Tag Archives: SWTOR

November Challenge: Feeling Musical

October Wrap-Up: Incredible Costumes

You're all winners!From Hallow’s End transmogs to Mad King hijinks, there were some great costumes that came out of the October challenge. I’m just glad I finished the Mad King’s Clock Tower, everything else is meaningless now!

Take a look at these awesome costumes:

Sugar & Blood shows off a great Bewitched-inspired outfit–and some other pretty awesome ideas, too!

Bubbles of Mischief creates a spot-on movie-based Red Riding Hood. Picture perfect, to be sure.

Kamalia et alia presents a bunch of great Hallow’s End themed transmogs you might want to bookmark for next year.

ZazzyMogs creates a witchy transmog with a twist–and a comic to boot!

Harpy’s Nest introduces the smallest troll ever seen…

Image Heavy breaks out an impressive, hard-to-beat costume: gnome into giant bird is pretty impressive.

Shards of Imagination will be in the running for any costume contest with this awesome Charr doctor from Guild Wars 2.

I have to also show off a couple of little costume wearers who weren’t part of the challenge but who were representing  Azeroth on Halloween night:

Elunamakata designed a Chromie costume for her little girl that absolutely ROCKED:

Check out how she and Kurby did it here: The Making of Little Chromie.

My daughter begged to be a rogue…she wanted to be a goblin, but she settled for human this year:

Whoever–or whatever–you were for Halloween, I hope it was a safe and fun one!

November Challenge: Feeling Musical

The other day on Twitter, I complained–okay, I whined–that I was feeling grumpy. That’s when Marathal posted this Tweet…

GANK A GNOME!

…that led to this song:

If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.
If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.
If you’re grumpy and you know it,
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re grumpy and you know it, gank a gnome.

If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.
If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.
If you’re wiping and you know it,
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re wiping and you know it, blame the tank.

If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.
If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.
If you’re losing and you know it
and you’re really ’bout to blow it,
If you’re losing and you know it, go for kills.

The possibilities for additional verses are limitless. I’m sure I will have many opportunities to sing of epic stories to this tune.

This got me thinking–what other wandering minstrels (or at least semi-interested lyricists) do we have wandering around in our fantasy lands, not yet tapping into their talent?

Here is the challenge: Write the lyrics to a song (and/or the music if that’s your thing) about your game. It can be silly, fun, sweet, angry, a little naughty, a little nice–whatever you want to write about, write me a song about the game or games you play. 

I can’t wait to see what you guys write!

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Thoughts on Star Wars: The Old Republic and Why We Quit

When SWTOR announced free-to-play this week, several sites used the phrase “hemorrhaging subscribers” to describe the huge decrease in subscriptions from launch until now. A lot of people are walking away, myself and my husband, Ultraking (UK for short) included.

As much as we’d like to sum it up with a blanket statement and say “Everyone’s quitting because of X,” that’s just not reality. Everyone is going to have their own reason for leaving, and while we’re likely to see trends, nailing down a definitive answer is, in my opinion, highly unlikely.

Recently, UK and I were discussing (again) why, exactly, we’re letting our SWTOR subscriptions run out. There was the overarching answer that we “just don’t enjoy it anymore,” but that’s a simple and incomplete. We got to talking about what exactly that means for each of us. We talked about things our friends have said, comments made on Twitter this week, things happening with our guild, and I think at the end of it, we have a pretty good idea of an actual answer.

The Expectation

The first reason isn’t actually anyone’s fault. The fact is, people had a lot of expectations for this game. It had one of the biggest, longest-lasting fandoms attached, before fandom came with Tumblr memes and Twitter lists. You attach “Star Wars” to something, and people suddenly get excited.

Star Wars Cosplay

It’s understandable, isn’t it? Most of us love Star Wars on some level. Fans get instantly nostalgic thinking about it, and it’s not uncommon in any fan group to want to escape into that every once in a while. Some do it through books, others through websites. Some RP, and others–well, we play video games. People have very clear ideas about what the Star Wars universe actually is (although they don’t always match up), and the idea of an MMO–as close as you can virtually get to being a part of Star Wars–well, that’s exciting.

SWTOR Hype

The game was hyped a lot. I don’t think it’s Bioware’s fault for hyping the game any more than I think it’s the players’ fault for having high expectations. Some people are pleased with the game the way it is. Some aren’t. It just is what it is, and that’s okay. Continue reading

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SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: Part 2

The other post was getting lengthy, and as this is the last update I foresee posting (and also, a longer one), I’m writing it in a new post. If you don’t know the story behind this, you should read SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: A Cautionary Tale. Context is everything.

Update: The Resolution

Update, Wednesday, June 20th, 9:02 p.m. I know I said I didn’t foresee updating again, but we might have a breakthrough here, guys:

Dear [...],

I am J– of Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service.

