Posted in ArcheAge, Black Desert Online, Gaming, MMORPGs

When a Game Breaks Your Heart, Can You Learn to Love Again?

Okay, an over-dramatic title for a post about a game that really let me down… and trying to make the choice on whether to finally rebound from that broken experience. The game that broke my heart? Of course, I’m talking about ArcheAge.

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ArcheAge should have been everything I wanted in a sandbox game. It had houses and farms and fishing and boats and sailing and crafting and gathering and trade routes and PVP … wait. No, I overlooked the PVP to do the rest of the things I really wanted to do. Which was sandbox carebear style!

I was so, very proud of my little farm that I built up with my own two hands. I loved the whole idea of jury duty. I was so excited when I was able to not only earn my scarecrow farm, but find a rare spot to put it. I even farmed a (back then rare) thunderstruck tree and made a bunch of gold on accident.

But then, the reality of the game set in. I knew from the start that F2P wasn’t sustainable for anyone who wanted to actually… do things… in the game due to the constrictive labor system. I saw that holiday events were almost completely cash-shop based, which is a huge bummer for someone like me who enjoys in game holiday events. My account got all screwed up on renewal and it cost me a lot of labor, which I horded more than gold. And then the game just got more and more money hungry until the point I had to say goodbye just on the ethics of the thing. I couldn’t keep championing a game that became nothing more than a front for the cash shop.

So I gave away the farm I built so lovingly (it broke my heart) and I quit the game, never looking back.

But now a new sandbox game has come along and I’m feeling gunshy.

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Of course, I’ve heard about Black Desert for a while – especially the amazing character creator. But being caught up in FFXIV most of last year, I haven’t really had eyes to look at other games at all. I probably wouldn’t have given this a second glace if it wasn’t for Ironweakness’ posts at Waiting for Rez. Even then, I dismissed Black Desert at first, after hearing about the PvP-centric end game and the restore-over-time points system that sounded too much like the labor system of ArcheAge.

But then this post came along, and I blame this conflict within me all on Ironweakness (no, really, thank you).  This… this sounded like the sandbox game that I wanted in ArcheAge but didn’t get. This… this could be… the game that has the features that I’ve been looking for.

  • Buy to Play with no Sub
  • Instanced housing (no land rushes)
  • PvP which might not be a gankfest for those who don’t want to participate
  • Horse taming! (Won me over)
  • Crafting, gathering, fishing, boats, trading, etc

And while there is an energy system, everything I read about it says that it’s only restrictive in the early levels. Considering FFXIV will probably remain my main MMO, I can’t see myself spending all hours of the day sucking down energy anyhow. And the B2P model with no sub works perfectly for a side sandbox MMO… because no game with a sub has been able to last long with me when I’m still paying a sub for FFXIV.

I’ve done a lot of research, and find myself nodding to most of what I read in approval. I even have a class that interests me (Tamer). Needless to say, this sounds great to me, but I’m still hesitant.

I’m in the middle of trying to download the character creator that just came out yesterday – my net was super slow last night, so it was a no go. Once I get around to looking at the character options, I’ll probably have a more solid feel for the art style. I’ve watched videos and really did like how the world looked and the characters moved. I also loved the horse animations (which is super important for me).

If I do buy into a pre-order, it’ll be the lowest price pack, though. I don’t want to spoil the feeling of launch by having played beta like I did with ArcheAge. I also don’t want the more expensive pack because they give you a tier 3 horse. I know it sounds funny – I’m usually the first to jump at a cool mount. But with horse taming in game, one of my interests and goals is to catch and tame my own… so I don’t want the game handing me one! 🙂

Goals! They’re important. And if I’m already making goals for a game I don’t own…. well… I guess that means I’ve almost talked myself into getting it.

Anyone else had trouble trusting a new game after being burned? Anyone have experience with Black Desert they can offer? 

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Posted in ArcheAge, FFXIV, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs, Nintendo 3DS

Weekend Review – FFXIV: Lvl 50 Ninja ~ AA: Uninstall ~ GW2: Living Story

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Level 50 Ninja!

