Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Re-Capped In EQ2

Lyriana finished the newly added Qeynos timeline, and in the process hit level 92 - the EQ2's current cap.  There may have been a small amount of cheating - I took a detour to kill some fishmen in Velious to fill my exp bar to 99.9% prior to turning in the last quest, to ensure that Antonia Bayle would personally award me the final level.  This milestone puts EQ2 back on the list of games in which I currently have max-level characters - for almost two weeks until the fall expansions start launching, I can claim nine max-level characters across seven different MMO's. 

I was decidedly underwhelmed with plans for the Age of Destiny expansion when it was announced.  The "optional" expansion bundled 20 AA's (I currently sit at 311/320) with several features that I didn't really see a need for, but no new content.  I still don't plan to re-roll to try the new class, and I have no particular interest in the game's dungeon designing feature (which has had a mixed record).  However, one feature that I did not expect to get any use out of - NPC mercenaries - makes a lot more sense when presented in context with a level cap increase and new content. 

I still think there is a real concern that the amount of content in the new update may not have been quite enough for a full level/gear reset - in particular, the last two levels would have been much more painful if I didn't have some left-over subscription time, as non-subscribers must send half of their exp gain to AAXP.  Still, the content that they have added continues to be good and the mercenary feature is a big help in getting to see more of it.  Meanwhile, executive producer David Georgeson seems open to at least re-considering some of the non-subscriber issues I've been grousing about, so perhaps some of these will change in the future. 

I have a few in-game goals that may or may not get in this fall.  I'd like to take Lyriana over to the Freeport side to see some of the new content, collect evil-side housing and mercenaries, and incidentally try and fill out that AA cap for the first time ever since I've been playing the game.  Meanwhile, though there are limits to how much time I'm willing to spend on virtual house decoration, my house item situation is actually getting serious enough to merit at least some level of attention.   For now, though, another personal MMO milestone is in the books.


Yeebo said...

I don't understand why they don't let you buy your way out of the few niggling restrictions on FtP accounts. Let me pay cash to unlock my AA slider and I will. Let me pay cash to be able to stockpile platinum without needing a personal guild to do it, and I will. Let me pay cash to get access to higher level spell/ ability training and I will. Force me to sub to rent those options for a few months, and I absolutely will never ever care enough about them to do so.

Green Armadillo said...

Spell unlocks aren't really a problem - it costs 150 SC for five unlock tokens, which Silver players only need when going from Expert to Master. They're only expanding 2-3 levels at a time these days, so you probably won't need more than one five-pack per year (don't really need to upgrade EVERY spell), and you can get the SC at double or triple exchange rates. I don't begrudge SOE that amount of money.

The linked tweet arose from a thread Smokejumper posted about a panel on the EQ business model for Fan Faire/SOE Live. I don't think he would have said what he said if they weren't at least considering alleviating or removing the currency cap. A point I made to him is that swapping out level 90 mercs costs 5 plat plus 25 gold per upkeep/death, which is perfectly fine unless you have zero income because of the cap - your merc won't take tradeskill fuel for payment. He doesn't appear to have considered the AA slider issue, but honestly that wasn't such a big deal until this last two-level tier of content, because usually you can find more stuff to do.

Green Armadillo said...

My guess - this is just a guess - is that they may be considering lifting the currency cap altogether and also removing the fee for Silver, rolling it back down to the free level as in Vanguard. They don't seem opposed to this in principle, they aren't leaving much revenue on the table because they grandfathered all existing accounts into Silver at the F2P conversion, and it simplifies a payment model that has been criticized for complexity.

If the currency cap is out, we'd be at the point where I'd consider non-subscription a viable alternative - sometimes you will save by subscribing (e.g. if you replace all of your gear multiple times in the first month of the expansion), but you won't be so limited on functionality that you end up subscribing or not playing because you don't want to deal with it.

Yeebo said...

It's been a while since I played, I didn't realize there were spell unlock tokens. 150 SC for five really isn't bad.

Silver is currently a really good value, imo, and a good way to get players to at least spend a bit of money. I'd hate to see the payment options be limited to the current bronze level or subbing. That said, if Bronze accounts get access to expert level spells, shared bank slots, and have the cap on platnum removed I think it will be a perfectly viable play option.