The keepers of EverQuest and DC Universe Online laid out their plans to make good for the network being down.
Lost in all the shuffle over the hacking and subsequent outage of the PlayStation Network is the plight of millions of MMO players who haven't been able to log into their favorite games. Games like EverQuest and its sequel, Star Wars Galaxies, and free to play kid-friendly fare like Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures might not get a lot of attention anymore in the press but they still have a loyal and substantial fanbase who has been out of luck since Sony's network went down last month. Even I've been vexed that I haven't been able to play a match of Magic the Gathering Tactics or check in with my superhero in DC Universe Online. Sony Online Entertainment, the "MMO arm" of the company, is doing its best to compensate customers for the loss of play time by giving away some extra goodies, and assures us that its services will be back online soon.
"We are committed to compensating our loyal player base for the inconvenience caused by the data breach and lost game time while we improve our security measures," SOE said in a statement. "It will likely be at least a few more days before we restore our services."
Until then, players can warm themselves with the knowledge of riches that await them when they are able to log back into SOE games. For any game that has a monthly subscription, SOE said that it will provide 30 days of free service plus one day for each day the service was down. But what about the poor cads who invested in foolproof lifetime subscriptions for a game that exists on someone else's servers? Well, SOE is giving them boatloads of cash (20,000 coins for Free Realms, 7,500 Galactic Credits for Clone Wars Adventures and 10 Marks of Distinction for DC Universe Online.) All Station Pass subscribers will also get 500 free Station Cash.
Players affected by each game in SOE's library will receive special ingame bonuses and giveaways as follows:
- DC Universe Online: Batman and Two-Face Inspired Masks and 30 Marks of Distinction
- Free Realms: Free daily items (7 to collect)
- Clone Wars Adventures: Count Dooku v2 Outfit
- EverQuest: A series of events, including Double XP, Double Rare Mob Spawns and Double Faction Gains
- EverQuest II and EverQuest II Extended: A series of events, including Double XP, Double Guild XP, Loot Bonanza, and City Festivals
- Vanguard: Saga of Heroes: A series of Double XP events
- Star Wars Galaxies: Bounty Hunter Statue, a miniature model of Boba Fett's ship, the Slave I
- Magic: The Gathering - Tactics: Four of each of these spells: "Ivory Mask", "Duress" and "Angelheart Vial", plus 500 Station Cash
- PoxNora: Limited edition Carrionling, Welcome Back 5K Gold Award Tournaments and two Draft Tournaments, plus 500 Station Cash
In addition, SOE is offering United States subscribers access to free identity theft protection services to help deal with possible leakage of personal information, and is working on providing such services for international customers as well.
I laud Sony Online Entertainment for pledging to give away so much currency and items in all of their games as a way to compensate for lost time, but I am a bit concerned about the long term consequences. With game economies as fragile as they are, I'm not sure that a huge infusion of free currency for every player will be a good thing for the games. Is SOE worried at all about inflation?
Of course, after the last round of layoffs, studio closures and game cancellations, the employees left at SOE are probably more worried about customers coming back to their games at all. Who cares about a little inflation?