Sony Online Entertainment has nailed down the launch date for the free-to-play (F2P) model for EverQuest, and it's exactly 13 years years after its original launch: March 16. Previously the company said the new model would arrive sometime in March, but didn’t set a specific date. It was assumed to be on the MMORPG's 13th anniversary due to the festivities.
"We're celebrating EverQuest's 13th birthday in a big way!" SOE reports. "On Friday, March 16, 2012 we will be launching EverQuest Free to Play. Your Way. EQ's birthday is always a big event, and this year we combine it with one of the most exciting things to happen in the history of EQ. Mark your calendars and get ready for one huge celebration, with 13th Anniversary events and the transition to Free to Play both coming on March 16!"
To celebrate the birthday/F2P launch occasion, Sony will host additional events within the game starting that week and leading up to the Special Birthday on Friday. New items are currently being introduced within The Plane of Knowledge to give existing members a taste of what's to come. Other changes and additions include a revamped EverQuest.com website once the F2P model goes live, and an improved Map system.
SOE is also calling on fans to create their own maps which could be used within the game. So far there are no specific details regarding how map-makers and artists will be able to submit their work, but the company says it will ask for these maps soon. More information about the custom map-making can be found here.
EverQest will likely feature a three-tier structure similar to EverQuest 2, offering a basic free account, a silver account providing extra perks once players spend $5, and a full-blown monthly subscription granting access to everything EverQuest has to offer. EverQuest 2 incorporated the F2P model in December 2011 and initially experienced a 40-percent increase in long-in as a result.