ZAM assembles its own set of frequently asked questions from concerned players.
We've seen several players from the past poking around various forums asking how exactly they can get back into the game once it goes Free-to-Play. While many questions are addressed in SOE's official F2P FAQ, it simply doesn't help with every situation out there and sometimes the answers may not be clear.
We took the time to compile our own FAQ that we hope will help with a clearer understanding of the many concerns out there. The answers are compiled from a mix of information from SOE's F2P FAQ, developer responses on the forums and personal knowledge of how the current F2P service (EQII Extended) works.
Continue after the jump for ZAM's Returning Player Free-to-Play FAQ!
ZAM's Returning Player Free-to-Play FAQ
When is EverQuest II going Free-to-Play?
EverQuest II is going Free-to-Play on the same day that the Age of Discovery expansion launches: December 6, 2011. [source]
What is happening to The Bazaar and Vox?
The Live Gamer service is being discontinued and, due to the low population on these two servers, they will be merged into other servers. The Bazaar server will be merged into Freeport (the current F2P server), which is a PVE ruleset and has a healthy population over all level ranges. The Vox server will be merged into Nagafen, which is the only other PVP server available. [source]
No specific rules have been released yet for the merges, so we do not know how duplicate names will be handled.
Will there be free server transfers after the transition and Live Gamer server merges?
No free server transfers are being offered. [source]
Were my characters deleted during my absense?
No, your characters should still be there waiting for you!
There were some server merges in 2010; which server am I on now?
We have a list of merged servers right here!
I played on both EverQuest II Legacy (Live) and Extended servers. Will I have too many characters after the transition?
Dave "Smokejumper" Georgeson addressed this recently on the forums. We suggest that you read his thorough response here.
I used to have Station Access but have had an inactive subscription since before All Access was introduced. Do I qualify for grandfathered slots?
No, you do not. Only Station Access subscribers who had a subscription when the All Access subscription plan was introduced (and have continued paying for an All Access plan) have the extra 5 grandfathered character slots. If you formerly had filled up more than your now available character slots and have never purchased character slots, you will need to purchase slots to open up all of your characters. [source]
I copied a character over to the Freeport server. What will happen to my copy?
Your copied character will remain; essentially you will have two of the same type of character. If the copied character came from The Bazaar server then both characters will be on Freeport after the merger. In this instance, if both characters still share the same name, one character will have an "x" appended to the end of its name.
I'll be a returning player, is it worth it to subscribe again?
Returning players will have a default Silver subscription level, which requires no monthly subscription fee but has many restrictions (detailed more below). However, if you pay for a monthly subscription again (Gold subscription level) there are no feature restrictions and no unlocks are necessary. Gold members have everything in the game fully available to them!
In short, if you go Gold, everything remains exactly the same as it used to be.
I used to have an EverQuest II subscription, prior to the transition; if I return, what will my subscription membership level be? What are the restrictions?
You will be a Silver member, which has several restrictions on it. You always have the option to upgrade to a monthly subscription which has no restrictions and requires no unlocks. If you remain with Silver membership level, it has a default of:
- 4 character slots - More character slots can be purchased for 1000SC ($10USD) each.
- 2 shared bank slots
- 3 personal bank slots (per character)
- 40 quest journal entries - Existing amounts over 40 will not be deleted, but no new quests can be received until the amount drops below 40.
- Expert ability upgrades - Existing upgrades above Expert will remain and will not be affected in any way. Upgrades above Expert can be done if unlockers (per ability) are purchased in the Marketplace.
- 20 gold per level (per character) - Existing money above the allowed amount will not be removed, but no new money can be added until the coin amount is dropped below the restricted level.
- 4 inventory bag slots (per character) - Bag slots can be increased to 6 by purchasing unlockers in the Marketplace.
- Four character races - The four free races are Barbarian, Erudite, Half-Elf and Human. Additional races can be opened up by purchasing race unlock packs in the Marketplace. (Note: Accounts that have already unlocked the Freeblood race will still have this race unlocked; otherwise this race can also be opened by purchasing its unlocker in the Marketplace)
- Eight character classes - The eight free classes are Brigand, Swashbuckler, Berserker, Guardian, Inquisitor, Templar, Warlock and Wizard. Additional classes can be opened up by purchasing class unlockers in the Marketplace. (Note: The upcoming Beastlord class is only unlocked by purchasing the Age of Discovery expansion.)
- No Legendary/Fabled equipment - The full restriction is actually no Legendary, Mastercrafted Legendary, Fabled and Mastercrafted Fabled equipment. Any equipment of these qualities will be automatically removed and placed into a character's overflow upon login. Equipment unlockers can be purchased from the Marketplace; each unlocker can only be used on a single item and once that item is unlocked it will remain unlocked. Purchases from the Marketplace are automatically unlocked and can be used by any subscription level.
- Broker purchases only - Broker credits can be purchased from the Marketplace to allow for individual items to be placed on broker for sale.
- Alternate Advancement (AA) slider locked at 50% - There is no way around this other than subscribing.
Check out EverQuest2.com's F2P overview and ZAM's Membership Matrix for more information.
Since Silver members only have 4 character slots, which of my 4 characters will be available for me to play?
The four most recently played characters will be the available ones. The other characters are not deleted and can be played if character slot unlockers are purchased from the Marketplace. You may also have to unlock their races and/or classes to be able to login those characters.
I want to create a character that is not one of the free races and/or classes! How do I do that?
UPDATE: Since our original posting of this SOE has announced that they are grandfathering in *any* character created before December 6, 2011. This will allow that particular character to be played on a Free/Silver account, even if they are normally a locked race/class. However, this does not unlock restricted race/classes for newly created characters on Free/Silver accounts.
