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rejad MMORPG.com Blog

Random thoughts about MMOs and gaming.

Author: rejad

EverQuest Extended; SOE Fails Again

Posted by rejad Wednesday October 6 2010 at 4:27PM
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SOE has a long history of observing another company's success, focusing on one aspect of said success (typically one that while visible has little to do with the result), and completely botching it all together by missing the point entirely.  Then they typically want to be praised and get rather petulant when people point out how badly they've failed yet again.

Sony's latest debacle is EverQuest Extended, a free to play version of the dying EverQuest 2.  Now I'm sure they decided to try this based on the success of game like Dungeons & Dragons Online which experienced a revival after it went F2P (free to play).  But, as with all things, they saw the success but for the life of them apparently were unable to divine why DDO was successful.

You see, in EverQuest Extended you have four tiers of customers based on how much one is willing to pay.  Pay nothing and you are Bronze.  Access to the game and all its content save advancement halted 10 levels below the cap, skills can only attain the status of adept (being unable to gain master skills), and the best gear cannot be used.  That doesn't sound so bad, you're probably thinking.  And you'd be right, if those were the only limitations.  And here is where we get to why this effort will not bear the fruit SOE hopes for.  Player to player interaction limitations.

Take a moment to consider that.

A Bronze player cannot access the chat channels, you can only talk to players who happen to be standing around you.  Also you cannot access the broker which is the primary way players buy and sell items from each other.  Oh, and the amount of money your character can carry is severely limited.  Pay $10 one time and upgrade to Silver status.  You still have these limitations.

Every other F2P game out there does not do this.  It is so standard a feature of the MMO world that one expects to be able to at least do these things.  But not SOE, who fancy themselves innovators.  Why play a game where you can talk to others for free and carry as much money as you can and buy and sell freely when you can pay SOE for those privileges?

I understand they want to make a buck and they've every right to.  But this won't work.  Sure, they'll have a few diehards who will cling to the game and pay.  Even their abysmal Matrix MMO had people playing to the end.  Star Wars Galaxies chugs on to my and nearly everyone else's surprise.  But the success of DDO?  Hell no.  Not going to happen. 

The whole point of F2P is a larger community to interact with.  That's it in a nutshell, really.  Free players are not a burden or even customers waiting to happen but a feature of the game just as graphics, content, and expansions.  They are there to bring in paying customers.  Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.  Who wants to play an online game alone?  Even if you just want to PvP or be better than everyone else, you still are interacting with other players.  This is the advantage of F2P, this why it exists, this is why it works.  Almost any F2P game out there you can find others to group with or interact with at all hours of the day.

I won't even go into the cash shop.  If you guess "horribly over-priced" give yourself a cookie.  Apparently selling an armor appearance set for $10 to 10 people means more to them than selling the same thing to 1000 for $1.  I guess watching the spectacular rise and fall of Allods Online provided SOE no lessons to be learned.

Sigh.

synful writes:

So sad I played EQ2 for about 5 or 6 years and SOE killed another game  they are to money hungry to even care about what players want or think  Everquest Extended is just there last resort to still make some money out of the game before its added to the grave yard of MMORPG's .....

Thu Oct 07 2010 10:19AM Report
Kethrym writes:

SOE proves yet again that the only thing driving their company is the lust for profit. " Damn the consequences, screw the player base,  and lets change EVERYTHING without running it past the community first.   Who cares if the community doesn't like it, they won't leave just because we changed their favorite game!"   Oh wait.......

Thu Oct 07 2010 9:34PM Report
dbletap writes:

I must say this comes as a sad note.  I had high hopes that SOE would do a better job with this, but I guess greed and lack of foresight will continue as the order of the day.  Having Played EQ II off and on for several years, it is a shame that this will probably seal its fate.

Thu Oct 07 2010 11:16PM Report
daffas writes:

There is almost more that rejad didn't put in his post.  You are limited to what classes and races you can pick.  For bronze you only get the netrual characters and only the basic starting classes.  You also have only two bank slots.  So two items in the bank and you done.  Thankfully they give you a bag to store crafting materials.  But you have to put that in the bank to store the crafting materials.

