SOE Maintenance Notice: July 2, 2014

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, International (Pro7Sat1)

Tomorrow, July 2nd, SOE’s accounting, commerce, and forum and game logins will be offline for approximately 2 hours. We’re going to assume this is part of the ProSieben migration back to SOE. From the SOE forums:

Attention players: we will perform maintenance beginning at 6:00 AM PDT* on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. We expect this maintenance to take approximately two hours. This will impact the following SOE services:

• Account management
• Commerce functions, including purchases
• Game, web and forum logins (between 6:30 and 7:00 AM)

The complete service window could last as long as four hours and may intermittently affect our services outside of the time frames above. Thank you for your patience!

*Convert to your local time

-SOE Community Team

SOE Divorcing ProSiebenGames; EQ2, PS2, DCUO Players Come Home July 1st!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1)

prosiebensat1-savethedate

After over two years of drama, with SOE customers feeling cut off, marginalized, and second class just for living in Europe, the grand experiment of German media conglomerate ProSiebenSat.1 managing SOE customers in the EU region is finally over!

When it was announced that Sony Pictures had licensed their entertainment library to PSG to try to be the Netflix of Europe, the writing was on the wall that SOE gamers might be along for the ride. While I do think Sony Online Entertainment eventually made some heroic efforts to try to make this deal work — after a few scathing reviews penned by this and other gaming sites — the deal was likely doomed from the start. ProSiebenSat.1 had never handled a AAA MMO title, let alone three, and the inexperience of its fledgling Alaplaya brand at supporting anything beyond F2P browser games became apparent even before the SOE-PSG transition began.

Much like the ill-fated Ubisoft takeover of EU-based EverQuest Live accounts in the early 2000′s, and despite promises of localization improvements and copious advertising, these deals seem to only ever end up souring the playerbase and having a negative impact on server populations and general goodwill.

As of today, June 18, 2014, new EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, and DC Universe Online players in Europe now do so with SOE. And as of July 1, 2014, existing EQ2, PS2, and DCUO customers will be transferred back to SOE.

After the jump, the official statement from Linda “Brasse” Carlson on the SOE forums:

EU Servers (Storms, Valor, Splitpaw) Locked out of EQ2 After Premature Patch

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, International (Pro7Sat1)

European-Union-008

For the last eight hours or so, players on EU servers including Storms, Valor, and Splitpaw, have been unable to login to EQ2 as they receive this message:

Login Rejected:The Clients version does not match the Servers. please rerun the patcher.

The issue seems to have been caused by the game Launchpad receiving updated files (via a Manifest file) hours before the Server has been patched. This Manifest file is supposed to be updated only after the game server is ready for the updated client. This has nothing to do with ProSieben and originates with Ops/Platform at SOE HQ.

We are following this issue and will post an update as we have it. The issue is also being discussed in the May 13th Update thread.

Player Studio for Canada, France, Germany, UK slips to late May

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1), Player Studio

player_studio_world

From the EQ2 Forums:

For the last several months we’ve been working hard to update the Player Studio program with a number of improvements that will simplify and expedite the overall registration process, and will allow international players from select regions and territories to participate.

This work has progressed well, but it’s a complicated initiative and there are still a few outstanding components to finalize to ensure we get this 100% right. Initially, we hoped to expand Player Studio to Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom on or before May 1, but given the intricacy of the program and our recent launch of the new All Access Membership plan, we have decided to roll out international support for Player Studio at the end of May. Player Studio support for Landmark will also come in the near future, but not until we are fully confident that the overall system is ready.

UPDATE: EU EQ2 Server Chat Fixed!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1)

UPDATE from SOE President John Smedley:

Original article follows…

SOE has been collectively working days, nights and weekends to get EQNext Landmark up and stable. In addition to the enviably sized EQNL team, Platform, Ops, and Customer Service have all been burning the midnight oil to provide a smooth experience for those ~20,000 players who bought into Alpha.

Still, EQ2′s EU players not being able to join world channels in the US, or Test regions has been a frustrating problem and one that we hoped would get fixed quickly. It didn’t. Now, SOE President John Smedley has stepped in to apologize and say the issue is being prioritized:

EU Servers Still Cut Off From US, Test Chat Channels After 2 Months

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1)

fence_dog

For two months, players on EU servers (Splitpaw, Valor, and Storms) have been cut off from the rest of the EQ2 servers, unable to participate in world channels such as Homeshow, Test, and the multitude of Class-specific channels. Each week, there has been flickering hope that this isolation would end, yet each week, there has been no sign that the issue is a priority.

