Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Consumer Alert: Blizzard Entertainment
A little over a month ago, several addon sites for the World of Warcraft game produced by Blizzard Entertainment were found to have keyloggers as a part of their addons. This, of course, produced a high level of insecurity in several thousand user accounts related to the game. One of those accounts belonged to a friend of mine. He had spent months leveling his character all the way up to ~57 when a keylogger stole his information. The malicious individual wound up selling everything he had, and transferring his 300 gold to another account. Having faith in Blizzard's integrity system, he submitted a ticket.

8,000,000 people give Blizzard $15 a month to play this game.

It took over a month for my buddy to receive ANY contact from Blizzard, despite several attempts to reach them. 1 full month of receiving $15 from 8 million individuals. When they did finally grace him with a response, this is the form letter he received:

Greetings ******,

Thank you for contacting the World of Warcraft Game Master Department.

Account Name: ********
Realm: *******
Character Names: ******, ******, *******

Unfortunately, we were unable to verify the loss of the reported character assets. In order to assist you in continuing with normal play, a basic set of Bind on Equip items have been provided for the above listed characters. These items are not bound. They are for you to use, sell or equip as you deem necessary. The upcoming Burning Crusades will afford you and your character new content that will improve your overall gaming experience.

We sincerely apologize for any frustration you may have experienced as a result of this situation, and hope that this will assist you to return to enjoying the game as quickly as possible.

Please remember that restoration is not always guaranteed. While we make every effort to verify your loss there are times where restoration is not possible.

For further information please check our Restoration Policy located at *********************.

Thank you again for contacting us. We hope you continue to enjoy your experience in World of Warcraft!

*** Please do not respond to this email as all conversations on this matter would be best handled online. ***

Blizzard Entertainment

Customer satisfaction is a top priority here at Blizzard Entertainment,
and we would like your feedback on the level of service you have received.
Please feel free to provide such feedback at the following web address: ***********

Blizzard, you may never see this, but if you do I hope you understand that as a gaming software company you have now jumped the shark. It's a "minor" incident like this that begins the tarnishing of a once stellar reputation. I know of at least 10 individuals who would consider cancelling their accounts as a result of this flippant response to a sincere concern. To those not paying attention, the letter clearly states that Blizzard Entertainment, despite having full control over every transaction in the game and logging most of them to control cheating, could not find the time or energy to research this issue and wound up costing an individual several months of play time due to their own apathy toward their customers.

$120,000,000 a month goes to Blizzard Entertainment from individuals such as my friend and myself.

Update (01/22/07):

Thanks to Tom for the heads-up, put too many zeroes on the post above. Fixed.

Update (01/25/07):

Bizzyblog's great post on this.

Also, WD's great post on personal decisions and choices.

An article from Curse Gaming, originally thought to be the source of many keylogger addons.

Another great article with screenshots of what happens when you decide to "press the issue."


Comments on "Consumer Alert: Blizzard Entertainment"


Blogger BizzyBlog said ... (7:32 AM) : 

It's 8 million people, not billion, but I still want to be in that business, where I can collect my monthly income and not serve customers. Each one is so small that the negative consequences are probably low, unless a class-action lawyer figures something out.

My kid opted out of Warcraft the moment they started asking for monthly fees. What a load, esp at $15.


Blogger Chucko said ... (1:01 PM) : 

You're absolutely right... it's a huge pity. I advised my buddy to report them to the BBB, which does have some consequences, but I don't think he's going to do it. WoW is still an incredibly fun game, but it's sad to see a great company like Blizzard go down the drain like this.


Blogger wd said ... (3:54 PM) : 

Thanks for the commment on the Jack Bauer picture on my blog. As I feel that I headed down the wrong bear trail over at bizzyblog, I have said so there ... and wanted to say so here. The more I looked at what was written, while I still think my ideas are sound, a little (lot) more needs to be said. Plus, I think my tone came across as something I didn't intend. However, what's written can't be unread, and what's said can't be unheard.

If you or your buddy don't mind, I'm going to post on this tomorrow afternoon. Perhaps getting the blogsphere involved will help. My little corner of cyberspace doesn't get a lot of hits - but perhaps others will pick up and run with it!!

By the way, I REALLY like your blog!!



Blogger Chucko said ... (10:29 AM) : 

Thanks for your comment WD! It's kind of a pity... my friend doesn't seem to have the motivation to really pursue this (I suppose having about 10 friends locally that also play the game that helped him gear back up and contributed a ton of gold doesn't help). Your commentary on personal choices is really fantastic.


Blogger wd said ... (2:31 PM) : 

Thank you for the kind words ... it actually was encouraging at just the right time ...
I have just published my 2 copper worth ... it may be a little long, but there was a lot to cover!

Let me know what you think. I can't do much, but felt I needed to do what I could.
Feel free to pass it around .. :)


Blogger vachatterus said ... (3:44 PM) : 

Does anybody know how to get in contact with their billing department? All I have is a technical support number?



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:31 AM) : 

Hey blog readers, here’s an article I wrote on WOW, mainly on the Burning Crusade – hope you’ll find it interesting:

Almost 8 million World of Warcraft players around the world have been waiting for the release of the extension pack named The Burning Crusade. The WOW community was very excited to enter the new territories imagined and created for them by the ingenious Blizzard team. This extension brought to light two new races with new starting areas and quests, new dungeons, jewel crafting: the newest trade profession, PVP arenas and new battlegrounds. The big majority of WOW fans were very impressed of Blizzard's work.

The newest two races mentioned above are the "draenei" and the "blood elves" and they are great to start playing with all over again and no doubt new players will find the way up to level 70 very exciting.

The new territories look fantastic and the quests you have to pass in order to level up are very interesting. Many players' reviews agree that blood elves are more popular than the draenei and this fact can be easily explained. The Horde was never given the chance to play a good looking character until now while most Alliance characters are looking good and are physically attractive. Horde's characters are all looking funny; after all they don't have anything human in their look, but they have great jokes and it is a real pleasure to play as a troll, undead, orc or tauren.

Another important aspect to mention is that Horde was finally given the chance to play as paladin with blood elves. Blizzard balanced the two new classes by allowing draenei to play as shamans. However chances for the two new classes to interact with their neighbors are low while they are leveling up. The new classes will probably experience trouble in finding trainers and even some quest givers. The new profession, jewel crafting can be really profitable, especially when combined with mining.

The flying mount was something new for WOW players, but many reviewers agreed that flying mounts are cheap indeed but very slow, even slower than a non epic mount. The epic flying mount is fast and crucial for some quests and territories but it's a bit expensive to some players. However, camping in the new territories can be a real pleasure because the player is now able to raise more gold in a shorter time span than before and also has great chances to loot precious items they needs or they can sell in auction houses.

Patches are regularly released in order to improve the balance and the quality of the game. In addition Blizzard performs weekly server maintenance so they can prevent game bugs, account break in or other problems related to the technical support of the game engine. Game masters are always online and they solve players' problems very fast and in a professional manner. The Burning Crusade can be considered a great new real-time game and also the valuable proof that WOW was and still is an unique PC game that fascinated millions of people around the globe.

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Anonymous WoW Gold Guide said ... (6:00 PM) : 

good post


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