It’s not quite the legend that its predecessor was, and it’s not the heavily anticipated Next Big Thing, but for a “middle child,” EverQuest II is getting a lot of attention from it’s “parents” these days.

Last week, we heard about SOE’s offering players the opportunity to be autoleveled up to 85 in EQ2 – one character for free from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, and costing Station Cash otherwise – and the removal of item restrictions for free accounts. I recently got the chance to chat with EQ2 Senior Director Holly Longsdale and EQ Franchise Director Dave Georgeson about these changes and how they reflect on the future of the EverQuest franchise.

MMOBomb: First, give us the basic concept and reasoning behind your upcoming promotion, Hero’s Call.

DG: One of the reasons why we’re doing all this work right now in EverQuest II is because that experience of coming back into the game was pretty boring after some of the changes we made in the last couple of years. People were coming back into the game and having to remember not only what their characters were like five years ago when they quit, but having to learn all this new AA stuff, having to figure out item unlockers, all this crazy stuff.

So by letting people come back in Hero’s Call and letting them have come to level 85 where all the other players are, and being able to get into it as easily as the team could make it, we’re hoping that this event is really fantastic. We hope that when people come back, they’ll find it a very comfortable, very entertaining experience than the last time they were in.

MMOBomb: That sounds great for returning players, but what about new players? The level cap is 95, and don’t you need to pay for an expansion to access post-85 content?

HL: No, because as of Oct. 1, Destiny of Velious and all the updates we’ve done in the past year will be part of free-to-play, and that all goes up to 95.

DG: Level 85 is reasonably close to level 95. Players can play together pretty easily, but this still gives players the opportunity to get in, get geared up, and learn how to play their class before they’re in the endgame.

HL: Also, we’re getting rid of item unlocks for free players. One of the biggest issues we had for returning players coming back into the game as free-to-play was that their gear was locked, and they felt ineffective. So if you used to play the game before free-to-play and had some cool, epic items, you can now come into the game and everything’s unlocked and you have all the stats you expected.

MMOBomb: What about crafting/tradeskills? Any boosts for that?

DG: Crafters require some level of demand, or there’s just nothing for them to do. One of the ways that you maintain demand is by making it difficult to become a high-level crafter, which is why we’re not providing a shortcut.

MMOBomb: So you obviously understand how older MMOs are faring, with regards to how people don’t want to spend forever leveling just to get to the endgame. How are you planning to approach this sort of thing in EverQuest Next?

DG: Well… we don’t have levels [in EQN]! We might have population situations in the future, but it’s hard to tell because it’s a radically different kind of game. There are ways to vertically progress, but it’s very much designed so that even if you play a couple of years and one of your friends joins, you’ll be able to play together.

MMOBomb: Great to hear! Thanks, guys!

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  1. Bic Boi on October 3, 2013

    I must be the only one who sees this idea of “Here you go, try max level” as being disastrous for a game’s community; you’re taking a large amount of low levels and putting them at a level where they have no clue what they’re doing. I sense a lot of raid failures and rage due to this idea..

    • Bic Boi on October 3, 2013

      I’ll also add that contrary to what these guys think, endgame is not something learned overnight.

    • Jellopy on October 4, 2013

      Well yeah but it also gives new players a foundation to fund other characters too which is why they do it, that attracts new players. Usually you only see this happen when a games community is starting to shrink but I don’t think that is the case with EQ2 so i am not sure about this.

  2. Cacalips on October 2, 2013

    Funny, when TERA did this last weekish the title was called: “CHEAT”

    • Retsinis on October 2, 2013

      That’s because Tera’s barely been out two years, maybe less.

      • Thatguy on October 2, 2013

        And Tera brought you to two levels behind max, this is a full ten levels behind max level. To me there is quite the difference. And as Retsinis said Tera is a fairly recent game

    • Jellopy on October 2, 2013

      There’s also the fact that Tera was intended to be a challenge to players with the way combat handles and progression. Not saying EQ2 is easy but it’s different, you have to practice or have innate skill to progress quickly in an action mmo like tera so throwing players right into end game content is skipping past a lot of learned skill whereas in eq2 it is in my opinion and most likely many others simply a time saver since players still have the 10 slowest levels in the game to progress through to get into the real end game content and will be forced to learn the things that will benefit them at that level to make it that far. Tera you are constantly learning functions of the game that never become useless and often are still vital at the max level so bypassing that results in an overpowered beginner who doesn’t know how to benefit their guild so not only are you granting them things that more skilled players earned the hard way but also ensuring that they aren’t prepared to actually benefit high level guilds and will likely ruin parties for others unless they have experience with other games like tera.

      Games following structures similar to everquest are time consuming but anyone can learn them with some patience so i understand how this is considered differently between the two games. One is skill based,the other is learned over time.

  3. Jellopy on October 2, 2013

    Hey Spunk, This probably isn’t the ideal place to bring this up but being the most recent headline i figure you will at least see this here. When are you going to add an article on Steam OS to the site, I’m sure a lot of people would be interested to apply to the beta if they use steam but haven’t caught the details on this yet. I’d say it definitely fits into the site and an entire free os designed to enhance gaming performance and stability is a pretty big deal. Sure parts of it aren’t going to be free but you can at least post on the os its self since it will be free to everyone and the fact that it will bring free to play pc games to a console setting without the hefty fees of the upcoming game consoles kinda fits in too i guess. Am I the only one excited about this? That controller is gonna kick ass.

    • spunkify on October 2, 2013

      Hello Jellopy,

      We actually discuss the console as a Da-bomb (mine personally) on the F2P cast this week. Look for the EP tomorrow. As for it being on the site, the tricky thing to ask is, what does it add to F2P gaming? So far the free OS is nice, but that isn’t something that enables anyone to play extra F2P games or previously inaccessible ones since it still requires a PC to run.

      Still I’d recommend checking out the podcast like I mentioned before. I give it much praise there 🙂

      • Jellopy on October 2, 2013

        Well I see what you are saying but it does add a less costly means to bring free to plays into a relaxed living room environment but i guess if people have the money and are intent enough they can do that without it, though it is annoying having to have your mouse and keyboard on the couch with you to play the way things are currently. It doesn’t really add anything entirely new but it does give you a free os that will make it easier on older pcs to run current mmos without lag even at the lowest setting. So it does benefit current games and it kinda opens up a new approach for future games to take with the added features of steam box and steam os but i agree that until we actually see those things it probably isn’t enough of a change for a headline on the site. Hopefully we will see some of this stuff come soon though. And it’s cool you at least brought it up on the cast,more people will know about it than previously for that most likely.

        • chefmadness on October 2, 2013

          I disagree, There are many f2p games on steam & the idea behind steam os is to make it exactly like steam & make it just like the download for windows. It is going to eventually have everything that steam has to offer & then some\ including all of the f2p games steam has to offer. Most games are designed on & for linux & then transfigured for windows any way. Most devs are saying that they will be designing games for steam os f2p & b2p.

  4. Zariarn on October 1, 2013

    I would love to see a graphical overhaul of this game. It’s a fantastic MMO with dated graphics. They’re not terrible. Just dated.

  5. tomas benitez on October 1, 2013

    i like this game so…. mounted your mom

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