FFXIV: Level 50 Ninja

The highlight of this weekend was finally reaching level 50 Ninja in FFXIV. After running fates for a week and a half, this was a pretty big achievement for me. Afterall, in over a year, across two different characters, I only had two level 50 classes up until now. Yes, I’m slow and casual. One day I’ll level the rest of them.

Not today, though. I’m cutting back a bit to give myself a break after that marathon. I”ll be focusing on daily hunts to save up for my ilvl 100 armor. I’m kinda bummed that I didn’t stock up on the much easier to get ilvl 90 armor for other classes when I had the chance. I just didn’t foresee them pulling them off the hunts like this.

Yes, this is the long, patient way of getting this armor. But I’m not a dungeon runner, so this is a good alternative for me.

ArcheAge: Rumbling Archeum Sapling Fiasco

It was difficult for me this weekend. I gave away my beloved farm to a guildie who had been looking for land for a month or so. Pulled up my farm. Canceled my sub and uninstalled.

If I hadn’t already decided to quit the game, after what happened last week, I think I’d have been moving that way already. I’m not sure how much more AA can keep shooting themselves in the foot in the eyes of the players. Just when I thought I’d seen enough of the greed and the Pay 2 Win that permeates that game and drove me away, it keeps getting worse.

freemium south parkFirst is the 10% Marketplace Fiasco. Patrons have been riding Trion hard to give the 10% off marketplace prices that were apparently listed as a Patron perk in the early alpha days (but was later removed). You can remove text from a website, but players won’t unsee what’s been seen, apparently.

So they finally give the players their 10% dues, but only on purchased credit packs, not on marketplace purchases. This is retroactive to all purchases Patrons made since the head start.

However, this doesn’t count Founder Pack credits. It also doesn’t count purchases on credits bought before the head start.

Needless to say, there’s some pretty annoyed Founders.

Then comes what takes the cake: The Rumbling Archeum Saplings.

There’s too much for me to rant about this topic within this post. I’ve created a new post here if you’re interested. Needless to say, it’s completely Pay to Win, and I feel even more justified for leaving the game now that I see the direction it’s taking.

GW2: Living Story

Syn and I played through the newest Living Story offering in GW2 this weekend. Overall, it was enjoyable, but nothing that took me completely by surprise. Like the big Mordremoth reveal, the supposed plot twist at the end of this chapter was already called last year by Wooden Potatoes. Good job, dude!

Maybe if I hadn’t seen this video all that time ago, this would have been a wow moment to me. But it wasn’t. Interesting? Yes. Wow? No. I’m a little bit detached from GW2 now days as it is, I suppose. That’s what happens when a game destroys one too many cities/ships and toys with my interests and emotions. *shrugs*

All that aside, I’ll be writing a full post about my thoughts on the newest Living Story this week.

3DS: Animal Crossing & Fantasy Life

hni_0003I’ve been getting back into my 3DS games lately. Maybe it’s because fall and winter reminds me of the time long ago when I spent hours and hours playing the original Animal Crossing. Or maybe I just feel guilty about not taking care of my town like I should. Either way, New Leaf is a great way to pass time when waiting for hunt FATES to pop in FFXIV.

It’s fall in New Leaf, so all the trees are turning colors and I’ve dressed Mayor Zento up in his typical blue coat and grandpa hat. The game is quite forgiving to players who haven’t logged in in weeks, which is nice. So I just cleaned up a bunch of weeds, caught up with the neighbors, and it was like nothing changed at all between us.

A few weeks back, I purchased Fantasy Life for the 3DS. I have yet to try it, but I really want to. I’ve heard plenty of good things about it, and hope that it might scratch the sandbox itch that was left from the disappointment of ArcheAge.

Posted in ArcheAge, Gaming, MMORPGs

ArcheAge: Not Pay to Win Enough?

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Have a Rumbling Archeum Sapling

I’d already canceled my AA account before I found out about these little gems. I was feeling a little glum about giving away my farmhouse and picking up my farm with an awesome view. That was until I heard about AA’s newest cash shop venture.

Let me recap something here. Thunderstruck trees were super rare and super expensive (up to 1,300 gold on some servers). They are created when a tree you plant is struck by lightning, which has a very low chance of happening. These trees are used as a part of end game vehicles, such as the fishing boat.

