Would you pay real money for instant access to a high-level character in an MMO? Sony Online Entertainment plans on adding that functionality to EverQuest 2 with "Heroic Characters."
For 3500 Station Cash (about $35), you can buy a new heroic character of upgrade existing characters to heroic status. Heroic characters automatically start at level 85 and include gear, food, drink, and ammo--making it easy for new and returning players to jump directly into high-level content.
According to senior producer Holly Longdale, SOE created this feature "because you asked us for it!" In an open letter to the community, Longdale explained that "former players don't want to play catch-up to Level 95, existing players don't want to start over at Level 1 with their friends, and some players just want to get into high-end guilds and raids because that's what they love to do."
There will be ways to access heroic characters for free, however. From October 1st through the 15th, SOE is holding a "Hero's Call" event which will allow new players to create one new heroic character for free. Existing accounts can also create or upgrade to a heroic character for free, as well.
Afterwards, there will be a "Try Before You Buy" option. These characters will stop earning XP after reaching level 86. These trial characters also can't trade, use shared banks, mentor, duel bet, or send attachments. And once you log off after reaching level 86, access to the character will be locked until a full heroic character purchase is made.
Undoubtedly, there will be some fans peeved about this new addition. However, it is an interesting option for an aging free-to-play MMO to pursue. To read more about the update, you can check out SOE's official FAQ.