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And here is the press release celebrating the momentous occasion:
EVERQUEST® MAKES TRANSITION TO FREE-TO-PLAY
Online Gaming Pioneer Celebrates 13th Anniversary with Special In-Game Activities and New Membership Model
SAN DIEGO – March 16, 2012 – Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) today announced that it is celebrating the 13th anniversary of its landmark massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), EverQuest®(EQ), by transitioning the game to a free-to-play model. Recently inducted into the GDC Online Awards’ Hall of Fame, EverQuest now offers a variety of options that cater to players’ different needs and preferences so they can choose to play the game in a way that suits them best – such as recurring vs. non-recurring subscriptions and Free through Gold memberships.
“Through 18 successful expansions and countless other game updates, EverQuest has forged its place in history amongst the MMO and online game elite,” said Dave Georgeson, director of development of the EverQuest franchise. “With one of the most loyal player communities in the industry, we believe that after 13 years we need to provide them with a wide variety of ways to play the game on their terms. Players can now choose to play in a way that suits them best and continue to expand their game experience…until the next milestone birthday!”
To celebrate its 13th birthday and move to free-to-play, beginning today EverQuest players will be treated to a variety of amazing in-game activities and game updates, including:
• Lucky 13 – Players can now embark on anniversary missions and quests, surrounded by anniversary décor in the “Plane of Knowledge,” that follows a special 13th anniversary theme:
o Players can experience 13 new quests
o A spectacular mission as some of the iconic villains of EverQuest
o A Raid to stop a familiar foe from gaining ultimate power.
o And over 40 events from past anniversaries
• Hero’s Journey – A book to guide players through a series of achievements from level one to level 85. Utilizing and improving upon content that is already in the game, characters may begin this journey at any level.
• Improved Navigation – An added zone guide, this window is a quick way to look up zones in the game by level, zone connections, and other data about the zone.
• Zoning Path Finder – The zone path finder generates a path between any chosen zone and any other zone in the world. Additionally, zone connections have been added to the Find window.
• Improved Find Tracking – Find tracking is now visible in the map window. Players will be able to see your ‘find wisp’ in the map window and it will auto center on the path and zoom in and out so you can see the whole path.
• Maps – Improvements to the maps have been made to elevate players’ adventures. Maps now support custom map directories, have added map label searching, the ability to right click on any point on the map to attempt to bring up a visible path to it.
Since its launch in 1999, EverQuest players have adventured through Norrath and accomplished gaming feats that only a 13-year-old game could accomplish, including:
• There are nearly as many NPCs in EverQuest as there are in the American Postal Union: The total population of Norrathian NPCs is 344,935
• EverQuest’s Wealthiest Player is Nearly 16 Times Richer than Bill Gates! If the game’s Platinum pieces weigh an ounce, then in today’s market, EverQuest’s wealthiest player’s worth in the real world would be equivalent to $893 billion – that’s nearly 16 times richer than Microsoft’s Bill Gates’ estimated worth!
• More than twice the age of the oldest person to have lived: A day in EQ is 72 minutes; that said, a character that was created when the game launched on March 16, 1999, is 260 years old this year on March 16
• It’s always OktoberFest in EQ: Since launch, EverQuest has brewed more than 330 brew varieties in Norrath, compared to 1,927 breweries in the U.S.
• 450 times the spells used in the Harry Potter series: 32,882 spells created in EverQuestAlmost one Dragon per square mile in Norrath: There have been 1,126 Dragons bred in EverQuest
• It is the 179th largest country in the world: There are 1,050 square miles of land in Norrath
• Faster than a Cheetah! The fastest mount in Norrath clocks in at 88.8 mph!
Originally launched in 1999, EverQuest arrived as a brand new evolution within the respective MMO, RPG and online gaming genres, with continued recognitions over its epic 13-year history for pioneering major concepts such as guilds and raiding online. EverQuest now joins the ranks of fellow free-to-play favorites DC Universe™ Online and EverQuest® II – both of which successfully made the transition to free-to-play within the past year.
EverQuest’s new free-to-play system is now available to all PC players worldwide, including options for Free, Silver ($5.00 USD) and Gold ($14.99 USD/month) memberships.
A matrix further detailing the three new EQ membership levels is available here: http://everquest.station.sony.com/free/.
EverQuest is rated T for Teen by the ESRB with the content descriptors for suggestive themes and the use of alcohol and violence.
For more information about EverQuest, visit: http://everquest.com/everquest.com.
About Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online games. Best known for its blockbuster hits and franchises, including EverQuest®, EverQuest® II, Champions of Norrath®, PlanetSide®, Free Realms®, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, and DC Universe™Online, SOE creates, develops and provides compelling online entertainment for a variety of platforms. SOE is building on its proven legacy and pioneering the future of online worlds through creative development and inspired gameplay design for audiences of all ages. To learn more, visit www.soe.com.