So, I was up until nearly two o'clock in the morning trying to get Final Fantasy XIV working. About a month ago, well before I'd left for Tokyo, I wrote Square-Enix and asked them if it would matter if I bought a Japanese version of their game. I wanted to know if I would be able to activate a Japanese CD key on an American account. They informed me that, no, this would not be a problem and that I should go ahead with my plan. Well. As it turned out, their system will not allow you to activate a Japanese game on an American account. Further, they will not allow you to use an American credit card to pay for their service. Even furtherer than that, they won't let you use American currency to purchase their ghetto online currency for a Japanese account, either. That is why I got to spend nearly four hours today translating a Japanese account menu system for FFXIV and wandering back and forth from 7/11 attempting to purchase Crysta currency in order to activate my account.
Probably none of you will have to worry about this, so I'm going to tell you about it so you'll know how awesome the FFXIV account set up is in Japanese. First of all to set a baseline, the English account set up isn't much better: Square doesn't want to handle foreign currencies, so they have contracted the use of a couple different third party companies. The main one that you would set up automatic monthly cash withdrawals for is Clickandbuy. Clickandbuy is famously bad. They are known for charging customers extra money and then hoping no one catches it so they can keep it. They are very easy to work with when trying to get this money back, but if you don't catch it, they don't say anything. They work more or less like a crooked paypal. You have the option of either allowing Clickandbuy to pay your account, or you can use Clickandbuy or Paypal to purchase Crysta which you can use to pay your account. It's not super hard to figure out, but it is a whole lot more of a pain than World of Warcraft or Eve or ...anything at all.
The Japanese system allows you to set up a direct credit card charge for your account, but if you don't have a Japanese cash card(I don't get mine until Saturday) it doesn't really do you any good. They also allow you the option of using paycards or Docomo points(I believe you get these for shopping, but I'm not 100% sure). The paycards are the best option for an American living in Japan, but the trick is acquiring them. You can probably get them from a video game store, but I didn't want to go to Akiba just for a paycard, so I chose the (seemingly) easier path of using the machine at 7/11. Well. I went to 7/11 once and couldn't figure it out. From what I could tell, the machine had to be built into the ATM machine, but it appeared to only work on getting money from existing cards, but not adding money to cards or selling cards. I wandered around the store looking for cards, but couldn't find anything. I then went back to my dorm and looked online to see if there were directions online and there weren't, so I went back to 7/11 and figured out that you use the copy machine, yes the copy machine, to purchase online currency. Apparently, those things can sell you a million things and be used to do almost anything. Pretty impressive.
So, I took my new currency back to my game, figured out how to deposit it into my account which turned out to be fairly easy. I then tried to log onto the game and, after it said that the servers were congested for about a half hour, followed by another 15 minutes of claiming some kind of maintenance that wasn't reflected in the server availability list, I learned that even though I had deposited the Crysta onto my account I still hadn't activated the automatic billing for the Crysta. Well, "this seems like an easy problem to fix," I thought to myself. Not at all. I went to the button that I had google translated to be the monthly bill pay button and it just said that I hadn't set it up. I went to all of the other buttons on the "Pay your Bill" section and nothing worked. After another hour of translating pages, I found out that for whatever reason, after you deposit the Crysta, you have to go to the account menus which previously had nothing to do with billing and, unless you're paying with Crysta, continue to have nothing to do with billing to tell it to pay my bill once a month. The best part of all this is: your first month is free! You just have to assure them that you will be able to pay, should you still want to play after messing with their idiotic system.
Well, I feel like a very long rant about Square-Enix and their very frustrating menu systems isn't what most people want to read, and I apologize. I considered deleting it and writing something else, but it's almost eleven and I'm exhausted. I also think it's funny that I wrote Square an email asking them if I had alternatives last night and have yet to get a response. I'm glad I figured it out on my own.
In other news, my pants no longer fit and it's frustrating.