for me.  Only Adept level spells?  And only 2 bag slots?  Sorry, but considering how much space I was used to in EQ2 and now in Eve Online, I’m not putting up with that restriction.  Get a Gold membership?  If I’m going to do that, I might as well re-sub to the real EQ2, now called EQ2 Live

Okay, so I will go with the Silver membership.  The Silver membership sounds perfect for dual-boxing.  Three bag slots (up from two), two shared bank slots (up from none) and Expert (the old Adept III) level spells.  Yep, those things are worth paying a one-time $10 fee.  And while I am restricted to 8 classes, those are classes I am interested in playing.  I never leveled any of those classes to over 15 and I never played six of the classes: brigand, warlock, wizard, guardian, berserker or guardian.  The other two classes, swashbuckler and inquisitor, I played around with and they were interesting.

The Silver membership, like all plans except Platinum, is limited to four races: human, erudite, barbarian and half-elf.  Other races are purchasable.  Given the class choices, I don’t think I would purchase another race.  This means I could probably have two Silver membership accounts.  Would I really need more than two Silver accounts to adventure with?  I doubt it.  If I need more crafters, I can always put them on a Bronze account.

See what I just did?  I’ve justified creating 3 or 4 accounts.  Sure, having played Eve I’m used to multi-boxing, but with this F2P model it just makes sense.  I wonder if SOE is going to attempt to combat the practice.  I hope not.

Now that I’ve talked myself into creating 2 Silver accounts, what about Gold or Platinum.  If I want to return to EQ2 Live, then Gold makes sense.  But if I just want to stay in EQ2 Extended, then Platinum may be the real value of the four plans.  Think about it.  For $200 I would have one year of game play.  In addition, I get $60 in Station Cash over the course of the year and access to the latest expansion.  Access to the latest expansion means not shelling out another $40.  And since I hear the next expansion comes out in February, that means not paying SOE $80 for expansions in the first year.  But for purposes of this evaluation, I’ll just count this value at $40.  And with unlimited access to races, I wouldn’t need to shell out another $6.50 to create wood elf characters.

So let’s see.  If I plan to play for 12 months I can pay $200 and get the latest expansion ($40) plus $60 in Station Cash plus free wood elf characters.  Or I could get a Gold membership and pay $180, and if I want to play the latest expansion content I would need to shell out another $40.  And I get no Station Cash.  And have to pay $6.50 for wood elves.

I've been wondering why anyone would purchase a Gold membership.  Then the idea hit me.  If you are going to pay $14.99 for a Gold membership anyway, why not get a subscription to EQ2 Live and that way you can play in both settings?  If there is a mechanism to encourage players to go from EQ2 Extended to EQ2 Live, that is it.  And since you can pay for more than one month at a time and get a cheaper rate in the subscription game than on an F2P server, I wonder how many F2P players would get a subscription to EQ2 Live just to save some money?
Update: You do not receive a Gold membership with a EQ2 Live subscription unless you pay $35 to make a copy of a character from the EQ2 Live servers to the EQ2X server.  The other way to get a Gold membership on both EQ2 Live and EQ2X servers is to open up a Station Access account.

The only thing giving me pause is paying the $200 up front.  But that is what the beta is for.  To really find out if EQ2 Extended is worth playing or if it will fall flat on its face.  With SOE not offering Platinum memberships out of the box, I’m betting Smed isn’t too sure of the final verdict either.

But for now, I’ll just get a couple of Silver memberships and go to town dual-boxing.  That is, if I can get into the beta.

Related posts: EQ2 Extended: Thoughts After The First Weekend

1 comment:

  1. Tilluan Wolvenblood (Antonius Bayle EQ1)August 13, 2010 at 5:44 AM

    As a former EQ1 player since 5-6 years, I will also jump into beta as my usual play style is rather a casual one, since SOE pushed out high level content in the latest EQ1 expansion "Underfoot" where normal boxing with or without mercenaries was not possible. In the newest expansion House of Thule the difficulty will raise again, though the maximum level will be 90 now.

    I think EQ2 Extended from the view of EQ1 is a good opportunity to move on and try out the bronze maybe silver membership. As far I know EQ2 has a lot of plyers who really love that game so I will give it a chance.

    EQ2 Extended will have also an impact on EQ1 not only on EQ2 Live.

    As far as I know SOE does not plan moves from EQ2 Extended towards EQ2 Live, only in the other direction (35$ per char). So it is clear that the F2P-option with marketplace is the future.