Reporting Harassment can get you banned!!!

 When you read the title of this post, the first thought would be something along the lines of ” Must be a joke, right?” however, that is not the case. Sadly, this is a true story that speaks volumes about customer service and the price we pay to play.

 You see, during the last few years, there have been some changes in the MMO industry. There has been a shift in the payment methods of these MMORPGS(massive multiplayer online roleplaying game). The move has been away from the subscription model and into the “free” with cash shop, model of payment. One of the companies partly responsible for this shift in payment models is a little-known company called Frogster(who shall be referred to as Fraudster from here on out). mainly due to the success of their mmorpg called Runes of Magic.

 The main attraction of the game was that, is was supposed to be a free to play(f2p) game, and that idea, combined with a decent game seemed to produce success. However, as time went along, many of the things that drew people into the game began to disappear. “But how does this equal being banned for reporting harassment? “, you might ask. I am getting there, just wanted to put in a little ground work first.

 Fraudster and Runes of magic(rom) may just be one game, in what now looks like a galaxy of f2p mmorpgs, but it was one of the 1st successful ones and most certainly can point the direction in which all f2p games could and may end up heading.

 All f2p games have one thing in common, they have a cash shop. The cash shop is how they support the game. It is important to them to get people into the cash shop for them to make money. In order to do so they develope strategies that will insure that if you want to keep playing, you will have to keep paying. However, if the game is touted as f2p, they have to be less obvious about it and provide a way in which you can get needed items for free.

  But when money is involved, then often as not, so is greed and with f2p payment model the oppertunities for people to satisfy their greed are much more easily obtained. With a subscription based payment system, the ability to fulfill your greed is much more limited. You can raise subscription prices or stop making improvements to the game and both are very obvious to the players. It is the fact that these are so obvious to players, that keeps greed in check. Players tend to leave when they see these things and that means less money, not more. The f2p game, on the other hand, has many more ways for the game developers to fill, their need for greed. When this happens, which is likely to happen in any given f2p game, the customers ultimately end up paying the price, not just in money either.

So let’s look at how this ended up happening to ROM and how it leads to people being banned for litterly no reason, shall we?

 In the beginning, it seemed like fraudster and Rom were going to live up to the promise of f2p. They had a cash shop where you could buy items but they also had a means where the person without a alot of money could play for free and still be able to play. They had tokens in-game that players earned by doing daily quests and with those could purchase “select” items from the cash shop and there was a means to buy diamonds( diamonds are used in-game to by ANY item from the cash shop) from the auction house with in-game gold. With these 2 things in place you could buy litterly anything needed to play the game. However, those things changed!!!  

 As Rom grew up, they put out new content and features but none of them seemed to work properly. Everything was bugged and if they “tried” to fix it, it ended up worse than when it was first released. The extra xp and tp gained from furniture stopped working many months ago and has yet to be fixed. The new housemaids did not work upon release and guild seige also has not worked since release. All new content is bugged and often has major flaws in coding, yet most of it has not been fixed.

 They also removed the diamonds from the auction house, claiming it was a temporary measure to deal with gold spammers.That was over 2 months ago. Not that Fraudster has the means to even deal with gold spammers. If WOW(world of warcraft) does not, how are we supposed to believe they do?( Side note: Someone posted in the game forums the calculations for how long it would take to get enough tokens to make end-game gear.The total was over 6 years!! That was before the last content updates. This game is not even close to being “free” anymore)

 It was merely an excuse to cover up what their real intentions are. To milk the game and it’s remaining players. That is the place to which their greed has taken them and ROM. They are in the milking stage of the game now. There is alot of evidence and signs of this. Every piece of new content and every new feature, is flawed/bugged. This is because they do not have their best developers working on the game anymore. Therefore, everything is broken on release and almost nothing is ever fixed.

 Diamonds were removed from the auction house to make the f2p players leave, costing them less bandwidth and server stress. Of course, with greed in play, there was also the hope that some players would convert to p2p(pay to play) and buy more diamonds, since auction house access was no more. They even went so far as to make the items you buy with in-game tokens less successful than their diamond counterparts. If you use token bought gems, to improve your equipment, you are faced with greater chance of it failing and lowering your equipment, than if you bought those same gems with diamonds. ( As a side not, isn’t this a bit like saying we don’t care how much time you spend here playing and supporting the game, we just want your money.)

