Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Little Something On Account

Between us, Mrs Bhagpuss and I have seven Daybreak accounts. I made the first when I bought EverQuest in 1999. As soon as Mrs Bhagpuss watched me playing she wanted a go so we shared that account for a couple of months, in flagrant breach of the EULA.

We didn't really need Sony Online Entertainment's contract enforcement team to tell us that was a bad idea. As our desire to play expanded to fill most of the available hours it soon became clear we didn't just need separate accounts, we needed separate PCs.

An account each was fine for the first few years. Our shared origins made for a few problems now and then but mostly we settled down to me using the original and Mrs Bhagpuss using the newer one.

That arrangement didn't last as long as you might imagine. Somewhere along the line, for reasons I can no longer remember, we swapped. In short order each of us ended up with yet more characters on both accounts. Don't ask me why. I'm sure it made sense at the time.

The 66-slot backpack as it looks from the outside.
Fortunately for both of us, all of that only ever really applied to EverQuest. We managed, by and large, to keep our characters and accounts seperate in EverQuest II and only I ever played any of the other All Access titles.

We'd probably still have just the two accounts if it hadn't been for one of John "Smed" Smedley's brilliant wheezes. He experienced a damascene conversion to the free to play model and, despite a determined rearguard action by a substantial cadre of veteran players, managed to drag the entire business around to his "free to play - your way" of thinking.

The transition began cautiously with a new f2p server, Freeport. I can't now recall exactly how the whole thing worked but I seem to remember that to play there you needed a new account unsullied by subscription payments. Or possibly we just thought it would be tidier that way. Better late than never, I guess.

Whatever the reason, Mrs Bhagpuss and I made new accounts and  started over. Freeport was a great success and we were very happy there for several years. It remains one of my favorite servers in any game although sadly, like most of the really good ones, it no longer exists. It was merged and merged again until all that remains is a legacy title that I proudly display above the heads of my Old Freeportians.

We'd have stopped at four accounts if it hadn't been for another of SOE's half-baked fancies. EQII had muddled along perfectly happily for many years with the best housing offer in MMORPGs. It could have gone on like that indefinitely but there always has to be someone who thinks they can do better, doesn't there?

Apparently what decorators had been missing all these years was competition! Cut-throat competition. A whole set of league tables was created, with awards and prizes and titles and guess what? All hell broke loose.

Smed's always been strong on PvP, even when it's seemed a bad fit for some of the games under his watch but I don't think even he could have imagined the mayhem his little sideshow would unleash. Housemakers couldn't actually beat each other to death with ulthork's foot umbrella stands but they found plenty of ways to turn what had been a polite mutual appreciation society into a self-declared celebrity death match.

No-one cares about the mechanics any more so I won't attempt to recount them. Suffice to say we made another three accounts because if you want to win a popularity contest the more votes you can keep in your pocket the better.

Born too late.

All of which is a very long preamble to explain how it was that I came to be logging in seven accounts this morning, five of which haven't seen daylight for several years. My goal was to secure for each of them the very excellent Great Escape Crate that I mentioned a couple of days ago. I'm not sure if the offer is time-limited but better safe than sorry. Wouldn't want to miss out on something I'm never going to use on characters I'm never going to play. Forget the irony, just give me the stuff!

It's not as though it was the first time, after all. All the accounts have Heroic characters on them from previous giveaways, including Mrs. Bhagpuss's. She hasn't even logged in to EQII since before Heroic characters existed but I always log in her accounts to grab a free Heroic if there's one going.

Across my own accounts and the "neutral" ones I appear to have boosted have no fewer than three Ratonga shadowknights as well as an Iksar warlock and a Ratonga bruiser, who even has the same name as the one I'm playing on my regular account. I don't remember making any of them, although a couple seem to have been played, at least a little. I still have plenty of Heroic tokens left, too, if I feel like making some more.

Why, yes, thank you. I would like another ratonga.
As I was searching through the Claim window for the current promotion I noticed a number of other freebies I seem to have missed. One of Mrs Bhagpuss's accounts had something that particularly struck my eye, an unlock for the Freeblood vampire race, normally available only through the cash shop.

That unlock came with something called the Velious Winter Rewards, which I vaguely remember. It was part of a promotion back in the winter of 2010/11. It happened back before my current account even existed, which explains why I don't have one. Or at least not on that account. I checked my old main account, though, and not only do I have the unlock there, I've already claimed it!

So I could have made a Freeblood any time in the last decade. Why didn't I? I have no explanation. I even have a free character slot on that account. Maybe I'll go make one now.

In fact, if I wanted, I could go on a character-making spree. I discovered this morning all the free accounts and one of the formerly-subbed ones had something called the EverQuest II Adventurer's Pack waiting to be claimed. It contains a couple of two-hour 100% xp potions and a character slot unlock.

Where did that come from? Google couldn't tell me and neither could the forums, although I did find this useful link that gives you a complete list of every flag on your account. You can also use the in-game command /show_account_features although it only gives you the highlights.

From that I can see that my main account doesn't own the Adventurer's Pack and never did.Why? No clue. It's a pity, though. I could have done with another character slot on the account I actually play rather than on all the ones I don't. I guess I could start multi-boxing...

I was so sure I'd used all of these...
There are so many more things waiting in Claim for me to either get around to using or deciding who should have them. Every account gets Veteran Rewards these days and even the free accounts are up to Year 10. There's only one more to come after that before Daybreak stopped counting. They went to loyalty points from Year Twelve onwards. You get those from doing dailies. I have about twelve hundred of them.

I also used all my Legends of Norrath packs just as the card game was about to sunset so I have a bunch of prizes from there, scattered across several accounts. Some of those are very nice. The only problem is I can't decide who should get them so they just sit there in /claim. I look at them once in awhile and it makes me happy.

Then there's all the Goblin Games tickets. That was a quasi-cash shop thing that got discontinued years ago. I thought I'd used all mine but at some point there must have been a giveaway because all the accounts have stacks of fifteen.

I did a few goblin games this morning. The prizes are pretty good but because SOE was trying to get around the lottery laws you have to play an actual game to make it "game of skill" not a "lottery", even though it's a game a blindfolded monkey would win every time.

Plus some bright spark thought it would be nifty to have an actual goblin that spawns and invites you to an actual goblin cave, meaning you have to have a conversation and zone in and out every time you use a ticket. I run out of patience after about five goes.

None of this would be a problem if EQII hadn't always been so extraordinarily generous with the free gifts. It's not just a load of old tat. It's quality stuff. Stuff you want to have. And there's a lot of it.

Maybe I'll take this opportunity to go through the whole shebang and hand things out to whoever needs, wants, will use. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Only I'd probably need to be on lockdown until this time next year to get through it all.

Best not tempt fate. I guess it's safe enough where it is.

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