SmokeJumper Comments on Longer Patch Times for EU

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, International

If you’ve ever wondered why EU patches and Game Updates always seem to take twice as long as US ones, you’re not alone. We’ve never been able to understand why the files aren’t sent earlier, or some steps taken ahead of time to make the update more quickly. Apparently there is some work being done.

From SmokeJumper on the EQ2 Forums:

The international team has developed a way to parallel process some of the update in the future, so we should hopefully see an update speed increase for non-US servers.

Taylen of Splitpaw asked:

Does that mean we would go live at the same time, or just our down time would be shorter?

which elicited this response from SmokeJumper:

Down time shorter with the eventual objective of simultaneous.

SOE Authenticators Now Available for $9.95

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International

SOE Security Authenticators are now available from SOE.com for $9.95 including domestic shipping and handling. They may be used on one or more Station accounts.

Pricing compares favorably to the WoW Battle.net security fobs which cost $6.50 plus shipping. Plus, you may use one SOE Authenticator on multiple Station accounts, a feature the Battle.net devices lack as of October 2010.

Note: Only after entering your credit card information does international shipping or handling rates appear. We’ve seen several reports that international shipping is more expensive than the security fob itself. In the range of $10-13 US, 10 Euros, $13 AUD, etc.

There is no word on when the announced free SOE Authenticator apps for iPhone, Android, and possibly other platforms will appear.

Check out our detailed guide SOE Puts Security in your Pocket — Vasco Security Fobs which we posted on July 11th.

SOE Offers Identity Protection for EU Players

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International

Adding to the Identity Theft Protection plan already announced for US customers, today, SOE has announced a similar program for EU customers.

For customers based in the United States, we have made arrangements with Debix, Inc., one of the industry’s most reputable identity protection firms, to offer AllClear ID PLUS at no cost to Station Account holders for 12 months from the time an account holder registers for the program. To qualify, Station Account holders must enroll by June 28, 2011. US – based customers will receive an email in the next few days, confirming how to access their redemption code for this service. For more details on the program, click here.

For customers in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, we will provide a complimentary 12 month identity protection program offered through Affinion International Limited. Customers will have the option of enrolling in the program for 60 days from May 14, 2011 (when SOE services were restored) by contacting Affinion. The identity protection program will provide customers with monitoring, surveillance, reporting and insurance. Affinion is one of the world’s largest and longest-tenured providers of identity protection services. More details on how customers can take advantage of this service will be available soon. Read the Press Release.

For all other customers, we are actively investigating similar programs or other measures in other countries or territories; more information on those programs or measures will be provided as they are implemented.

SOE Responds to International Pricing Differences

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

The American prices for the Destiny of Velious digital downloads are well known — the regular edition is $39.99, while the collector’s edition runs $59.99. We are very happy to see that the days of preferential treatment for the Retail version are over. Last year’s 7 day retail headstart and the confusion leading up to the launch for European customers was the source of much frustration, so we are quite satisfied with this year’s simplified options. So then all is wine and roses, right?

Well, it may surprise American players to learn that customers in some other countries are seeing prices up to 33% higher for the collector’s edition than US customers are seeing. Here is the current pricing for the digital collector’s edition outside of the US:

  • UK current price is £49.99. That’s $79.96 USD, a 33.3% markup.
  • Europe current price is €54,99. That’s $74.90 USD, a 24.9% markup.
  • Australia current price is $74.95 AUS. That’s $74.18 USD, a 23.7% markup.

All International Servers to be Patched Immediately

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, International

Due to a code bug which allowed the EQ2X Marketplace to appear on international servers, all international servers are now down for a patch. From Amnerys:

All international servers were just taken offline (earlier than planned) due to today’s patch. It was unplanned but necessary, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

We are hoping to have all international servers back online by 1PM PDT (9PM GMT). Please watch this thread for updates.

Sentinel’s Fate DD International Announcement

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

Kiara has officially announced the Digital Download partners for International customers.

Greetings!

We’re pleased to announce the International Digital Download Distributors for Sentinel’s Fate.  Our international customers will be able to digitally download the expansion and begin playing on February 16th!  We appreciate your patience as we’ve worked out all the details.

