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.