on Apr 23, 2012
A few weeks ago I created a SWTOR account, planning to take advantage of the free weekend. But then Mass Effect 3 came out and I played that instead. I didn’t even realize that I’d missed the free weekend until Mass Effect 3 was over. I think it was Tuesday when I finally noticed the SWTOR icon on my desktop.
So then another free weekend came along and I tried to get in. But it wouldn’t let me, because the free weekend was for “new accounts only”. I complained in Twitter, and the TOR twitter minder told me to email support and they would fix me right up.
I sent an email explaining the problem: I have never logged in. I never used the free weekend promotion. I want to try the game, but the free weekend is only for “new” accounts. I was detailed and specific. Two days later (after the free weekend ended) they sent me a reply that just moronically repeated back exactly what I told them. “The free weekend is for new accounts only.” Thank you. You have correctly identified the stupid policy I was asking you to fix / reconsider / adjust. (More sensible policy: One free weekend per account.)
I had someone try the invite-a-friend program on me. Same result. You can’t get into the game unless the account is “new”. (New? Like, what? In days? They don’t tell you.)
I suppose I could create another new account. I’m not crazy about this idea. Making a new account is a massive pain in the ass. I’m talking about filing-your-taxes level of hassle, here. They make you set up multiple secret questions, and were very, very picky about what my password needed to look like, so much so that I was forced to break from my password-generating system. (They INSIST you use a special character.) Worse, my now-useless SWTOR account is inextricably linked to my EA / Origin account. So, if I created a new account for the free weekend I would never be able to join that with my existing EA account. I’d have to go through registration again, using a different email, and then maintain a different set of credentials just for SWTOR, and why am I even contemplating this?
While I’m annoyed at having my time wasted (downloading the client takes a LONG time, on top of the account-creation paperwork, plus the time wasted trying to idiot-proof my support email) I’m more mad at the sheer single-minded stupidity of the company. On one hand, they are running advertisements and sending out mass emails. Free weekend for new players! Free weekend for existing players! Account extensions! Invite-a-friend! They’re begging people to come play this thing. But then I show up with a very minor problem and nobody can do anything about it.
Isn’t this supposed to be a promotion? Like, to attract new people to the game? I do not feel very attracted by this point. I feel like BioWare owes me for the time I wasted jumping through their hoops.
So that’s exciting.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.