Accepting Orders Today
DLGamer Digital Download
DLGamer – £29.95 (34,95 €) ($46.88)
English | French | German

digitaldownload_direct2drivecouk
Direct2Drive – £29.95 (34,95 €) ($46.88)
English | French | German

Accepting orders February 16th
digitaldownload_steam
Steam
visit Steam

International customers will be able to DD the expansion on February 16th and take advantage of the headstart offer.

They will receive the DD version of the game and the things included in that package:

  • These include:
    • 500 Station Cash
    • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
    • 30 days free play time for new accounts
    • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Learned

Continuing Coverage

EQ2Wire is continuing to follow this story. If you are unable to purchase the Digital Download through these sites outside of the United States and Canada, we’d like to know about it! If you find any tips or tricks on how to order the product through these websites, please let us know either by Comment or by sending us e-mail.

Breaking: Sentinel’s Fate DD Appears on International Websites

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

digitaldownload_sfbox

Sentinel’s Fate Digital Download

We are getting reports that the Sentinel’s Fate expansion has appeared on Digital Download websites for customers outside the United States and Canada. If you hear of other sites, please let us know! We are still expecting a formal announcement at 9:30am PST today of the Digital Download partners.

If you are outside the United States and Canada, you should now be able to purchase Sentinel’s Fate from these websites (of course we would be curious to know if any of you have trouble with these sites):

DLGamer Digital Download

DLGamer – £29.95 (34,95 €) ($46.88)

digitaldownload_direct2drivecouk

Direct2Drive – £29.95 (34,95 €) ($46.88)

Bad News for Amazon.com Pre-Orders

We’ve gotten a report that Amazon is telling its Sentinel’s Fate pre-order customers the following:

Severe Weather Alert: Due to winter storms on the East Coast of the United States, many packages will be delayed.

EQ2:SF Digital Download Partners Announcement Tomorrow

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News, International

With hardly a moment to spare, we will soon find out where the EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate expansion will be available for purchase as a Digital Download.

We will be releasing the distributors and the links to their sites tomorrow morning after 9am PST. It will be up in this thread about 9:30am PST as soon as I walk in the office. The list will be updated as more information comes in, but will be good to get everyone started. — Kiara

Current wisdom indicates that if your IP address is recognized as being outside of the United States and Canada, you will be able to play the DD on February 16th. If not, you will be waiting until February 23rd.

Commentary

I’d like to know…Are there any positions open in the SOE Marketing Dept? I’d love to be able to completely fumble the international launch of a top 10 MMORPG expansion, take late lunches, and not lose a wink of sleep at night, all while its Developers and Community team are working 14 hour days including weekends to develop and release a game that a lot of people won’t be able to play. Must be nice.

BREAKING NEWS: Digital Download on Feb 16 for International

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News, International

It seems sanity has prevailed at SOE. From EQ2 Forums:

The status of retail distribution for Sentinel’s Fate at launch internationally is still uncertain. However in an effort to properly serve our international community we have partnered with several digital distributors who will be providing the expansion to our international customers only starting on Feb 16th 2010. The digital downloads will be IP locked so that only the international community can take advantage of this.

When it became apparent that whoever at SOE Marketing signed deals with Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy forgot about the rest of the world, this should have been immediately addressed.

Instead, we’ve had 2 months of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about whether players in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Rim would even be able to play the expansion before late February.

I’d just like to personally thank whoever was SOE Marketing Dept‘s secret santa and got them this great gift:
worldmap

Sentinel’s Fate Situation Improves

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

Since our exposé on the lack of options for anyone outside the continental United States to order the EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate expansion, it seems we stirred up a hornet’s nest behind the scenes, causing the resolution of at least  some of the issues facing EverQuest II customers.

We are now able to report that BestBuy.com has corrected its release date to February 16th, Amazon.com is now offering shipping outside the U.S., and Amazon.ca is now offering Sentinel’s Fate for sale directly to Canadian customers. We are still awaiting word of the selection of one or more international distributors.

