Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EQ2 Cash Shop - Then and Now

There's lots of opinions circulating about EQ2's recent expensive mount addition to their cash shop, including a recent article over at Massively. Based on comments, this is definitely a heated topic. Those in support of this type of business model feel it will encourage innovation and the extra income will go towards providing more content and a better gaming experience overall.

SOE introduced Station Cash in December 2008. I thought I'd refresh my memory by reading through all the update notes in both the year prior and after to see how well all that extra income has been put to use in EQ2.

In the year 2008 prior to SC, game updates included 1 raid zone, 2 group zones, 1 complete zone revamp, and six events. For those not familiar with the events, this is additional content added that runs for a few weeks involving new NPC's and new quests. I'm not including the holiday events which occur every year. This year also brought the Shadow Odyssey expansion which included additional overland and group/raid dungeons.

In the year 2009 following SC, game updates included 2 raid zones, 2 group zones, 1 complete zone revamp, and three events. This year also included the addition of Moonlight Enchantments and City Festivals. These are events which consist of the same repeatable quests each month as a way of obtaining housing and other fluff items. This also was the first year that an expansion was not released. The Sentinel's Fate expansion eventually was released in February 2010 somewhat incomplete. Dungeons aside, it was a very small expansion, and while the level cap was increased to 90, there were only enough quests to reach level 87.

To be fair, 2008 was a pretty phenomenal year as far as events go and there were other years a bit more sparse. However, given all the positive theories regarding the cash shop, shouldn't EQ2 players have gotten more? Why then was the expansion delayed and so incomplete? They also seem to be going towards more recyclable events that just involve turning the switch on rather than creating completely new events. You can't blame players for feeling gouged and thinking perhaps the money may in fact just be funding their three other games in development and/or deepening someone's pockets. Personally, I'm not a fan of this business model and it was part of the reason I left EQ2 behind.

On the bright side, SOE has a job posting for a Senior Programmer where they state they are "working to revamp, rethink, and enlarge upon the efforts that have gone before, working to make this already excellent game into something even larger, better, and more entertaining for its players." Let's see what the rest of 2010 brings.


Anonymous said...

The delay and incompleteness of the xpac is probably more due to the introduction of Battlegrounds as opposed to station cash items.

The EQ2 live team has also been reduced over time, which is not I think uncommon for a game six years old.

Been playing for over five years now myself. SC items haven't and won't bother me - hasn't impacted my game play at all - and there is still more content in the game then I have time to do.

Aspendawn said...

For sure there are definitely folks still enjoying the game. It just went a direction that didn't accommodate my play style anymore.

But given all this new extra income, not sure why the live team would have to be reduced then.

I played SOE games for 10 years and just have gotten a bit grumpy about them lately over all this stuff. They have made some great games though and kept me entertained for a long while.

Anonymous said...

That's certainly understandable. I do agree that they did go too far to extremes with TSO and to a lesser extent SF in not developing enough small group and/or more casual heroic content. I box as does my SO, and this allows us to do more of the content without needing to rely on pugs.

By the way I do lurk and enjoy your blog :) Hope the previous comments didn't sound harsh, just offering a different perspective ....

Aspendawn said...

Not harsh at all! We all have a different perspective and that's a good thing.

I appreciate your lurking and that I'm not talking to myself hehe.