Yes. Hands down. Let me tell you how they operate.
The only games I still make time to play are all from Strategy First. Europa Universalis III, Crusader Kings II, and Hearts of Iron III. I’ve been playing all of them since the original versions, and for lovers of history and seriously in-depth strategy games, there’s nothing better. (I left out Victoria II, because it’s a pale shadow of the original. It’s just no damn fun.)
So I noticed recently the Crusader Kings had new downloadable content — the ability to play as one of the Islamic nations of the Crusades era. Fun!
But the buying process is no damn fun at all. In fact, Gamers Gate made it impossible to give them money.
Instead of going to the website and just buying the damn whatever, you have to make your purchase from inside the game. OK, no biggie, I have my ATM card number memorized. Only, they don’t want your money. They want you go spend “blue coins,” which are for sale at the website.
Leave the game, go back to the website. I need to open an account, of course, so I go through those motions. Problem is, “VodkaPundit” is already taken — I must have started an account there before. I don’t remember my password, but Gamers Gate doesn’t know my email. They don’t even know my old email, so I have no way to recover my password. Fine. I made up a new user name.
I put blue coins in my shopping cart, then went to the checkout only to find there were no blue coins in my shopping cart. Why? Because as a Level 1 member, I’m not allowed to buy blue coins yet. Before I can buy them, I have to become a Level 2 member.
“How does one go about becoming a Level 2 member?” you might ask. I asked the same thing, but the site offers no help, no guide for earning the points you need to get them to allow you to give them money.
“You have got to be [BLOOP]ing kidding me,” you might say. I know that’s what I said.
So I clicked over to their tech support page, where I was presented with a login. I put in my new user name and password, and was informed they didn’t know who I was. Bear in mind, I’m logged in on the main page already. It shows me logged in. I’ve given them my billing address. I’m a (measly Level 1) member. And yet tech support won’t let me in.
The tech support page also has no link for becoming a member (of any level) of the tech support page.
However, I found it was still possible to start a HelpDesk ticket, which I did. I believe I wrote something like, “WHY WON’T YOU PEOPLE LET ME GIVE YOU ANY MONEY???” I also asked quite nicely what to do to become a Level 2 member, although I admitted I was no longer inclined to become a paying customer. But, should I change my mind again, it would be nice to know exactly which hoops I would be forced to jump through before being granted the privilege and high honor of giving some money to this moronic herd of Empty Pocket Beasts from planet Impending Chapter 11 in the Bailout Quadrant.
Within 48 hours, I did receive a nice email reply from someone pleasant fellow, I’d guess in Bangalore. He told me, yes, I would have to become a Level 2 member before Gamers Gate would deign to take my money, and that he was sorry for any inconvenience. What he didn’t tell me were any of the steps I might take — Sack cloth? Prostrating myself in the snow? — to be accorded his employer’s beneficence.
I tried to reply to my helpful tech support person, but was challenged once again by the Login Screen of Doom, which still didn’t recognize my Gamer’s Gate login, and which still gave me no means of registering directly.
Before writing this piece, I went back to Gamers Gate’s main page, mostly so I could see if the proper name of the company was “Gamer’s Gate” or “Gamers’ Gate” or “GamersGate” or “Imbecilic Imbeciles Inc.” There, I saw that I had 750 experience points, up from the 500 I had previously earned, presumably for signing up.
How did I get those 250 bonus points?
How many more do I need?
How do I get them?
Presumably, Gamers Gate is in business to take my money, and as a happy customer of Paradox games, I would love to give them money to buy extra content for those games.
But this is how they expect to get it?
No thanks. Gamers Gate is the worst legit (?) electronic merchant I’ve ever tried to do business with, and I won’t try any longer.