Player mutiny forces 19-year-old MMO to retract new 'pay-to-raid' feature two weeks after announcing it

A leonine man sits on a throne, surrounded by spectral wolves, tigers, and elk.
(Image credit: Daybreak)

Nearly two decades on from release, Everquest 2 got a new system last month. MMOBomb reports that the devs at Daybreak introduced the "Personal Treasure Unlocker," which would let players reset the loot lockout timers on the game's bosses, effectively giving anyone with money as many shots at rare drops as they could stomach. Fans were not pleased. They were so displeased, in fact, that Daybreak axed the system in the same month it announced it.

It worked like this: Players who purchased the new Libant Evernight Heritage Crate would have a chance of obtaining a Personal Treasure Unlocker, which let you bypass the default 18-hour cooldown between loot drops from bosses (players can still fight them and play their associated content in that period, they just usually won't get any loot before it's ticked down). 

That meant anyone with the funds to burn on a fat stack of Heritage Crates could net themselves a stash of Treasure Unlockers, effectively allowing them to roll the dice as often as they liked on loot drops from bosses, while players who were unable or unwilling to spend money were left to stew for the cooldown period.

Players immediately rebelled. In the forum thread announcing the change, responses were almost uniformly negative: "This only drives more separation," said a player named Jrox, "even worse they added it to the market place so now it's officially another money grab". Another, Menoric, said "This is basically now a Pay-to-Raid system. This is going to be and is HUGELY unpopular". Meanwhile, other players threatened to cancel their memberships—which aren't necessary to play the game—entirely.

In short, it was a disaster, which is why a dev announced the system was being scrapped barely two weeks after it was originally announced. 

"We heard you and understand that there were particular elements of the Libant Heritage Crate that run counter to our shared values," read the post from a dev named Kander, announcing that Daybreak "will no longer be making any of these types of items available". "The crate and most of its current contents will no longer be for sale".

I have to admit, I feel a little bad for the devs on this one. The Liban Crates seem ill-thought-out, and I think it's perfectly reasonable for players to buck against them, but I have to imagine it's hard to find ways to keep a niche, older game like Everquest 2 going in 2023. The game doesn't have all that many players in MMO terms, and threading the needle between keeping it sustainable in a business sense and keeping those players happy has got to be a fraught endeavour.

The intensity of the feedback has led Daybreak to announce a  "new Class Balance Forums for Everquest 2," which will arrive in the "very near future". "These forums will have a section for each class, and you will be able to propose changes, communicate with us, and vote on the fixes and balance changes you feel are necessary," said Kander.

So all's well that ends well? Kind of. The community remains suspicious of Daybreak's intentions in the wake of the Libant Evernight Heritage Crate announcement, and to make things even more awkward for the developer, they nevertheless all agree that something needs to change, just not in the way Daybreak tried to change it. The developer has a long row to hoe before it finds a way to keep players invested and active in one of the older MMOs still around, but I suppose it can at least cross this one off the ideas list.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.