Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Those Free to Play Games

I've been playing Guild Wars for a few years now. If you don't know, it's an MMORPG, and if you don't know what that is, nothing I say from here will make any sense to you! I came to Guild Wars from EverQuest and EQ2. I loved EverQuest so much I was a member of their volunteer customer service program for something like four years. I left the program because of timing, and because the things they required Guides to do changed, and because it seemed the players weren't really all that interested in those changes. It could have been really great, but I had many days with no takers and that was very discouraging.

So, I left the Guide program and became just a regular player. The problem was I didn't play very often (something happened in my guild and no one was ever around to hunt with me and it was all very annoying and you really can't solo in EQ), so I just wasted that monthly fee more times than not. I eventually cancelled my account. But I am a gamer, and I needed a game. I tried Star Wars Online, which was ok but advancement was very slow to me, and I never saw any of the storyline. I played Earth and Beyond for a time, which was a really awesome game, beautifully rendered, but with an incredibly small player base. I never tried WoW, I hated the art style and animation. Then Fox told me about Guild Wars. It was similar to EverQuest, only without the monthly fee. I started to play and I was totally hooked. And I further loved it because it was ok if life got busy and I didn't play for months at a time - I wasn't wasting money in subscription fees.

And I, like millions of others, am eagerly anticipating Guild Wars 2, but I digress.

In that time, Lord of the Rings Online came out, and Final Fantasy Online. I was told that both of these games were absolutely beautiful, but I was just so happy not paying a monthly fee that I didn't try either. It was like the console games my brother and I would play together (Secret of Mana, one of the BEST Nintendo RPGs ever!); you buy a game and play it when you want it. Sure, I advance slower in the game that way, but at least I'm not wasting money!

Just this month, EverQuest launched a free to play model, where you have limited access to the game for free, or you could subscribe to a couple tiers of membership to get even more access. I heard LOTRO did something like this as well. I would love to knock around EverQuest again, just for all the memories. I actually got an e-mail from SOE stating that with their new free to play model, my account had been "upgraded." I think by upgraded, they meant from inactive to active and free.

Now, the thing with EQ's new F2P offering is that it's limited. You only have the option to play four races (no elves) and four classes (no paladins or bards). This is a bit of a hang-up for me, as my two main characters were an Erudite Paladin and a Wood Elf Bard, even my Guide character was a Half Elf Paladin, and I can't recreate any of them! Booo!!!! I could go on and on about the awesomeness of the EverQuest Bard class, but that would be another digression.

I would like to relive my early EQ memories again, even if I can't do it with the same races and classes that I am used to. I have no desire to start playing that game with any regularity so I can totally save on that monthly fee, but just to see some places and jog some memories might be fun.

I remember watching my brother play EQ the first time (my brother and I have this fairly unique ability to get as much enjoyment out of watching someone play a video game as we do playing it ourselves- remind me to tell you about Resident Evil 2 some time!). He was a Wood Elf, and their starting city is high in the trees. He couldn't figure out how to get down to the forest floor where all the baddies were that you had to kill for experience, so he found another player and asked, "Pardon me, I am new, how does one get down from here?"

And the guy, a Barbarian, if I recall, said, "Jump! ‘Tis not far down!" and then he stood up and ran off the edge of the platform. Then my brother gingerly walked to the edge and looked down and there was our Barbarian friend, dead at the bottom. Needless to say, we did not follow his advice and asked someone else, who took us to the lift.

Yeah, I think I might have to log in and knock around a bit. Maybe tomorrow I'll share my first EQ adventure with you!

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