Then recently I started having these urges – I wanted to go back and play it again. The fact that Shamus can’t shut up about it didn’t help either. So I decided to see if my trial account still exists. It did. It also had a tantalizing new button in the middle of the interface. It said “upgrade your trial account”. Tempting… Oh so tempting. Why did they do this to me. For 2 days straight I was fighting with myself, and going back to that page. I was hovering my mouse pointer over that button. Clicking it… Hitting back button. Do I really want it? Won’t I get sick of it after few weeks? Do I really have time for this now?
Time I had. There is the long 4th of July weekend coming up, and I also had few day vacation lining up in a few days – I could spend mornings on the beach, and evenings playing WoW. So I said, what the hell. I whipped out my credit card, and upgraded.
My character was still there, intact. So I picked up right where I left of. I started running quests in the Barrens, got my cooking and first aid skills up. I was mining things, smelting copper, fishing. I gave up on running around and looking at stuff and getting killed by high level beasts in areas where i was not supposed to be, and concentrated on my quests, and fun things to do in the game. And it was fun – tons of fun. But I noticed that I still had trial account restrictions. I couldn’t trade items in an auction house, invite people to my party and etc.
I sent them an email about it via the form on their website. Didn’t even feel like calling about this – after all there was no rush. As long as they got it fixed in a day or two I would be perfectly happy. Next day I got this in my email:
This notice is being sent to inform you that we are unable to successfully process the recently requested electronic upgrade for World of Warcraft account [my user name]. As such, this account will remain at the current account level and no charges have been processed for this upgrade. In addition, in order to protect the security of both this World of Warcraft account and your payment method we have disabled access to this account to prevent potential abuse. Please contact the Blizzard Billing and Account Services department via telephone at (800)-59-BLIZZ (1-800-592-5499). Please note that due to security concerns we will be unable to assist you via email.
We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience in this matter.
WTF? They completely locked me out of my account. Fine. Maybe they had some issue with the credit card. Maybe I typed it in wrong. Perhaps the credit card put a stop on my payment for some reason. I figured out that I’ll probably need to give them a different credit card number in order to unlock my account. Whatever. It’s fine. No problem. Minor inconvenience but nothing I haven’t seen before.
After getting home from work I called them up. After 20 minutes of waiting on hold (listening to Diablo music streaming from the headphone) I finally got a live person on the line. The customer service lady who introduced herself as Samantha explained to me that for some unknown reason Blizzard considered my online upgrade as highly suspicious. Furthermore the only way for me to unlock my account was to go to a store and purchase an actual physical copy of the game and call them back with a CD key. In fact, she suggested that if I run out now, and call back right away I may still catch her as she will still be there for another hour.
Yeah, I’m going to drop everything, skip dinner and run to the store in the pouring rain because Blizzard wants to sell more retail copies of the fucking game. I’m sorry, but I’m not that fanatical about this game. If the online upgrade is so insecure and suspicious, why do they even offer it?
Samantha gave me this weird vibe. I don’t think that I ever spoke to anyone who was both so incredibly polite and so overwhelmingly condescending in that weird intangible way – both at the same time. She didn’t really try to troubleshoot the problem, didn’t ask for my account information and refused to try to reactivate the account. Just go buy the game – she was adamant about it.
I politely told her that I’m actually very quite disappointed with my WoW customer service experience so far, and that I likely won’t be buying the box or calling back and thanked for her time. I really wanted to give her some choice words but I’m a nice guy so I simply flipped a middle finger into the handset before hanging up.
Once I cooled down a bit I gave them another call. I figured that maybe Samantha was just being a pain in the ass. Perhaps I could get someone more sensible on the phone. This time around I got Steve and he was super nice and extremely helpful. He actually tried reactivating my account using 2 different credit cards but unfortunately it didn’t work. Finally he recommended buying a retail copy of the game, create a new account and then shoot him an email to see if my characters can be transferred to it.
Neither Steve nor Samantha could tell me why my account was locked, and why the credit card payments were being rejected. This information was simply not in the system, and they had no means of finding out what was going on.
In the end I really have two options. Option A is to:
- Buy a retail copy of the game
- Create a new account
- Email Steve and beg him for help
- Keep my fingers crossed
- Find out that trial characters are probably not transferable
- Start over
Option B is:
- Not to buy a retail copy of WoW
- Forget about the damn game
- Save $15/mo
Right now I’m leaning towards option B. In general, any list that contains ??? and Profit is inherently more attractive to me. Besides, perhaps this is a sign from the above that I was not meant to play this game. Call it fate, destiny or divine intervention. Perhaps there is something to it.
In fact, I don’t even feel like playing this game anymore. I don’t want to give them my money. This lousy customer experience left a bad taste in my mouth. All I really wanted is to give them some of my money – but apparently they don’t really give a flying fuck if they loose a customer. They can afford to lock your account on a whim, and don’t give their billing support tools to properly troubleshoot these sort of problems. I’m not going to encourage that behavior by giving them my money. Not that this actually means anything since the have like a bazzilion subscribers but it makes me feel better.
I’m not sure if this is a common thing with these trial accounts. Anyone else ever had issues upgrading from them? Perhaps I’m just lucky. My advice for anyone who wants to do the trial would be not to get attached to their characters too much because this sort of thing may happen.
[tags]world of warcraft. wow, wow trial, wow trial upgrade[/tags]