Everquest II Extended Review: Is This Free-to-Play MMO Worth Playing?
Thinking about playing Everquest 2 Extended? Read on for the pros and cons of this free to play MMO, a discussion of the restrictions of the free membership and whether EQ2 Extended is worth playing.
What is Everquest 2 Extended?
Sony Online Entertainment introduced gamers to the online fantasy worlds of Everquest and Everquest 2 as well as Vanguard Saga of Heroes and Star Wars Galaxies to name a few. More recently, they developed a free to play version of one of their most popular MMOs, Everquest 2, known as Everquest 2 Extended. EQ2 Extended is free to play MMO offering a large amount of content with no monthly subscription.
Everquest 2 Extended – The Pros
Everquest 2 Extended is a really good game, well, it’s basically EQ2 but with a few restrictions. With Everquest 2 Extended, gamers get almost all the content; the base game, 3 adventure packs and 5 expansion packs up to the Shadow Odyssey. It would be one of the better free to play MMOs with regards to content, if gamers are able to tolerate certain restrictions and frequent advertisements to upgrade their subscriptions.
Gamers have the option to purchase items from the Station Store to improve game play or upgrade their free subscription to 3 different paid versions, however, all of this means the game is not so free to play. Another benefit is that Everquest 2 Extended is only a small download so gamers wont have to wait for what seems like days to download the game and start playing. The actual time will of course depend on the gamer’s system and internet service.
Everquest 2 Extended – The Cons
While the content and game play of Everquest 2 Extended is impressive, with fun instances, a range of quests, and excellent group dynamics, the only true free to play option is the bronze membership, and this membership comes with numerous restrictions that will affect enjoyment of the game. Initial character creation is limited to one of the four neutral races. During character creation gamers will choose either a good or evil starter city. These races are:
While this may not be an issue for some gamers, half the fun of Everquest 2 is being able to play a sexy Dark-Elf or feisty Fae. There is also a limit to which classes are available with the free to play version. These are:
- Fighter – Berserker, Guardian
- Priest – Inquisitor, Templar
- Mage – Warlock, Wizard
- Scout – Brigand, Swashbuckler
Again, not a problem for some gamers, but for those who wish to play a Conjuror or Warden, they will need to pay for the privilege. Additional race packs and class packs for Everquest 2 Extended will cost gamers 750sc (Station Cash). Additional character slots cost 1000sc each. Everquest 2 Extended Station Cash costs $1.00USD for 100sc, though sometimes SOE has special deals where gamers can purchase 1000sc for $5.00 instead of the usual $10.00. Other restrictions of the free to play version include:
- Gamers only get 2 character slots
- Spell tiers are only up to Adept level, which is frustrating when grouping with other gamers who have expert or master level and expect everyone to have the same.
- Gamers are restricted from gaining legendary and fables equipment
Players only get 2 bags slots that fill up quickly once you level up passed 10-15.
- Coin limitation of 5 gold per level. This will make it hard to save for a really good mount or expensive item.
- One of the biggest disappointments is the fact that bronze level gamers wont be able to use the broker without purchasing broker credits. This means they will not be able to buy decent food or player made gear or anything else off the broker. An upgrade to Silver membership allows gamers to buy from broker but not sell, but really, using the broker should be a basic right for every player.
- Can’t send mail
- Chat is restricted to /say, /tell, /group and /guild, so gamers are unable to chat in broadcast channels such as /level or /shout etc.
- Frequent advertisements to upgrade subscription popping up
Everquest 2 Extended – Is This Free to Play MMO Worth Playing?
The totally free bronze membership of Everquest 2 Extended is not worth it. The restrictions make gaming a pain rather than a pleasure. Not having access to basic things like the broker or sending mail is ridiculous and makes the game almost pointless. Like other free to play MMOs, Everquest 2 Extended encourages gamers to upgrade their membership or buy items such as better gear, mounts, extra bag slots and furniture at the Station Store using Station Cash.
Everquest 2 Extended would suit gamers who have never played EQ2 before and want to try it out before buying and subscribing to it, or for people that are prepared to make a small or occasional outlay of cash for less restrictions or items that they really want. The Silver membership is purchasable for a one off payment of $10.00USD and allows additional bag slots, character slots, expert spell level, higher coin limitation, unlimited chat and the ability to buy from the broker.
Gold memberships cost $14.99/month and platinum memberships cost $199.99/year, and both of these versions offer little or no restrictions. However, if gamers are considering paying for gold or platinum memberships, why not play EQ2 for 17.95/month (cheaper for 3,6 & 12 month subscriptions)? Of course EQ2 players also have the option to purchase from the Station Store, however almost everything a gamer needs can be bought in game, crafted of quested for.
Basically the bronze membership isn’t worth bothering with and while the silver is a cheap option, it still has many restrictions and gamers will more than likely end up purchasing from the Station Store several times. While there is speculation that EQ2 is no longer as popular as it once was, Everquest 2 Extended is not likely to take over anytime soon. For gamers wishing to try the game out to see if they like it, it allows more time to make a decision than 14-day free trial does. It is also good for gamers wanting to fill in time before the next new MMO such as TERA Online or Rifts: Planes of Telara is released, but aside from that, this free to play MMO wont be so free and gamers might be better off paying the subscription to EQ2.