Epic MMO Recap: The week of generous gifts and sinister scams

This week offered the best and the worst of humanity as an MMO company rushed to aid Japan after its devastating earthquake, while hackers and scammers plague both the RIFT and Star Wars: the Old Republic.

NCsoft donates $6.3 million for Japan

NCsoft, the company behind Aion and Lineage II, announced over the weekend that it would donate 500 million Yen (roughly $6.3 million) to aid Japan’s efforts in rebuilding after the destructive quake.

“In order to support those who have suffered from the earthquake and to help restoration, we decided to donate 500 million Yen, which corresponds to one month of sales,” said NCsoft senior executive Sung Joon Park.

The company also extended similar generosity to lapsed players, offering a Reactivation Celebration from March 24 to March 31. Toons returning to Atreia will get reduced AP penalties from PvP losses, and can take advantage of the boosted gear and Aion Kinah drops introduced in the latest Aion 2.1 update.

RIFT pushes back against hackers and botnets

While gamers and companies around the world banded together to offer condolences and support to Japan, the tragedy seems to have had no effect on the heartless hackers and spammers populating RIFT.

The onslaught continues, but thankfully the new Coin Lock feature has proven extremely effective at thwarting unauthorized logins and the resulting RIFT Platinum heists.

Aside from the initial features we announced last week, the Coin Lock now boasts additional protective mechanisms based on player feedback:

  • Characters cannot be deleted while an account is Coin Locked
  • Characters cannot accept CoD mail if they are Coin Locked
  • Decreased the cooldown between requests to re-send Coin Lock key emails
  • Logging into an account with an existing connection will now force the connected account to fully exit the game

Beware the Beta Scam in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Senior community coordinator Allison Berryman warned the public against ongoing beta scams that sell special access to the official Game Testing program.

“All of these offers are false. BioWare is not issuing invites to Game Testing via any method other than those we outline here on SWTOR.com,” she said.

Ms. Berryman warned all account owners with access to the Game Testing program that any change of ownership is detected in-game, and will result in a possible permanent account ban.

Rather than risk the ban or a scam, players should be patient and wait for a testing invite from [email protected]. Further instructions will be indicated in the e-mail on how to participate in the testing program. If you doubt the authenticity of the e-mail, forward it to [email protected].for verification.

Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV still offline

Due to the power shortage in Japan, the two games from Square Enix will continue to be offline until at least March 22, at that time, an update will be released to confirm whether or not servers will be brought back up. All PlayOnline services will also be unavailable so players planning to request password recoveries or cancel their accounts will have to wait for a return to normal operations.