When I got super lucky and obtained a TS tree from my farm, I cashed in big and crafted my farm cart. It was such an exciting moment for me in AA!

But all of that is gone now. You can now essentially pay for a chance at a TS tree in the cash shop.

Yes. You read that right. The most expensive and coveted item, that used to run over 1000 gold… the last time I logged in before uninstalling, it had dropped under 300 gold, and was still falling. I was shocked.

Here’s how it works:

  • You buy one of their RNG chests in the cash shop. You have a chance at getting Rumbling Archeum Saplings.
  • These saplings require no fancy water and mature in an hour.
  • They have a 10% chance at becoming a TS tree.

Now, you might wonder who would pay real money for a chance of a chance at a TS. I did, too, until I realized the massive number of trees up in the auction house. I guess someone is playing that game of chance and AA is making bank for it.

In the meantime, players are worried that now anyone and their cousin can make a fishing boat and start reaping the massive gold from the big catches in the ocean. There’s whispered worries of fishing getting a nerf, or the economy becoming even more over-inflated than is is now.

Do I think that TS trees were too expensive? Yes, I do. But if Trion wanted to make them more prevalent, they could have increased the natural chance for trees to drop on farmed lands. Instead, what did they do?

Put it in the cash shop, of course! 

grumpycat

Posted in ArcheAge, Gaming, MMORPGs

Breaking Ties with ArcheAge

 

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This has been an extremely difficult choice to make – moreso than I thought it would be. But I’ve decided it’s time to part ways with ArcheAge.

It’s difficult because there’s so much I enjoy in the game – farming, fishing, trade runs, owning my own farmhouse… Those are the things that make me hesitate to cancel my subscription.

When I first started playing AA, it was to “try it out.” When I realized that the F2P version was not going to meet my playstyle, I decided I’d opt for a month of Patron to see how that felt. One month of Patron became two as I decided to sit it out in way for the release of Auroria. Funny how this release was what sealed it for me that it’s time to step away.

No, You Can’t Have My Stuff

So what caused me to finally make the choice to stop playing AA, when it’s a game that I foundationally enjoy? I feel that it’s terribly, terribly mis-managed and I can’t see myself continuing to support it monetarily. It’s not just one thing, but a whole bunch of little things.

This is what’s on my mind:

Awful Launch Queues – Sure, it was launch. I get that, so I was forgiving. But maybe it was the hint that there was more trouble for this game on the horizon. I sat in 6 hour queues to log into the game before I went Patron. They finally opened up new servers, which I moved to when I had the chance. But these servers remain lower populated than the original servers, which leads me to worry about their health as the game ages.

No Land for Patrons – The biggest draw to me as a Patron is to own land. I have land, but only because I re-rolled on a new server. On Tahyang, I’ve visited now and then to see if I could get lucky. So far, I’ve not found a single spot for a garden, much less a house. Some people argue that land is supposed to be a luxury. I think that it’s false advertising to tell folks who are coming into the game that land as a Patron is a possibility.

Bots and Hackers – The main reason there isn’t land is because hackers swipe any lot that is demolished almost instantly. This is well known by players and by Trion. You can literally walk around and see the same name on multiple houses and you know it’s gotta be a hacker. Not cool.

Poor Housing Design – When I imagined housing in AA, I thought of lots of open land in lovely places where you could place your little dream farm house. Instead, AA zones these tiny spots on the map where players all dump their houses and farms in a jumbled mess that’s impossible to navigate through. It’s not pretty or ideal in any way. I was lucky that I placed my farm on the outside perimiter of such an area so I didn’t have to wade through a sea of trees just to find my house every day.

SLOOOOOW Support – Seriously. It took three weeks for them to respond to a ticket I submitted. And if you want to get a hold of them in support chat (provided you’re a Patron), make sure that you’re there when the chat opens first thing in the morning, or you’re facing hours worth of queues. Oh, and when the chat closes at night, it doesn’t tell you. You simply sit there in a queue that doesn’t exist anymore. Fun times!

Labor Points – Hate em. You know that already. If I wanted to have to sit and wait for my LPs to regen so I can farm or fish or do ANYTHING, I could play FarmVille. It would be cheaper.

