This weekend Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) have been running a promotion: the Psijic Vault Crown Crate giveaway. Simply log into your account and kill a hostile creature each day (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and get a free Psijic crate on the 19th.
Sounds great, doesn't it... free stuff is always good.
You'd also be forgiven for thinking that the tough part might be killing a hostile creature. If only!
Sadly, for me, I never got the chance. I wasn't able to log into the game on Friday or Saturday as I was busy but I'd made sure that ESO was up-to-date and ready to go for Sunday, Father's Day, so I could spend some quality time in Tamriel. Unfortunately, on Sunday morning when I attempted to log in, I was greeted with a verfication prompt.
Not overly concerned, I switched to my email to await the code... and after 10 minutes of nothing, I get bored and decide to play something else. Still keen to play ESO, I keep an eye on my email... an hour passes and still no verification email. Annoyed at the delay, I send the ESO Twitter a quick message which drops into the dark, empty void that is the Internet.
Another hour passes... by this point I'm getting irrationally angry at the notion that I can't log in and play a game I own so I try to log into the website to see if I can remove the two-factor authentication (2FA)... to hell with the hackers and account stealers, I'll live dangerously. Sadly my rebellion is cut short as this also requires a verification code from my email.
By the time I've reached four hours, I done with ESO... possibly forever. Fortunately my wife saves me by dragging me and the children off to the pub for the rest of Father's Day... a couple of pints and some live music is the perfect cure.
So now it's nearly 24 hours later and I still do not have a verfication code. My account is, for all intensive purposes, dead and there is nothing I can do. It would seem that while I was out last night, their servers have also collapsed making it impossible to play the game even if I could log in.
But how is this even possible? How is it that a company like Zenimax Online is unable to run a robust and reliable email system (if nothing else)? They aren't an Indie developer with limited funds, they are a massive gaming Juggernaut... the online arm of Zenimax Media Inc that own Bethesda, id Software, Arkane Studios and Machine Games... a dream team of AAA studios. If they aren't able to do it, who is?! (SPOILER: everyone else manages). More importantly, what does this mean for Fallout 76, which is going to be always online?! It's not unreasonable to imagine Bethesda will use a similar, if not the same, server infrastructure to their sister studio so this doesn't bode well. People are already rather nervous about Fallout 76 (eg. griefing from online groups camping the nukes) and Bethsda haven't really provided any reassurance.
And why rely on email for 2FA? I use an authenticator on dozens of sites and services I use without issue. Even companies like Blizzard, SWTOR and Valve, who insist on using their own system, work flawlessly.
So what now? Honestly, I have no idea. I've Tweeted both Elder Scrolls Online and Bethesda support but I can't log into either the game or the website. I might try the account recovery, but if this also relies on their email, I'm completely screwed (plus there is a part of me that hates the idea that I have to jump through hoops to get something I've paid for back because their systems are not fit for purpose).
In truth, however, I'll probably just play something else...tags: bethesda, elder scrolls, eso, fallout, rant
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