I fired up EQ2E and was favourably impressed.
I have rather been holding off on trying EQ2E. The business model seems off-putting and I'm paying for Age of Conan until September. I thought about it today and I realised that although I rather like AoC it doesn't compete with other games and so I'll probably never subscribe. Therefore anything I do in AoC is kinda wasted because after September I'll be forever locked out of that content. For a casual game subs don't make much sense to me.
I am interested in 4 diku style games all of which I see as broadly similar. Purely on preference I would rank them:
In terms of the appeal of the business model I would rank them:
In particular as I'm mainly playing single player games, strategy games and Eve and am also much busier with non-game activities a sub simply isn't justified. So I may well up playing Lotro as my main diku even though it's my least favourite simply because of the business model.
EQ2E downloads super fast these days. They really have done a great job on the streaming client.
The theme tune always touches me, I love the main EQ2 theme and it makes me feel like I've come home when I return to EQ2.
There's only about 4 races available but it includes Barbarian, Erudite and Human so 4 of the best. All neutral races. The only race that isn't there that I used to rather favour is Sarnak, the over-powered dragonmen of Timourous Deep. They've rejigged the racial abilities so my Barbarian has +5% speed and an improvement to Sprint which are awesome.
I went with Barbarian Berserker. Probably one of the worst characters to get a raid spot with but I don't care because I'm not expecting to raid. The choices were:
Guardian or Berserker
Templar or Inquisitor
Wizard or Warlock
Swashbuckler ot Brigand
All very solid picks, I'm not going to pine for the unavailable ones. Not like they're making us all play Monks or what have you.
I started in New Halas, a tundra region. It's rather like starter areas everywhere, it feels more generic than the wonderful Timorous Deep (which of course is still available).
The AA tree has the Shadow Odyssey AAs available, the first time I've seen that. So tons of choice there.
I have limited bag space but that's partially offset by them giving you ginormous bags. At level 4 I have a 24 slot bag (that I started with), a 12 slot harvesting bag (from the crafter trainer), and a 36 slot bank box (from the crafter trainer). So talk to the crafter trainer even if you don't want to craft.
Combat is fun. EQ2 combat is generally slower than most dikus but the Berserker is on the more violent end of the scale.
Overall I really like it. I loaded it up with the intention of playing for free but I can see myself spending $10 for the one-off upgrade. I think Lotro has a much friendlier F2P system because you can gradually earn cash shop points by simply playing and because the one off payment also gets you points. But I prefer EQ2 as a game.
With F2P there really is nothing to lose as long as you have good impulse control. This will definitely sit on my hard drive for years now. I may even sub at times to do some raiding knowing that unlike WoW when that sub lapses it's not all lost, I can still access my characters.