I have been trying to contact you over the phone today to discuss your accounts suspension. Unfortunately I believe we may either have an incorrect contact number or have been calling at an unsuitable time.

If it is appropriate for us to call you, please provide us with a time which suits best and phone number that will reach you.

If you do not wish to discuss this over the phone we can always correspond over email.

Thank you for your time.

If you have any further questions about this, or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Sincerely,

J–

Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Customer Service

I sent him back my phone number and the best hours to call. I’ll let you know what happens.

—————————————————

Here is the email I received today:

Dear [...],

I am J– of Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service.

I am contacting you in relation to your one week suspension as a result of a Terms of Service violation.

I am very sorry if your suspension has caused any confusion or frustration. Terms of Service have examined your case in detail over the course of your dispute emails and have found that the suspension action on your account still stands. This one week suspension will be lifted on the 22nd of June.

Thank you for your patience in this matter, and if there’s anything further we can help you with please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Sincerely,

J–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Customer Service

We would love to hear your feedback on our Customer Service and invite you to fill out the following survey which will help us to continually improve our support!

There are so many things wrong with this message in light of everything I’ve already experienced, I don’t even feel like listing them out again. I have faith that those who have kept up with this rollercoaster ride can find all of its irony and frustration on their own.

I was on the fence about canceling until I got this. I’m not canceling because I got banned for a week. If I had knowingly done something wrong–or even if I had unwittingly done something wrong and was told what had happened so I could prevent it–I would have accepted the ban with no question. No, I’m canceling based on the principle of this whole experience. No customer should ever feel like this.

Here is the message I included when I canceled my subscription:

You can read the full account of my experiences here: http://battlechicken.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/swtor-my-unexplained-ban-a-cautionary-tale/. Not that you will, but you’re certainly welcome to.

This is why I’ve chosen to cancel my subscription:

I have been falsely accused of cheating four times now in the course of three days. I realize that whatever you’re seeing on your end must look very convincing, but whatever you’re seeing is wrong. If I did use a third party program with SWTOR, I am STILL unaware of what program I used, and I didn’t use it intentionally.

No one will talk to me. If someone would have an actual conversation with me, asking what programs I’ve used, what happened to me in game, getting details about what I have been doing, then maybe we could clear this up. I refuse to be treated unfairly and then get form letter after form letter telling me that I’m wrong without any actual discourse with your company.

There has been no legitimate attempt by your customer service to help me figure out what happened in this situation (exception given to JJ @SWTOR on Twitter, who did actually reach out to me). You have, in essence, treated me like a guilty liar without attempting to find out from me personally if there could be any truth behind what I’ve said. Based on the responses I’ve gotten, I’m still not sure anyone has actually read my emails.

I have been patient and thoughtful in all of my responses. I have tried to create some kind of communication, first by earnest emails and then with public support, and I’m still getting the exact same email over and over with absolutely no personal recognition of my experience or frustrations.

I still hold a faint hope that this could be resolved, not only for my sake, but for my husband, who is extremely upset that the game he’s waited for so long is being ruined for him with my issues.

Also, I hope you resolve your Customer Service issues in general for the sake of all of those others who have experienced this or similar and haven’t had the platform to voice their opinions and garner the support I have. I might have felt downright bullied were it not for the wonderful MMO/blogging/Twitter community that has consistently had my back through this situation.

However, my subscription is set to renew tomorrow, and I refuse to give that $15 to a company who treats their customers like liars and declines person-to-person interaction in a situation that has escalated to this point.

For this reason, I am canceling my subscription.

Good luck to you.

Sincerely,

[...]

C’est la vie. 

I’m sad about not being able to play a game I enjoy, but my principles will not allow me to sit down and accept this. Maybe there’s still some resolution to be had and I can come back. I hope so.

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SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: A Cautionary Tale

I have checked and double checked these emails for privacy warnings, and I don’t see them. Unless they contact me and ask me to take this post down, it will stand. I have removed my name, my account name, and the SWTOR customer service identifying username, otherwise, the emails appear exactly as presented.

Update (again)The Resolution

Update: SWTOR & My Unexplained Ban: Part 2

Update, Sunday, June 17th, 7:04 P.MI don’t think I even need to comment on this. I’m pretty sure it speaks for itself.  (But of course I’m going to anyway). If you’ve read this post in its entirety already, you know what the emails I sent requested. You might know that I requested the same things through Twitter, and those of you I’ve spoken with agree that the pivotal thing they’re not answering is the only question I really care about anymore: what is the name of the third party program used? And honestly, a follow-up, what was it used for? This is the email I got today:

Dear [...],

Account Name: [...]
Email address: druidambermist@gmail.com

Thank you for contacting us regarding your complaint (ticket number [...]).
We have carried out a subsequent review and investigation into your complaint and in particular the actions taken on your account. We can confirm that your case was acted on correctly, in full compliance with our policies and procedures.

