If you follow me for very long, and most assuredly if you read my older stuff, you know I am a big fan and player of the game Everquest II. In recent years though it has been mostly a love/hate relationship. I have so many fond memories of playing the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game. I started playing the game back in 2004 and have been a subscriber of the game on and off for the last ten years.
Recently they made the game free to play, and with that the need to generate money by selling literally every aspect of the game from potions, mounts, levels, skills, spells, items, etc…. I do not have a problem with that, other than some of the items are garishly horrendous in appearance. But I do take offense when they turn around and give away free stuff to entice players to stay — sort of like a drug pusher on the playground giving out free hits of speed. They are not that coy when it comes to offering free stuff in the hopes that players will continue to buy stuff in the game.
The free stuff just keeps coming and they just keep offering more free stuff. At one point, I just threw up my hands and walked away. It became nothing more than logging into the game to see what futher free stuff was going to be offered.
I left for about a year but then asked a friend if he would be willing to come back, but only if we moved to the RP server and take nothing for free. We start completely over with nothing other than our memories — which for me is pretty faulty anyway.
Our first hours back feel so liberating. We are fighting 10th level orcs and having a challenge. We are accepting nothing for free and will continue to accept nothing on these characters. I am not sure if my friend will continue to honor his pledge or not, but for me I am not going to accept spells or anniversary items in the least. I want to earn every xp point, every platinum coin, every spell book, every item on my person.
Edit: I created a new account, so I came into this game with no anniversary gifts or any legacy items in the least. I further found out that at the free to play, Bronze Level, you cannot interact with the chat channels. I just turned them off, enabling only group chat with my friends. How joyous is it not to read the banter of teenagers blathering about politics or religion — a blessing in disguise.
I wish Sony would create a throw-back retro server that essentially start the game over, with no expansions added — release 1 every 6 months. How cool and fun would that be — I even wish they would make leveling ten times harder, but I doubt they would ever do that.