EverQuest is considered to be one of the grand old dames in the MMO-space and for good reason. EQ has been around for thirteen years and has been in the forefront of many of the innovative movements of the past and is still in the hunt for innovative new ways to entertain players.
We had the opportunity to chat with EverQuest producer Thom Terrazas about the game’s move to free to play and about the thirteenth anniversary events that players will have a chance to check out beginning Friday, March 16th.
Terrazas has been involved from beta to customer service to other Sony Online Entertainment spots and back to EQ for the past 3 years. During his time there, Terrazas pointed out, quite a bit of content has been changed, a new zone and race have been introduced and the team is actively working to finish an epic storyline over the next year.
Sony Online has been very pleased with the move to F2P for some of its other signature title such as DC Universe Online and EverQuest II. These games have experienced a high increase in new players as well as past customers coming back to the games and customers consistently log in. Because of all of these factors, it was only natural to offer the same “free to play your way” type experience to its original fans as well.
“EQ is a different game than any other on the market.” Terrazas explained. “We set the standard for all MMOs and we still think we’re the latest and greatest game out there. Our story and lore set us apart. We stay true to the game and we work really hard to keep in line. So it’s a great time for us to do the same exact thing (going F2P).” Terrazas said. “We are giving easy accessibility to everyone and they are able to taste every piece of content. There are some limiting unlocks on your character but nothing that limits the game.”
Terrazas informed us that if you played in the past and put in all that time on your characters, you’ll have access to all of them even if they are “locked” archetypes for new players.
For those who haven’t checked out any of SOE’s other F2P titles, here’s a basic breakdown of the membership options EverQuest players can take advantage of:
- First time players = free players. There is no separation between free and other memberships in terms of content access.
- Silver level is for returning players. They can access their characters and can play with their friends again
- Gold level players are current and continuing subscribers
Players will also have Marketplace options to check out as well. Some will be account-wide purchases that might include extra bag slots. Others will be character-specific. In addition, Prestige items will be released with unlimited range of use for Gold members. Silver membership and Free players will see some high level prestige items that won’t be useable but can be stashed in case players choose to become Gold members.
The team is also introducing a pair of nifty new features with the F2P edition.
First there is the Hero’s Journey. When players log into EverQuest for the first time, they will automatically be entered into the achievement system. The Hero's Journey comes in book form with the lore behind each achievement that will lead players on “golden path” from level 1-85. Players can even earn gear along the way.
Secondly, the map system is now, according to Terrazas, much more functional. Players can find NPCs in the map window. There is a “wisp” system to help them locate people and places in the game world. The wisp shows on the screen and on the map.
Terrazas also detailed a bit of what players can expect for EverQuest’s 13th anniversary celebration:
- Devs will turn on anniversary content that is tied into story tellers and NPCs in the Plain of Knowledge. Players will be able to find the path to old anniversary content as well as the new 13th anniversary content.
- Find Sam Napp – he’s concerned with superstitions and fables in Norrath. He will ask for help to prove that these old wives’ tales aren’t true. Thirteen main quests to run through like helping Sam disprove the superstition that ‘stepping on a crack’ actually breaks a mother’s back etc.
- The Plain of Knowledge is decorated for a party to generate interest.
- The anniversary events are available to all levels (F2P and paid) on main servers
- The anniversary content is not necessarily available on time locked progression servers but all expansions have anniversary content.
Lastly, Terrazas revealed that SOE is opening a new server on Friday. It has been named the Vox server. This will allow folks to go onto a new server to be the first to reach certain milestones such as hitting level cap, first team to bring down XXX monster etc. Vox will help bring lower level players together and to make the game more rich and alive.
All in all it sounds like exciting times for EverQuest players, both past and present. If you have been looking for a chance to check out all the new content and features in EverQuest or to revisit your old characters, this is a golden opportunity.