This weekend I tried to re-sub to Final Fantasy XI. To this day, I still have uncomfortable flashbacks about the PlayOnline launcher and its steel-toed kicking aimed at my nether regions, but I had resigned myself to weathering a new flurry of attacks in order to participate in stabbing the kneecaps of some Notorious Monsters with a co-worker.
It had been about a year since I had last camped Vana'diel so I was not gobsmacked to discover I had forgotten my password. No worries, I thought. I can just try the few passwords I have been using for the past 10 years for various accounts (MMO, banking, pr0n and etc). It's sure to be one of those. However and dramatically, regardless of how many variations of capital letters and key smashing I tried, my PlayOnline ID would not accept a PlayOnline password. Determined not to be defeated by the recall capacity of my own cerebrum, I hit the FFXI website in order to search for knowledge in a database, a knowledge database if you will.
"How do I change my password?". Hmm, not quite. "A message states that my PlayOnline ID and PlayOnline password are wrong.". Close, but no cigar. "How do I purchase a Content ID?". You're asking me?? Somewhere in the area of 10 Q's and A's concerned with the term "password" sat before me, but none would dare own up to offering help in regards to retrieving a forgotten password.
In between bouts of pounding alternative password combinations into the PlayOnline launcher I got around to emailing FFXI customer support with my conundrum. 3 full days later and I still have no reply. Backtrack to earlier today, and taking a deep gulp of computer fan-blown dust I took the plunge and dove into the web-based chat program advertised as a third alternative to the knowledge database and email on the PlayOnline website.
Now, I've been around the virtual block a few times, so I've dipped my toe in a few and varied chat programs, web-based and otherwise. But nothing had quite prepared me for the 30 minute wait-fest that followed, a flash of text appearing every 2 minutes letting me know that the chat program was having errors connecting, as if that were not already apparent. I was about to minimize the window into the depths of my monitor's background once again when a ray of hope greeted me. "Hello, this is FFXI TSR Xxxx. Please wait a minute while I review your ticket.". You can take a minute, take a damned leap-minute if you want, has anyone told you how beautiful you look right now?
Verifying my rightful existence through 6 craftily created questions designed to weed out everybody but me, I then waited like a 7-year old listening for the lunch bell. After a pause between my comments that made me question whether this TSR was actually trying to talk to several poor fools like myself at the same time I eventually was presented with a reply, and at best, closure.
"I'm sorry. This account has been deleted due to inactivity."
Oh, that's a shame, I thought to myself. Most MMO companies only really ever delete low level inactive characters in order to free up space, and many still offer account recovery if you are graced with a caring customer representative. Before the NGE debacle I had re-subbed to SWG briefly and my Creature Handler/Bio Engineer that had been sleeping for over a year was still there upon log in, eager to be ganked by rabid durnies once again. Rest in peace, my little WHM/BLM.
"Ok, well, can I delete my PlayOnline ID and use the PlayOnline registration key (note: essentially the CD key) to create another account?"
Pause while the TSR talked to another helpless fool.
"I'm sorry. Only one PlayOnline ID may be created for each PlayOnline registration."
"So, I can't create another account? Is there some way I can get a new PlayOnline registration?"
"In order to obtain a new PlayOnline registration you will effectively have to purchase another copy of FFXI."
Sitting there, peering at what was typed before me from every sideways, upside-down and inside-out angle, I tried to ponder why me wanting to give a monthly fee to Square-Enix was proving to be so difficult. Looking over at the computer game boxes lining my shelves I mentally checked off all the games, besides the apparent FFXI, that allowed me to keep playing it as long as I held the CD key. I arrived at 100%. Before closing the chat program and squeezing my dreams of my new Taru-taru RDM /panicing for money in the middle of Jeuno out of my head, I left the TSR with a helpful tip in the hopes he/she had some super-duper powerful conduit to the upper management.
"You know, you might want to reconsider making registration keys one-time use only. I'm sure this needlessly complicated and inane business model has lost you a number of potential customers that have been looking to re-subscribe on a whim."
So, apparently the moral of my little adventure is that Square-Enix doesn't want my disposable income. So I ask, is there anybody that does?