What is recounted here here are events as I can remember them, and cursing… not as much as I’d like, but some. It’s a little bit whiny, a little bit tragic, and contains a valuable lesson about accounts, consoles, and setting things up right the first time.
It started this past week with the release of Mass Effect Trilogy on the PS3, though my first thoughts on that release have already been recounted. I have Mass Effect 3 already on the PC, so I figured it’d be a good thing to be able to log into BSN and simply flip a drop down arrow to check on my N7 HQ set-up and see what I’ve unlocked. I like having things unlocked and only having to check one place seemed ideal. I read up on it a little bit before actually popping Mass Effect 3 in for the first time and realize that the help boards for EA tell you that your account is based on the e-mail that your PSN account is set-up for, which at the time did not match my current Origin or BioWare Social Network account. I’ve been having weird moments with Origin on PC since it can see that I bought Star Wars The Old Republic through their store, but it’s not on my purchased games list. Not wanting that to happen again, I went about changing my PSN e-mail to match my Origin e-mail. As soon as that was done and all the DLC was downloaded for Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer, I popped it in and logged into the EA network for what I assume is the first time. Assumptions, right?
Everything looks good on the PS3, I can get in okay, unlike the issue I had with Mass Effect 2, which had already cleared up, and I managed to get in right away and play a few matches to start unlocking all my starter gear in multiplayer. I sign out and go to bed, since I still have a day job and responsibility, damn you real life. Next day, I sign into my BSN account and go to my N7 page and check… and all I’m seeing is my PC account. I try changing the last line to ‘ps3′ on the URL and there’s my PS3 stuff I unlocked last night, so that’s working, but why can’t I see my accounts as linked? I trudge over to the EA help page again, annoyed that I had done everything right, or so I thought, and it was still giving me issues. The web page isn’t helpful, as my account e-mails already matched, so I log into text chat and get a very nice but ultimately unhelpful tech who suggests I try downloading a demo for an EA sports title, log into it, and then double-check my account. I’m guessing this would be an attempt to force the accounts to match up or sync up. I have to wait a day or two, but then I download a demo for Madden, fire it up and log in, don’t even bother trying it, then delete it and check my accounts, with no luck. It’s at this point I begin to become frustrated.
I scour their help site again with the same vague answer about e-mail accounts and contacting them. I don’t have time to wait for a text chat again so I try sending an e-mail. I give that two days of waiting patiently, then decide that I’ve waited long enough since they hadn’t gotten back to me within 24 hours, even after I’d updated the ticket. It’s time to break out the big guns. It’s time to phone it in, queue up, and prepare for mighty battle with voice chat.
After getting one very helpful tech, we end up figuring out that I have what EA calls “multiple personas”. Why yes, I do have a mild form of some sort of psychosis, but multiple personalities isn’t it, I think. Thanks for playing. These are something else though. What EA uses them for is to link accounts, and apparently it ties them together based on e-mail accounts used. I figure this shouldn’t be a problem. I only use one e-mail really any more, let’s link them all to that! I get informed that I’ll have to get kicked up the phone tier, as that has to be done by someone with more access than the current helpful person (Everyone I talked to in text and on the phone bent over backwards for me dealing with this, and EA should get kudos for that at least. I wasn’t mean or snarky, just laid out my issue and we went to it. I give them massive credit here.) and away we go.
Before we get too far, let me lay out that I’ve used lots of e-mail accounts to sign up for things over the years. When BioWare first announced Star Wars the Old Republic and let us sign up for the forums and Beta Access, I used my local internet e-mail account. When I first signed up using The Sims it was a different local e-mail account that got updated to the right e-mail address and persona. My Origin account on the PC uses a different e-mail from those two, however, that’s the one I’ve mainly adopted as my go to for everything. Then there’s the problematic PSN account, which I thought was using my Origin e-mail, had been the same as my Old Republic e-mail before I changed it, but was still in limbo.
