SOE just published the Vanguard free to play details. Some parts are what you expected (if you know how SOE does F2P usually), but there are also pleasant and not-so-pleasant surprises.
Let's go through the list and explain a bit:
Character slots: 4 for free, 12 for Gold. That is not bad at all. They forget to expand on how many more you can buy with a free, although it is part of the question.
Chat, mail, broker: Chat is the usual stuff, a 4 specific ones for the free, all for the Gold members. Mail is receive only for free - this is a bit more strict than it could be, but ok, let's live with it. Free can buy from the Broker, but cannot sell - I personally prefer the Lotro way, but can live with it too.
Levels: 55 for all. That is good.
Guilds: Gold can create, free can join - as expected.
Items: For free its "can equip items that are designated as common". Vanguard, as most MMOs, has a multi level rarity system. Common might mean only the lowest level that is not vendor trash or the lowest few, or anything up to unique. I hope it's not just the one, because that would make the free version unplayable after lvl 30. I expect some further explanation about this one in a week.
Housing: Only for Gold. As expected.
Coin limitation: 1 platinum is a lot of money. Might cause issues at the higher levels, but certainly not on the lower ones.
Account: Current subscribers will become Gold member automatically, new players start as free, previous subscribers are converted free too, but can keep all characters, and have 12 slots. (One of the very best surprises) Cancelling a Gold sub converts the player to free, and that is a very strict conversation, most of the perks are disabled. SOE All access comes with Gold membership.
Subscription Fee: $15 a month for Gold, none for free. I personally find that a bit too high.
Station Cash: Can be used, as expected.
Number of quests: 50 for Gold, 15 for free. As expected.
Bags: 4 for Gold, 2 for free.
Banks: 25 for free, 75 for Gold.
Races, classes: About half of the classes (some very interesting ones like disciple or necro). About one third of the races. (Stats are mainly race dependent, it might be an incentive). Can buy the missing ones.
Other gold perks: Caravans, brotherhoods, fishing. Can live w/o them, brotherhoods and caravans are nice to have, though.
What is missing:
- Silver membership: This is really surprising, and not in a good way.
- Crafting, harvesting and diplomacy are not mentioned (Probably total access, but what about the equipment?)
- Mounts are not mentioned
- Ships are not mentioned (might be removed?)
- Explanation about the common items
- Ability to buy stuff: A bit more of everything, but not up to the Gold level, for example 1 more bag, 25 bank slots, small houses, per character brotherhood access, limited amount of broker slots, one shot guild creation. These would be essential to get money from those who don't want to pay the monthly fee, but have some free money to spend from time to time. Some of these might exist, but not mentioned.
Altogether, I am a bit disappointed. I was aiming to be a Silver member, already bought station cash for this specific reason, but if I need to chose between free and Gold, I'll either choose free, or I choose the third option of not playing at all.