So, today I was logging on to FFXI, but after I press "Play" I get a message saying "You have no content ID, purchase or reactivate blablabla". I just got back this month and I wasn't sure if I was really going to play much so I deactivated the ID right after I'd reactivated just so I wouldn't be billed for another month if I forgot about it. No big deal really, but I figured I might as well.
I choose Content ID and Reactivate and I get the message that basically says payments are currently being processed, and that I will have to wait until this is over to reactivate. I had completely forgot about the monthly server maintenance on those servers. Usually not a big deal, but I just bought an add-on expansion and was going to start it today with a RL friend, so it was bad timing. Now I realize that it was my own fault, but I can't help but get a little frustrated because even though it is my fault, it is something that should not even be possible(unless it was an odd server crash that just happaned to be today).
The first issue I have with the payments/server maintenance issue is that I actually don't pay for 30 or so days of play, I pay for however many days are left of the current month. That is a really ****** system. It makes me hesitant to want to reactivate(I tend to play on and off a lot) the closer to the end of the month it is. In this case it doesn't really have anything to do with it, but I thought I'd mention it.
The second issue is the placement of the reactivation services maintenance. It is usually placed during the last days of the month and the first few of the month. Basically that means that if I at the end of the month suddently decide that I want to quit, or have forgotten to deactivate and suddenly remember, or w/e other reason there might be, I can't do it unless I am a couple of days before the actual date where my month ends. I would have to pay for an extra month even though I wanted to cancel my account during the last days of the month. Again, it is not really a lot of money, but it still is annoying.
Further, the fact that I can't reactivate during the first few days of the month, means that I can't even get my full month, again, even though I was ready to pay as soon as the clock hit 00.01 of the first of the month(No I don't actually sit and wait like that, just making a point hehe).
Basically, what I am saying is that the placement of their server maintenance is really really bad. Most likely they did this on purpose of course, I am sure they earn some extra money from it, but from a consumers point of view I think it is probably one of the worst ways they could have done it. IF you are going to have server maintenances(especially ones that last for several days) at least try to put them when they will affect as few people as possible.
Aside from this the "You have unpaid fees" is something I've never seen in a MMO before(or after) FFXI and I am not sure why it happens, but it is **** annoying when I reactivate and have to pay twice simply because they didn't just withdraw their money immidietly earlier or w/e the issue is.
All of these things are things me and my friends have had issues with ever since we started playing the game back in 2004. I really hope they do it differently in FFXIV. I seem to remember that in some interview they talked a little about payments. From what I recall they said that they are looking into the "pay for a month" model instead of the "pay for the rest of the month" one. Good choise and I really hope they go with it. I think it should be a given in a modern mmo to go with the earlier model, it is a lot fairer and it shows more respect to us as consumers.
The fact that I have never had issues like this in a game like WoW where the subscriber base is so much bigger shows that there are ways of doing it that are much better. If I pay 13 Euro or w/e the price is I pay for a full month, no matter when I reactivate. I am sure there are server maintenances for payments, but I've never seen it and more importantly I've never been affected by it. FFXI went with two crappy systems and combined them into a super crappy one because of their payment system and their maintenance placement. Like I said, I hope they don't do the same thing again. Neither of them.
I know this is not the most important factor of them all. First and foremost I want a good game, but the things around the game(at least for me) help mold the total feel for me. Things like payment, customer support and playonline(in a sentence whith negatives about FFXI, playonline has to make an appearance) are all part of the total experience and in FFXI they all just created frustration. I hope that with FFXIV they have learned and go with a different payment system, improve customer support(in every way) and from what I remember I don't think they will have Playonline which I give a big thumbs up for.
It seems they are thinking about moving in the right direction, just hope they stick with it and actually do it. I guess I am just a little bit worried, because SE can do some awesome stuff, but imo they have a tendency to make some horrid decisions as well.