The official news from Marketing posted on the EQ2 forums by Kiara (who has been repeatedly and completely unjustly thrown under the bus on this issue):

Update from sales regarding shipping from Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop:

Amazon.com – Amazon will have all the information fixed by Friday AM.  They will also have all the shipping options spelled out for both International and N.A. customers.  Players will be able to choose an option for release date delivery in the continental U.S.  International customers will have the ability to get the expansion day one but that all depends on how early the order is placed and willingness to pay shipping costs.  They are also working with Amazon to start shipping on the February 9th to get to international players on day one and working with Amazon Canada to have release day delivery.

Best Buy.com – Best buy has added the pre-order button and put the 16th as the date of release.  They will have the site perfect by Thursday night.  They do not guarantee same day delivery; but like Amazon, they may start shipping on the 10th to hit houses on the 16th.  They are working with Best Buy to on this.

GameStop – They know they need to add more information for our customers and will do so ASAP.  Also GameStop Canada is going to be ready for this release.  They just put the GameStop Canadian site up yesterday.

When I have further word on international distributors, I’ll pass that along as well.  There currently is no updated information on how those discussions are working out.

SOE are apparently in talks with 2 international distributors and looking at options to make sure that Sentinel’s Fate is available locally in countries outside the U.S.

SOE Marketing Dept. Largest Roadblock to EQ2 Marketing?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News, International

EQ2Wire has been trying to get some answers about the EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Pre-Order for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

We contacted the SOE PR department with a detailed list of questions. We received an e-mail which quoted the Press Release but which did not answer any of our submitted questions.

We sent an e-mail to SOE President John Smedley on November 19th with those same concerns and additional questions. At present, we have received no response to this e-mail.

Where do we Stand?

Going into December 2009, just where do American, North American (Canada, Mexico), and International customers stand with regards to the EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate expansion Pre-Order?

The answer: Left out in the cold.

Amazon.com

preorderdebacle_amazon001

preorderdebacle_amazon002

BestBuy.com

preorderdebacle_bestbuy001

GameStop.com

preorderdebacle_gamestop001

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of where we stand right now:

  • Amazon.com is listing a Release Date of February 16, 2010 and will not ship until February 15. With standard shipping, Amazon.com is estimating an arrival date of February 22-24, 2010.
  • Amazon.com refuses to ship the expansion outside of the U.S.
  • BestBuy.com is listing a Release Date of February 17, 2010 and will not ship until February 16. With standard shipping, BestBuy.com is estimating an arrival date as late as February 23, 2010.
  • BestBuy.com doesn’t even have box art for the expansion yet.
  • GameStop.com is listing a Release Date of February 16, 2010 and will not ship until February 15. With standard shipping, GameStop.com is estimating an arrival date of February 22-24, 2010.
  • GameStop.com is inexplicably limiting the number of EverQuest II: Collector’s Edition sets to 2 per household.

If you want to know where you can pre-order EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Collector’s Edition (whether you live in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or Asia) and receive it on February 16th, 2010, without spending $100~140, the answer is NOWHERE. If you want to buy 3 copies of the Collector’s Edition, then none of those 3 retailers will be able to help you, no matter how much money you offer.

Make no mistake folks, the Release Date, Street Date, Ship Dates, pricing, and regional shipping authorization are all determined by the SOE Marketing Department. Their complete failure to manage this situation and have an International Distributor selected before announcing this Pre-Order is a farce.

There has still been no explanation for why the game is not available from BestBuy.CA (serving Canada), Amazon.co.UK, Amazon.DE, Amazon.FR, etc.

So far, all polite, constructive attempts to contact SOE Marketing have failed. They are the division of SOE which seems the most insulated from the public (no Facebook or Twitter pages, rarely post on the SOE Forums), and yet seem to be the division that most needs to hear the public’s feedback.

At this point, it seems the biggest roadblock to customers being able to buy EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate in a timely fashion, are the SOE Marketing Dept.

International Distribution?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

Kiara has posted the following update regarding SoE’s efforts to locate one or more international distributors for EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate.

Answers!  Not all the answers that everyone wants, naturally, but definitely better than nothing, for certain.

1)  The coupon in the retail box for the $10 in the Station Store is for the DD version of SF only.  Good for folks with more than one account or for those who want to gift to a friend to get them into the game.