To unlock races/classes: there are two ways to do this - sign up for a monthly subscription (Gold membership or All Access) or purchase race and/or class unlockers. The unlockers can be purchased from the character select screen with Station Cash. They can also be purchased in-game from the Marketplace.
My characters are wearing Legendary/Fabled gear, will they be naked?
Yes, they will be sporting some lovely clothing rags and all of your equipment will be in overflow. There are multiple venues to re-equip yourself properly as a Silver member. If you want to stick with your current gear, you can purchase the equipment unlockers from the Marketplace. You can get a set of Mastercrafted or Handcrafted gear to wear in the meantime. Finally, the vast majority of the game was reitemized and, as a result, there were many Treasured quality equipment pieces introduced that are considered a passable stepping stone.
Many current Extended Free and Silver members advise other players at those membership tiers to stick with Mastercrafted armor until around level 85, then to begin using equipment unlockers on Destiny of Velious equipment.
What will happen to all my stuff that is in inaccessible bank, shared bank and/or inventory slots?
Your items in those slots will still be there. You will only be able to remove items/bags from those slots and will not be able to place anything in them. Ensure that you have ample open space to move the items to before you begin that process. Inventory slots can be unlocked to the full 6 but bank slots do not have unlockers. Everyone now has 6 house vault slots as well and those are fully available to any subscription level.
I had items on my broker, what happens to those?
The items will remain there but, as a Silver member, they can only be listed for sale if broker credits (purchased from the Marketplace) are used. Any coin that was earned on the broker can only be collected if your character is not over the 20 gold/level limit for Silver members.
What exactly are Station Cash and the Marketplace?
Station Cash (SC), SOE's virtual currency, is sold at a rate of 100SC = $1 USD. This means that 1000SC = $10 USD, 5000SC = $50 USD and so on. Station Cash can be funded onto your account by using pre-paid cards (limited availability), SMS (text messages), PayPal or credit card.
The Marketplace is the in-game feature that allows you to spend Station Cash to purchase unlockers, account services, appearance items, various house items, some consumables, mounts and more.
How much money is it actually going to cost me as a Free/Silver member to start unlocking races/classes and get back playing?
Unless you're lucky enough to have, for example, a Human Swashbuckler lying around, you're going to be paying at least some money to get into the game. Keep in mind that these are all one-time fees and are only necessary for people not planning to pay a monthly subscription.
- Race Packs: Sold in sets of 3 at 750SC each. The race pack sets are Dwarf, Fae and High Elf; Dark Elf, Troll and Sarnak; Gnome, Halfling and Wood Elf; Iksar, Ogre and Ratonga; and Kerra, Froglok and Arasai. Total cost to unlock all 5 race packs is 3750SC, or $37.50 USD.
- Freeblood Race: The Freeblood race is a premium race sold by itself for 2000SC, or $20 USD.
- Class Packs: Sold individually for 750SC each. The class packs are Assassin, Bruiser, Coercer, Conjuror, Defiler, Dirge, Fury, Illusionist, Monk, Mystic, Necromancer, Paladin, Ranger, Shadowknight, Troubadour and Warden. Total cost to unlock all 16 classes is 12,000SC, or $120 USD.
- Beastlord Class: This class will only be available to people who purchase the Age of Discovery expansion. On the web site the standard version of this expansion costs $40 USD; in the Marketplace after release it is anticipated to follow previous expansion prices, which were available for 4300SC, or $43 USD.
If you were to purchase everything listed above, including the upcoming expansion at Marketplace value, the total cost would be 22,050SC, or $220.50 USD. Without the expansion (but including Freeblood) the cost would be 17,750SC, or $177.50 USD.
Realistically, as a returning player you will likely only be interested in unlocking what is necessary to play your characters. The worst case scenario of having to fully unlock everything individually on the four available characters a Silver member would have is a total of 6000SC, or $60 USD (4 race packs * 750SC each + 4 classes * 750SC each).
If you have, for example, a Dwarf Paladin as the only character that you want to unlock, the initial price isn't as severe. It would only cost you a one-time fee of 1500SC, or $15 USD, to get back into the game.
None of our examples above include opening up more character slots, which are sold in the Marketplace for 1000SC, or $10 USD, each. You can purchase an unlimited number of character slots for your account.
The Destiny of Velious expansion, which has content for level 85+ adventurers and crafters, can also be purchased individually either in the Marketplace, at retail stores or through online retailers such as Amazon.com. Its price currently varies and has recently been spotted as low as $25 USD for the retail version and 1500SC, or $15 USD, in the Marketplace.
It seems like I'll be spending a lot on unlocking things. Why?
A Free-to-Play model needs to either entice people to subscribe or to rely on some micro-transactions. As a returning player it will be harder as you may be faced up-front with having to unlock races and classes and then find your character in their skivvies on top of it all. The race and class unlockers are all one-time fees and the costs of the equipment and ability unlockers can be minimized if used only on level 81+ gear and abilities. You may also find that you want to play all of your previously created characters and will need to purchase character slots, but again, those are one-time fees.
In short, immediately it may feel like a money sink to return, but compared to the previous subscription model of "you can't play the game at all without a monthly subscription", the initial returning cost is likely worth it if you've gotten this far in the FAQ without running away.
As mentioned a few times now, all of these unlocker costs can be avoided if you're interested in a monthly subscription again. Monthly subscriptions have absolutely no restrictions except for the Freeblood race and Beastlord class. Recurring monthly subscriptions will also be rewarded with 500 bonus Station Cash every month.
We hope to see you back soon in EverQuest II!