Thursday, July 9

Suddenly everybody except NCsoft wants me

It must be a Summer thing to send out free trials for MMO's,

Over the last week or so I've been contacted by SOE (Vanguard & EverQuest II), Turbine (DDO Ultimate Beta invite which is really the same thing) Mythic and Funcom.

I can't be bothered to find the SOE mail right now, it's the standard blandness you come to expect from them after a while along with crooning about the gazillion Free Realms "subscribers" (read: everyone and their dog who tried the game and managed to create an avatar before bailing out) which just isn't something I want in my "Come back to Norrath/Telon" mail. Then again it might have been a Station Exchange mail. Like I said, SOE's mail correspondence isn't exactly memorable given that GMail doesn't load the images by default.

The latter two show that resubscription request message software has become a mature technology product which SOE didn't buy into.
Well, more or less:
Funcom: %%%%%%! Your level 71 Barbarian awaits your return to Age Of Conan!
Funcom uses the First Name field from your account settings to address you personally (name removed to protect the guilty) and purposely mentions the character with which you've seen most, if not all, of the available content before painstakingly mentioning all the new content for which said character is no longer elligible since the one thing they didn't implement is a Mentor-down system.

Mythic's approach is somewhat different yet similarly flawed:
Hello Kettlexx,

The forces of Order and Destruction need you now more than ever! War rages on...

Character name: Kettlexx
Career: Ironbreaker
Realm: Order
Rank: 29
Renown rank: 21
You can almost imagine the Marketing dude trying to explain to the dev dude how he read in this book that adding personal touches to bulk e-mail creates a higher response while the dev dude tries in vain to explain how semi-personal crap like that has the same effect as those old personalized letters with the name-of-person in a different typefont.

Someone at Mythic was smart enough to convince them not to remind you of what's the first name of the person owning the credit card but I'm not sure where those two x-es behind the name Kettle come from. My guess is they imply my name's been soft-deleted. I.e. if someone were to make a toon and call it Kettle I'll have to rename her should I log on. That or they just screwed up the name format and there's two x-es attached by default. Either way it's not making me overly exited about trying the trial.

Funcom's trial lasts 14 days whereas WAR's is only 10. The difference becomes negligible when download days are factoreed in. AoC's patching system is still rather, well patchy at best. WAR makes use of EA's data resource network and is a lot smaller to start with. Not really interested in trying either again though.

I'm kinda missing NCSoft in the whole Summer trial thing. But I also missed NCSoft in the pre-Summer launch period. Along with Cryptic's Champions Online and What's-it-called's Evolution, NCsoft's launches have been postponed till September. I guess they don't want to laucnh during Summertime downtime. Something I have to wonder about. One of the biggest worries one has prior to launch is whether the newbie area's can handle the load, the WOW tourists e.t.c. every game coming out this year has some kind of pay-two-thirds-of-a-monthly-subscription-for-a-48 hour-headstart-and-a-1-2% buff item deal or is using Open Beta and other early start schemes to finesse a staggered launch. What's wrong with using the natural dip in player numbers during Summer?

Still, I would have expected an offer to try if my virtual spandex still fits. Maybe my spamfilter ate it?


  1. Maybe it's because I pre-ordered (the regular version of) Aion that NCSoft thinks it safe not to send me come-back-and-try mails?

  2. I am feeling a bit left out now! I only received one invite to replay old characters.

    I received the email from Funcom. And since I had just patched up my AOC client last weekend, I am going to have look with my out-of-range ranger. Especially since Funcom is the only company that cares for me apparently.

    Since I am actively playing a SOE and NCSoft game it should not really expect invite emails from them. And Mythic doesn't know me so they can't email me either. But those are details :)

    The meanies of Turbine could have done something. Out of protest I am still not going to activate my LotRO account. Ha! That will teach them. Maybe I should go and troll their official forums as well.

  3. City of Heroes just released Issue 15. Which is nothing more than one new Task Force. For a change I feel really disappointed with them. I think they are putting all their effort in the new expansion they hope all existing players will buy. I think that would actually be the time for me to finally hang up my cape.

    But since it is not there yet, maybe you (that includes Geeky) should (re)subscribe for a month or two, and we go out and kidnap, steal and obliterate those heroes one more time.

  4. CoH just isnt for me, bought the game didnt even play the full month, Lani's kindly donated buddy key didn't tempt me in either, I tried but somehow CoH is lost on me....

    If your going with the 14 day AoC thing let me know, you can roll an alt at lvl 50 if you already have a toon over that level, that way you can join me on Crom with my newly rolled lvl 50 Dark Templar :)

    DDO Unlimited took me in, more than that I can't say. I also got a great bargain on LotRO, all subscribed for the next 3 months, AoC for 2 months, I also have free 30 days for Spellborn proper yet somehow I just don't feel like gaming at the moment.....

  5. Aye, well. Men of a certain age can become a bit listless or so I heard...
    Been waiting for two weeks for that one :-)

    I was half tempted when you said LotRO, but you're probably on the EU servers. CoX also slightly peaked my interest again, but between the expansions on NWN2 wchich I got last week for a combination price and spending a lot of time doing absolutely nothing in Second Life I don't really feel like getting into the MMO space right now.
    That feels like hitting my head against a rock wall to me just now, and when I get that urge I start up Blood Bowl and try to win a match. Decent AI and heavy randomness make for a very tough game I can tell you.

  6. On the other hand...
    Char still needs to reach 50.
    Let me know when the new pack comes out and we'll do a rush to 50 on Char and Lattie in the old zones while everyone else is in Champions Online, err, I mean the new expansion.

  7. Also of interest in the interest of stupid "come back and try us out" messaging, Funcom neglected to mention the L50 alt thing. It's the kind of thing current players may know about yet ex-players not. Yet it's the latter for whom it might be the thing to convince them.

  8. Aye, the create an instant 50 thing is the perfect lure for 14 day trial players. That's why they did mention it :) The last paragraph on the right. But they could have made it a bit bigger. I will make some lovely post here on the day I step back on Hyborian soil.

    My attempt to try to get you both to play COH was not because COH is such a brilliant game, but because I missing your company. And COH is the perfect just random doing stuff game in my eyes. But I can understand it is not your thing.

    Of course Lani doesn't have that excuse. So maybe next month?

  9. Slightly off topic but I'm taking liberties as I mentioned it briefly - Frogster announced that Spellborn is to become F2P, Spellborn has one hell of a rocky life, should I get that 'it's all Lanis fault' t-shirt out ? ;p

  10. No you may not. But I am tempted to wear an "I told you so" one.
    It might not be a bad mood except for the fact the never had any features that would work with a microtransactions scheme.

  11. On yet another note, the whole harry Snotter thing leaves me stone cold and limp at the same time. Both in written form and in See* form.
    (Special Effects Extravanagnza)

  12. I never read any Harry Potter books, but I saw the first three movies in the theater and really liked them. Great story, great characters. Somehow I missed the fourth one, and didn't want to see fifth one before fourth. And now it is sixth one already. Which is a pity, since I know I won't go watch the skipped ones before it is out of the theater again. So I am doomed to buy the inevitable boxset.

    I did manage to reactivate my AOC account though. But I didn't get any futher than the character selection screen yet. I have the account active till 2nd of August, I think. But since next two weekends are kinda out, I doubt I will get much playtime in.

  13. *grin* So it was me who missposted. That Harry Snotter remark was for in the voice over thread :-)
    I guess I feel about Harry the way you feel about Star Wars. It's such a cheap deal to me.

  14. I was thinking the exact same thing when typing my comment! Good to see we do still think alike on some things.