2)  Still waiting on the lists of where Amazon and GameStop will ship.  Sharp sticks have been employed in the poking phase of “Can we please have this?”

3)  Best news for last!  I don’t have details and couldn’t release them even if I did… However, our sales team is speaking with a couple of publishers and trying to work out details of international distribution.  As soon as we have the deals signed, we’ll make sure to give you the details on this.

Thank you all very much for your patience with all of this as we try to smooth out wrinkles and get you the information you need.

EQ2Wire deduced that SoE were “between distributors” when international retail storefronts listed and then de-listed the expansion. When questioned, they reported that they had “no source” to order the product. EQ2Wire will keep you updated on further news as we hear it.

EQ2: The International Strategy

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News, International

courtesy American.com

EQ2Wire is working on a story covering the overseas marketing and distribution strategy for EverQuest II’s sixth expansion — EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate.

While there have been some concerns expressed on the EQ2 Forums regarding the 7-day headstart release strategy of Sentinel’s Fate from American customers (specifically within the 48 contiguous states with guaranteed arrival by February 16, 2010), specifically from American customers who have traditionally purchased the Digital Download, this has been nothing compared to the outcry from hundreds of international EverQuest II customers.

According to the EQ2Players Announcement, the only means for EQ2 players outside of the United States to acquire either the retail box($39.99), or Collector’s Edition retail box ($69.99) and play the expansion on release day, is to purchase the game from an American retailer (Amazon.com or GameStop.com), including shipping and import duties, and gamble that the parcel will arrive in time.

Including import duties, shipping cost, VAT, and the currency exchange rate, international customers are expecting to pay upwards of $80 for the expansion, or $130 for the Collector’s Edition, with no guarantee that the box will arrive by February 16th, 2010.

Due to a breakdown in communication, Amazon.com refuses to ship the expansion outside of the United States, leaving GameStop.com as the only international option. Further breakdown in communication has resulted in BestBuy.com not offering the product at all — even to domestic customers.

EQ2Wire would like to know why EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate is not available for purchase from international online retailers, especially from suppliers with which SoE already has a business relationship. For example BestBuy.ca (Canada), Amazon.co.uk (UK), Amazon.de (Germany), EBGames.com.au (Australia).

Follow the discussion on EQ2 Forums: [pre-order discussion] [7 day headstart discussion]

EQ2Wire is providing SoE an opportunity to respond to these concerns and we’ll get back to you as soon as we hear from them.

~EQ2Wire~

Sentinel’s Fate, Fan Faire Attendees, and International

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

The news is coming quickly about EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate’s new Retail strategy.

Kiara brings us this:

Fan Faire attendees with accounts in good standing will receive a complimentary digital copy of the retail version.  You will have the early access and items associated with the retail version of the game.

We’re looking into Best Buy not having the listing yet.

Amazon and GameStop are shipping overseas.  I’m trying to get a list of the countries that will be shipped to.  Retail boxes ordered online and shipped, SHOULD be shipped in time to arrive on release day to allow people to take advantage of the early access.

In response to concerns that Amazon.com does not currently offer International shipping, and that Amazon.co.uk does not yet carry this expansion Kiara followed up:

This is being looked into.  The agreement is very specific that GameStop and Amazon will be shipping overseas.

Please let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater juuuuuust yet.  Also, since we won’t be shipping until February, we’ve got a little time to work this all out with our distributors.

Additionally, retail boxes **should** be shipped in time for people to have them on release day if they pre-ordered, rather than waiting a week to get it.

Street Dates

The issue is that retailers, both online and stores, are scared sh*tless about breaking Street Dates. They’ve faced huge fines and browbeatings by Microsoft, Electronic Arts, etc.

The important part here, is for CLEAR communication between SoE Marketing and the retailers that there IS NO STREET DATE and that boxes should be shipped as soon as they are ready.

EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Pre-Order

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International

sentinels_fate_boxart
EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate

Getting a jump on the holiday season (and a full 100 days before its official launch), the EverQuest II Sentinel’s Fate expansion has been made available for pre-order!!