First reported on the EQ2 forums on December 4th, players on EU servers noted that they were no longer able to join world chat channels from servers outside their region (Test, US, or Beta), and vice versa.

The issue was also raised in another thread where a developer said “I’ll look into this.” on December 20th. In the same thread on January 13th, we were told “ Requires some firewall rules be updated and pushed out. I sent the info the the corresponding dept. No ETA atm.”. There has been no further communication on the issue.

Extended EU Server Maintenance January 22nd

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, International (Pro7Sat1)

From the EQ2 Forums:

All EU servers will be unavailable for a very important technical (database) maintenance on January 22nd beginning at 2:00 AM CET (5 PM PT January 21st). Downtime is anticipated to be approximately 12 hours. There are no gameplay changes associated with this maintenance

Time Zone Conversions

  • PST: Jan 21 @ 5:00pm ~ Jan 22 @ 5:00am
  • CST: Jan 21 @ 8:00pm ~ Jan 22 @ 8:00am
  • GMT: Jan 22 @ 1:00 ~ Jan 22 @ 13:00
  • CET: Jan 22 @ 2:00 ~ Jan 22 @ 14:00
  • AEST: Jan 22 @ 10:00am ~ Jan 22 @ 10:00pm

Official French, German, Japanese EQ2 Forums Being Shut Down

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1)

After a hard-fought public relations battle, players in France, Germany, and other European countries were allowed to continue playing EverQuest II with their SOE/Station accounts. However that may be a Pyrrhic victory, as it has always been SOE’s intention to hand off support in these other languages to ProSiebenSat.1.

Today comes the announcement that the French, German, and Japanese EQ2 official forums are being shut down. Players needing support in French or German will need to reach out to other players, seek help on Wikis or other forums, or attempt to find help on the Pro7Sat.1 forums. As for Japan, I’m not aware of an official SOE partner there.

That these announcements are in English tells you all you really need to know:

Greetings,

Due to very low volume of usage we have made the decision to close down the International Forums. Please feel free to join us on the English language forums.

Respectfully,
Eric “Piestro” Cleaver

Marketplace Rebate Weekend (June 28 ~ June 30) — Europe & US

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1), StationCash

stationcash-instant-rebate-sale-all-weekend-long

According to ProSiebenSat.1′s new website for EverQuest II, this weekend will be a StationCash Marketplace Rebate weekend. We don’t have any official confirmation if the event will include the US or only apply to Europe, but the ending time for the event is certainly suggestive. 8:59am CEST just happens to be 11:59pm PDT Sunday night…

This weekend the EQII Marketplace will be featuring an Instant Rebate sale where you’ll be able to get deep discounts on most items in the store.

The sale runs Friday, June 28 – Monday, July 01, ending at 08:59 am CEST.

The Instant Rebate Sale includes many in the Marketplace except for example experience items, services, and new items added in the past 30 days. It excludes expansions, memberships, and other items not available for SevenCash.

I’ll update the EQ2 Marketplace Browser at Noon and see what happens. ;)

BUG!!! European Countries Disappear from “Add Credit Card” Screen in EU

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

UPDATE

Ok folks, we just got word from Dexella on the EQ2 Forums at 11:54am PDT that this is a BUG and will be fixed soon:

Hey all,

We are looking for a fix to the issue that caused the removal of the countries from the credit card list. 

In the meantime, you can update your account by using account management on the SOE General site (rather than EQ2-specific). On soe.com, select “My Account” from the top navigation and proceed from there.

Thanks,
Dexella

A number of European EQ2 players who are currently “free-to-play” or otherwise do not have an active credit card associated with their SOE (Station) account, are now finding themselves unable to add Europe-based cards to their accounts. Here is a screenshot of what European players are seeing on the Add Payment Source page. Notice Poland is missing:

europe-nocreditcard-eu

EverQuest II Launching with ProSiebenSat.1 Games on June 20th

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, International (Pro7Sat1)

prosiebensat1

From the EQ2 Forums:

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and ProSiebenSat.1 Games Group will be furthering their partnership with the launch of EverQuest® II on or around June 20, 2013. As we approach the transition, we want to clarify some final points. We have put together an updated FAQ that further addresses some of the most common concerns and questions from our online player community.

