I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but, man, SOE is going all out with this Living Legacy thing for EQII.
I mean, sure, plenty of other MMO companies have done the marketing maneuver where inactive subscribers can log back in and play for a time for free. But I've never seen anything like this concerted effort.
Not only can you play for free until July 31, 2008 but you get a free (digital) copy of the Rise of Kunark all-in-one pack if you convert to a full subscription. Then there's the ability to earn free play time by recruiting friends. And, hey, why not throw in a $5 coupon for the next EQII expansion. But wait - that's not all! If you call right now they'll give you unique in-game items.
Holy smokes. I was expecting the next thing on the list would be that Smed will personally come to your house and power-level your character for you. This is quite a promotion.
I think this will pull in more players which is always a good thing for the game. And I'm sure SOE has worked out the financial angle so it is a net gain for them. I don't have any problems with this kind of thing (although the referral bit does strike me as slightly cheesy).
The modest risk you run with stuff like this is seeming too desperate and causing people to wonder if your traffic numbers are really bad. I honestly do not think that is the case, I'm just saying it's a danger of perception.
The great thing about it is that EQII has really changed tremendously since launch (largely for the better - although I can't vouch for the most recent content). So I think that a lot of people will be quite pleasantly surprised if they give it another chance.
I also think SOE did a good job on the websites for the promotion. And my favorite part about the whole thing is that they seem to be doing a great job with tying it in to new in-game events and content.
You can read more in an interview with SOE Senior Producer Bruce Ferguson by Michael Zenke over on Massively.
Hmm...I was just thinking that if SOE had held off on that free server transfer week they did in May and combined it with this promotion that would have been absolutely killer. But now I'm getting greedy.