A Roundtable Interview for EverQuest

We sat in on a roundtable interview with EverQuest Producer Thom Terazza to talk about the game's 13th anniversary and its free-to-play shift.

EverQuest is celebrating its 13th anniversary and, as a birthday present to themselves, they're going free to play. Yesterday, a few members of the press and I jumped in on a roundtable interview with EverQuest Producer Thom Terazza to discuss the game's big shift after 13 years and 18 expansions. 

To start with the smaller news (and only in the context of going free-to-play would a 13th anniversary be considered "smaller" news!), SOE plans to celebrate EverQuest's anniversary with a new quest line being added, through a young Halfling, Sam Napth, on the Plane of Knowledge. These quests will tied to a superstitious theme, with players investigating things like broken mirrors and black cats over the course of 13 main quests. Unfortunately, players on a time locked progression server that has not yet made it to the Plane of Knowledge will be unable to access this anniversary quest line. These quests will, however, be open to free-to-play players.

Speaking of free-to-play, EverQuest's move to F2P should come as no big surprise, as SOE has been slowly converting its titles over since late last year, starting with DC Universe Online in November, EverQuest II in December, and now EverQuest joining the family tomorrow. During our discussion, Thom stressed that EverQuest remains one of the MMO greats since its launch in '99, as players can still appreciate its immersive storytelling and incredible community.

While much of the F2P move has been covered in the lengthy official FAQ, it's worth mentioning the Hero's Journey feature that is being implemented to assist new players in their trek to 85. Given that many new players and returning players may be overwhelmed by how much there is to do, the Hero's Journey will keep track of quests and player accomplishments, while also guiding them toward more advanced content. There will also be rewards tied to the Hero's Path, making it an ideal "guide" for players to stick to when checking out Norrath.

In terms of any big changes for existing players, SOE is, once again, taking the "don't rock the boat" approach. Most current subscribers should be able to retain their original plans and not feel the effects, aside from a having a large group of newbies milling about in their starter zones (or perhaps some old faces will come back around!). In general, Thom simply hopes they can continue to iterate SOE's slogan of "Free to Play. Your Way" by giving players all the opportunities and choices they need to enjoy the game. While most MMOs tend to shift their development cycles when changing revenue models, EverQuest - and EverQuest II, to be fair - are unique in that they have a huge amount of content already created for the early to mid levels. Thus, Thom says that SOE can continue to cater to their EverQuest audience without changing too much of their ongoing vision.

All in all, it seems like there's never been a better time to jump into EverQuest. With the new Hero's Journey being introduced tomorrow, along with a brand new server, The Vox, opening tomorrow, Norrath is looking better than ever.

Chris "Pwyff" Tom, Editor-in-Chief

Comments

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free to play is lame
# Mar 19 2012 at 6:44 PM Rating: Decent
well i saw the free to play post. just had to load it up and see what it was about. well first thing i see is that all my gear which i spent countless hours to get is useless. limited my plat so i lost a ton of plat on logging in. which would have been used to regear my main but now that my toon is useless as he is i will go do something else. had they grandfathered gear in i might still play but to regear a toon with no plat. i already geared my toon once wont do it again. and i am sure i would have sprung for the new expansion and maybe a month or 2 of gold but i will go spend my money elsewhere
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Are really not seeing the point?
# Mar 16 2012 at 9:17 PM Rating: Default
28 posts
@Veinlash,
I still believe you don't understand why SOE did this.

I read that they made a few changes to the End game, hard-core raiding style of play. Gear Augments, Focus and AA's play a heavy part in what you do. Play the game your way.

I play much the way dmanick talks about. I could count my attendance at raids on one hand. My first toon is only 64. None of my 15 toons has an Epic, even a 1.0. I like to tradeskill, and pick-up groups can be great, or completely lousy. Hell, I solo in Kunark zones, because I like to. I play the game my way.