Importantly, we want to address up front the most common concern that players have had, which is server accessibility. SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 Games have determined that it is in the best interest of the players and the community to allow players to continue to play on any server regardless of where they live. That means that European players will be able to play on U.S. servers and vice versa.

Again, we appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinions with us. Your feedback is valuable to us in the ongoing effort to make your experience with SOE and PSG more enjoyable. We love our European players and look forward to our community of gamers growing through this partnership!

Thank you!

ProSiebenGames Security Breach

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

This likely won’t affect most EQ2 players even in Europe, since last year’s repreive allowed European EQ2 players to stick with SOE, but for those who play DCUO or PlanetSide 2 in Europe, or who started playing EQ2 after the switchover, you’ll want to read this announcement from the Alaplaya forums:

Dear Community,

We have detected that there recently has been unauthorized third-party access to one of our systems. The possibility that your data (Email address and password) has been accessed by an unauthorized third party cannot be excluded. We were able to detect the problem promptly and took all necessary actions to rectify the issue.

Your account data is encrypted with us for your security. Nevertheless, we have decided to take preventative measures in order to ensure the highest degree of security.

All accounts that may have been subject to unauthorized access have received an e-mail in which we have requested the user to change their password.

SOE Increases Prices for European Customers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

This one comes to us from Arkenor over at Ark’s Ark:

I received the following email yesterday. SOE is increasing European prices for a variety of currencies, claiming currency fluctuations.

As a result of Sony Online Entertainment LLC’s ongoing commitment to our players to review global pricing and remain in line with exchange rate fluctuations, it is necessary for us to make adjustments to Membership pricing as outlined below.

In addition to Membership pricing, some Station Cash® prices will also be adjusted.

We are writing to notify you that these price changes will take effect on March 14th, 2013.

We truly appreciate your understanding in this matter.

Sony Online Entertainment LLC

Smed: ProSiebenSat.1 Forced Migration is Dead — Euro SOE Players Can Stick With SOE

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

Well, this should change the tone and tenor of the ProSiebenSat.1 Panel at SOE Live a bit.

From SOE President John Smedley‘s twitter:

[I] wanted to thank our players for continuing feedback. We’ve been listening along with our European partners at Prosieben.

We’ve found a way to let existing players of our current games that are migrating over to Prosieben (EQ, EQ II, Planetside 2) keep their SOE accounts and stay with SOE. Down the road we may offer an option to move over to Prosieben.

Just to be clear after these games launch on Prosieben’s service new accounts will be created on their sites. However all US and EU players can still play together no matter which service they are on.

I want to be clear that Prosieben will have better European CS and payment options IMO. That’s why we went with them in the first place. Also Prosieben has done a great job of listening and is working on changing some of their CS policies. More to come on that soon.

UPDATE

Just going back and forth with our partners at Prosieben. I can confirm that we WILL offer the ability to migrate to Prosieben. No word on timeframe just yet but shouldn’t take too long.

[I] want to make sure I’m crystal clear – after we launch Planetside 2 – new EU accounts can only be created on Prosieben.

This has subsequently been posted on the EQ2 Forums.

ProSiebenSat.1 Fan Faire Panel and EQ2 Transition Delay

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1), SOE Live (Fan Faire)

Linda “Brasse” Carlson has announced that based on the progress of the transition of DCUO players from SOE to ProSiebenSat.1, EverQuest II would see a delay to ensure a smoother process:

Hail Denizens of Norrath in the UK and EU,

I just wanted to stop in here on the EQII Forums to give you an update the current status of the transition of our EU players to ProSiebenSat.1 Games. Having recently completed the transition for DC Uiniverse Online, we’ve learned a great many valuable lessons and identified a few areas where we’d like to improve the processes. We’re currently using that information and the feedback from player experiences and are working to improve the process further for players in future transitions.

ProSiebenSat.1: Multiple Accounts, Authenticators, and Remote Access

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

As Linda “Brasse” Carlson (@Brasse), Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson (@Qixter), and presumably other SOE staff are at Gamescom this week in Cologne, Germany helping kick off the reintroduction of EverQuest II and other SOE properties to European audiences, we look at the rocky transition DC Universe Online EU players are experiencing in linking their SOE accounts with ProSiebenSat.1.

Multiple Accounts

One of the sticking points in the ProSiebenSat.1 terms-and-conditions which have EU EQ2 players concerned is the prohibition on multiple accounts. Indeed an earlier rendition of the ProSiebenSat.1 Terms and Conditions said this:

For each person / IP only one membership is permitted. Wrong data and / or several memberships of the same person enable ProSiebenSat.1 Digital to immediate termination of the user contract and to carry out the deletion of the account.

