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Hamumu Journal
No Sale!02:37 AM -- Sat July 1, 2006

Okay, here's a company shooting itself in the foot, in a fairly small and subtle way. I did something dumb. Actually, this is a complex tale of woe, so let me backtrack to before I was dumb.

When I bought Guild Wars: Factions, it came with a bunch of Free 14-Day Trials for various MMORPGs by the same company. These are just codes that you can use to create a free account that expires after 14 days. Well, I've always been intrigued by City Of Heroes, and I have been getting awesome inspiration from games like this lately. In fact, sad as this may sound, I actually have taken to reading the World Of Warcraft message boards, just for inspiration. It really works for me - what is getting players excited in that world? That kind of thing. Mostly it's more like what is making players whine and complain, but that's another issue.

So, I went to download the client program for City Of Heroes so I could use my handy dandy trial and actually play the thing! I was very excited! But then it turned out that I needed to download 2.1GB to do this. How much, you ask? Well, after 2 weeks of downloading (maybe about 10 hours a day I left it going), I had gotten 1.7GB. Sadly, that's when the download reset itself and started over from zero (I think that's because they released a new patch - can I just tell you how very much I appreciate the Guild Wars streaming download system now? I can't believe these other games actually make players download hundreds of megabytes or more every few months!). I gave up.

Then, after a week or two, the desperation kicked in some more and I began perusing eBay. I found people selling the "Bootleg Edition" of City Of Heroes. Not nearly as sneaky as it sounds, this is actually a promo edition on CD that had been given away free in Gamestop stores - including one of those 14-day trials I had myself! So, since those were going cheap, I found one for around $6 shipped, and considered it cheaper than another 2 weeks of downloading.

When it arrived, that's when I was dumb. I installed the game, then went online to register my trial account instead of running the game - thinking hey, you need an account to play, right? Now, I knew there'd be a patch to download. I knew their latest release had happened long after this Bootleg Edition had been released. I was bracing myself for 200MB or more. And more it was. Turns out I needed to download 1.4GB on top of the 2 CDs of data I had installed off of discs!

Where's the dumb part? Well, as soon as you register a trial account, it begins to count down. So now, I am in my 2 weeks of free trial, only it's going to take the whole two weeks just to download the game!! So I did the logical thing - I contacted their support, explaining this (in more succinct form), and asking if my trial could be canceled and replaced, or something. This is where they got dumb. They said no, they can't do anything about it, get over it, punk. Possibly more politely than that. So they took a chance of getting a subscriber to pay them $14.95 a month and turned it into NO chance. That is just very bad salesmanship. I mean, I didn't ask for another code, I specifically asked them to cancel this one, so it's not like I was trying to hook an extra two weeks out of them.

Of course, there are two things they don't know: #1, I have another trial code (I got one in the Bootleg and had the original from Guild Wars). #2, I have no intention of ever signing up. Monthly fees? Not for cheapskate Hamumu! So it didn't cost them anything to do this, but it's still just bad policy. The funny thing is, they actually told me that if I got my trial code from a website, I should try and see if I can get another. Why don't they have trial codes to hand out themselves?

So that's the story. I can't say it was bad service, it was pretty prompt. But it was bad business!
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