The Original EverQuest MMORPG Going Free to Play in March

EverQuest producer Thom Terrazas said on Monday that Sony Online Entertainment's (SOE) former flagship MMORPG is (finally) going into free-to-play mode in March -- probably March 16, exactly thirteen years after it went live for Windows-based PCs. The news arrives after Sony introduced a free-to-play model for the game's successor, EverQuest 2, in December 2011 which experienced a 40-percent increase in log-ins as a result.

"We're excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best," Terrazas said in a community letter. "Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the "Best Games of All-Time" can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way. Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you're having."

Oh my.

As noted, EverQuest becomes an official teenager on March 16. To celebrate, Sony will host additional events within the game starting that week and leading up to the Special Birthday. New items are currently being introduced within The Plane of Knowledge to give existing members a taste of what's to come. Other changes and additions include a revamped website once the F2P model goes live, and an improved Map system.

"Also at the free-to-play launch, all players will receive a Welcome Pack containing items to add to your gameplay experience," he said. "You'll be able to summon a unique Mercenary to fight by your side and we're including some Bayle Marks to help pay for the services of your newly summoned Mercenary. A couple of Experience Potions are also included to help you increase your experience gained while adventuring. For all the collectors that like to show off all the great wares to your friends, we're giving you an item to display in your home and add to your collection. And finally, you'll be able to customize the appearance of one of your weapons with a Weapon Ornamentation - also included in the Welcome Pack. So be sure to check the claim window for your free gifts."

Terrazas added that the EverQuest development team will host a Community Webcast on Thursday February 2, 2012, covering the F2P details. Until then, it's easy to assume the classic MMORPG may feature a three-tier structure similar to EverQuest 2, offering a basic free account, a silver account providing extra perks once players spend $5, and a full-blown monthly subscription granting access to everything EverQuest has to offer.

Since its launch just before Y2K, EverQuest has seen eighteen expansions in its lifetime, ranging from The Ruins of Kunark in April 2000 to Veil of Alaris in November 2011. The franchise has also produced a large number of spinoffs including Champions of Norrath for the PlayStation 2, Lord of EverQuest for the PC, and EverQuest Hero's Call for Pocket PC.

Seriously, how long has it been since you've played the original EverQuest?

  • azathoth
    Seriously, how long has it been since you've played the original EverQuest?

    I actually have the disk neatly tucked away inside my desk, there's not even a scratch on it either.
  • a4mula
    Wow, that's kinda cool. I might check it out just for nostalgia sake. While there's little doubt that my idealistic reflection of the game is naive it'd still be cool just to go back and look at some of the great spots that amazed you the first time around. See if you could still find your way around Qeynos or Kelethin. Heh, yeah no doubt I'll be checking this out.
  • Wow, I actually was a beta tester for this back in 1998. If I remember right it was not long after updating the firmware in my modem to the new V90 56K standard. Come to think of it I really don't miss the "good old days" very much.
  • neosporinme
    I played EverQuest for about 9 years, until they banned all my accounts. I wonder if it goes Free to Play they will un-ban them......maybe?
  • vexun11
    Wow, I spent so much time playing this game, I remember back in 98 or 99 after I quit playing Ultima Online switching to everquest and my computer could barely run it, my friend had a Falcon Northwest computer with this cambridge soundwork 5.1 surround sound and what was a way nice 17 inch monitor and 56k I remember watching him kill orcs in Greater Faydark (spelling?) and it was the coolest game I had ever seen! lol.. Memories, they don't make games like that anymore.
  • neon871
    I played EverQuest on my PDA on Windows CE.....oh them PDA days are about as old too. Now we have touch pads!
  • Darkerson
    I remember playing on a couple friends accounts way back when it 1st came out. Was so jealous back then, considering I didnt have a computer worth crap then. Anyway, Ill be checking this out when it makes it's transition.
  • Jazzmain
    Maybe DAoC will be F2P soon now..... one can hope because there are no good pvp games out anyways or since DAoC
  • southernshark
    EQ FTP? Seems about 5 years late on that move.
  • jonpaul37
    I still play EQ on the Progressive Fippy Darkpaw server and it's better than WOW IMHO.

    Everquest is probably the main reason i am an Engineer today. Needed to build a decent PC in order to play EQ, learned i was good with computering, stuck with it and still with it.