MMO: Square Enix Forcing Account Changes for FFXI
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 28th Jul 2011
When Japanese games publisher and developer Square Enix first announced that it was launching an MMO based upon the Final Fantasy Universe it was during the era in which Ultima Online and Everquest largely ruled the scene -- and the previews of the new FF-based MMO included stunning first and third-person avatars and a world of brilliant colours and amazing creatures that were so different than any other game available at the time that it was certain to attract a huge audience -- and it did.
For reasons that to this day remain unclear, Square opted to use the PlayOnline (POL) service to handle its accounts and billing, a service that was plagued by difficult to use menus, often refused to accept prepaid credit cards for subscriptions, and was troubled by security problems that, once Final Fantasy XI became very popular, resulted in massive account hacks that cost gamers their in-game items and characters and, often enough, resulted in the complete loss of their account and the onus of having to start over from scratch.
But gamers put up with those quirks in service because the game was worth it -- and even though the world of MMO play has exploded and there are now hundreds of games (including another Final Fantasy MMO) a large community of gamers remain active and play in the world of FFXI to this day -- but that may be about to change.
Account Security Issues Prompt Changes at FFXI
A recent email and posts to the official Final Fantasy XI website have made the situation crystal clear -- current and former members have until August 31st, 2011 to change their accounts from PlayOnline to a Square Enix Account or risk losing access to the game and their characters.
"In order to better safeguard the account security of PlayOnline users and provide a more streamlined account management experience, transfer of PlayOnline ID's to the Square Enix Account System will begin at the end of July, 2011" the official announcement begins.
The transfer process will be available starting at the end of July and is scheduled to last until August 31st 2011 -- after which access to PlayOnline and FINAL FANTASY XI will not be possible until the transfer process is completed. This is not a voluntary choice in other words. A walkthrough detailing the transfer process was posted on both the PlayOnline website and the FAQ Section of the Square Enix Support Center at the end of July, 2011.
After the transfer process is complete, the user information registered to the Square Enix Account will act as the primary account information for gamers, and all billing and account information management functions are effectively transferred from PlayOnline to the Square Enix Account Management System, which the company claims will allow for more secure and convenient web-based account management.
Square Enix Crysta (http://www.square-enix.com/na/account/crysta/), debit cards, and credit cards will be viable payment methods after ID transfer, but all debit and credit cards still must support 'personal authentication services' (such as 3D Secure) in order to be used.
Gamers who own multiple accounts in FFXI or who own multiple Square Enix Member Accounts will want to take particular care in the process of choosing which accounts will be linked and transferred, as once a PlayOnline ID is linked to a Square Enix account, the link cannot be reversed.