Everquest will launch as F2P on March 16, 2012. There will be some changes made to the game in support of this change, as well as special rules that apply to free accounts. See the SOE FAQ for details.
Current subscribers will be classed as “Gold” tier under the new scheme. $15 per month, 8 character slots per server, 10 bag slots, 2 shared bank slots, etc. Gold users also have access to in-game support (/petition), and the two TLP servers (Fippy and Vulak). Recurring subs (not month-by-month) get 500 Station Cash per month. Only Gold accounts can use “prestige items”, which are high end group and raid items from recent expansions, as well as most augments (!).
All accounts are given House of Thule for free, no need to buy extra expansions just to play. Veil of Alaris must be bought if you want to access its content or features – like level 90+ or to purchase the new guild halls.
All Free and Silver accounts are limited to four races (human, erudite, barbarian, gnome) and four classes (warrior, cleric, rogue, wizard). They can also use only rank 1 spells (level 71+). Additional races and classes can be purchased in some way. They will also receive some forms of in-game advertising.
Free accounts can have 2 character slots per server, and 4 bag slots. They are also restricted to 250 AAs, 100 platinum per level, 30 Loyalty points per week and Apprentice tier 1/2 mercenaries.
There are other restrictions on house/guild hall/guild ownership and use of the “broker” function in the Bazaar (setting a character in the Bazaar as a buyer), and also on use of mail and chat functions, as you might expect.
Silver accounts can have 4 character slots per server and 6 bag slots. They can also have 500pp per level, 1,000 AAs, 60 Loyalty points per week, and any Apprentice mercenaries (but not the better Journeyman ones). Use of housing/guild halls/guilds is unrestricted, as are chat functions.
You can convert a Free account to Silver for $5, or the equivalent in Station Cash. Any previous subscribers or purchasers of any expansion will automatically be Silver, and any previously created characters will be allowed, even if they aren’t one of the allowed races or classes.
Most restrictions can be unlocked through a purchase; this presumably will work through a Station Cash purchase in the marketplace.
When you use the find command, as well as seeing a wisp trail in game, there will also show a trail on the map. You can also create a destination for your wisp by right clicking on the map. Zone lines have been added to the find command and you can request zone to zone paths, including Hero’s Journey zones, your bind point, and various other options.
Player made maps will be stored in separate directories that won’t be over written.
You can now search individual zones for specific label text.
The Mines of Gloomingdeep tutorial quests have been revised, with 13 new tutorials added and an overarcing task, and a new tutorial NPC in the Plane of Knowledge, located near the Loyalty NPC (near the Crescent Reach stone), which will cover topics like AAs, power sources, etc.
The Hero’s Journey (sometimes called Golden Path) is a development of the Achievement system, starting with quests in TSS zones – Crescent Reach onwards, which has 5 new achievements added. It is mostly existing quests, but with improved spawn and drop rates, and some rewards have been adjusted (up to level 70 quests). It will take you up to level 80 through TSS, Dragonscale Hills, the Buried Sea and Seeds of Destruction. There are some achievements for things like the Dragons of Norrath progression, the Skull of Den Lord Rakban from Depths of Darkhollow, Breakdown in Communications (GoD), Jonas Dagmire’s Skeletal Hand (TBS), and the augment quests (presumably from SoD, but possibly the SoF one as well).
On first login, players will received a book on their cursor. This you should keep and it will give you level appropriate information about Hero’s Journey zones, quests and starting NPCs.