Subscribed to EverQuest II

This past week I subscribed to EverQuest II again… but not really.  I was actually away on vacation when I decided to check my email.  There in my inbox was a message from Sony Online Entertainment thanking me for my recent purchase of an EverQuest II subscription.  I thought it a little strange, given that I made no such purchase, and really have no interest in playing EQII again outside of occasionally dabbling in the free to play EQII: Extended.

I logged in to my SOE account to check it out.  I saw that my EQII subscription was now active.  I checked the credit cards associated with my account.  It listed my old card which expired back in August of last year, and another card which did not belong to me, but some other fellow in Hartford, CT with the same first and last names as me.  Figuring that something was screwed up with SOE’s back end I opened up a support ticket and explained the situation.

The reply came back the next day that the account was compromised and was now banned pending their investigation.  Over the next few days I responded to various verification questions and my account is active again, so I’m now able to log in to EQII should I choose to do so.

There’s something I find weird though…  If the account was indeed hacked, why wouldn’t they have changed the password on it along with the email address?  If the email address had been changed first, I would never have been made aware that the subscription was purchased.  I would have thought those two things would be standard account hacking procedure.  Furthermore, why would the hacker add a credit card to the account?  Wouldn’t they prefer to hack an account that had an active credit card associated with it, rather than my useless, expired card?  Also, would the hacker really take the time to associate a credit card with a matching first and last name to the account?  I doubt it… which leaves me still convinced that the account wasn’t actually hacked, but some other guy out there from Hartford with the same name as me created an SOE account which somehow piggy bagged on to my existing account.

Sick Time Equals Play Time

There are advantages to being sick sometimes.  I started coming down with something early Friday evening and a few hours later, just before bed time, it had turned into a full-blown sore throat along with jam-packed, stuffed up sinuses.  I knew I wouldn’t be getting any sleep any time soon, so while the rest of the family slept to visions of sugar plums in their heads, I fired up the ol’ Xbox 360 and did some gaming until the wee hours of the morning.

After a bunch of games of NHL 10 I finally lumbered up to bed and closed my eyes for a while.  Just a few short hours later though, I was wide awake again.  The clock told me it was just before 6:00am.  I checked on my two kids; the first born was out like a light and typically doesn’t wake until 7:30.  The new born was sleeping so soundly in his crib that I had to stare at his chest to make sure he was still breathing.  Glorious.  Two and a half months old and already sleeping nine hours a night.  So again, I fired up the 360 and dug out a game I haven’t played in ages, Burnout Paradise.  It didn’t take long to be reminded of just how fun Burnout is, and how good looking it is too.

I managed a solid two hours with the game before my daughter awoke and took over the TV.  Later in the afternoon, with my wife out with our daughter and my little guy sleeping in the crook of my left arm, I fired up my PC and killed some time in EverQuest II: Extended.  I haven’t been actively playing it, because I’ve definitely moved on from Norrath, but from time to time I do get the urge to pop in and check out the game I spent so many hours playing just a few years ago.  I gained a couple levels with the Inquisitor, now level 12, and yeah… that game does nothing for me.

Finally, I loaded up Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I had purchased off Steam for pretty cheap.  I only got a few minutes to play it, but what I saw was awesome.  I’ll be coming back to it for sure.  Hopefully my cold doesn’t go away too quickly.

Gaming Update

Random thoughts on what I’ve been playing lately:

World of Warcraft
My Warrior is now level 43 and I’ve run into “the wall”, much like my previous characters. It’s typically around this level where my motivation to play begins to dip. There’s not much driving me forward at this point, especially with Cataclysm looming on the horizon. With my other characters it was around level 50 that my interest began picking up again, as I like the zones relevant to that level, plus knowing that I’d be just 8 levels away from Outland acts as a motivating factor as well. I’ll continue to play, it’d be nice to have a third character hit the level cap, but my pace will be slowing down for the foreseeable future. (Oh yeah, my second child is due to arrive within a month as well, so that may put a bit of a damper on any time I have to dedicate to gaming).

EverQuest II Extended
I have actually been reminiscing a bit about EQII for the past while, thinking it might be neat to subscribe again for a month just to check things out, and then lo and behold, the free to play version gets released.  Perfect!  Of course, I don’t have access to my previous characters but that’s fine, as I really just want to pop into the world to check it out.

