I read via EQ Wire that there are changes coming to the Free to Play restrictions for Everquest II on 1st October (also the launch date for heroic characters). Gear unlocks will no longer be needed for the higher tiers of equipment, this was just beginning to be an issue for my inquisitor main as I was leveling him towards 50 over the summer. It’ll be a very welcome change as my experiment with a 3 month subscription has left me doubting it’s worth it for me at present. I like the game and play it regularly but not so intensively that I feel like I can justify a subscription, but I wasn’t looking forward to having to ‘unlock’ his best pieces of equipment.
Conversely of course this has removed one more ‘reason’ for me to subscribe – it’s a good thing that SoE is moving away from punishing free players by so many restrictions that they feel forced to subscribe (SWTOR, looking at you!). There’s also the question of master level spells (see Improving Spells on this wiki for details of this). I’ve been busy upgrading my spells through the research system and have a good number of master level spells now on two different characters (inquisitor and warden). Given the pending introduction of heroic characters this will soon be an issue for players who haven’t yet had to contemplate such unlocks – the apparent generosity of the removal of item restrictions is balanced by the need to unlock spell upgrades to be competitive, perhaps?
There are a few new benefits for subscribers to balance against the removal of restrictions for bronze or silver level accounts (non-subscribers). They will receive a permanent boost of 15% to coin loot rewarded in-game and a 10% speed increase to all mounts. The latter, as Wilhelm notes in his post on this, will only increase the already “terrifyingly fast” ground mount speeds. I must admit trying to navigate Kelethin’s treetop pathways on a steed is not for the faint-hearted!