 They create new content to make players have to buy diamonds to upgrade their new equipment. All new content is broken or bugged and never fixed to keep development costs down. Diamonds are removed from the auction house to make f2p players leave and hopefully boost diamond sales, thus lowering maintenance fees and hopefully boosting sales. Reducing effectiveness of token bought items to force players into spending diamonds rather than time. Heck, they even openly spam every player in the game with the message” If you buy tiered stones from gold spammers, your account will be permanently banned”. Thus saying to every player, either we get all your money or we will ban you.

 All these add up to clear signs of a company just milking their product.

 Once a company has entered this milking stage, customer service is one of those other things, that gets reduced. At this point in the game, they are looking to make more money and put out less money. With this in mind, it is obvious how customer service is going to go downhill. Customer service requires employees and that means saleries. In the milking stage, less saleries is better. That is why when you call fraudster, the Customer Service Manager for ALL of North America answers the phone. Since when does a customer service manager ever answer the phone…unless there are no other customer service employes? I got the phone number, wanna call and see?(If you are really interested, use my contact page)

 When customer service has been reduced, that means they only deal with whatever issues they absolutely have to. It means if you are going to cause them too much work, you will ignored and if you will not go away by being ignored, you will be banned. It means whoever is spending the most money, is likely to get any kind of customer service at all, even if they are harassing other players. It means customer service comes down to favoritism.

And… it is how one ends up being banned for reporting harassment, like I was.

 When a company is knowingly milking it’s customers, taking their money and not intending to provide any kind of product or service for it, that is fraud. It is exactly what Fraudster is doing through the game of ROM. They know that they are just milking the game now. They know that everything they release now is going to be bugged or broken and will not be fixed. They know they will not provide customer support and that any customer provided, will be on a basis of who pays the most. They know all of these things. And yet, they still take your money. 

  Accepting someone’s money is entering into a contract. A contract in which they accept your money and they are supposed to uphold their own TOS, their side of the agreement. If they are taking your money and intentionally not fulfilling their side of the contract, they are comitting fraud. There is simply no way around this.

 I believe now, it should be clear to any that have read this far, that not only ROM and fraudster should be avoided, but that every f2p game in the marketplace should be avoided like the plague. For this is the direction, most are heading. When greed and oppertunity combine, there are going to be those companies that prey upon the hard working people.

 I cannot calculate how many people I helped in-game, how many hours I lost, and how much money I spent and lost, due to this greedy company. To be banned for complaining about another player harassing me, is not only wrong and undeserved, it is fraudster openingly allowing players to violate the TOS and commiting fraud.

It should be noted, that I used ROM as a example not only because I got banned(although that would have been good enough reason alone for most people) but also because they were one of the first companies to employ the f2p payment structure and have success in doing so. I have played many f2p games and they all seem to be heading in the direction that ROM has.

 I can only hope that other people learn from my mistakes and do not fall into the money trap that is the f2p mmorpg. Thx for reading and feel free to leave any comments you might have.

Just in case anyone wants to view documents and pictures of emails exchanged and such, here are the links-

Harassment reply 1

Harassment Reply 2

Ban Email 1

Harassment Reply 3

Ban Reply Email

Harassment Reply 4 (last email from them)

Screenshot of mail inbox(to demonstrate timeline)

Screenshot of my sent items box(showing I did inquire about the ban)

Pdf of the support ticket( never replied to and closed)

Axe

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24 Comments

Filed under games, General Stuff, Thoughts, video games

24 responses to “Reporting Harassment can get you banned!!!

  1. Trubbles

    Everything said in this post is true. ROM is really just a cash grab. It’s generally inferior to WoW, and more other P2P games on today’s market, and it ends up costing a lot MORE. Ironic!

    If you want to see an F2P game that is actually succeeding – a game so good players WANT to spend money on it – check out League of Legends. It’s not an MMO – it’s a MOBA (like DoTA) – but it’s really well done. The real beauty is you CAN play it for free and NEVER be at a competitive disadvantage. All real $$ gets you are boosts in how fast you can earn in-game currency (which has no effect on the actual gameplay) or skins which are completely superficial.

    No – I don’t work for them! I just love the game. In-game name is Trubbles.

    It seems to me like MMORPG + F2P model = greedy, expensive and stressful gaming experience. I say stressful because I don’t like having to wonder how much my gaming hobby/addiction is going to cost me in a given month. I don’t mind monthly fees, but I hate the idea that I might have to drop an extra $50 if I get a good drop in a raid and I want to enchant and gem it, like in ROM.

