Despite assurances as recently as last month
that EverQuest II
wouldn't be going free-to-play, Sony Online Entertainment
today announced that the game is doing just that... sort of. EverQuest II Extended
is slated for a beta launch on August 17th, and features a separate server set providing all of the game's original content via the insanely popular F2P business model.
"The very nature of an MMO is change, and the decision to create
Extended was fueled by evolution of the industry landscape
," says EQII
lead producer Dave Georgeson. "By offering two services side by side we have given the power to our players to determine the program that best fits their game play style
will allow access to all zones through The Shadow Odyssey
, sans subscription, credit card info, or software purchases. Players will be able to purchase additional perks (such as races, levels 80 - 90, statistical gear, and potions) through the marketplace. Existing EQII
subscribers will also be able to transfer their characters to the F2P servers, albeit without their gold. Bags, no-trade items, and attuned items will be transferred. Extended
also offers a yearly subscription priced at $200 USD, which equals out to $16.66 per month. SOE
is chipping in 60 Station Cash to make up the difference.
Check out the membership matrix
for all the details on the new service, and stay with Massively for our interview with Dave Georgeson later today.
[Update: That interview can be found here.