About 16 months ago, I started playing EQ2 on the side, while still raiding with my heavy progression guild in WoW. I think I started around the time we hit a lull, not being able to kill Sinestra despite many attempts, and slowly losing ground from our all-time top position of 800 worldwide, 400 worldwide-25, 400 European, 200 European-25, abouts; something we would never reach again. People who expected us to progress faster and faster and climb the ranking even higher got restless and annoyed, and in the end, I left mid-Firelands (and the guild collapsed in January after disappointing Heroic DS progression). By the time I started playing EQ2, I already felt slightly burned out and non-confident in my tanking abilities, so I rolled a swashbuckler. It was also the class name that appealed to me, and the fact that it was a free class choice in the F2P version of EQ2. I played a lot, only logging into WoW for raids, and when I left WoW completely, I focused on EQ2, and played LotRO on the side.
I had a lot of fun and liked the world. I started in the Greater Faydark, and although many people berate it, I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. I progressed through lots of the older content, slowly and leisurely: Antonica, Nektulos Forest, Thundering Steppes, Zek. (not Rivervale though – if I never have to go back to that place, it’s still too early. *grumble*) There are lots of nice memories from that time:
I went to the Sinking Sands in my mid-40ies, and hit 50 there.
I liked the scenery so much that I stayed for another 10 levels, and then some.
At some point, I reached level 70, though I’m not sure where that screenshot was made.
I worked on my tradeskill and even became a level 90 armorer, the level cap at that time:
But at some point in winter, I stopped playing. I’m not even sure when exactly it happened, but I assume it must have been around the time I went to Japan; I guess I just never picked it up after I came back. For almost half a year now, I’ve had the itch to return, on and off. The reason I haven’t returned is not with the game or its mechanics (though, with EQ2 arguably having way too many similar, but different skills on longish cooldowns, it would probably be hard to get back into the groove). No, the reason solely lies with the company.
How a company can destroy a game
In February, out of the blue, SOE suddenly announced that they would split their use base: Soon(tm), they would hand over their EU customers to a shady German-based company mostly known for cheap browser-based games. There was a severe outcry over this: would complete servers move? Only players? Would they be divided and have to forcibly transfer to other servers? SOE used their typical information policy: they said nothing. Then kept silent a bit longer. At some point, they said they understood their customer’s apprehension (how nice), and they’d “work on a solution”. Supposedly, the forcible split is now off the table, and all that will happen is that European players will have to pay a different company. Pay more than before, in fact. For less service, because ProSiebenSat1 customer service is done by volunteers. Say what?
After half a year, the details are still in the air. Latest rumors are that no more than one account is allowed access per IP at any given time (meaning couples playing together or multiboxers would be out), and that standard procedure with ProSiebenSat1 is that you consent to remote access to your system for customer service. Seriously? I’m baffled. That’s absolutely out of the question. And that from a German company, all the while we here in Germany are still kinda protective of a lot of things privacy, or so I thought.
DCUO is somewhat of a test balloon. They had their transition last week… and it was a disaster of conflicting information, bad customer service, and bugs, as far as I can tell.
Why? Why? This is a game that I enjoyed and that I would actually try again. It is the first time the reason I’m not playing a game is not because I got tired of it, but because the companies behind the game are fucking up so hard that it is sucking all the fun out of the idea of going back. I’m too frightened by them to go back and try their game. It’s frustrating, it’s disheartening, it’s appalling.