I admit, this is the first time I've been around to witness a progression server launch. I'll be seeing how things go over the next little while... but for now, all I can say is: I've been seeing the response!
A few days ago, Sony added 10 days of free gametime to all non-subscribed accounts, probably so they could get a real idea of how much interest people had in the new server. Well, I play on one realm... over the weekend, my realm constantly had about 10-15 returning players chatting in each General channel*, asking newb/returning questions and such.
* General chat works a bit differently in EQ than WoW -- they aren't restricted to major cities, and each channel has a 200 person cap, so when General fills, people get off-loaded into General1, General2, etc.
Most of the past few weekends, only the first General channel has been filled to capacity, with General1 being only half- to mostly-full, and General2 being about quarter-full. This weekend, I joined all the General channels in an experiment... General, General1, and General2 were capped. General3 had 110-ish, and General4 had about 70. That's a pretty big change... and it doesn't count all the level 1-20 toons people were playing, who automatically join NewPlayers instead of General.
Keep in mind, this was all just on ONE SERVER -- there are at least 10 others.
Today, the Fippy Darkpaw server went live... and while I haven't even tried to log in, I can only imagine what happened to it. Suffice it to say, there is now another new timelocked/voting progression server -- Vulak`Aerr -- being tested tonight for launch tomorrow, to take some load off of poor Fippy.
Here's hoping that the returning players will decide to stick it out and resubscribe, to make it worthwhile for the server GMs!
Personally... it won't be my thing. Old-world content in EQ is not instanced in any way (I have no idea how content from newer expansions works), and raid bosses have 12+ hour respawn timers... some of the most recognizable bosses have 3-7 day
spawn timers. Meaning: "Oh, yay! I get to raid Plane of Fear tonight! Time to relive old content, get some new gear for people, and with any luck I can progress my Epic quest too! Here we go, I'm zoning in... loading... loading... aaaand the zone is empty. Another guild just cleared it. Crap!! There goes my night..."
^-- Nope, I don't need to relive that kind of frustration. --^
Something I will be taking advantage of, though: This weekend will have double experience on all servers, minus the progression servers. Aw yeah, both my bard and my pally can use more AAs!