I created an Inquisitor, a class I have never played before, and started in Halas, a zone I’d never seen before.  After an hour or two, I’m level 8 and the nostalgia factor has certainly kicked in, but like I say every time I return to EQII, the world graphics are just a wee bit too ugly for me to really enjoy the game.  It’s amazing to me how aged the game looks.  I used to be wowed by these graphics, but now they’re just kind of… meh.  With my new gaming rig I can even play at “Extreme Quality” too, and the graphics just don’t do it for me.  But hey, the game is ‘free’, so I’ll kick the tires a little longer.   I can see though, just how limited the free client is.  Two bag slots?  I was always running into space issues back when I had access to all my inventory slots.

StarCraft II
I’m still plodding along the single-player campaign; I believe I have about seven missions to go until the final one.   I’m still really enjoying the campaign and I’m having a lot of fun.  I did pop into a 1v1 multi-player match against a friend and was destroyed in less than three minutes.  I’ll definitely be sticking to the single-player in this game… I’ve never been good against human opponents in RTS games.

Those three games are the ones that I’m ‘actively’ playing lately.  I recently purchased a couple games off of Xbox Live that I have yet to get to.  I got Catan, Limbo, and Lara Croft: Guardian of Light.  I have actually played a few games of Catan, and it is what it is… a nice version of the board game.  The other two I’ve downloaded but have yet to play.  I plan on checking them out tonight.

Still looming on the horizon… Dragon Age: Origins (I promise I’ll get to you one day soon!), Torchlight (gotta get my $5 worth!), Left 4 Dead 2 (No idea why I bought you), and Dead Space (great game, just needed a break from it).

Free To Play

My daughter is away this week, visiting her grandparents at their cabin on the lake, and my wife will be away in Vancouver for a few days for work.  That means I’ll be home by myself, with just my dog to take care of, which subsequently means I’ll be free to play whatever games I want, and be as irresponsible with my time as I choose to be.  Of course I miss my wife and daughter, that goes without saying, but still… guilt-free gaming baby!

I’ll be spending some quality time with StarCraft II tonight, no doubt.  I played the first three missions of the campaign last night and I like it so far.  I’ll hopefully have some more impressions of it at a later date.

What I really meant to post about was the news that EverQuest II was going to introduce a free-to-play server.  You can read all the details at the official site, here: http://everquest2.com/news/read/current/3630.

I’ve said it many times before, that I loved EverQuest II back when I played it, and hopefully this move does something to introduce the game to new players.  It used to drive me nuts to hear people put the game down without having tried it.  I’ll definitely be trying it out again myself.  It’s too bad I won’t have access to my existing characters, but they’ve been dormant long enough that I probably wouldn’t know how to play them anyway.

My only concern is that this move may prove to be too little too late.   The last time I was in EQII (free period just before the release of Sentinel’s Fate) it really showed its age and it couldn’t hook me in.  I can’t see anything having changed since then.  It’ll be nice to have the option of poking my head in now and then though.

I’m actually a little surprised that EQII was the game that SOE decided to try the free-to-play model on (aside from Free Realms of course).  I was hoping Vanguard would be the first to go that route.  I would love to play that game some more, I just can’t justify paying for it.

Apparently My Account Is Active

Just a quick follow up to my last post regarding the difference in advertising between World of Warcraft and Everquest II…

I read somewhere yesterday that all inactive EverQuest II accounts have been made active for a few weeks of free game time.  I would have thought that I’d receive an email from SOE saying as much, but no, I had to find out about it elsewhere.  When I got seven free days in WoW, they sent me an email that practically screamed as such.

Fortunately I still have EQII installed so the patching process didn’t take long and I popped into the game for a few minutes.  Upon entering the game as my Berserker, I received a message that some of my character skill choices had been reset, and I noticed that my guy was mostly naked.  For whatever reason a bunch of my gear was in my inventory and needed to be re-attuned; there was no indication as to why.  As for the skill choices, I took a look at the screen and was completely lost.  I think it would take me a few hours to remember how to play my characters again if I ever decided to come back to EQII (which is extremely unlikely).

What I really wanted to do was check out the damage done to Freeport as mentioned in the Will of a Tyrant cinematic trailer.  The trailer claims that “war has erupted in Freeport” and that “chaos rules the streets”, but in reality, it all looks rather lame.  I saw a few staged fights going on interspersed here and there, but I would hardly call it chaos.  Not to mention the fact that the Frostfell decorations are up, which kind of detracts from the whole impression of chaos.

I logged off soon after, feeling very underwhelmed at the whole thing.