An open letter to Electronic Arts, Respawn, and, I suppose, to you.

My time with Apex Legends is over.

It has been for a while now, although not by choice until roughly this week. I've thought over whether I should even bother typing this all up, considering my story will probably bring in a lot of doubts about my integrity, whether I'm being a reliable narrator for my own story, etc. However, I figure that if nothing else, it'll be good for me getting closure. Lord knows that even if everyone calls BS and downvotes me, I have the karma to spare.

The beginning of the end was a few months ago now, in a time where I was playing either Apex or TF|2 pretty much every day. I was always content to appreciate the art without approving the artist, and so I was pretty much able to ignore EA's participation in the games that I loved. I'd had a few scrapes with EA, or, rather, EA's terrible customer support a few times, like when I tried to refund a game but found out that apparently 'you can refund 24/48 (can't remember the exact policy anymore) hours from launching it for the first time' actually means 'you can refund 24/48 hours from when you start downloading the game for the first time'. However, these sorts of losses and problems were never serious, since I never spent money I couldn't afford to lose forever. Besides, Apex Legends had always, and likely will always, be quality, and TF|2's time-capsule status makes it immune to the clutches of EA's ever-poor decisionmaking. However, that day, towards just the beginning of the new season, I logged in for my daily reward and found out someone else had connected to my EA account and was playing Apex. So, using Origin's boot function, I kicked the intruder, and promptly changed my password before continuing. By the time I'd done that, I logged in, and found the match he was in was still going, and noticed that the character they'd picked was A) Wraith and B) Had a skin that I definitely didn't own equipped. I played the rest of the match, checked my balance, and found that the hacker had spent a large portion of my stockpile of crafting materials in order to make a character on an account that didn't belong to them look cooler. I contacted EA support about this, which will be important later.

While I was upset, and to be honest, had a little bit of a cry about the loss of the work I'd put in to get the materials, I figured that would be the end of it. I also noticed that the intruder had accomplished literally all of the daily and weekly quests in what couldn't have been more than a couple of hours, but didn't think much of it at the time.

I played as usual for the next few days. I got Wattson. She was fun, but I was also looking forward to learning to play her more in-depth, seeing as I had a lot to learn. The time following the breach was by-and-large uneventful in any way. Then, I was informed that I'd been banned for cheating.

I was shocked, but not surprised. It stands to reason that someone who breaks into people's accounts and brazenly spending their materials on cosmetics that only they like would have no problem with cheat software. However, I figured this would be a problem solved in only a few days of conversation with EA help. It was over the course of those days with EA customer support that I learned that "EA support" actually means poorly-programmed bots using a script constructed by an unpaid intern to tell people to change their passwords and then explain that they can do literally nothing after the fact and overseen by roughly one person per two-hundred bots that fills in contextual requests that the bots aren't equipped to handle. I asked them if they could check where my account had logged in, as hackers likely connect from foreign countries, and they said no. I pointed out that I'd mentioned an account breach literal days before to another support "agent", as evidence that I wasn't pulling the 'I was hacked' story out of thin air, but no dice.

Five times, I contacted EA's support, once for the lost materials to see if there was a way to recover it, and four times for any updates on whether my case had reached the terms of service team, (Who, at this point, I can only conclude don't really exist.) and five times, the bots spent 40 minutes apiece changing my password and then telling me there was nothing they could do. (I am not kidding, EA needs to fix their terrible customer support. At the very least, try to make them less obviously bots, or equip them to do anything other than talk about how helpless they are as representatives of the 9th largest company in the gaming industry by revenue.)

Obviously, at this point, I'm not getting unbanned. I've spent $200-odd on various things EA sells at this point, and it's all moot. Quite frankly, I'm not surprised. If you don't ever unban people's accounts, they have no recourse but to pay a second time for everything they ever owned if they want their old stuff back, more if they want to keep some semblance of the progress they made on it through things like special editions.

I've reached the point where, even if by some miracle, a Respawn employee were to read this, and make it their personal vendetta to get my account personally removed from the EA ban list, and my account were completely restored, I would just delete the account. I cannot, as a matter of principle or moral, allow myself to ever give EA a cent of my money again, and if I were to create a new account or get my old one back, all that would be is a temptation, and one day, I could crack. The only reason I haven't gotten around to deleting my now-defunct Origin account is because I figure that every time I feel tempted to buy one of their games, I can look at the cases where they completely refused to help me, and told me to change my godforsaken password for the five-hundredth time, and remind myself of the thousands of invisible innocents like me that have been punished for no fault of their own.

But the real question, I feel, is if, after all that I've gone through, if given the opportunity, I would do it all again.

The answer is a firm yes.

The communities between both TF|2 and Apex are so friendly, so full of wonderful people. I have so many memories from the battlefield, dating all the way back to season 1 of Apex and the beginning of 2018 with TF|2. Both games are very polished, and there was scarcely a day where one of the games did not give me a glimmer of joy in all the time that I was actively playing them. I have been on the receiving and giving end of hype plays, dropped into the map thousands of times, called down hundreds of titans, and loved every single second.

What these two communities have given me cannot be expressed in words, nor can my gratefulness for you, the reader and player, for giving me these memories. It's unlikely that in my lifetime, I will ever play games that measure up the same way that these two have. They cannot be replaced in my library. They were special. Precious beyond measure.

I likely won't be bothering to respond to any replies to this post, since this is moreso my way of giving myself some closure rather than a plea for sympathy or a desire to commiserate with anyone else.

I guess the main point is… thanks for the ride, even if this is where I step off.

EDIT: A word


leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *