If you want to know what’s been going on at the EQ2 forums, the quickest way to sum it up is this — I have been banned for the first time ever from the EQ2 forums for “excessive negativity”.
ProSiebenSat.1/Alaplaya — A Company Unfit for SOE Customers
Six weeks ago, an exclusive distribution deal affecting all Europe-based SOE customers was announced with a German TV media company named ProSiebenSat.1. Within minutes of the announcement, players discovered that ProSiebenSat.1’s gaming division is called Alaplaya, a company known for IP Region Locking, publishing the personal details of customers in violation of EU and German privacy law, shady dealings with customers, and a lineup of poorly supported low-grade pay-to-win browser games riddled with exploits which even Alaplaya’s official moderators have admitted the company plans to do nothing about.
When the deal goes into effect, U.S. players will no longer be able to access EU servers. For a variety of reasons, this is a serious problem.
Also, no new EU-based players will be able to access U.S. servers — only current players will be grandfathered in. The end result being that the hundreds of Euro-based guilds on U.S. servers will no longer be able to recruit new players from the EU.
But the real elephant in the room is: NOBODY who has done even the most cursory of investigation wants to do business with Alaplaya.
Everyone we have spoken to about Alaplaya has equated them to such fly-by-night outfits as the makers of Evony and other heavily advertised trashy pay-to-win browser games where you have to pay money to get the best weapons, more power, more speed, etc.
[Read 20 Things SOE Forgot About in the ProSiebenSat.1/Alaplaya Deal for more details]
Making a Stink on the Forums?
In many ways, it’s too late to resolve this matter by posting on the forums. SOE has a history of ignoring lengthy forum threads, no matter how impassioned. EQ2Wire has never seen the EQ2 player community so united with one unwavering voice about an issue until this ProSiebenSat1/Alaplaya deal, but it’s probably too late for reasoned discussion.
A Planetside player named Dart <Delta Triad> summed it up best:
The notion of SOE asking us for “feedback” on this deal is insulting and disingenuous. The contracts on this multi-year deal were signed 6 weeks ago… Our negative feedback will make less than no difference now.Their pretense of being interested in our ‘feedback’ is ridiculous and I’m amazed more people haven’t commented on it. Don’t kid yourself, this is a fait accompli!
A Disingenuous Response?
So far the response to the ProSiebenSat.1 discussion thread has been hundreds of innocuous posts deleted by EQ2 moderators (who contrary to popular belief are paid contractors and not unpaid volunteers), and dozens of bans handed out to long-time forum members including myself.
The reasons for posts being deleted have been myriad and nonsensical “not constructive”, “excessive negativity”, and “trolling” on a scale we have not seen since the dark days of Grimwell who single-handledly drove hundreds of players to EQ2Flames back in its more constructive days as a helpful EQ2 player outpost.
However the most disingenuous response has been this from Linda “Brasse” Carlson:
Hey folks – I know it’s been a long few days. We fully appreciate the time and effort you’ve taken to provide your feedback.
As we’ve said before, we ARE listening, and we are in discussions with ProSieben. We will come back to you with information when it becomes available, but it will be some time yet.
Please keep in mind that this is not an overnight process and no games are transitioning to ProSieben immediately.
Thank you for bearing with us during this planning period.
Linda “Brasse” Carlson
Director, Global Community Relations, SOE
In reality, Brasse indicated in SOE Podcast #126 (posted on February 15th) that she had been intimately involved in the ProSiebenSat.1 deal and had traveled to Germany (listen starting at 53:40):
[I’m] still getting over the jet lag of being in Munich [Germany]. I know that everybody’s anxious for more details about how the ProSieben deal will affect our international players, and I’m happy to say that we’ve got an FAQ that’s gone back-and-forth back-and-forth up-and-down sideways back-and-forth.
Let’s face it, this is a really complex deal, so we should be able to get some information for you — I hate to use the term ‘soon’ — We’re hoping for next week. We’re not going to release the information until we’re sure we’ve got all the right answers. There’s no point in telling players stuff and then having it change the following week.
So to somehow suggest that she was unaware or unprepared for the player response is beyond the pale.
Six weeks of feedback in the previous ProSieben thread which raised the same issues went completely ignored. None of those concerns were reflected in Tuesday’s announcement/FAQ, so there is no reason to believe that anything will change now despite tweets from SOE President John Smedley:
Lots of good feedback from our player base about our existing European community.. Guilds, servers etc. we will be discussing with Prosieben
Just wanted to make sure you knew we were listening.
It’s the nature of every MMO that frequent forum posters threaten to cancel their accounts all the time if the developer doesn’t do X. Weeks later, we see them back posting as if nothing ever happened.
What’s unique about the ProSiebenSat.1 deal is the number of players who have NEVER posted on the EQ2 forums who logged in just to state that they are canceling after 5, 7, or 10, or even 12 years of active SOE subscriptions.
We have seen dozens of players who have logged in to report that they have ALREADY cancelled — past tense — with some even posting the cancellation e-mail.
At this point, sure you can Sign a Petition just to get a count of how many people are against this deal, but the only thing SOE will listen to at this point is money, or loss of it. The only thing they will listen to is Cancellations.
If you disagree with the ProSieben deal (regardless of what region you live in) and/or don’t want to become an Alaplaya customer, you should CANCEL your SOE/EQ2 account immediately.
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