That’s a nice tutorial character you have there. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it. As I’m sure you’re aware, accidents happen all the time. You try to open a door, and suddenly you get struck in the head by a freak tire iron accident. Or those cars, we all know about those random explosions that occur when you try to start the engine. Just saying, a little protection money can go a long way.
Ok, so Funcom isn’t going to beat you with a tire iron if you don’t resubscribe, nor am I aware of any Italian mobsters who converse through cryptic dialog, but they will delete your unused, inactive characters that are under level 20. Those of you with inactive accounts that have characters below level 20 will have already received an email regarding this, or will be receiving one. In order to consolidate space and free up storage and names on the servers, due to an upcoming server merge, Funcom will be deleting inactive sub-20 characters.
More after the break.
My reaction to this is: WHY? The way Funcom is going about this is akin to fixing a virus on your computer by smashing the hard drive with a hammer or, say, dropping a tactical nuke on to your house. There are newer, more sophisticated systems that exist that can resolve this issue with less collateral damage. I have not logged into my first City of Heroes character in so long, I actually broke the system (The counter believes I haven’t logged into that character in ten years). Said inactive character (not full account, I have other characters) can be revived, but the game reminds me that I may have to change the name as it may have been taken.
Even Star Wars Galaxies allows players to move characters off of dead servers after the dozen or so servers merged several months ago, although it will cost them. Granted, the Star Wars Galaxies approach will net you near to zero bites, when the accounts are at such a low level that creating a new character is more economical than paying to revive the old.
Database cleanups and server mergers are good for the active community, it frees up a lot of names and brings players closer together. I refuse to believe that this is a scare-mongering campaign by Funcom, although they probably hope that some players will return to save their characters, but is likely a low priority on the list of intended outcomes. In all likelihood, if someone has left Age of Conan before hitting level 20, they are unlikely to be coming back anyway. Otherwise, the only ex-players I can see resubscribing to save their characters are players who used new characters as banking mules. Essentially, if you have been gone for seven months, sending you an email threatening to delete your characters is unlikely to bring you back.
So, despite claims of malice by the usual members of the MMO discussion forums (either never played the game or are disgruntled ex-players), Funcom will be deleting unused, low level characters on unsubscribed accounts. The move isn’t as stupid as it is illogical, and moving the characters over to a separate database where they can be plucked out when needed would have resulted in much better PR for Funcom, at very little extra work, and a total cost of whatever size hard drive they need (I suggest going on Newegg and picking up a terabyte harddrive for the cost of five player’s monthly subscription).
More on Age of Conan as its every move is scrutinized as exploitation and fraud.