Tobold's Blog
Monday, May 23, 2011
Free games from Sony

Sony is giving me a whole new perspective on Free2Play games by offering me tons of games for free. And I mean *really* for free, not with an item shop attached. To "compensate" my non-existing suffering from the recent outage, and for having subscribed to various SOE games over the last decade, I received a free 45-day subscription to all of them: EQ, EQ2, SWG, Vanguard, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Free Realms, everything. But as Nils mentioned in the recent thread about cheaper MMORPGs, price isn't necessarily a determining factor in choosing which game one plays or doesn't play. Even for free I can't even be bothered to download and installed these SOE games. I'm currently in a phase where I can't stand questerrand-based games with hotkey-based combat, and that pretty much eliminates 90% of the MMORPGs out there.

Nevertheless I'd like to thank Sony for their generosity. Because I do own a PS3 and PSP, and the fake data I gave them were stolen, I will get two free games for each of these platforms when the Playstation Store comes back up, presumably this week. I looked at some reviews and decided to take LittleBigPlanet for both platforms, as well as Infamous for the PS3, and Killzone Liberation for the PSP. The other games on the list were mostly racing games, and I don't like those. The advantage of the free PS3/PSP games over the free subscription for SOE games is that I can download the console games now and play them much later; the SOE games I would have to play right now or never.

Overall I suffered no damages from the Sony hack, and got some free games, so I don't bear any ill will against them. The whole issue revolves around whether Sony "sufficiently" protected their network and their users data, and given just lots of rumours and having little technical knowledge in that area I simply can't say whether Sony is the villain or the victim in this story.
The responsible managers at Sony will tell their superiors, however, that the "free-games initiative" has been a great success based on their numbers. And the managers will later tell their shareholders. Who cares whether the games were actually played?
you should try ffxi again. it's loads different (improved). They got rid of death-xp-loss under 30 in the last patch and merged all the auction houses.
I logged onto EQ2X for the first time since the debacle yesterday, to see who was still around in my small guild there. The answer was everyone.

In a brief discussion it was apparent that no-one was angry or even annoyed with SoE and everyone was delighted with the free game time. "Sony should get hacked more often" one of my guildies said.

These, of course, are people who never visit forums or blogs, just play the games.
Basically big corporate companys get attacked (virtually) quite often. And in this case, "quite often" means: Several times a week or in extreme cases even several times a day. If you accept personal data from your customers you have to be able to protect them. If you offer services over the net, you have to be able to protect them. No matter what Sony says, that amount of intrusions can only be explained by either overall incompetense or a total disregard for security (because that stuff costs serious money dude!).
More bad Sony press - a SQL injection attack against is claimed to have exposed user data.

The Slashdot blurb began ""Hackers: 6, Sony: 0"
Tobold, Your not the only person in the phase of being bored with 'errand-based' MMO gameplay.

The problem is quantity. When you have to complete 100 so called 'quests' to gain a level, the quests themselves no longer matter. You don't care about their text or story, you know they won't last more than like 10 minutes so you just plow right through as fast as possible.

Sadly it looks like Star Wars the Old Republic is falling into the same trap. Huge numbers of small, quick 'quests', only difference is they have full voice-overs which again, will just be skipped. It didn't work for EQ2, it won't work for Star Wars Old Republic.

I'd much rather have 2 or 3 fairly long quests, that may take days to fully accomplish but will advance me a level or two in the process.

Then they would have a chance to make quests meaningful and important and as a result I would WANT to read the story, hear the dialog, and immerse myself in the world.

The ONLY MMO on the horizon that I have any hope for is Guild Wars 2.

I don't believe GW2 is doing what I suggest, but they are at least looking to solve the '100 errands needed to level' problem by taking a new approach with their event type system.
Freakishly enough, the last truly interesting MMO I played was Altantica Online, since it was so different from the normal MMO. Being a turn based combat system, even the errands you have to put a lot of thought into your formation, in your order of attacks, ect. I should go back and see if it holds up being two years later since I last played it.