Grind – Can we say Korean grind game? Yes, we can. Getting to level 50 was a breeze. Working for an end game weapon (which I haven’t done) or developing skills not related to your battle class is a crazy grind. Of course, all this is tied to the LP system… in hopes that you spend real money on labor potions so you can speed up the grind a little.

Billing Issues – When my Patron account renewed, they charged me and never gave me Patron time. I lost a lot of LPs during that, which they said they couldn’t help me with. Putting a ticket in meant I’d probably wait for weeks to get it settled, and I already described how support chat worked above. I got lucky and got it sorted out, but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Halloween – An “event” that revolved around buying all Halloween decorations and outfits in the cash shop. Not a single decoration was questable. Wow. I was stunned by this… I’ve never seen a holiday run quite so poorly. Obvious money grab is obvious.

Broken Cash Shop Mount – Pay real money for the fast horse mount in the game? Get a bugged mount that slides all over the place. Reported bug. Remains in the cash shop for sale despite being bugged. Has not been fixed… and support doesn’t do much to help. Not cool.

Auroria Launch Issues – After the new content launched, a bunch of us couldn’t log in at all. In the middle of a land grab. I don’t personally care about not getting land in Auroria, but there were a lot of guilds that worked very hard to be there for a castle claim. Or folks who hoped to get land when the castles were placed because they didn’t have land yet. Instead, we were faced with the dread message…

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Auroria Land Hacked – I wasn’t there because I couldn’t log in… but the stories say that as soon as the castles were placed, much land across Auroria was almost instantly claimed by hacks. Patrons who waited so long just to get their first land were once again displaced by bots stealing the land… when Trion already knew this was and would be an issue. Nothing has been done to stop this. And despite the cries for a “roll back” during the whole day we were disconnected, we get no compensation or response from Trion.

This was really the final straw for me. I’m watching this game fall apart because the publishers can’t support it and protect its paying players from known hacks and bots. Despite the fact that I enjoyed my time in this game… I have all the things I set out to acquire… I can’t keep supporting it with my money, time, or articles because there’s so much going on here that’s just wrong.

So for these reasons, I’m going to pack AA up. Once I pass my farmhouse to a guildie, I doubt I’ll ever come back. Cuz, you know… there’s no land to claim to make it worth my time.

Posted in ArcheAge, FFXIV, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs

Weekend at a Glance – FFXIV: Ninja GW2: Party AA: Husbandry

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Tai doesn’t look much like a Ninja in that picture up there, but a Ninja he’s becoming in FFXIV. I did a variety of gaming activities this weekend, but mostly focused on riding the FATE train to speed level Ninja. I’m currently level 36, which is moving pretty fast considering my normal play style. I’m hitting it hard and heavy, though, because I know in time, the FATEs will wind down and the ease of leveling will decrease with each Ninja that hits level cap.

Impressions

Of all the class quest lines, I admit that I’ve enjoyed Rogue the most. I’ve experienced quite a few of the class quests, having leveled everything to at least 15 on one character or another. So far, the writing, humor and characters really set this guild apart. I even felt a little sad when I realized I was moving beyond the Rogue guild as I started my path to become a Ninja.

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My Rogue Guild Family. 🙂

But then, the Ninja storyline has also been fun and interesting! I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I’d say that there’s a lot about these quests and the class itself that speaks of higher quality. I noticed the skill icons for ROG and NIN were all brightly techno-colored, and while they didn’t look out of place, they looked crisper. The transition into NIN was also visibly apparent while in battle. Tai does this neat double-dagger speed run and flips when he jumps – things I don’t remember other classes doing.

These little details really endeared me to the direction this game is going. They didn’t have to make the NIN run differently from other classes, but they did. And I like it.

It’s still early on for me to determine how much I like NIN. It has some personal positives to it, all cool style aside:

  • Far fewer positional attacks compared to Dragoon and Monk – Melee DPS annoys the crap out of me because to perform well, you always had to be beside, behind, or flipping between the two during battle. That really sucked in PUGs when you had a tank that just didn’t know to keep the enemies still.
  • I like the idea of the combo-built Ninjutsu. It reminds me a bit of Warden in LOTRO.
  • It piggybacks off of Dragoon and Monk skills, which I have.
  • Aside from good DPS, it also has some support abilities. I was surprised when I got a Silence skill in my lower 30s, much earlier than I did on my Bard

Again, I haven’t done anything but FATEs with NIN, so I don’t know how it feels to play in a dungeon with an actual party. No matter, it’s been fun to see FATEs active again, and I’m mulling over possibly pushing my Paladin to cap as well while there’s still a rush in the open world.