The most remarkable part of this announcement is the extraordinary measures being taken to get EverQuest II back onto Retail shelves and getting retailers to take the game seriously. With Sentinel’s Fate, it is now clear that the preferred version of EverQuest II will be the retail Collector’s Edition. Not only with in-box and in-game exclusive items, but the release schedule. The Retail version will be available fully 1 week before the Digital Download.

This is a ballsy move and one which will likely be greeted with some skepticism and anger. But many players have been clamoring for better retail presence of EverQuest II. Part of this is the in-box rewards, but perhaps a bigger part is that new players are more likely to come to the game if retail boxes are present. And I believe that having the digital download available on the same day as the retail version was, no doubt, a great demotivator to retailers to bother providing retail space or ordering sufficient boxes.

Now our spotlight rests squarely on the SoE Marketing Department. This is make-or-break time for them. They’ve let us down with the confusing Rise of Kunark pre-order Burynai reward, and they stumbled in providing Best Buy with the incorrect street date for The Shadow Odyssey. All eyes now rest on them to make Sentinel’s Fate a successful launch available to the widest possible audience of players in North America and worldwide.

They have a great opportunity here to surprise players and get EverQuest II back in stores and solve the availability problems we’ve faced in the past few years. Specifically, we will also be watching to see if there are any issues for International customers wishing to purchase EverQuest II as there have been in past years.

They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog, and I’m not ready to concede to WoW. Hopefully SoE isn’t either.


From EQ2Players.com:

Sentinel’s Fate will be available for pre-order beginning on Thursday, November 12, 2009! Sentinel’s Fate will be a compilation pack, containing the previous five expansions and three adventure packs. Sentinel’s Fate is EverQuest II’s sixth expansion, and marks the return of Odus to Norrath. New and veteran players alike will find tons of new content for all playstyles to explore.. More information about this newest addition to the EQII universe will be revealed in the months to come at EQ2Players.

All versions, both retail and digital download come with the compilation all-in-one game. This includes the following expansions: Desert of Flames, Kingdom of Sky, Echoes of Faydwer, Rise of Kunark, The Shadow Odyssey, Sentinel’s Fate; and the following Adventure Packs: The Bloodline Chronicles, The Splitpaw Saga, and Fallen Dynasty.

Retail Pre-order: $39.99 The retail box may be pre-ordered starting on Nov. 12th, 2009. It will include the following:

  • Seven day headstart access starting on February 16, 2009
  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-box Item: $10.00 coupon for Digital Download from the Station Store
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Reasoned
Retail Only Collector’s Edition Pre-order:$69.99 The Collector’s Edition retail box may be pre-ordered starting on Nov. 12th, 2009. It will include the following:

  • Seven day headstart access starting on February 16, 2009
  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-box Item: $10.00 coupon for Digital Download from the Station Store
  • In-box Item: Armored Highland Stalker figurine
  • In-box Item: EverCracked! The Phenomenon of EverQuest DVD Documentary
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Reasoned
  • In-game mount – Armored Highland Stalker
Digital Download:$39.99 There is no pre-order for the digital download. This will be available for purchase through the Station Store, D2D, and Steam. It will include the following:

  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Learned

The retail pre-order may be obtained solely through North American retailers: Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon. You may pre-order through these retailers online. International players wishing to order a retail box may purchase through GameStop and Amazon and have their box shipped.

Retail Pre-Order Links:

Links from BestBuy.com are forthcoming as their website has not yet been updated.

Game Update 53 for Euro Servers, Database Update

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, International

The most populated servers have been struggling under the strain of Game Update 53, and now we have an update on this from Kiara.

Here’s an update on the performance problems we’ve been seeing.

We believe that the issues the servers have been experiencing since Shards of Destiny was pushed live relate to the volume of items being converted to heirloom and the achievement information being accessed by the new system. This has stressed the database and is causing the performance issues. We expect it to abate in a couple of days after the bulk of our players get logged in and updated.

Once again, we really appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused.

And regarding when European servers will get Game Update 53, Kiara again

We’ve figured out what the issue is with the database and we will be pushing the update to the international servers today.

To Runnyeye and Splitpaw the update will push at 9pm PDT (5am Sept 25th for our friends in London).

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate all your patience while we sorted things out.

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