F2P is simply another avenue, for those people more casual than me, to come back, even if its for 3.5 hours on a Sunday afternoon, every other week.
Kevin M.
LOL
# Mar 16 2012 at 9:50 AM Rating: Decent
3 posts
Here's to whom it may concern at SOE (which is usually no one),
10years 123days, Characters with Fabled gear, several 90+ toons, countless hours, and not a single one of my characters can "use" the gear I got for them, be it for the reason of augs, which ARE important, or because the gear is not in your silver membership plan. What a complete waste of time for those of us who are still around and want to play yet would like to go f2p. Now thats not saying I can't afford the subscription fee, its simply saying that the f2p is a waste of effort, time and money considering there are so many flaws with the game including the PVP. Have fun in your venture and I hope it brings you to your knees begging for your playerbase back when GuildWars2 hits. In addition I'd like to add all you f2p people looking into EQ, I suggest otherwise, even if you level to 95 and have whatever gear you can get via consignment or lower status raid gear before Veil of Alaris, with your options limited in your AAs it will be virtually impossible for you to matter in EQ. What i mean to say is AAs and gear are EVERYTHING! You wont stand toe to toe in pvp with the same class in the same gear if they have more AAs than you! With that being said don't waste your time, Tera hits soon, GW2 after that sometime save your gaming efforts for something worthwhile!
With much disappointment,
Kovalit/Soulcontrol/Raizzenn/Dhampirr/Veinlash/Sour/Sepiroth/Meirox & too many more to name.
LOL
# Mar 17 2012 at 6:20 AM Rating: Default
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47 posts
you do realize you can pay for a single gear unlock right? you can UNLOCK your precious gear and stop your whineing! try being a EQOA fan pal! Sony is SHUTTING IT DOWN! 100%, im just sick of seeing EQ fans complaining about the game NON STOP! you guys are really really bad with that! I see it everywhere! We played EQOA for 9 years and paid 15 a month for a game that we loved so dam much we didn't care it had only ONE expansion in 9 years! NO SUPPORT since 2005,and many other issues, consider yourself fortunate enough to still have those toons from 10 years ago! My first toons EVER are going to be GONE on the 29th of march forever! I met my wife on EQOA in 2003, her toons will be GONE! The letters we wrote one another before we even became serious... GONE! so please spare me the bullsh*t my poor EQ game is ruined okay!?
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# Mar 16 2012 at 3:29 PM Rating: Decent
*
180 posts
So basically, youre mad because you cant take all the extra stuff that you get when you PAY to play to the F2P format? You gotta be kidding? I mean, I think Sony does a lot of stupid things and f2p may be one of them, but youre basically mad because they wont let you have something for nothing?
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LOL
# Mar 16 2012 at 7:37 PM Rating: Decent
3 posts
@mtcards
Hardly 'mad', I just think its a complete waste of time/effort/resources when most new players who try the f2p will get frustrated with EQs learning curve compared to other MMOs they are already used to. Aside from people who already play EQ not many enjoy how much harder it is compared to say, WoW or Rift, or really any other sugar coated MMO that holds your hand through the entire game and thus will most likely NOT level up a character to level cap let alone pay for subscription to get the necessary AAs for a viable toon. Whether you are on bluebie server or pvp server it won't matter. As for my mention of not being able to use my gear, its not "extra" stuff, it is what took me 10 years to amass and without it the toon has 0 gear, starting with 0 gear at lvl 95 is pretty pathetic. Consignment gear is laughable and would only get anyone who attempted to pvp with it or pve for that matter, Slaughtered.
if only the consignment rewards offered were:
# Mar 16 2012 at 9:25 AM Rating: Decent
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544 posts
given to the toons who could actually use them. the highest toons on each of my accounts-- all in their 90's -- were offered 4 levels of consignment gear. however, i couldn't even open the reward window on any of the others. what use does a level 90+ have for this junk? i have toons for whom this would be appropriate- why is it they can't even get it? this i consider an insult. to offer it to the correct levels woudl be appropriate, but now each time my highest toon comes into the game, i have several more windows to close before i can even start buffing.
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if only the consignment rewards offered were:
# Mar 16 2012 at 12:21 PM Rating: Good
I totally understand how the game gets very hard at the higher levels with out serious time and AAs which require a paid membership.
People don't have to be 95 to enjoy the game.
A low level 55 toon with 250AAs can be fun when all the others in the group are in the same situation.
AAs make the characters unique so everyone is not the same.
The goal is not to beat everquest its instead to have something to look forward to and enjoy the journey and for most people that's many years of content playing a couple hours a night compared to those looking for a 2nd full time job in trying to beat everquest for free.
I got burned out play EQ in 2004. In the last couple weeks I played I enjoy the game and find an enourmous amount of options open to me that each add to my characters progression.
For those that have 4,000AA they can start a new character to box for free and create their own groups for free. 250AAs on a Cleric is definatly valuable to box vs the healing merc.
if only the consignment rewards offered were:
# Mar 16 2012 at 7:26 PM Rating: Decent
3 posts
@ dmanick
No AAs don't create "unique" characters. in EQ its either you have the AAs and can function, or you do not have the AAs and the toon stinks because of it.
250AA on a cleric is not worth any effort put into it fyi any good cleric will tell you that even vs. the merc the merc I would wager can out heal any cleric that has only 250aa.
Yes, if people seriously start from scratch and actually play the game the way it should, then they may have fun with the lvl 50ish toons. Hell they may even have fun to 65, but once 70+ hits and they don't have the AAs they need its gonna be a bad experience from that point on. just my 2cp worth take it or leave it doesnt matter to me.
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