It seems I have no luck buying european expansions for mmorpgs. And SquareEnix continues to have a passion for masochism.
This morning I received the latest expansion box for FFXI. This time it comes as just a dvd box. I always like to find manuals and give them a read while offline, I’ve already commented as it would be a good idea to start giving the retail boxes more value as we move to the online distribution. Not through lame items in the game, but with some content in the form of good manuals, atlas and so on. Something you wouldn’t find in the digital download and something that would appropriate for a physical box, like something you can read offline.
Well, this dvd box has two DVDs inside and a sticker with the registration code. Nothing else. Not a single piece of paper, not even install instruction. I wish I could have got a digital download version, but it seems it is too smart for them. So I can only buy a retail box that is essentially empty.
I’ve seen a discussion complaining about the lack of transparence on the monthly fee if you buy the game for the XBOX360. Well, the expansion box for the PC version I bought doesn’t tell you anything. There’s “online” written in the title, obviously, but no mention that it is an online game, nor that it is an expansion pack. It doesn’t say anywhere that the basic FFXI is required to play. On the back of the box there are five screenshots and the system requirements. Nothing else. It doesn’t say anywhere that it requires FFXI, nor that it is an expansion pack, nor that it requires a monthly fee. What you can see is the title logo and the “PlayOnline” logo.
I said there are two DVDs in the box. Well, one is for the manual and nothing else. I’ve looked at this manual, it’s a pathetic five pages pdf. Let me repeat: a WHOLE DVD used to contain a five page pdf. If this isn’t retareded I don’t know what could.
So I insert the other “game” DVD to install the expansion… and I cannot. It tells me that Final Fantasy XI is not installed. The problem is that I am using the american version, and it seems that I cannot install the english european version I bought over the english american version of the game.
No, I’m not that stupid. The past expansions WERE compatible. I guess this isn’t anymore the case. Right now the billing system is down for maintenance so I cannot say if the key-code works, at least. I’m quite sure it won’t. Anyway, I won’t be able to install the files, even though they are identic to the version I have.
As the billing system comes back up I won’t go there to register the expansion, but to cancel my subscription for good. I wish I could send them a FUCK YOU in big, fluorescent letters. I won’t touch another SquareEnix online game with a long pole. It could even be the Jesus of mmorpgs.
To begin with, I was owned (they rebill the first of the month, one day late to cancel).
While I was waiting for the billing system to come back up, I was able to install the expansion by creating dummy registry keys and let the game believe it is the european version. This worked smoothly and I was able to verify, patch and run the game without a hitch. The client works with all the expansion enabled.
Now the problem is that it doesn’t fucking accept the european key code. Let me rephrase. I have a working client with all the expansion enabled, but now I cannot activate it because it doesn’t accept a fucking key code. What is the purpose of this, I really don’t know. Square self-publishes and distributes, so they don’t even have a good reason to protect the local market. Why do they care where I buy the expansion? They have global servers no matter where you live and a multi platform game, but you still cannot use a fucking key code from a different country. The billing system physically resides in the smae machine, it is in Japan, and it still discriminates over a key code for no apparent reason. I bought the game legitimately, but this is still not enough to let me play the game.
My account was created when the game launched in the US. I don’t want to spend 60$ just for the shipment plus taxes and there is no fucking way to buy a gooddamn keycode online because it seems we are still in the prehistory of the internet. Or maybe it would be a too good business practice while Square must always do something stupid to fuck up their games. What is fun is that with my username and password I can play on any client version. On PC, PSX2, XBOX360. From Italy, Japan, Australia or USA. But not the fucking key code. It won’t work. The key code is the only goodamn thing to be picky.
Fucky you, SquareEnix. I’m done giving you money.
Btw, when shit happened with SOE (see the first link) the problem was promptly acknowledged. I don’t think Square will come in my help this time. “Customer care”, of course.
To complete the fun: a gaming magazine in Italy received a review copy of the expansion from Square. Obviously european. Since this expansion has only high-level content it’s necessary that you enable it on an account with an high level character. But their only account with which they originally played is american since the european version was published only one year after.
They weren’t able to play the game and Square will do without its review. Win-win.