EverQuest II Extended sounds the call to soft launch [Updated]

It's weird to think that it was less than a month ago when we first heard that SOE was going to launch a free-to-play version of its popular EverQuest II. It's weirder still when you consider just how fast EverQuest II Extended progressed to the open beta launch stage, as the F2P experience became available to the public yesterday with Platinum membership arriving at the end of the month.

This isn't the first time SOE has experimented with various plans to lure players into Norrath, including a 14-day free trial and the EQII Passport limited subscription. Unlike those previous plans, EverQuest II Extended is being treated as a wholly separate game on unique servers, and is offering free play without a time limit. SOE claims that this is a first for the industry: two versions of the same game operating in parallel in order to offer players a choice between payment plans.

One interesting aspect of the Extended beta soft launch is that there will be no wipe -- on the contrary, any characters, progression and purchases made by players during this period will carry over to the live version. Extended offers a variety of payment options, from completely free to a full year's subscription, depending on your level of interest. Even if you're an EQII newbie, there's no reason to avoid checking out the game to see if it might tickle your fancy.

[Update: SOE has contacted us to let us know that they're calling this a launch now, instead of an open beta, due to the fact that no character info is being wiped. The post has been updated to reflect the new terminology]
This article was originally published on Massively.