GW2: Dance, Dance, Dance!

Dancing with celebrity look-alikes
Dancing with celebrity look-alikes

DJ Boss of Paragon Broadcasting hosted a fun GW2 Halloween Tumblr party on Saturday. It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of these – used to do them quite frequently after the game launched, so I decided to take Nipp in to check it out. It was an awesome party and DJ Boss’ music didn’t disappoint. The usual hijinks were involved, and I found Nipp dancing alongside of celebrities such as Scarlet, Taimi, Jory and Tybalt.

Okay. Not the real ones… but players have done a good job in creating characters that look a lot like them. Someone even brought in Gold Freddy Fazbear from Five Nights at Freddy’s fame.

While it was a fun party, it became really apparent that I knew few of the Tumblrs attending. Most of the Tumblrs who I knew from the golden age of GW2 blogging weren’t there – either they couldn’t make it, don’t play GW2 anymore or didn’t know about the party. This isn’t knocking these newer Tumblr folks – I’m sure they have great and fun blogs. But it just wasn’t the same for me without my old Tumblr pals.

Just another sign that it’s time for me to move on from GW2, I guess. I’ll still play the upcoming Living Story issues, but I’m not all that excited about the release tomorrow. I’ll probably be FATE-training my Ninja instead.

You thought I was joking about the Golden Freddy, didn't you?
You thought I was joking about the Golden Freddy, didn’t you?

ArcheAge: Indecisive

I’m having trouble deciding what I want to do with AA right now. Mostly because I’m having more fun in other games at the moment, and the grind to actually level any of the crafting skills in AA is atrocious.

I find myself logging in to take care of my farm a few times a day, then logging out to play something else. I even accidentally capped labor points once last weekend and ended up burning them to create tax forms instead of taking the time to actually craft. I’m really ambivalent about the whole situation because I want to hang in there with this game. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into building my farm and getting the things I wanted.

Tomorrow marks the release of the North continent, but seeing I’m not a PvPer, I don’t think I’ll ever visit that place. So that content isn’t for me, and I’m not excited about it beyond the idea that maybe PvP guilds will vacate some of the land and move up north. I might check in on my character on Tahyang and see if the land situation improves any there.

My Skills So Far
My Skills So Far

In other news, I finally leveled my second skill to Rank 1 – husbandry. Now I can make chicken coops from my farmer’s workbench. Yay! I guess?

As you can see, I really haven’t leveled my crafting skills… and that’s not for lack of trying. I’ve logged in every day, planted and farmed every day, and still it feels like it takes sooo long to level anything. It takes 10K LPs to reach the first rank of anything… and the fact that crafting skills all are bound to LPs has really put a damper on my desire to keep moving forward in this game. I knew that would eventually be the thing that made me call it quits. But as I’ve paid for another month, I’m going to continue to play and see if the release tomorrow changes things for me.

I’m having the most trouble with the thought of giving up my little farmhouse that I put so much effort into building. I know I’ll probably not be able to earn another like it if I cancel my sub. So I know that once I take that step, I’d probably not come back to AA. It’s just a question of whether something changes for me, or that I find something of interest, before I stop caring about the farm.

Posted in ArcheAge, Gaming, MMORPGs

Halloween 2014: ArcheAge Hallowtide is… Hollow

 

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Maybe I shouldn’t complain since ArcheAge being launched so soon, I didn’t expect a Halloween event of any kind at all. I was surprised and curious when they announce Hallowtide, since this was the first in-game event I’ll experience in ArcheAge.

Sadly, my first impression is not a good one. Especially given the game has been out longer over seas. This is hardly an event at all… it’s more of a cash grab disguised as an “event.” I tried to wait and see if Hallowtide would progress after the initial announcement, but so far, I’ve seen no change in the event’s presentation.

Hallowtide makes GW2’s events (which I feel revolve too much around the gem store) look generous. Let me tell you why I’m disappointed in this so far.

