The Tattered Notebook: An appraisal of EQII's Krono

The Tattered Notebook  An appraisal of Krono
The dust has barely settled from our yearly foray to Bally's, and already we're seeing some of the exciting news from SOE Live become a reality. Just a few days ago, we saw the arrival of Krono to EverQuest II, and out of all the news about EQII, it has the potential to be the biggest game changer of all. Basically, Norrath now has its own version of EVE Online's PLEX.

In this week's Tattered Notebook, we'll take a look at exactly how Krono works, but we'll also examine how this could lead to even bigger changes in EverQuest II.

The basics

First off, let's look at how exactly Krono works. Krono can be purchased from the EverQuest II site (if you're in game, it'll open a web browser), or it can be traded or bought from other players or the broker. Krono can be consumed like a potion, and once that's done, your account will receive 30 days of game time. If you're playing for free, you basically get 30 days of gold membership. If you're already subbed, it gives you 30 days of whatever plan you have (so if you're on All Access, you get 30 days on that plan).

While there are bargains for buying multiple Krono, if you compare one month of membership to the price of Krono, it's actually $3 more for one Krono ($14.99 vs $17.99). But while Krono is more expensive to purchase, the fact that it's tradeable is the real value. The plan is to bring Krono to more SOE titles, but players won't be able to trade them across games (you have to select which game you intend to use them in when you purchase them).

A peek at the market

Players seemed to heed the words of SOE President John Smedley, who advised everyone to sell high. Initially, Krono prices were well over 1k plat, with some as high as 2,400 plat. I visited Guk, Antonia Bayle, and Freeport, and each had about 10-12 Krono for sale overall, but the prices are beginning to go down already. On those three servers, the starting price was down to 700-800 plat. It will probably drop a bit more, but it's interesting that there is already a consistency in prices across the various servers.

One side issue that players are already running into is that the plat cap on free accounts makes it impossible to buy Krono from the broker. One way around that is to purchase a one month subscription and buy up Krono in bulk while the plat cap is lifted. Players also temporarily ran into a snag with eCommerce, but SOE seemed on top of things and was straightening that out.

The Tattered Notebook  An appraisal of Krono
Game changer

What's interesting is that Krono is already changing the way players play the game. For the first time, players can legally profit from plat. That means farming for plat is a viable layer of gameplay now, and it makes "playing the broker" much more interesting. Players are farming lucrative items such as Protector's Realm, and it's almost become a task similar to doing a daily. In a way, that's a mixed bag. On one hand, it raises the question about the quality of gameplay if players are logging in merely to take on the role of plat farmers. On the other, it means the EQII devs have the ability to direct where players go, which means they can get players into zones with better designed content, and they can also fill empty zones with new life. There are some fun instances and really gorgeous zones that get overlooked simply because there's so much content in EQII, so tweaked plat drops would give players incentive to visit those hidden gems.

Krono also puts a new light on the economy of EQII in general. Longtime players have a ton of plat, but up until now there's just not been that much to buy. In fact, the real economic activity centers not on the broker but on the practice of selling raid loot. The addition of Krono will bring more attention back to the broker, but it still raises the question of whether there's enough for sale on the broker to make it worthwhile to sell Krono for plat. New players will probably want to buy plat for Krono, since crafted armor and weapons make leveling easier. But what about longtime players?

Perhaps EQII should consider lifting the no-trade tag on many items. Instead of making players sit outside a raid zone to bid on loot rights, why not allow players to sell raid gear on the broker? And what about older, well-known items from the past, like prismatics, class hats, and even mythicals? For newer players, it's practically impossible to get a group to help get these, and there would even be a demand from high-level players who prize them for their looks. Heck, I'd gladly trade Krono for plat if I could use it to buy the Peacock weapon. That quest just never ended! Making items like these tradeable has the side benefit of rewarding players who love questing, since they're basically compensated for their time if they choose to sell the rewards. Overall, Krono puts a new emphasis on the supply and demand aspect of the EQII economy, and it offers both players and developers a chance to re-examine what should be tradeable and what shouldn't.

The official introduction of real money into the Norrathian economy will undoubtedly lead to some unexpected (and potentially complicated) issues. It's little surprise that EVE actually hired economists to look at its in-game economy, and I'm sure the same could be done with EQII now. I'm just thankful that it's much more safe to hold onto Krono than PLEX!

As a side note, this weekend is not only double experience in EQII but also a triple Station Cash bonus weekend. So if you're looking to jump into the game and join the Krono craze, this weekend is a perfect time to do that.

From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.