I have not posted of late because I had been playing Everquest, an MMO developed by Sony Corporation. My life was also a bit busy with school, which ended only a week ago with a couple of B+s (not bad for a guy who had not been in a classroom in over twenty-five years). The emphasis on this article, however, is my somewhat sad decision to walk away from both Everquest and Everquest II (a sequel MMO made also by Sony). The reasons are a bit shocking, mostly for those who do not have their ear to the online gaming community.
Up until a week ago I was having a rather fun time playing Everquest. I had decided early on to drop one of my accounts and simply play solo. This was a herald to a feeling that I was already getting a bit tired of the ten year old game. It is amazing how quickly graphics can be dated. Ten years leaves a game such as Everquest completely out of synch with modern MMOs such as Rifts. I returned because Everquest had opened a server that rolled back time to 1999 and allowed players to replay the game before all of the expansions and years of gloated gold and magic items had entered the game. It was very fun in the first few weeks, but as I played many of the reasons why I left years ago began to arise like a fetid zombie. Although fun, it was a huge drain on time. To do anything in the game just took hours upon hours of sitting in front of the computer. To me, however, I began to realize that I already had done this years ago, wasting the countless hours playing once was really enough. Thus, I quit my one account and let that one go offline. I had another account that will be active for the next several weeks and it too will be gone.
In recent years Sony has also took up the unsavory practice of charging both a monthly fee but also charging microtranscations for items in game. I fear this practice will only grow worse and has already destroyed many titles. Making money is what business is about, but simple greed is another. I cannot get over how they can honestly charge someone 14 dollars a month, on top of $50 box costs, and then still think kids will pay more for shiny swords or glitzy looking armor. Well of course kids are an easy sell — just like the pimp on the playground handing out free samples of acid, knowing that once hooked it will be easy to push more drugs on to them. It is a distasteful practice which is somewhat tolerated on free games that make their money via microtransactions — it is another to simply gouge more money because you have no morals or conscious.
The real clincher for me was the shocking news of last week that Sony’s security had been breached and most if not all credit card information was stolen from their database. How this could be accomplished is even beyond me; did they actually store all the information in one database? Could someone ferret through multiple servers without being detected? I am sure the answer lies in thick layers of stories that will never be revealed. What it was for me was a wake up call. I am not saying any other company could not have it happen to them, but I have not been calmed down at all by the sheer lack of silence coming from Sony. Is that arrogance or fear, I don’t know.
For me, though I am a bit shocked they have not tried to contact more of their user base to warn them to watch out for fraudulent activity on their credit cards. If I did not have my ear pressed up to such sites as Twitter and Facebook, with friends in the industry, I would be completely oblivious to this invasion. There is just nothing coming to me via email, phone, or other forms of communication warning me of what is going on.
For days now the entire Sony network has been down, each day must be a nail in their coffin. How many other players are thinking that perhaps this will be a good time to leave the game, with such an easy excuse. Adding to the security debacle and realizing that all this time I have wasted in the game tells me I need to look elsewhere for a more productive past time. Does this mean I will forgo all MMOs in the future? The answer will be no, but I will be far more selective of my games.
I am not going to say that the security breach was why I left Sony, but it does make it easier to do so. It is always easy to pick on someone when they are down — I will not lower myself to do so, but am confident that there are enough other reasons why to me Everquest is dead.