I've been building my EQ2E accounts with a view to having the ability to play it while not paying for the game.
My original idea was based around 3 silver accounts which would give me 9 character slots, enough to pick up one of every crafter. It's also enough to pick up most of the classes as per EQ2's original definition of class.
EQ2 originally had 4 archetypes split into 3 classes each. Then each class split into 2 subclasses for a total of 24.
In my opinion there are few classes where it's worth playing both subclasses. They're too similar. Even ones that sound rather different actually play pretty similar. For instance you'd think Ranger and Assassin are ranged and melee - but they're not, to dps effectively at end game on a Ranger you need to stand in melee range so you can use both melee and ranged attacks. And the Assassin has a number of powerful ranged arts.
Another aspect of using 3 silver accounts is that race packs come as a set of 3. 3 character slots + 1 race pack gives you the option to roll 3 different non-free races on your silver account.
In addition I've set up a private guild to get around space and gold storage limitations.
So here's the plan for 3 accounts worth of characters:
Human (Free) Inquisitor (Free) Provisioner
Barbarian (Free) Berserker (Free) Woodworker
Erudite (Free) Wizard (Free) Alchemist
(Sarnak, Troll, Dark Elf race pack purchased, 3 character classes to be purchased.)
Sarnak Fury Sage
Troll Shadowknight Tailor
Dark Elf Assassin Jeweller
(Ogre, Ratonga, Iksar race pack purchased, Dirge purchased, other classes to be purchased)
open, will make this one an Armourer
I also have some Bronze mules, mainly as a way of sorting inventory.
I've decided to omit two of the crafter professions from my scheme. Weaponsmith makes very little that Woodworker doesn't cover. There are wooden versions of most types of weapon - Mage staff, Priest hammer, one handed Fighter, two-handed Fighter, etc. And Carpenter is mainly for the home decorators, for people like Saylah who have an artistic eye and a love of design.
Regarding the classes I have
Fighter: Warrior Crusader (Brawler is the missing one)
Priest: Druid Cleric (Shaman is the missing one)
Scout: Predator Bard (Rogue is the missing one)
Mage: Sorceror (Summoner and Enchanter are missing)
I've got two open slots so quite easy to round out the selection if I decide I'd like to try something I haven't got.
So how much will all this cost?
I inherited 1100 Station Cash on my old EQ2 account and have dipped into Free Realms on the others, you get 250 for setting foot in the game.
Total SC cost =
One Guild Charter @ 1000
3 upgrades to Silver @ 1000 each = 3000
2 race packs @ 750 each = 1500
4 character unlocks @ 750 each = 3000
1 copy of Sentinel's Fate for £4.95
So after the free points it's costing me about £58. If I find myself in the position of wanting to raid I'll probably go Gold for as long as I'm actively raiding for another £9 per month.
That's a pretty good deal for 5 years of EQ2. If I had wanted to I could have gone to EQ2 Live and had less restrictions but those same 5 years would cost me almost 10 times as much (about £540).
And I've actually spent a little more than the plan as I tried Gold for a month in the process of figuring everything out.
There's a truism that people who spend money in a free to play game spend more than if they had just subbed.
I also like just having it there if I want it. I don't have to argue with my conscience about whether I'm allowed to try Minecraft or free Lotro when it would be wasting my EQ2 sub to do so. I'm finding subs these days to be something of a straightjacket.
I planned this and implemented a lot of this before the recent announcement that you can buy extra character slots. I think if I were starting now I'd do a 7 slot Silver account with private guild. Slightly more expensive but any upgrades such as Sentinel's Fate or Gold would apply to all characters.