Update #2: Account Center Maintenance has been announced.
Update: Maybe this post should be called “My God, it’s full of Accounts!”
I’ve received a couple of emails pointing out to me that we are not alone, and that many EA customers have had their accounts migrated to the Origin.com system, including those customers with accounts or pre-orders on SWTOR.com, which is the main website for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Much of what I stated below, I still stand by, however now that it’s apparent that this problem is bigger than I imagined, I’ll add a bit to the end.
So here we are, just 12 or so hours shy of a full week since the new account management system went live. It’s been roughly five days since I asked why BioWare or EA can’t put out a tutorial. Now technically, a tutorial of sorts was put out, possibly by a BioWare employee. The Dark Age of Camelot tutorial above was put together by somebody referring to themselves as “BioWare Linda” and Linda has been busy, making over a thousand edits since the DAoC Wikia page went live. My hat’s off to you BioWare Linda. I also want to give credit to the countless folks who have been trying to help their fellow DAoC, UO, and Warhammer online players.
The problem is that you have to have received a link to that tutorial in an email I like I did, or saw it posted somewhere on a fansite. That tutorial is nowhere to be seen on Accounts.EAMythic.com. It’s also nowhere to be seen on the DAoC website, the UO website, or the Warhammer Online website. It’s also not on the Facebook pages.
A typical UO, DAoC, or Warhammer player is also not going to know that the Master Mythic Account is also their game account, or that an extension such as “_uo” needs to be added.
So where are we at? Some bad decisions were made, but I don’t really care who made them or why they made them. I see a lot of speculation and I have some ideas of my own, but the time for arguing about those decisions is in the future.
What I care about is that we’re a week into this, and things seem worse because more and more confusion is popping up.
I see a hard limit of 9 linked accounts, which is quite ridiculous when you stop and consider that we are talking about three MMOs, at least one of which has a history of players having many accounts. I hear tales of players being told by customer service they will be banned if they do this or that with additional accounts and yet because they have a certain amount of accounts, they are having to do that which is rumored to get them banned. I see DAoC players and UO players having connection problems that seem to parallel each other. I see UO players who wonder if they are going to lose their houses. I see Warhammer players who think they wasted their money on pre-paid gametime codes. I see people who are concerned that they may no longer be able to transfer their accounts to fellow player or family members. I see people who are wasting hours upon hours with customer service, going in circles. I see players who receive conflicting information from EA’s customer service.
I disagree with some of the conspiracy theories floating around as well as other things I’ve seen or heard. I will say this: I can understand why members of all three teams are shying away from posting on forums, official or third-party. I don’t know if they are being prevented from doing so, but I think that they know they have to be extremely cautious about what they say at this point, because players are latching on to every little thing that’s been said and passing it around. Of course, because so little is being said, that makes every word said take on greater importance.
Somebody emailed me with some links discussing BioWare Mythic employees being busy in Cologne, Germany at the Game Developers Conference and Gamescom. This is something they’ve been planning for months, so they aren’t going to cancel at the last minute, and it’s not the entirety of BioWare Mythic that flew to Germany. Besides, they have the internet, they have email, they are in fact posting from Germany, they just aren’t discussing the problems that DAoC, UO, and Warhammer players are experiencing. Update: I’m now aware that this problem is bigger than BioWare.
As a matter of fact, I think it’s great they are trying to generate some new interest in Warhammer Online with the free multiplayer arena-style Warhammer game. But guess what? You have existing Warhammer players who want to give you money, but they can’t do so, or are confused about how to do so! Little ironic, don’t you think?
I want to make three points very clear.
People who may have been contemplating leaving any of the three BioWare Mythic MMORPgs, which happens naturally in the life cycles of MMOs, well they’ve just been given something that could nudge them into leaving, especially if that something is a loss of items or housing.
This account system migration took place at a higher level at any individual team. Whether the teams and their producers had much say in how or when this migration occurred, I don’t know. I don’t expect the EA employees involved to talk to us because that’s not their job. They aren’t responsible for the three MMOs, they are responsible for making sure that Origin.com runs smoothly and that EA can collect money, which isn’t running so smoothly. They aren’t going to take ownership of this mess. Somebody needs to take ownership of this mess though. That means that somebody within BioWare management needs to say something.
If you an executive or say the community manager for BioWare Mythic say a few glowing words to the media in Germany about a new, free, unreleased Warhammer game, or talk about meeting up at a brewery, surely somebody can say a few words to the existing customers who are actually giving you money (or trying to), some of whom go back 10, maybe even 14 years, who are having serious problems with your existing games.
This last point flows directly out of point #2, and that is that the longer the silence goes on, the more harm is being done to all three communities. The three communities are not in the best of shape as it is – communication has not been very good for a long time, and while some joke that it’s the Mythic way to not communicate with players, given that all three games have much lower numbers than at their peaks, communications and community are more vital than ever. Distrust of the DAoC, UO, and Warhammer teams is rising, distrust of BioWare is rising. There is confusion, there is anger among the communities, some more than others, and nobody is talking to them except for EA customer service, who seems to be giving them misleading or conflicting information.
All three games have efforts underway to attract new players, but maybe they should spend a few minutes talking to their existing players.
Update: In light of the fact that this migration is affecting Star Wars: The Old Republic customers, and possibly other games at a later date, including games within BioWare such as Crysis and Dragon Age II, I think some of the above is even more important. In addition to the individual team producers possibly commenting, I think it’s probably important for the top brass within BioWare to comment as well, because some are claiming that the teams themselves are being silenced by somebody within EA. Given the deafening silence from the three teams, unless I hear otherwise, I’m inclined to agree that the teams are being silenced.
This migration has probably caught up many people who don’t yet realize it because they don’t check emails all that often, they don’t read fansites, and they don’t post or read in forums. It was kicked off with an incredibly short and all-too-brief notice that was posted on the game websites and on Facebook.
People are posting on Stratics or on UO Forums, but many do not read either of those forums or other websites, and a false sense of many players being informed has arisen. This needs to be addressed now, because the longer we go with this without any official communication from the people managing the games and BioWare, the worse it’s going to get.
Put aside the confusion and issues that came up with the migration and linking process itself. If something happens and people start losing castles or keeps or houses full of keepsakes and mementos from friends over the years, all of the sudden you’ve got a group of people who are just going to walk.
Right now, the only official communication that UO, DAoC, and Warhammer players are receiving is from tech support, and the messages are all over the place and contradictory at times.