Yet players have received various unofficial advise to just create new accounts or new e-mail addresses so they can get their multiple accounts imported over. Indeed, Section 4.4 of those terms and conditions seem to have been recently revised to:

Each User may only create one Account. Each Account will be assigned to one e-mail address. You can use your Account for all games within the Service of P7S1.

UPDATE from Piestro:

We’re continuing to work on this issue (and a few others in the TOS/Privacy Statement). Unfortunately it wasn’t as simple as we initially thought to make the change so it’ll take time. Both we and ProSiebenSat.1 Games definitely understand your concerns and are working hard to address them however. I’ll update when we have more specific information to share.

ProSiebenSat.1 Partners with Télévision Française 1

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

Yet another finger in the pie…

A press release from ProSiebenSat.1′s website:

ProSiebenSat.1 and TF1 begin extensive partnership for online games in France

Munich, Germany, August 2, 2012. ProSiebenSat.1 is entering into a partnership of several years with France’s biggest TV station Télévision Française 1 (TF1), covering the field of online games. The media company’s games publisher ProSiebenSat.1 Games will thus provide the French games portal www.MYTF1.fr with its portfolio in stages, starting in mid-August. The portfolio includes games from the existing licensing and content agreements with Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and 35 other partners. With more than 25 million active gamers, France has the second largest online gaming market in Europe. Through its partnership with TF1, ProSiebenSat.1 Games is able to achieve another milestone in its international expansion of the online games business.

ProSiebenSat.1 Gets EQ1, Vanguard, BulletRun, Wizardry Online

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

After initially having been told:

Why will this partnership not affect EverQuest 1?
The original EverQuest was not included as part of the agreement between SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 Games.

It appears that EverQuest, Vanguard, and 2 new games are now included in the SOE-ProSiebenSat.1 Deal. From a press release (posted at Gamasutra) at GamesCom in Germany:

ProSiebenSat.1 Games expands Europe-wide exclusive cooperation with Sony Online Entertainment

Munich, Germany, August 15, 2012. ProSiebenSat.1 Games and Sony Online Entertainment, LLC (SOE) are expanding their exclusive partnership with four online games for the European market. Following the successful launch of DC Universe™ Online on the servers of ProSiebenSat.1 Games, the games publisher from Unterföhring has secured four more exclusive licenses from SOE: Vanguard: Saga of Heroes®, EverQuest®, Wizardry® Online, and Bullet Run™. This extends the portfolio of ProSiebenSat.1 Games to cover a total of 12 online games from the U.S.-based developer studio.

EU/UK SOE Pre-Paid Cards Must be Redeemed by July 23, 2012

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1), StationCash

From the EQ2 Forums:

To our European customers,

We wanted to let you know that SOE will no longer be selling pre-paid game cards in Europe as of 07/20/12.

As we begin to transition our games to our European partner, ProSiebenSat.1 Games, customers will be able to take advantage of new methods of payment including pre-paid options, such as PaySafe, via their new ProSiebenSat.1 accounts.

IMPORTANT: For the few European customers who have already purchased an SOE pre-paid game card but have not yet redeemed it, please visit www.soe.com/gamecards now to redeem it! You must redeem any existing SOE pre-paid game cards before 07/23/12. If you experience any problems with your game card redemption, please contact SOE customer service at www.soe.com/support for assistance. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for July 23rd 2012 and redeem your SOE pre-paid game cards before then!

Thank you for your continued support!
Sony Online Entertainment

EverQuest II ProSiebenSat.1 Transition Now 30-60 Days Away

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

EQ2 ZAM has reported on an e-mail correspondence which some European players have received about the upcoming changeover. Their article on the subject:

Earlier this year Sony Online Entertainment announced their partnership with ProSiebenSat.1 to distribute SOE games in Europe. Today Eurpoean Everquest II players woke to an email announcing that the EQII PSS.1 transition will be starting in 30-60 days. The letter details the countries effected and the finer points of the processs for non-recurring memberships and All Access accounts.

A translation of the letter can be found below. We also reccommend the ProSiebenSat.1 Games Group FAQ on the Station Community Forums.

