I received an email the other day inviting me to come back to EverQuest II for two free months. Contrary to what I had always believed, I’m actually not special, as this free game play offer has been made to anyone with inactive EverQuest II (and EverQuest) accounts as part of the Living Legacy promotion. This is great timing for me, coming right after a post here waxing nostalgic about my time in EQII. That evening I double-clicked my EQII icon for the first time in three months.
Kudos to SOE for running this promotion; I think it’s a great thing for the game and will hopefully bring in some new players. I don’t think it’ll get me back on a permanent basis just yet; three months hasn’t been long enough for me to overcome my EQII burnout, but I’ve always maintained that I’ll probably be back in EQII at some point. According to the event calendar there’s some really cool sounding things in store for Norrath leading up to the next expansion, particularly in August, where it lists:
Evolution of EverQuest Event – Massive In-Game Experience
An event of tremendous magnitude and a first ever for the MMO world. Almost two million players have been selected to participate. Details to be released in July.
Colour me intrigued. During my time in EQII I often lamented the lack of marketing for the game, and I’m hoping this promotion is just one step towards correcting that. Who knows, maybe you’ll actually be able to find a box of the next expansion on a store shelf! Wouldn’t that be something?
The timing of this promotion is perfect. My observations of the MMO blogosphere of late tells me that a lot of people are in between games right now, looking for something else to try. Yes, I know the blogosphere is not the pinnacle of MMO market research, but it’s all I’ve got right now. This promotion is a clever way for EverQuest to get its name out there amongst all the talk of Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Wrath of the Lich King, etc. By getting its name out there, and by offering the entire game for free, SOE has made it very tempting for those people in between games to come back and give the game a shot.
Obviously these people coming back left at some point for one reason or another, so the events taking place over the next two months will have to be fairly substantial to keep them playing. That’s why I’m so excited for this “Evolution of EverQuest” event coming in August. This will be their “big hook”, the event designed to get those people playing for free to start laying down some cash, and to forget about all those other games, so it better be big.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for this promotion seems to have put me in the minority. For reasons I just can’t understand, many veteran EQII players are up in arms over all these people getting freebies that they aren’t eligible to receive. The general theme of it has been “loyal customers” getting the shaft in Sony’s mad dash for more money. “I’ve been playing the game since launch, but apparently you don’t care about me because I’m not getting any free crap!”
All I can say is, “what the hell?”, the promotion just started, and it’s been said that “loyal customers” will be rewarded. You’ve been playing since launch, kudos to you. SOE doesn’t need to market to you, they need to bring former customers back and show them how the game has changed, and this promotion is an excellent way to do so. What are these returning players getting that has you so up in arms? Let’s have a look:
Available for all returning inactive players:
Norrath Adventure Pass – Magical transportation to new areas of Norrath
Make Over Mirror – Change the look of your avatar
Pouch of the Prodigal – 12 slot bag
XP Potion Pack – Three-pack of potions to jump-start your advancement
Granted upon Purchase and Release of the Next EQII Expansion:
Cloak of the Void – A specially designed cloak created exclusively for the upcoming expansion
Really? There’s nothing in that list that I would find of use for a veteran EQII player, unless that cloak looks so fantastically awesome that you had to have it in your appearance slot. Of course, the real meat of the deal would be the two free months and the free download of Rise of Kunark, including all expansions. Yes, that’s a great deal to be sure, but the only way they can get new people to come and give the game a shot. The last two expansions have included every expansion previously released, yet I don’t recall anyone getting all fussy-pants over that. To me it’s almost the same thing as buying the hot new game of the day on release day for $60 and then complaining a year later when you see it in the bargain bin for $20. What’s more likely to get a returning player to subscribe? Giving them everything they need to enjoy your game, or telling them you’d love to have them back but they need to shell out $20 each for Desert of Flames, Kingdom of Sky, Echoes of Faydwer, and Rise of Kunark. Yeah, no thanks.
These “loyal customers” should be thankful that SOE seems to be doing something to keep EverQuest relevant in todays MMO market, and that to me, is a far greater reward than a 12-slot bag.