EverQuest 2 Going Free-To-Play in Early December

Sony Online Entertainment recently announced to the EverQuest 2 community that it will be merging the free-to-play version, EverQuest 2 Extended (EQ2X), with the subscription-based EverQuest sequel. Starting in December, there will be just one client and three membership models: free, Silver and Gold.

"Part of caring for our customers is listening to you and hearing what you have to say. Additionally, we need to be aware of changes in the industry, changes in player expectations, and larger economic trends in general," said EverQuest 2 executive producer Dave Georgeson.

The move to combine both MMORPGs was likely fueled by the recent membership boom with DC Universe Online after SOE injected the superhero MMORPG with a free-to-play model on November 6. The company said a million new players on the PC and PlayStation 3 platforms combined had signed on -- over 1000-percent of the pre-F2P concurrent members at day one. The F2P model has even generated a 700-percent increase in daily revenue (47-percent PC, 53-percent PS3) since its launch.

"More than 85-percent of daily log-ins are returning players," claims SOE president John Smedley. "DCUO player base is growing at 6-percent a day."

But the EverQuest 2 producer indicates that combining both EverQuest 2 games is more of a social thing. Honesty, we were confused as to why SOE launched a separate free-to-play EverQuest 2 game in the first place.

"We've listened to your concerns about the complexity of the subscription structure, how the separate forums between EQII and EQ2X divide the community unnecessarily, that the Live Gamer servers are under-populated, and that many people want more flexibility with payment options so they can better manage their personal budgets," he explained in an open letter to the community. "We believe the key to meeting your expectations is to provide more flexibility and to deliver what you want when you want it, whether it's basic game content, full subscription access to the game, or something in-between."

"So in early December we're going to change things to be 'Free to Play. Your Way,'" he added.

According to Georgeson, there will no longer be an up-front fee for downloading and installing EverQuest 2. Fans no longer have to buy the software in order to use it, and game content through the Sentinel's Fate expansion will be available to all players without charge. The EQ2 and EQ2X servers will merge into one complete network, and will operate as a single game with a single membership structure.

EverQuest 2 just celebrated its seventh anniversary, originally launching on November 8, 2004. As with the original EverQuest, the game required fans to purchase the software up-front and then pay a monthly subscription fee to continue playing. But in July 2010, SOE decided to jump on the free-to-play bandwagon by introducing a separate, standalone EverQuest 2 service, Extended, funded by micro-transactions and optional subscriptions.

SOE has not officially announced the actual re-launch of EverQuest 2, but gamers can check out the three membership plans here. The $14.99/month Gold plans offers everything whereas the Silver account is a step up from the base free service after spending $5 on an in-game item.

So far there's no indication that the original EverQuest will adopt the F2P model. SOE previously stated that there were no plans to change the current subscription model.

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  • pocketdrummer
    Ahem... Pay-To-Win is the correct phrase for this.
  • Marcus52
    I was thinking about restarting my sub to Everquest II, but this knocks the head off that idea.

    If you don't understand why I won't play F2P games or on servers with F2P players, then check out the discussions on MMORPG.com. Basically, I don't want to play with more losers than there already are who think "Free to Play" means free. It clearly doesn't, because companies make MORE money off the F2P model than they do subscriptions! MMOGs are becoming less about skilled gaming and more about buying your way to the top with real cash.

    I don't blame SOE for having F2P servers, but I do blame them for having badly managed player bases on the servers they have and mixing F2P players with subscription players. The RP servers on EQII are a joke, no better than WoW's regular servers. I remember when you couldn't have names in Everquest that broke the spirit of the game, period. Now, variations of "Ipwnnoobs" is common in these games.

    It's a sad day for MMORPGs.
  • alidan
    PocketdrummerAhem... Pay-To-Win is the correct phrase for this.

    um, this isnt a pay to win, honestly its a 5$ to get most of the games content, and a monthly fee for full game.

    if you dont know what this means, non raid casual get to play the game for free, and boost server size, and can be usefull party members, silver... if you get to level 90 and arent silver yet... you suck. and silver is really all you need.

    but gold that would be for the hard core raiders

    i dont know if you ever played everquest 1, but it would be like this, free group play, upgraded group play for 5$, full raid play for monthly.

    you arent paying to win, but you are paying when you really get into the game, not from day 1 when you are a nube killing rats, but when you can start killing dragons and such.