Hot on the heels of SOE's announcement that EverQuest II would be getting a free-to-play component later this year comes this interview with producer Dave Georgeson about the Extended service on Ten Ton Hammer.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you feel the introduction of the Extended service will affect the population of the Live servers?
Dave: In many ways, it's a bit of an experiment. We know what our players have told us, and have told us repeatedly, is that they do not want the things offered in the Extended service on the Live servers. They don't want to have anything to do with that. They like the way they are playing and they want to continue playing in the game where they have to have earned the really cool stuff, and not have purchased it.
We believe them, and that's why we set up a completely separate service. Now we'll see. The fact of the matter is that on the subscription side people have a lot of friends already. They've got guilds, they've invested months of time making really great guild halls and ranking up their guilds. There are a lot of reasons for them not to be attracted to move over to the new service where that stuff wouldn't be in existence. I'm sure there will be some that will want to go over to the new service simply because it's a wild new world. I remember back in EverQuest 1 when they would open a new world and it would be a huge Oklahoma Land Rush trying to be the first kids on the block to reach the max level.
So I expect some of that to occur, but I also expect that after that initial rush and after those people get onto the leaderboards, I expect many will go back to the subscription service. Now will that happen? I don't know. But whatever does happen basically boils down to the fact that we are providing the opportunity that they want. If they end up flocking to the free-to-play, it will be because they like it better. If they want to stay on the subscription side, then that's great too.
The reason we're offering free-to-play is so that the people out there who are unaware of EverQuest II, or who are being dissuaded from even trying it because they don't want to pay for a box copy and commit to a subscription, this will let them get into it and try it for a while and realize that it kicks ass.
Ten Ton Hammer: Were there any other motivations to offer the game as a free-to-play service?
Dave: When I first took over the game, one of the first things I noticed was that this game kicks ass. But unfortunately gamers are of the attitude that if it's not the newest thing then they don't look at it. So what we're trying to do here is remove the obstacles to entry to reach the vast majority of gamers out there who are not even MMO players. I know they're interested in virtual worlds. I have set up worlds for free-to-play players in the past. I know that they want something rich. They want something deep. If we make it available to them, I hope they come check it out.
So in doing this we'll be the biggest, baddest free-to-play opportunity that exists in the world. There isn't anything better that's free-to-play than what we can offer right now. I'm hoping that this makes a big splash and a lot of people find out about it because it is a damn good game.