Please note that we do not provide any details regarding our internal procedures.

We will not be pursuing this issue any further, and as such we consider this matter closed.

Yours sincerely,

K–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

Either they are a) entirely missing the point everyone else seems to get, or b) still shooting out automated responses. In either case, it’s not good. No tiptoeing around it anymore: it’s incompetence at best, and I have to assume in either case they don’t care about my status as a customer.

The good news is, if they don’t care about me as a customer, that will make my decision to cancel my account that much easier. My $15 monthly might not matter to them, but if this is the type of customer service they’re providing to everyone (and I doubt I’m a special snowflake), they’ll lose other people’s $15, too, and future business.

Oh well. I liked it while it lasted.

Update, 2:20 p.m. ESTEarlier this morning, some people on Twitter and some commenters here suggested I check for hacking. At around 10 or 11, I ran a full Malwarebytes scan (gah, forgot how long that takes!), and came up infection free. There’s still a possibility, but unfortunately, it’s something SWTOR will have to check through the IP that was used at the time of the infraction. I only ever log on to the game from my computer or my husband’s, so if it’s an IP different from one of those two, it should be plainly obvious. It seems unlikely, as well, since my password and account information hasn’t changed. I would expect a good hacker to change the password immediately.

I also received a Direct Message on Twitter from @SWTOR, and from what I can understand, my ticket has been escalated and they’re looking into it. It might take a little while since it’s the weekend, but I have patience. I never minded a wait as long as the responses I get are fair and reasonable, which, until I was contacted through Twitter, certainly hasn’t been the case in my opinion.

Update, 9:30 a.m. EST: I called SWTOR Customer Support. The first time I called, I went with the option that included “violation reports,” but that didn’t take my anywhere useful. In fact, when my issue wasn’t mentioned in the sub-menu, I chose “all other queries,” where a recording told me to submit an in-game ticket and hung up on me.

The second call I put in to billing, and I did actually get to speak to a rep. I explained the situation, and he told me that I had done the right thing by emailing. He then informed me that there is nothing he can do for me except send a notice to the appropriate department that I called. I asked him if there was a number I could call to speak to that department directly. According to him, the only way to contact that department is by email.

I will wait for a response to my email. If it doesn’t contain the reason I was banned (and preferably an apology), I will be canceling my account today.

——————————

This is a World of Warcraft blog, although I have certainly dabbled in MMOs, especially lately with the Newbie Blogger Initiative. One of the games that I personally play outside of WoW is Star Wars: The Old Republic. Up until the past couple of days, it has been an enjoyable experience. I got into a guild that welcomed me and my husband and employed our sniper and bounty-hunter services to great ends, or at least to defeating several bosses.

I PvPed, and though I was slow progressing, I was getting very close to Battlemaster. I crafted, I cajoled, I server transferred with my guild. I was especially looking forward to playing after my server transfer, because suddenly I had a lot of friends all on the same server.

I became an officer in my guild. I managed the guild website, took screenshots and videos of our progress, and was, as far as I can tell, reasonably well-known in my guild. Believe me when I say this came as much of a shock to them as it did to me.

Yesterday, I attempted to log into SWTOR when I had a moment of peace in what had been a busy day. I was told my access had been denied, and to read the email that was sent to me. This is that email:

Dear [...],

We are contacting you to notify you that we have found your Star Wars: The Old Republic account, […] , to be in violation of our Terms of Service.

After completing an investigation of your Account, we have identified the following violation:

Violation: Use of an unauthorised Third Party program

Due to the severity of the violation, we are suspending your account for 1 week (168 hours) effective immediately.

Our penalty system is cumulative. This means that if you continue to violate our Terms of Service in this way, the next penalty applied may ultimately result in permanent account closure.

It is our goal to make the Star Wars: The Old Republic experience as safe, secure and enjoyable as possible for all of our players. As such, we take any violations of our Terms of Service very seriously.

Please ensure that you are familiar with our Terms of Service as repeated violations may result in your account being permanently closed. Our Terms of Service can be found here:

http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

If you feel you have received this suspension in error, please contact us at swtoraccountdisputes@bioware.com.

Yours sincerely,

Z–

Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

I have never in my life been banned from any game or website. I’ve never even been accused of anything. I’ve never received a warning or even a questioning glance in my direction. My behavior has always been above reproach to the best of my knowledge and ability.

As you can probably imagine, this email made me extremely upset. The fact that they didn’t identify the third party source meant I couldn’t even figure out if it was something I had knowingly done without realizing it was against the ToS. So I responded to the email they provided for the appeal.