    Like

  2. Well, getting banned after being harrassed and reporting it is pretty stressful too.:) Thx for the comment,Trubbles. Perhaps I will check out this game you mention.

    Axe

    Like

  3. Holst86

    Hi mate. I saw you on mmorpg.com posting this blogg. I totally agree! I despise all f2p game, their only point of existence is just to, as you said, milk our cash. These games have no qualities in any areas(for example graphic, lore etc..). Just check the game list on mmorpg.com, lol most games(over 80%) is f2p/item mall and they all only have one purpose. And if u haven’t noticed that the crew at mmorpg.com always talk good about f2p games, guess why! Simply cuz most(if not all now days) of their advertisers are f2p games.
    I’m happy that another one have opened the eyes and seen the truth about the f2p fraud.

    Anyway have a nice day 🙂

    Like

  4. Luthor X

    I’ll go you one better…

    I just got a 120 day ban from mmorpg.com for making a new account so that my chosen new FFXlV name would match my mmorpg.com name. They banned both of the accounts. I also submitted (emailed to the community manager) evidence proving that that was the reason I created the new account.

    Further, they did not even give me the common courtesy of replying to my email that explained my actions.

    My original account never had so much as a warning either. Never flamed, nothing. And I certainly never told a fellow member to stop acting like a douch… unlike a certain mod at that site.

    Like

  5. @Holst86- Yep, it is my hope that this post opens some eyes and others begin to see things for what they really are.

    @Luthor X- Not sure I would classify that as “better”.:) However, at least you did not lose your hard earned money, now did ya?

    Thx for commenting.:)
    Axe

    Like

  6. hammerhead omega

    i agree with you on this but there are is one good f2p games
    ever heard of artix entertainment? they have a game called adventurequestworlds (aqw).
    I play it, i don’t use any money, and yet i don’t feel like they’re just milking the game
    in fact paying players (members) only get special boosts like access to party areas and they get to
    play the story boss one week early
    they get also get member only weapons but the only difference is that they’re cooler looking
    but there are free players weapons that are cool too.
    oh yeah they also get a bank for more item space (but you have to pay for that)
    but its not necessary

    Like

  7. @hammer, I think you missed the point of this post. It was information on how f2p games can go bad, not which one might be good,lol!

    Thx for commenting though.:)

    Axe

    Like

  8. Fursnake

    Great blog, I totally agree with the ideas presented here and the FACT that the gaming industry has become focused on greed and moneymaking over quality and craftsmanship in gamemaking. Specifically in the MMOG sub-industry the success of WoW in the last 5 years has driven all MMOG companies to seek the big bucks anyway they can. The f2p thing at first felt like a gimmick limited to lesser quality games when it first started showing up, but now it is just infecting franchises out there like crazy, specifically the cash shop element.

    Now we have the disturbing trend of AAA MMORPG games mixing the subscription model and the cash shop and really raping customers withy premium items for ridiculous prices. WoW with the sparkle pony, EQ2 follwed suit with mounts available for $25 just like big daddy WoW. Unfortunately people jump on this stuff and encourage this further behaivor from these companies and encourage the agenda of company greed. The situation with Turbine and LotRo going f2p is another alarming and disappointing step int he wrong direction for the MMOG industry; you have a AAA subcription model game suddenly going f2p when it was supposedly doing alright financially. We are supposed to believe that the move to f2p is simply meant to open the game up to new players and that the item shop won’t matter/won’t be that significant, but I call BS on that. I highly doubt that the item shop won’t matter and Turbine is either A) looking to imporve the financial situation of LotRO because of pressure from Warner Bros. or B) getting greedy and/or pressured by Warner Bros. greed. Turbine now made it ok for big name games like Warhammer Online, Age of Conan, Star Trek Online and all the other struggling games to mix and match subscription costs with cash shops or make a total switch up. I find it sad, I played LotRO from the beta right up until a few months ago because I felt the quality of the game content was deteriorating towards slower content cycles with more repetitive conten. I didn’t quit because of the move to f2p because I quit earlier, but I if I was still playing I would have quit over the change.

    The nature of f2p is quite misleading, it is an effective method of subterfuge for the drive to suck money out of players. But really, the meaning of f2p should be changed from ‘free to play’ to, ‘free to pay’.

    Like

  9. Mis-leading indeed!
    Thx for commenting!

    Axe

    Like

  10. zugu

    I really don’t think Frogster has a problem with this business model. All they want is for someone to make a free account, buy a mount and some potions. That’s all. Multiply by thousands of accounts. THIS is their main cash cow, just like casual people who never reached max level in WoW play on Sundays and ride the $20 mount in WoW are Blizzard’s cash cow.

