I just returned to EQ2 after a several year hiatus.
I joined as f2p and all of my toons and their inventories were still availalbe (I did have to delete one of them due to character slot limitations...but there are plenty of slots---I just had too many toons).
I deleted another, low-level toon, so I could start over and get reacquianted with the game. I have to say the play is still very engaging and fun. The graphics are a bit dated..but I am not that concerned if the game can grab my attention and stay fun. Also this is one of the few games, out there, that can accomodate my close group of friends in a single group. We normally have 6 players, and most games limit you to 4 (maybe 5) person teams. EQ2 supports 6 - for us this is a BIG bonus.
I was leary of SOEs implementaion of free-to-play (f2p), having been irritated by many titles being f2p (free to PAY AND OFTEN) instead of f2p (free to play). Sony has this one set (imho) perfectly. I have run into very little restrictions (text chat in game is frustratingly gimped for f2p, but after dealing with the foul-mouth trolls that commonly make the chat useless, I FULLY approve!)
I do understand that at the highest tier (I mean 80+ level here) there is money involved if you are f2p, and I am absolutely OK with that. If I have played on their servers, over their network, and enjoyed their hard work for that long, then they damn good-and-well deserve something from me in return.
There are also two races, and classes that you pay to have access to, that is OK too. These are mostly cosmetic and have a fun idea behind them. There are still so many free choices that if I decide I want to play one of those other races or classes I can (again) pay for them and not feel I am having my credit card ransomed. Fianlly you will get pop-ups when you log in for things to purchase, and another shortly to take advantage of the Sony All Access. Again this is a minor annoyance and easily closed. (Also at $10 a month for subscription access to most SOE titles and more coming online it sure beats $15 a month for most paid MMOs)