The next tier on the phone support line begins looking at my account and starts poking around and looking at my various personas. At first he doesn’t see the e-mail account for my PSN, but can see my Origin PC account just fine. I give him my PSN ID and he tracks it down from there. â€œOh I see,â€ he says, â€œIt looks as though when you first signed up for the PSN account, the e-mail might have been misspelled. It’s a yahoo account, but one of the O’s got dropped. It looks like the initial set-up went through Madden.â€
â€œMadden? When the fuck did I play Madden before the demo?â€ I ask myself. I put my thinking cap on and realize it might have been for a review. I quickly plug in the info and the old password into EA’s website to view profiles and see it was created in August of 2009. I pop back over to DieHard GameFan and do a quick search on Madden 10, and sure enough, there’s my review for the PS3 version, the only Madden that’s ever graced my console that I’d had for the review. In my haste to review the game, I dropped one letter, an O, off my e-mail registration and it has stuck with my PSN account through EA since 2009. Fucking Madden.
I confirm with my compatriot over the phone. I’ve been on the phone for 45 minutes at this point trying to figure it all out, and every tech help person on the line is my new best friend. So with this new information in hand, he matches up my accounts, but realizes there’s an issue. If he does match up my PSN account persona with my Origin account persona, there’s a 75% chance I will lose all my online unlocks in Mass Effect 3 on the PSN. I weigh this info and mention that I did just start playing it that week, it’s not a big deal. â€œNo, there’s something else I have to inform you of, and while it’s rare, it can happen; if I link these two accounts you won’t be able to get online with your Mass Effect 3 game on the PSN.â€ I sit for a few seconds in stunned silence. I’d just bought the fucking trilogy to play ONLINE with friends! I ask if there’s a fix for this. â€œNo, if it does this, or if this happens, there is no fix. We’ve had to pass these to the developer to look at without any results. I can do it if you want, but it’s your choice.â€
My choice? I realize that Mass Effect 3 is a big single player experience, but half the reason I grabbed up the trilogy was to play all the way through and to join in the online experience with friends, several of which I finally got to play with for the last weekend’s challenge. Hell, 85% of my hours tracked in the third game is my online time, not the single player campaign. I ask about my Star Wars The Old Republic account while I’m thinking about killing half the reason I bought the trilogy again in the first place. Apparently Star Wars is an even trickier set of persona’s to link up than Mass Effect. All of the issues surround BioWare titles. I wish I was joking but I can’t make this shit up. Basically I’m told this can’t be done without completely hosing the account and starting over. Dumb fucking luck!
This just got pretty serious. I mean we’re talking about hosing accounts, losing online access entirely, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! All I wanted was to be able to log onto the BSN under one account and look at my N7 HQ for both my systems. That’s too much to ask apparently. I can’t fault the tech people on the other end. They’re just dealing with this using the tools at their disposal, chatting me up about games they’re looking forward to playing, most of which I already have, while they look up my info. Really, it’s my screw-up logging into a review copy over 3 years ago that created this alternate PSN persona that has stuck around, infecting all my other PSN titles on EA with the crap e-mail account set-up.
I finally decide that for the risk to my accounts on the other two personas, linking up my accounts is not worth the aggravation and headache of losing all that effort and gametime, plus possibly losing online access for another title. I say screw it. EA and BioWare want me to have 3 personas for one person out there and not make it easy to merge it all? Then we can keep them separate. I thank the tech guy for his time and effort and the warning before doing all this that I might lose all that game time and online access. I mean, he could have just done it without warning me, which would have been a dick move, but he didn’t. So I guess the major lesson here kids, is be careful when you’re entering that online information. Sometimes you can change it, but other times you’re left stuck with a hasty typo. Yes, this started out as my fault years ago, but at the same time I can’t but help but think they’d have a reliable way to fix this that doesn’t hose a whole account. Until that day arrives, I leave you with my one thought on the whole situation since that last phone call: Fucking Madden.