    Seriously, someone who played RoM for like some 10 or 20 hours won’t give a shit about end-game content, chance-of-succesfully-crafting-something differences, lack of dias on AH. Hell, they might not even know what the purpose of the AH is.

    The vocal ones are the hardcore players, who constantly need new content to fill the gaps in their sorry lives. In WoW, Blizzard always delivers them what they need, while Frogster couldn’t give a shit about such user base. They only care about luring you into the F2P trap, take some money off of you and then crap on your head, because they can.

    You chose the wrong game, dude, if you’re that hardcore, play some WoW instead.

    Like

  11. Caring about receiving customer service when you pay for something makes you “hard core”? Lmao!

    People who play WOW are sheep! Been there and tried it. Guess I am not one. Thx for the comment!

    Axe

    Like

  12. NastyMoon

    I read it all, and it was quite interesting. I do believe that F2P games are “Free” in a sense, yes, no monthly subscription fees, so basically, all you have to do is protect your account, take care of it, avoid going to hack sites, and making transactions that will concern real currency, and all is well.

    However, on your part, the Handlers of the game didn’t even look inside your case, and just threw the Ban Hammer at you, and that saddens me.

    Yes, we have a few Gaming Companies, that are ideal in a way that they don’t care of monthly profits, they just want to be better for their players and community.

    Let me share one of them to you.

    Do you know GNW? (Game Networks) They have handful of games these past years, but according to the new on their forums, the head company decided for them to let go of the game, and let the OTHER Company have the opportunity of handling it.

    By the way, these games are old, With your Destiny, and Tantra. GNW succeeded on nurturing the community. Taking care of everyone. And one more cool thing about this company is that they respond quickly to every concern you have, and they investigate everything from Top-to-bottom. I know, because I’m one of those players who believe that a game is not about graphics, and gameplay, its about the services that you can get from the Gaming Company in exchange for our money and support, and I did get those services and attention I truly want. Their GMs are all day hanging out inside Towns and Dungeons. Talking to the community endlessly, getting suggestions “What’s a good event next week?” They let us, the players, help out the Staff to think of events, and not only that, they even let us players host some events, and they will monitor it. Its like giving us an opportunity to take part of the game’s improvement, and that was priceless.

    Funny thing about these games is that it has no Game Guard. So basically, its a hack fest game, but you know, only few were hacking, and immediately gets banned. The GMs of these games monitors upcoming data of each playing account, and they know if you are hacking or not, and they will ban you permanently for doing so with no question ask, but of course, they will still talk to you inside forums, and know exactly what were your intentions. If they see that your intention is innocent like “Testing” the hack out, they will give you 3 days banning, and they will monitor your actions after wards.

    I got hacked once, and yes, I was frustrated. I sent a report immediately, and I got a reply of information(s) i need to fill-up for them to know if they are REALLY talking to the owner of the account, which is me.

    Somehow, I couldn’t remember the Date-of-birth I registered (I made it up that time) so they said to me to send another one, and it was still wrong. So I told that if they cannot process my case, its okay, but they, instead of not processing my case, they said to me that ” We have information(s) of your IP Address and Mac Address, showing that you are the real owner of the account.” They even gave my Registered Date of birth information for future services use, and I was amazed on how flexible and compassionate this company to me, and that is why this game has tons of players, even though the game has no guild list, friend list, the world is SSSSOOOOOO small, game client if 500+ mb, its not a game for the modern gamer, and I said to myself,

    “This game’s worth it.”

    Right now GNW, is no longer the handler of these games. These games that they have nurtured for years have been left alone by the other company. So many changes have been made, as if the current owner of the games does not care if we close or not. Removal of Country Academies, no more fun events, no more surprise event, reply from staff takes so much time, and I’m thinking to leave the game.

    The only GAME existing right now for GNW is CTRacer Global, and I’ve been playing it for almost a year since the release. I’m a big GNW fan btw. Hehehehe! So, basically this game is also old, its a 2003 MMO Racing Game, and right now, competition is hard for GNW.

    Throughout the year, since it was release, we never had a big community. Maybe only 10 ~ 40 of players goes online everyday, saying our “Hi” and “Hellos” to each other, visiting the Forums to chat with the GMs, and everyday we hope for great news. For almost a year, we are playing a game that is hackable, no updates, nothing. Even the announcement says “Welcome to OBT.” At first, we told the GMs to do something about it, but they informed to us that they are not able to change these things, they must first request it, and they can’t get what they needed to modify the game from the developers.