As DCUO Hits 30-60 Day Pro7Sat.1 Window, Brasse Provides Answers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

As players learned last week in an e-mail from SOE, DC Universe Online is now 30-60 days from transitioning its European customers from SOE/Station accounts to Pro7Sat.1 accounts:

An exciting time in SOE history has arrived and we are very pleased to be celebrating it with you, some of the most passionate DC Universe Online fans! As many of you know, SOE has partnered with ProSiebenSat.1 Games to provide and market eight of its games to players in Europe, including EverQuest® II, DC Universe™ Online, Free Realms®, Star Wars®: Clone Wars Adventures™, Magic: The Gathering – Tactics, and PoxNora®, as well as the upcoming PlanetSide® 2 and the next game in the EverQuest® franchise.

Specifically, the above mentioned SOE games will be made available through the ProSiebenSat.1 Games service in more than 40 European territories, including Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Other countries may be added at a later date.

Today, Linda “Brasse” Carlson has come forward with answers to a number of questions which have been outstanding since January when this deal was first announced. Her comments from the EQ2 Forums:

Hello folks,

We are moving closer to transitioning our first game, DCUO, to ProSiebenSat.1 in Europe. This means we are far enough along to clarify a number of outstanding questions, although not all. We thank you for your patience in allowing us the time to ensure the information was accurate and confirmed possible to carry out.

Game Update 63: Skyshrine Pushed to April 18th for EU Servers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, International (Pro7Sat1)

From Piestro on the EQ2 Forums:

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 5 AM London Time the Splitpaw server will come down for Game Update 63: Skyshrine. Expected downtime is approximately 5 hours.

We haven’t heard of “London Time”, and we’re not sure why only the Splitpaw server is mentioned. Maybe Piestro meant to say:

On Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 5:00 British Summer Time (6:00 Central Europe Time) the Splitpaw, Storms, and Valor servers will come down for Game Update 63: Skyshrine. Expected downtime is approximately 5 hours. We apologize for patching the European servers nearly a full day after U.S. servers have been updated. We haven’t sussed out how to do simultaneous updates (or communicate patch times) during the first 62 patches, so you don’t expect it for the 63rd.

Sony Corp Cutting 10,000 Jobs Worldwide

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, International (Pro7Sat1)

A Sony Corp. logo pictured at an electronic store in Tokyo. (Yuriko Nakao / April 9, 2012)

Although it is my understanding that this has no immediate ramifications for Sony Online Entertainment, which has already undergone two rounds of belt-tightening, and recently signed an exclusive European distribution deal with ProSiebenSat.1 which no doubt had financial incentives behind it, this is news that several people have reported in so I’m reposting it.

UPDATE: Sony Corp has revised their expected financial losses for 2011 to $6.4 billion.

From ArsTechnica:

Sony Corp. is planning on cutting loose 10,000 of its employees in an effort to bring the company back to profitability, according to reports by the Japanese business newspaper Nikkei and the Associated Press.

The job cuts would amount to a global workforce reduction of 6%. Half of the layoffs will come from reshuffling related to Sony’s departure from the small LCD display business, and consolidation of its midsize display and chemical businesses. On April 1, Sony completed the spinoff and merger of its Mobile Display with the LCD and LED businesses of Hitachi and Toshiba to form Japan Display, an independent company that Sony holds a 10 percent stake in (with the Japanese government-financed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan holding the 70 percent majority stake).

Whose Account Is It Anyway? ProSiebenSat.1 vs. SOE

Written by Feldon on . Posted in International (Pro7Sat1)

When the ProSiebenSat.1 deal was announced, it was indicated that some EQ2 servers would be IP locked. Existing EU players would be grandfathered into continuing to play on US servers, but US players would not be able to continue to play on EU servers. The IP locking (SOE was careful not to use this term) applied to the servers.

After this announcement went over like mustard-flavored ice cream, SOE went away for 2 1/2 months and came back with a different approach. Servers will NOT be region-locked, accounts will be. So if you try to login to your SOE account in Europe, you’ll get a message prompting you to create a ProSiebenSat.1 account. Now all of this is still months away (DCUO is first up for the transition), but folks have grown weary of waiting for answers.

Really, this boils down to whether people want to do business with ProSiebenSat.1/Alaplaya. After the announcement of the SOE-ProSiebenSat.1 deal, EQ2Wire and others found a mixed track record and a variety of warning signs which players latched onto. The primary issue is trusting ProSiebenSat.1 with our account info, the same account info that SOE has themselves stumbled at protecting in recent years.

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