Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dragonborn & Microsoft's Hate for Expats

Today is the release of Skyrim's DLC Dragonborn on xbox 360! I'm so excited, it is like an early birthday present! (My birthday is Saturday, which will be 1 year since I got Skyrim).

What I'm looking forward to the most about Dragonborn (other than it makes the game I really love last longer), is that I will have something to do besides radiant quests with Raewynn (my lvl 58 primary character). As you know by now, I have been working on getting her to level 78 to work towards all achievements earned for Skyrim. However, the road has been long and grueling and very very boring.

The only way I have figured to help me level up is to level up all my skills.. since I played as a dual wield melee character I started going back and working with some magical skills or even 2 handed skill. But it is hard to level those skills when you have nothing to kill except whatever quests you get in a radiant line and it gets boring REALLY fast. It is true I still have not completed the main storyline quest though. My reason for that was to make me not give up so quickly on trying to level. Generally when I player has already done the main thing, they stop playing and I'm not above that.

Since the announcement of Dragonborn though, my intention is to complete the main storyline quest (which I have been eager to do) and then work on Dragonborn immediately after. I think that chronologically it should fit better that way too, plus I don't know if the DLC has any spoilers or that it is even accessible to those who haven't finished the main quest line, so it is just better that way.

I had a pretty crappy day yesterday both physically and a bit emotionally. I walked 4 miles to do some shopping and errands and carried around a bunch of heavy crap in the cold rain and snow.. so I'm physically dead today; all my muscles hurt.
I also had a bit of a disappointment when the thing I was planning to do for my birthday fell through (first time in 7 years that I have lived in France that I have friends to invite to my birthday and basically all but 1 won't come).. I was disappointed of course, but I think I took it more to heart because it was really the first time in 7 years, so I cried like a dork while talking to my parents on the phone. I guess it bothered me more than I thought. So I'm a bit emotionally drained as well (even if I feel stupid for it).

So anyway (*ahem* /composure), I decided today would be a "Fuck everything, I'm playing Skyrim" day (to an extent, I still got to pick up my daughter from school xD). I hopped on the computer this morning and set out on my first quest: Acquire MS Points.

Microsoft Hates Expats Who Have Xbox Live

Usually I assume the quest to acquire MS points is pretty easy: you log on to you account and add points or pick some up at best buy, wally world or even on amazon. However if you happen to be someone who lived in one country and then moved to another and took your account with you, it becomes a long drawn out ordeal.

For those of you who haven't done that, let me explain a bit to you the payment side of things:

To upgrade (from silver to gold), renew or add Microsoft points to you account you need codes that originate from the same country as your account. To buy those codes you need to either be physically in that country (cards sold at a local retailer) or be a holder of a bank/credit card from that country (to buy them online). I'm leaving out websites that will sell you and mail you a code because I don't really trust those.

That is my biggest problem. So usually, I would send my parents money and they'd pick up a card and text me the code or I pick up cards the every couple of years I find myself back in the US and bring them back home with me for later.

First of all, there is no such thing as transferring your account over to the country you are in. Your account is tied to a country and that is that. Microsoft suggests you get an account from the country you're in. However you start over with achievements, dlc etc (normally you'd have to have an Xbox from the country you're living in especially if you went from a different voltage and PAL/NTSC region like myself, so your DLC wouldn't come with you unless you brought you HDD and signed into the account you bought it from).

I had a French xbox live account for a short time and I hated it. My achievements and DLC were split across 2 accounts and my dashboard was always in French (it isnt tied to your system language). To say the least, it sucked.

So I just reverted back to my US Xbox live account before I did any further damage to having dlc spread out and my achievements messed up even more. There are a lot of downsides to owning an Xbox live account of the region you're not in aside from the payment ones; the biggest is that you don't get access to region specific features even if your account is gold and paying for it. That means:

-no streaming/buying/renting music (last.fm etc)
-no streaming/buying/renting video, tv shows, etc
-no access to contests ("must be a resident of the United States", an expat is residing overseas)

And things of that nature. If you try (and believe me I have) you get a nice "sorry this content is not available in your region" message.

So personally I have let xbox live gold fall by the wayside. Why pay a subscription for features I can't use? The only use xbox live has overseas is for multiplayer and that is it. Not worth the price-hike that was justified by the new content and features I can't use.
The only other thing it is maybe GOOD for was the Xbox live rewards program (which I was a beta user of) which offers you points for points you spend and surveys.. it honestly staved off my MS point shortage for a while.

The Quest for MS Points

So this morning I decided I needed MS points. I have 10 left (I just spent 160 on Amberian Dawn- Charnel's Ball from RBN which wasn't enough for much else anyway) Dragonborn is 1600 (when is Microsoft going to use REAL currency again?). I had $18 on amazon through giftcards I earned on Wish! and I was hoping I could use that money towards getting some points. Thing is I'm short by like $2.. (which really sucks) but I thought maybe I could just add $2 from my bank card and it would be good. Wrong.

Actually, like I said before you can not buy a code online from a retailer without paying with a US bank/credit card. So when I clicked "buy" I wasn't even given the option to use my $18 in gift cards from amazon, I had to pay the full sum with my bank card which is European so Amazon told me to fuck off.

I was really annoyed. I think it is stupid to begin with to limit people with buying points by region and even more stupid that I can't even use the credit I have to buy the points (which is what I was saving the money for.. -_-). So, in order to get Dragonborn I have to either harass my parents to get me a code and paypal them the money back.. or (like I'm currently doing) have a trusted friend buy the DLC for me, send me the code and I send him the money. It is a just a real pain in the ass.

Today's Plan

Due to the time difference etc, it probably won't be until late this evening that I will be able to get the code and by then I will be watching Brave (I bought the Blu-Ray, haven't seen it yet since I hate dubbed versions, but my parents insist that not only does Merida LOOK like me, she has my attitude too, we will see..) and then going to bed because tomorrow I will be ice skating! :D

So I will be behind on playing Dragonborn (thanks Microsoft), but for now I guess I can at least work on the main storyline... which will put me closer to earning all achievements because with this DLC, I'll be quite behind again!

Update: A Couple Hours Later

Finished the main quest line, and did an extra achievement (Master Criminal).. now I'm super bored. I KNEW that would happen which is why I had held off on doing the quest.. I hope Dragonborn is worth it.


  1. Why don't you just move back to the states? with your family? then you wouldn't have to complain about that MS point code problem anymore

  2. Well if it were that easy wouldn't I have just done it already?
    Excluding the cost of flying my family back to the US (about 3,000 Euros), I would need money to pay my debt (another 3,000 Euros) and money to move my stuff (I've estimated that at about 1,000 euros).. so until I get the money, I'm kind of stuck here.

  3. Yeah, I had the same problems as well with moving to Sweden from NA. I actually said "fuck it all" one day and brought my XBOX, PS3 and Wii to Canada while visiting and sold them all. I am sticking to computer 100% now, however the Dragonborn DLC does not seem to be available on Steam yet... /sadface


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