It looks like there is a bit of a surge of MMOARPG with Vindictus, Tera, and Raiderz being more action based rather then hotbar based. I haven't played Vindictus yet, but I am hoping they all have far less 'grindy' small quests, and instead focus on more epic heroic quests in general. Heck, I would even be happy with a good grouping mechanism where people don't mind grind parties.
I know you said you weren't going to try the games anyway, but just to make a small correction: the 45 days start when you log into the game. You don't have to play them now or never. Those 45 days will be available until August. :)
"The advantage of the free PS3/PSP games over the free subscription for SOE games is that I can download the console games now and play them much later; the SOE games I would have to play right now or never."

This is always a problem with subscription based games that really only sell access, not content.
I'm a bit surprised by your casual attitude.

Information hacked, company to blame. What more information do you need? I imagine you would feel differently if it was your bank, and would look into it more extensively?

The "who cares, I'm just playing a game, don't bug me about company stuff" is the same attitude that supports crappy game development and hinders innovation.

Support a crappy company (hey, I got free stuff!), support lazy game development.

That's just not like you, Tobold.
Bank robbed, bank to blame? I'd blame the robbers.
Bank robbed, bank to blame? I'd blame the robbers.

But would you not be pissed if it became apparent that the bank had left serious holes in it's safeguards? Or left the cameras off or didn't have an alarm installed? Or better yet the the Bank never informing you that you had money stolen until a week or so later?

(The last obviously assumes the media has all died :D )
So you're saying that in the 12 years since EQ was released, SOE all the time had completely insufficient protection, but nobody ever had the idea of hacking them before? If there really had been serious holes in their defenses, all those EQ accounts would have been hacked a decade ago.
Your defenses have to change with the times. That goes for any buisness that may be attacked. So while Sony may have been fine for the past 10 years of that time period they failed in the most recent years.

TO continue with the bank analogy, it would be like a bank who still only had a single elderly guard and nothing else whereas other banks have already upgraded to the latest sensors, alarms and camera packages.

Also that argument does not address Sony's lagging behind in informing their customers that a breach of their personal information may have happened.

I agree that the hackers deserve a large portion of the blame, but to think Sony deserves none is a rather faulty point of view.

Just because YOU thought ahead and provided false information does not discount the fact that they lost your data. If you were the average user of the PSN or an SOE product odds are you would have used your real name and information.
I do want to make a clarification, though you do not say Sony does not deserve any blame neither did you assign any to them, and the overall tone of the post was rather dismissive of any fault of Sony's IMO
Read what I said: I said that I have neither the detailed information nor the technical knowledge to be able to judge whether their defenses were sufficient or not. Neither do you. No system is impenetrable, and if Sony made enemies of a whole hacking organization Anonymous, the fact they got hacked doesn't allow you to conclude that their defenses were bad.

A sufficient number of people with sufficient skills can hack into anything, even the Pentagon was already compromised. Why would you expect a game company to be better protected than the Pentagon?
I'd check the fine print on the PS3 game offer: from what I saw, the games are only free for 30 days, after that, they're locked again (along with the PS Plus subscription).

From the terms:

Access to the free games and exclusive features finishes at the end of the 30-day subscription period.
I think this means "you can download those free games only in the first 30 days". As the games themselves aren't networked, I don't see how Sony could prevent me from playing them after I have downloaded them. Especially on the PSP, which is offline most of the time.

On the PC there was a huge outcry when Ubisoft introduced their "launcher" which required people to be online to play single-player games, but at least it was technically feasible. For a handheld console such a solution would be downright ridiculous.
I am ordering a game console shortly and because i have never owned a PS3 or an Xbox i am just wondering which is the better/more reliable option.I have recently read a lot of negative stuff about the PS3.I know the prices differ a little but i am getting it for nothing as have enough referrals for either of them.
many thanks
I would always chose the console based on what games are available for it. The Wii, XBox, and Playstation have very different ranges of games. Personally I took a PS3, because that console had a lot of role-playing games. XBox is more action-game oriented. Wii is more family-game centric.
Thanks for your reply,this is my second free gift but its the first big one so im really excited.
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