Daily Archives: October 22, 2012

Images from the Rift Storm Legion Tour

Like some other bloggers, I was invited by Trion to go on a tour of the Storm Legion expansion.  Keen and SynCaine (can you imagine?) both have posts up about the tour already, and I expect more will pop up soon.  I will link them here when I find them. (Keen has his Part 2 up now, and MMO Gamer Chick has her tour reports under way as well.)

So for 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon, ending when it was about time to get ready for the Giants/Cards game, James
“Elrar” Nichols from the Rift community team showed me around the Storm Legion expansion.

And at the end of that, I have to ask myself, “What do I say?”

How do I sum up or expand upon what I was shown and what has already been announced?

“More” is probably the best word, because there is more of everything.  More souls, more levels, more dungeons, more raids, and more places to explore (each of the two new island has more landmass than the original game).

Quests are supposed to be “more” organic to the environment.  They are trying to step away from the hub to hub approach and put more out the field for players to find.

And there is “more” to keep you occupied when not adventuring, mostly in the form of Dimensions.

Dimensions are Rift’s version of housing.   Rift Junkies has a good intro to them.  You can have your own chunk of the world to call your own and decorate.  The level of freedom to do this is very broad.  You have EverQuest II levels of freedom (and more) to manipulated items in your dimension, as well as being able to open it up to the public for visitors.

And while the initial dimension you get… and you are handed a dimension pretty much as soon as you are done with the initial tutorial stage of the game, which is a great move and part of what made EQII housing so big… is pretty small, there are some huge ones out there.  We were in one that was basically all of the town of Granite Falls.

I think the only thing they are missing is a carpenter-like furniture crafting trade skill.

Anyway, while I could dribble on for a while about details that have been better documented elsewhere, I am just going to go with visuals.  The visuals are great, and my screen shots do not do them justice, but they will give you a taste.  Some of the places, like the raid instances, I will probably never see in game.  There are also some of the interesting Dimensions we visited among the shots.

I am including thumbnails of all the pictures after the cut so you can pick out and examine individual screen shots at your leisure.

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Blizzard Relents, Lets Me Cancel WoW Early

Not that they bothered to mention this change of heart to me directly or anything.

Previously I mentioned how serious Blizz seemed to be about keeping their Annual Pass subscribers from cancelling their accounts, even those who had already paid in full months before.  Like me.

Then there was the customer support run-around, where official representatives of Blizzard repeatedly told me that they were not in anyway refusing a request to cease charging my credit card, while clearly and unambiguously refusing to cease charging my credit card.  Sometimes in the very same run-on sentence.

This mattered to me because I happened to have a very short window of time between when the annual pass would expire and when the subscription would renew and my credit card would be charged again.

The only assurance I received was that if I somehow got charged, I could contact them for a refund.

Of course, when a group of people who have no power and/or inclination to deviate from company policy tell you that they will happily violate the stated policy of the organization at some later date (Blizzard explicitly says “No Refunds” in its billing FAQ), I do not think one can be blamed for any skepticism that might result.

All of this was enough that Green Armadillo wrote a public service announcement over at his blog on the subject.

And that was pretty much the state of things a little over a month and a half ago.

Something must have changed since then.

I went to check my WoW account yesterday, just to make sure that the times and dates hadn’t altered for whatever reason.  Everything seemed about the same.

However, the cancel button was no longer grayed out.  So I clicked it.  And I was brought to the standard “OMG, is there something we can do?” set of options that indicates that you are trying to do that thing that Blizz hates; cancelling your subscription.

Wait, you’re leaving? But why?

Of course, they want to assure you that if anything is wrong that you can call customer service.  I won’t discount their ability to fix some problems, despite my recent experience, but they cannot fix my problem.  The second option in their survey summed it up about right.

The game used to be fun, but isn’t as fun anymore.

That about pegs it.

Then there was a further list.

Just to clarify even more so…

Account compromise came up again.  That seems to worry Blizz.  In fact, that looks like a pretty good list of WoW problems, which is what you would expect the customer service group to generate.  The closest item I could find to my own reason was simply running out of things to do.

That is not really true.  There were always plenty of things to do, I just felt no joy in doing them.  But you have to pick something, and that was pretty close.

Can you explain the lack of fun?

Of course, it carries on, looking for more details.  I like this second list, because it reflects some of the deeper reasons that Blizzard realizes people quit over.   This list seems to focus a lot on changes to the game around class, talent trees, and equipment.

WoW competitors like Trion would do well to understand this list that Blizzard created.  Don’t be doing things like Patch 1.11 very often, as it appears to drive people from your game.

I chose the second item about the direction development.  A lot of people are happy with the game, but my own desires no long seem to be on the agenda.  Such is life when you fall outside of the first standard deviation of the bell curve.  And that was about it.

They did want to know how likely I was to come back.  I won’t say never, but right now there are a lot of other games I would play before I went back to WoW.

Coming back?

Then there was a request to be able to contact me about future changes to the game.  I said okay to that.

And, finally, I was give a 255 character window in which to add any additional comments.  I decided not to waste it on a quip like “Contact me? Like you contacted me about changes to your Annual Pass cancellation policy?”  Instead I pointed at SOE and their attempts to farm nostalgia with the progression servers and asked why they couldn’t do the same.

So, my comment was probably still wasted, but not in an angry way.  I doubt Blizzard will ever formally do anything like a classic server.  Going backwards is not a Blizzard trait.

One more button and I was done.

Subscribed no more.  The account will run out Tuesday morning and that will be it for now.

Feel free to speculate in the comments about how likely I am to return.

In the mean time, I still have my daughter’s account to cancel.  Due to bad alignment, it still has another 1 month billing cycle to charge before the annual commitment is paid off.