Because of Aspendawn's heads up about the deal that steam had going for Everquest II last week, I very nearly restarted up EQ II over the weekend. In the end, I found the thought of paying $15 to renew my sub in addition to the (fantastic) $15 deal on expansions too off-putting. With a lifetime sub to LoTRO; and having gotten used to URU, DDO, and Wizard 101; I was hesitant to pay $30 to walk around as my old EQ II characters and see how the game has changed. I have gotten used to being able move between games without having to pay extra to stick my head in and look around. I have been completely spoiled by one lifetime sub (LoTRO) and several FtP MMOs. To put it differently, the activation energy needed for me to sub up to EQ II was too high for the proper reaction to occur.
That is of course, crazy. Fifteen dollars is nothing, I often spend more on a meal. Yet now that I have gotten used to "no cover charge" MMOs, I am really hesitant to return to any MMO that asks for $15 to check in. To stretch the analogy, it's hard to justify spending $15 to see a band you like when you can go and check out three or four other bands that you also like for free . . . only paying for the CDs at the table if you really want to.
As if in answer to my quandary, SOE announced that EQ II was adding FtP servers [as I'm sure you have read elsewhere] a few days ago. Soon the activation energy needed for me to try EQ II again will be zero. With games as high profile as LoTRO and EQ II going FtP, I think there will be a lot of pressure on other moderately successful sub based MMOs like City of Heroes, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online to offer similar options.