Dear BioWare Customer Service,

I received an email today notifying me that my account (under the username “[...]“), has been banned for being in violation of the Terms of Service for use of an unauthorized Third Party program. I would like to be immediately notified of what this supposed third party program is.

The only program I have ever used in tandem with SWTOR is Bandicam in order to capture videos of my guild’s progress. If that’s in violation of the Terms of Service, I think you’re doing yourselves a disservice, and I will most certainly be canceling both mine and my husband’s account if this is the case.

The only other thing I could possibly think that I have used recently is LastPass, which is a well-known, highly-regarded password security service for websites (and websites only). I use it on every website into which I sign in in order to a) remember my passwords, and b) keep them secure. If you REALLY have a problem with me using a security program for this purpose, then I will remove the SWTOR account website as part of its programming, but I will do so with great dissatisfaction.

If either of these is actually a violation of the Terms of Service, please let me know. If not, I’d like to be informed of my violation specifically, since I have no idea to what it could be referring.

Let me assure you that the next email you send to me will be very important in my decision to continue playing–and thus paying for–SWTOR. I appreciate your prompt reply.

Thank you,

[…]

I waited for a response, sure that they would at least tell me where they thought I had acted incorrectly. Since I haven’t knowingly done so, I expected them to come back apologizing for their error or at least telling me what I had done so I could decide if it was something they had gotten wrong or something I had unwittingly done (as in the case of Bandicam or LastPass).

Instead, this is the email I received:

Dear […]

Account Name […]
Email address: druidambermist@gmail.com

Thanks for contacting us regarding the strike that has been applied to your account.

We have now completed our investigation into your complaint. After reviewing your case, we can confirm that it was acted on correctly, in full compliance with our policies and procedures. As such, we will not be pursuing this issue any further.

We can confirm that your character was observed working outside of its intended capabilities. For security reasons, however, we are unable to provide any information about methods used to identify the use of unauthorized 3rd party software.

Thank you for your diligence in bringing this matter to our attention. As a valued customer, your feedback is very important to us.

Yours sincerely,

A–
Star Wars ™: The Old Republic™ Terms of Service

My shock, hurt, and disappointment at this is far beyond what I have the capability to express right now, but know that it is great. To accuse someone of something without giving them any details of the charge is unfair, at best.

This is my response to the above email:

Dear A–,

I am sorry, but that is completely unacceptable. I have not intentionally or knowledgeably used any software with this game, and certainly not maliciously or with the intent to cheat. Anyone who knows me in game or out could verify that. Not at least providing me with what my supposed infraction is unquestionably unfair. How can I appeal that which I don’t even know?

At this point, I have to wonder if you even read the email I sent, or just marked it as an appeal and answered it accordingly. I have been a consistently reliable customer, and as such, I believe I have the right to know the details behind my ban, and “security reasons” does not seem like a valid excuse for keeping a loyal, well-behaved, paying customer in the dark. I do not feel like a “valued customer” today.

Telling me your investigation was completed gives me no insight into what actually happened, and I have no knowledge of what third party program you are referencing. I’ve never actually been banned from anything and have a spotless record across the board, so to say I’m angry, hurt, and disappointed is an understatement.

I will be discussing this with my husband today, and this will likely be the end of our time with SWTOR.

I would say thank you, but I am feeling understandably ungracious at this time.

Sincerely,

[…]

Beyond this, I don’t know what to say. I am floored. I will be discussing this with my husband when he gets up, and we will be deciding where to go from there. Without a doubt, there will be a phone call to customer service, at which point either our questions will be answered or we will probably cancel our accounts.

Good luck, out there. I’d say keep your noses clean, but even that’s not a guarantee that you’ll receive the service you pay for, apparently.

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Why You Do What You Do: Week 2 Challenge

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is off to an awesome start! I’m already having a hard time keeping up with all of the awesomeness.

Recap Week 1:

Of course, some awesomeness took place right here last week with some great responses to the Build Your Own Boss Challenge. I highly encourage you to check these out:

Week 2 Challenge:

There was a boss for every type of player last week (and you guys did fantastically, by the way). This week we’re going to get a little more introspective and talk about what type of player you actually are.

About a year or so ago (maybe more, now), I discovered a website: Why Do You Do What You Do? The premise is simple: answer the question with a picture. I fell in love with the idea and created a Why We WoW  page on my blog.

I still love the concept, so I’m opening it up again across all genres and games:  Why do you do what you do? Why do you play the way you play, why do you play the game you play? Why are you a healer? Why do you PvP? What keeps you coming back?

This is not limited to pictures–I’d love to see your thoughts on why, exactly, you do what you do in the game(s) that you love. And you can have as many answers as you can come up with. I discover new ones every day!

The Week 2 Challenge is simple. Answer this question: Why do you do what you do?

Make sure you link your blog post to me so I can include it next week!

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