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It's always the same with things like MMOs. simple things done badly that the average 3 year old will tell you will back fire badly.
Lets look at the past 24 hrs.
Everyone knows (or should know) that when an mmo launches, unexpected downtime is a given, it is almost guaranteed to happen with zero notice and is something we have to put up with if we want to play this sort of game.
So when the US server was down for something like 14 hrs Wednesday, while a few people went ballistic, most people understood they hadn't taken it down just to annoy people.
Wednesday on the EU server, they disabled in game mail and all guild activity to stop the same problems occurring on the EU server that happened on the US server (banks emptying, people logging in to find they were on other peoples accounts, duplicate items being mailed)
Just as I got to go online Wednesday night, 10:30 pm GMT, they took the server down for a few hrs,to add a patch so that guilds would work again. OK a pain, but unavoidable.
Thursday night, it's 7:50 pm in England, I've been playing for about 20 mins and a message along the lines of the following flashes across the screen followed by the servers going down at 8pm
We would like to thank you for your participation in our early access, the servers are now being taken down for 3 - 4 hrs in preparation for the live launch tomorrow
A lot of very unhappy people. This wasn't emergency maintenance, this was a planned thing that they gave 10 mins notice of and did it to the EU server in prime EU play time.
Then they make the following announcement trying to pacify people
We want all of you to know that everyone who was part of Early Access will be granted an extended grace period until Sunday at 8AM EDT/12PM (noon) GMT before being required to transition your account to live. This will cover those who purchased ESO from an online retailer and won't be getting your box shipped in time and also gives anyone in Early Access who purchased digitally more Early Access time.
I posted a comment at the time that the message was unclear and could mean a number of things but if it means what I suspect it means, a lot of players wont realise and will be unhappy. And it did mean that.
For most people it looked like we are being told that if we bought retail, they are giving us an extra couple of days to enter our code, but based on what happened in the past, anything ordered direct from Zenimax, the player didn't have to do anything, so most of these players presumed they would simply get a couple of extra days added before their 30 days started counting down.
Person after person when the game went live set up their subscription only to find the 30 days started counting down immediately.
Zenimax could have simply posted something along the lines of the following yeaterday
to compensate those players still waiting for their retail codes and to give early access a few extra days, please do not set up your subscriptions until Sunday as we have allowed the game to be played without one for an extra couple of days.Note, as soon as you take out a subscription your 30 days start counting down
which would have solved this for most, but no, player after player taking out subs and realising too late they have lost out on a couple of days. Might only be a couple of days but it's the principle.
Then when hoards of people complained the EU server was taken down for scheduled maintenance, Zenimax said this wouldn't be the norm, normal maintenance would be scheduled twice a week, one of them being 9am BST Sunday. This went down like a tone of bricks, person after person saying that its their main play time
Bringing down the game during European prime-time is not something we do lightly, and it is not our intent for it to be the norm. This is a bit of a unique case for launch day. When we have our weekly maintenances, which may not always be needed weekly, the one for the European megaserver is scheduled for Tuesdays at 13:00 BST (14:00 CEST) and Sundays at 09:00 BST (10:00 CEST.)
And finally we come to the subscription and 30 day free play time.
Many people spent $80 on preordering, which included 30 days of free game time.
The wording said something along the lines of
PRODUCT DETAILS30 days of game time includedSubscription and account for The Elder Scrolls Online requiredA persistent internet connection is required to play
Most people took this to mean they are telling us it's a subscription based game, in order to continue playing after the first 30 days we need to pay.
But no, not according to Zenimax.
They are saying we need to take out a subscription in order to have access to our 30 days included game time. Not such a big deal for those paying by credit card as they could simply cancel before payment is taken, but those paying with game cards effectively are having to buy the game, then buy an additional 30 day game card in order to get access to their included 30 days. Meaning they have no choice but have 60 days of play time. People are fuming.
When people queried this they were told
All players are required to set up and choose a subscription plan starting on Sunday, April 6th. Those players not eligible for Early Access will be asked to register their game code and set up a payment method or redeem a game-time card on their account starting on Thursday, April 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. EST.The 30 days of free game time are granted to all players who fill out their billing information and select a subscription plan. A player will not be billed for that subscription until the 30 days of free access has expired. Subscribing players can find more information about their billing cycle by logging into My Account. The information will be available on the right-side column of this page.
Please note that the 3 days and 5 days of early access are not included in the 30 days of free game time. These were additional benefits to players who pre-purchased or preordered the game.
Yet Peter Hines said on another forum when discussing this game
If you dont like the game, of course youre not subscribing to it, says Hines. You get the game, you get your first month without having to pay for a subscription to see is this thing a thing I like? If your approach that you want to take is that, for example, you love Skyrim, you played it for 125 hours, but after three or four weeks you were done, then you can do the exact same thing in Elder Scrolls Online.You can buy it, play the hell out of it for four weeks and go Eh! Im done. I did everything I wanted to do, I did a bunch of single-player stuff, I did a bunch of PVP, and now Im out. Then youre out. The subscription is irrelevant. The initial purchase is exactly the same as any other PC game because you dont have to pay for the subscription until your 30 days is up.
And just to really really really annoy their player base, rather than let us know they are taking out a $1 or £1 payment which will be refunded asap, to authorise the card,
They are telling us we are being charged 0.00 but actually instantly authorising the full amount.
Again if you have a credit card with available balance it's not too bad, but some people have debit cards, live to a tight budget, have planned to say take out 3 months sub in a months time, don't get paid for 2 weeks, only to find Zenimax has taken out the full amount, and while they get it back within a few hrs or days, it is causing them to go overdrawn and get bank charges etc.
All of this is so easily avoidable and is causing a huge backlash.