    But the good part is that GNW still presents fun and free events for us, and even new comers, to join and win cool prizes, which is practically good.

    We all know, us, the handful of players, that even though we spend, its not enough to support the game, and after almost a year, CTRacer Global is still running, and not only that, they are even releasing a New Client version of the game which is AWESOME!

    You know, this made some us teary eye. Because we know, that the Gaming Company GNW who catered us since the early games they handled are still insisting of having the latest version of the game, and they succeeded, even without profits. They want to prove that as a Gaming Company, its all about service, not money.

    For now, we feel that this the last kind of service we will receive, and if it fails, we have nothing to regret.

    Hats down for GameNetworks. I’m still supporting this company through my small purchases, and I hope, you find the Gaming Company you are seeking for. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and thank you for reading mine.

    Like

  13. That might have just been the longest comment I have ever gotten.(Axe reaches in to his drawer and pulls out a dusty, ragged book)

    Hmmm, let’s see, it is indeed the longest comment I have ever received.Congratulations!

    You win an all expenses paid vacation to…oh wait a minute, ahem,wrong place for that.:)

    Thx for commenting!

    Axe

    Like

  14. NastyMoon

    You are welcome. I hope you can get your account back. Try talking to them again, and they might give your hard-earned account back. Yeah, its cool to see guys like you helping out players in the game, spending lots of In-Game Time, and supporting the game, and after all that support, they banned you unreasonably…I hope you will still get your account back. Best of luck to you, Sir AxeWielderX.

    By the way, awesome name. ~ AxeWielderX

    Like

  15. Don’t want my account back. My money on the other hand..I’ll take that. Feel as though since they were not uphold their own tos that I am entitled to it back truthfully.
    Have not seen my name typed like that for quite awhile, do I know you? I suppose I probably do and if you wanted me to know who your were, you would tell me.

    Thx for commenting!

    Axe

    Like

  16. Orto Myzel

    I am glad I ran into your blog.

    I actually wanted to try out this piece of shit. I will not.

    I do hope you manage to make them pay for being completely unprofessional.

    They have to pay.

    My sincere empathy,

    O. Myzel

    Like

  17. Most likely the will just keep lying their way out of any legal issues as long as they can. Sleazy companies like this always do crap like that. Once the game is no longer profitable they will just close the doors to this company and re-open another under another name.
    Is’nt that how business works?

    Like

  18. Orto Myzel

    Ofc it is.

    But we must stand our ground every time shit like this happens.

    In most of the cases get knocked down but there are those rare occasions when one manages to say: Up yours!

    Our spines must be put to work.

    Like

  19. Doing what I can. I reported them to the BBB and the attorney generals office. If nothing comes of those, guess I will head to small claims court or consult a lawyer perhaps.Certainly not going to bow down to any company that treats people like this. Thx for the support and comments.:)

    Like

  20. josh

    did the company ever settle out of court or what happened?

    Like

  21. They kept my money and have not gotten another cent from me. I am also certain they have lost quite a few potential customers due to the way they treat their customers. Frogster being a bad company is pretty common knowledge in the gaming community.

    Like

  22. Mollies

    People dont read the EULA or TOS of most games before they accept to play. Its very important for people to read them incase of a situation like this. We are human beings and should be protected of our rights at any time in a game/internet as the same out in the real world. Apparently Frogster does not support this action therefor its a shame. Unless I didnt understand somewhere in the EULA they wrote. Sorry to hear you put your money into something that was thought worthy by helping the game grow as well as helping the gaming community, and then its all taken away by trying to make the game better, wtf

    Like

  23. Jeff M

    Runes of magic is still a POS, Gameforge is worse than Frogster…… the trolls run that game now. Nothing gets fixed, harassment is ignored, everything costs triple since the game began. The place is a ghost town. The GM’s are biased, they only help out their friends. The game is so broken, they blame your computer.. say nothing is wrong with the game. They wont fix anything but they can have a diamond sale once a week.

    Like

  24. This post is from 2010 and still people have not learned. I am guessing that is why they are still in business. Oh well, can’t say I did not warn people. For any MMORPG, I suggest doing a good search on them before plunking down any money. I never did get back any money I lost on this game and it really saddens me that people are still losing money to legal cash scam. Thx for commenting!

    Like

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