Monday, November 22, 2010

EQ2X Status: Occasionally Playing, Not Considering Paying

With the "free gold trial" weekend, it seems like as good a time as any to recap what I'm up to in EQ2X. 

Vaneras, my half-elf Inquisitor, is currently level 31 with 40 levels of Sage tradeskill (makes her own spell upgrades) and 53 AA's.  I took advantage of the trial weekend to dump all the stuff that I've been saving for the next time I subscribed on the broker; this brought in nearly 3 plat, which is more than enough for my low level needs in the near term.  I also ran the EQ2 launch anniversary event with the subscriber-only AA slider set to send all of my earned exp to AA, as I'm already sitting a few levels above some of the content I'm working on.  I will say that it was very disappointing to only gain a single AA in a session where I would have gained at least two levels if I had set the slider the other way.  It's no wonder that everyone ends up behind on AA's and feeling that it is grindy as a result.

Life without a guild hall
The other lesson I'm taking away from my time in EQ2X is that SOE has done a lot to bridge the gap between players with a fully tricked out guild hall and the rest of us.  I started playing EQ2 Live after the introduction of guild halls, and so Lyriana never needed to think about travel; these things were very easy in a high level guild and very painful without one (as I learned every time I started an alt and had to wait a while to find an officer online to get a guild invite).  Today's linked bells and spires and druid rings make travel so easy that I barely notice that Vaneras' guild (Ardwulf's Ebon Tribunal) does not yet own a guild hall. 

As to crafting, it may actually be more fun WITHOUT a bottomless harvest box.  Lyriana was rarely obligated to do her own harvesting (though I tried to help out when I was out adventuring), thanks to guildmates who enjoy it and, as we gained levels, NPC's to do that for us.  The result was that you could spend hours in front of the crafting station, converting resources you never saw into guild and crafting exp.   This gets old.  Vaneras has to go out harvesting every few writs, which really helps break up the grind with a change of scenery.  I'd go as far as to suggest the sacrilege that the harvesting box actually does the otherwise deep crafting system and content a disservice. 

But I'd want to pay why?
Obviously, EQ2X is not my primary game at the moment; as a free to play game, the whole point is that it doesn't have to be.  Instead, I'm free to come and go when I feel like it, and this has allowed me to stop in for world events and now promo weekends without worrying that this was affecting my budget.

The only issue, at least from SOE's perspective, is that the non-subscriber restrictions that do exist simply don't matter to me.  SOE got $10 worth of SC (that I got for free through promos) for the one-time silver upgrade, and nothing that they're offering at the moment is making me want to give them any more.  I suppose their thinking is that I am a relatively unusual case; most of their money is coming from either longtime loyal subscribers who are staying put on EQ2 Live or new free players who might buy this or that on a whim. 

Then again, I guess we both have time to figure it out; after all, I'm not paying by the month. 


  1. Okay, I'll admit it: I started playing EQ2X at your recommendation.

    And I love it. Hardcore. It's really my type of game. It has lovely graphics with the settings turned up (just wish I could use GPU shadows with decent character detail level, GPU shadows make me swoon), the dialogue system is much better than similar games, and it supports my RP addiction to much greater capacity than anyplace else - even, sadly, LotRO.

    Now to the free weekend; I took your advice and dumped nearly everything I own in spots that couldn't be accessed once the weekend was over, that way I could just pick and choose what to get out of it. I only hit 18 Brigand/16 Scholar on Sunday night (which meant I played a lot more than I mean to!) and I saw so many things I like.

    First off, I can't solo those level 20 skeletons in the Darkwoods place. Ugh. Second, rather than help a slave because he offered me a quest to help him escape, I killed him, and then was rewarded by his ex-master. How hardcore is that!?

    Travel is easy, as you say, but with no tutorial/newbtip I couldn't figure out if the druid circle connected to the globe or if it would put me on the other side of the zone or what...

    I'm on bronze now, but I have 20 slotters in my 5s/week house (where I keep my L+L books, my FAVORITE part of the game!) and 20s in my bank and on me, except for the stuff I'm saving.

    I had the AA slider 60-75 most of the time, but I tried 90 and 100 to see what it was like; I liked 65 or 70 best. Is the silver slider still frozen in the middle?

    Over all I think I could keep playing for free. No chat channels is fairly owwie, but I hopped a guild who didn't mind hosting me for however long I was interested, so I still have the friendly chatter I desire. I can't help but think though it would be totally worth the $10 for access to silver features.

    Then again, it's a non issue: if I HAD the money, I'de spend it. But I don't, so I can't.

  2. Glad you're liking it. :)

    The AA slider can only be adjusted by a gold (or platinum/annual) subscriber, and reverts back to 50/50 when your sub expires; having it stay permanently stay stuck where you left it would be a big problem if you set it to 100% or whatnot. Honestly, the 50/50 split probably isn't a bad call as a default option, though I feel like they could still afford to give you a bit more AA in exchange for 50% of your exp.

    The Druid ring shrubs, and the Ulteran Spire portals (the two in Darklight Wood are pretty close together) are separate networks from the globe/bell transport system. It does take a while to get to know where you WANT to go as the menu doesn't distinguish level 10 from level 80. Once you do you learn the maps, though, you can have as many as three different destination options in the same zone, which really cuts travel time. Also, remember that you do have a hearthstone equivalent you can use if you get completely lost.

    And yes, housing is one of the game's best features, and there are strangely almost no meaningful restrictions on it as a non-subscriber.


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