The level cap is restricted because you have to buy their latest expansion to get to the level cap.  I also read somewhere about the restrictions of the broker that they wanted to influence player interaction more, where you get haggleing going.

But I also dont really like their f2p model there are to many limitations to enjoy the game.

Mon Oct 11 2010 8:51AM Report
tegweien writes: As bronze you can only receive mail also..even gold members (no pun intended) cannot play all the races you have to buy them, which is disconcerting since if I become a platinum member (200.00 to SOE quickly) I get access to all the races...so if I pay month to month more than the 200.00 a year for platinum I get screwed out of all the races? For shame SOE for shame. Mon Oct 11 2010 1:40PM Report
LadyAlibi writes:

I don't like the EQ2 Extended model of f2p. Charging for chat channels and limiting the free races to four in a game that features so many races? /sigh.

I think the only possible use it has is to be a trial that leads people to subscribe to the full game, which is, after all, really the better deal, if you like EQ2. Unfortunately, it's not being presented that way. 

 

Mon Oct 11 2010 5:31PM Report
rejad writes:

I should blog more often.  Its kind of fun getting notifications in my mailbox that aren't warnings for mouthing off on the forum.  Thanks for the comments, everyone, and for pointing out things I missed.

Mon Oct 11 2010 10:30PM Report
dreadlrd writes:

 hehe its nothing more then a glorified trial is what it is. Hehe and if you read what you get for $200 a year its less then you would get on the regular real servers that are not part of this but you only pay what is it $15 per month or $180 per year on the real non extended servers? Do they really think we are that stupid? Yes on other servers you would have to buy the game originally but price is not that bad and you have to buy it anyway to get higher lvl cap that comes with it hahaha to funny.

Wed Oct 13 2010 10:28AM Report
Vannor writes:

Everyone talks crazy these days, expecting companies not to care about profit and the like.

The truth is that ALL games developers are after profit. Even if a developer makes a game and gives it away for free (such as alien swarm on steam), it is a marketing tool so they can either gain subscribers (to newsletters or services like steam), contacts, a fan base, publicity etc etc.

They will never do us any favors, they want our money and without it we wouldn't have any games.

SOE were right in making so many changes, even if the current subscriber base didn't like it. This is because the current subscriber was failing.. the game was totally deserted from what I saw when I went on the live servers and still is on live. People argued that there was a decent player base but the fact is that it was very hard to find it, which is not what MMO's should be like.

Game development isn't a charity. It's a business. It would have been great for SOE to look after their 'loyal' subscribers but the evidence points to those 'loyal' subscribers leaving the game rapidly.. loooong before EQ2X came along.

Wed Oct 13 2010 1:27PM Report
rejad writes:

Where did I say that they don't have a right to make a profit or that I expect charity?  Oh yeah, I didn't.  In fact, I said quite the opposite:

"I understand they want to make a buck and they've every right to."

The whole point of what I wrote, which you have missed, is that there is a line between far enough and too far.  I was making the arguement that they've errored in charging what you can get standard everywhere else and overpriced everything.  And I didn't even talk about their, as you put it, 'loyal' subscribers.

Reading comprehension FTW.

Wed Oct 13 2010 6:48PM Report
Vannor writes:

I was actually refering some of the replies to your blog, sorry that wasn't clear

Wed Oct 13 2010 11:47PM Report
rejad writes:

Ah, I see.

 

I'd like to give an addendum to my post as a recent change by SOE now allows Silver tiered players to make unlimited purchases from the in-game Broker.  Deffo a step in the right direction and a positive sign that they might be listening to some of the critisim.  You still have to buy with real money tokens to sell, and to pay a one time charge of $10 to attain Silver status, but still a change that makes the game more accessable to a larger number of players without costing them as much as it had.

Thu Oct 14 2010 2:01AM Report

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