Free In-Game Content: 

  • Two cities on each continent decorated for the event (more of an advertisement for the items you can buy in the store, if you ask me).
  • One daily event. Trade 10 pumpkins to the AH NPC to earn a goodie bag. The goodie bag has a random candy inside that gives a buff.
  • That’s… it…?
You want Halloween decorations? Pay the Marketplace!
You want Halloween decorations? Pay the Marketplace!

In-Store Paid Content: 

  • ALL decorations and costumes. ALL OF THEM!
  • RNG chests that have a chance to drop crappy candy and maybe, maybe, maybe costume items.

This… this… is awful. Especially for a game where folks might actually want to decorate their house. I can see that some of the items are in the store, you know, because someone needs to make money on this game. But I can’t even get a tiny little quest for a free jack-o-lantern to put on my doorstep.

Now, you can also choose to purchase the items from the auction house, after someone’s paid gems for them and put them for sale. Last week, some of the prices for a single jack-o-lantern were crazy expensive. They’ve regulated a little bit now, but it’s still a shame that all event items require either gold or in-game currency to obtain.

I managed to play the AH and pick up some decor for my home. But if this is what I can look forward to from this game’s “events,” I’m finding it harder and harder to want to support this game in any monetary way.

With FFXIV ramping up for a new release tomorrow and what sounds like an awesome expansion on the horizon, I’m going to start making cuts on my sub games pretty soon. So far, I haven’t invested in APEX, but it might be time to start pricing them.

At least they didn't charge for viewing the decorations in the cities...
At least they didn’t charge for viewing the decorations in the cities…
Posted in ArcheAge, Gaming, MMORPGs

Resolved! When ArcheAge Decides You’re No Longer a Patron (Though You Paid For It)

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Update: Not sure how it happened, but this is now resolved. When I logged in earlier during lunch break, I didn’t have Patron status. Once I got home from work, it was magically restored, though the ticket wasn’t updated. Something happened there, but still… this issue shouldn’t have cropped up in the first place. I’m not the only one seeing this, too. 

I was going to wait to blog about my newest frustration with ArcheAge, but seeing I don’t know if this is going to be resolved quickly, I might as well blog out my annoyance.

Yesterday, my ArcheAge Patron account auto-renewed. I saw the PayPal email come through. On the Trion website, my account says I have a month’s worth of Patron time.

But when I log in, I’m no longer a Patron.

I’m not talking about the time reporting incorrectly when I log in. I’m saying, I’m completely not a Patron anymore.  (Maybe they got tired of me whining about LPs?)

Lost Labor Points

To add insult to injury, AA decided to hard cap my labor in the rudest way possible. Before I realized there was an issue with my account, I put my character to sleep in the bed. This normally gives a buff that awards me with 50 labor points once a day.

However, since I had 2,829 LPs, and the cap for non-Patron is 2,000 LP, using the bed actually TOOK 829 LP from my account. That’s almost a full Worker’s Comp potion right there! 😮

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Not only that, but now I’m not getting the Patron LP regen like I should… because the game no longer considers me a Patron. So I’m losing all those LPs, lost the LPs from the game resetting me to cap, and I’m losing loyalty tokens.

It’s really, really not cool.

Asking for Support

After I figured out what was going on last night, I tried to contact support through the online chat. However, the queue was over 200, and the chat was closing in an hour, so there was no chance in getting help that way.

I put in a ticket. However, the last ticket I put in was answered in about 2 weeks… and I don’t have that kind of time to wait! Taxes are due today, and tomorrow I’m heading out of town for a trip. I really don’t want to lose my land and everything I worked for because something glitched out my Patron account in the game.

So… this morning after I got to work, I was number 13 in line for the support chat. The GM was friendly and tried to do whatever it was they do when a Patron account is messed up. It took about 30 mins, and then the GM asked me to log in and out of my account to see if that fixed it.

I was at work, so I had to wait until lunch break to go home and see if it fixed it. This didn’t fix it.

So now, I’m back in the ticket system, with a ticket that’s been escalated. Which is exactly what I was trying to avoid when using the support chat. This is really not what I wanted to happen the day before a trip out of town. 😦