(Comic is curtsy of @CheesePirate, and was censored from the EQ2 forums) I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to speak up on my blog about this situation, because I dislike posting negativity, and it’s rare that I do. However. I’m also not one to just sit down and let things pass by when I feel that there is something that can be done. For those who are unaware, here is the situation:
– SOE announced a deal with a company called ProSiebenSat.1 that would affect eight Europe-based SOE games. With this deal comes region locking. US players will no longer be able to access EU servers and those EU players who currently have US characters will be grandfathered in, but not future EU players. This deal carries over into future SOE titles, like EQNext, and PlanetSide 2 (for me personally, it means I can no longer access my Splitpaw characters. There’s a huge list of other consequences here).
– ProSiebenSat.1 are known for their shoddy customer service, and they’re also known for publishing the personal details of customers which is in violation of EU and German privacy laws.
– MANY people spoke up on the forums about this situation, and were banned for “excessive negativity”.
– Feedback was requested, but the deal has already gone through (6 weeks ago).
– A player even called ProSiebenSat.1 to try to get some answers since SOE has been very reluctant to say anything on the matter. They (ProSiebenSat.1) said “EU Customers will regret being considered US customers” because of all the events and marketplace items they have planned for the EU servers. In fact, it looks like the EU servers will have absolutely nothing in common with the US servers once this deal is implemented in full.
Perhaps things are not all doom and gloom, and this deal really is a GOOD thing. I fail to see it, personally. Region locks are NEVER a good thing, especially from my perspective where I play EU hours and live in Canada. In a day where games like Rift are trying so hard to allow players to stay together (free weekly server transfers, no region locking) it seems outrageous. It’s especially bad for games that have already been established. Put yourself in the position of the US military personnel who has been gaming on a EU server and now that they’re finally home, are unable to play with their friends because they must move to a US server, no longer having access. One of the major reasons any of us play these games are to be able to play with our friends, no matter where they’re from. To be able to meet people from all over the world, form bonds and learn from one another. Restrictions such as these do nothing but separate players, and having (what sounds like) completely different rule sets on US/EU servers makes me wonder for the future of our EU friends.
It has been said time and time again – companies listen to nothing but MONEY. If you disagree with this and the future of SOE games, PLEASE consider cancelling your accounts. SPEAK with your wallets. That is the ONE sure way to get your opinion across in a way that will make the higher ups listen.
(As a side note, I hold no blame to the community team of SOE nor the developers, I know this decision was not something that they personally made, but came from higher ups).