A couple of weeks ago, many players of Mythic’s games found themselves billed multiple times, in some cases racking up hundreds of dollars worth of payments. Needless to say, they were not best pleased.
Today the Executive Producer of DAOC and WAR released letters of apology, and detailed the compensation that players will receive.
The letters are the same until you get to the bottom, and the game specific compensation. The shared portion of the letters is as follows:
Two weeks ago, a serious event occurred which resulted in the unintended billing of some of our customers. For this and any difficulties the event caused, we are truly sorry and today we wish to explain what happened, and to make a renewed commitment to your trust and security. We have taken this very seriously. In our 15 year history, trust has been the foundation of our relationship with the gaming community and we intend to rebuild that trust.
Between March 18 and April 7, our payment gateway, experienced a processing flaw that was beyond the scope of our control. Instead of being submitted for processing once, some transactions were submitted multiple times, resulting in some people being charged multiple times. On April 8, we determined what had happened and acted with urgency to arrange for bulk reversal of all erroneous charges. The majority of players saw the refund within 2-3 business days. Some banks did not post refunds until a few days later, a delay that was contingent on the banking institution. We worked quickly to inform affected players of the situation and understand the frustration this waiting period may have caused.
As a result of this event, we significantly increased customer service staffing who have been working with all impacted subscribers to waive any overdraft fees. The majority of the banks have waived these fees as they recognize the unusual nature of this event. In the rare cases that the banks have not reversed the charges, EA is covering the fee.
Once the corrective action was completed, we turned our attention to analyzing the problem in more detail. We determined the root cause, developed a definitive fix and implemented monitoring precautions that will allow us to prevent similar situations from reoccurring. These steps have been in place since April 13 with no further issues.
To be clear, at no point during this event was there a security breach or was subscriber account information compromised.
For both games players will receive double xp, renown, realm points, or bounty points (as appropriate for each game) for the next 2 weeks. Each character you have will receive two tokens that they will be able to redeem for in game items. This will apply to all players, not just the ones affected by the billing issue.
For Warhammer Online the choices will be:
* Bottomless Chaos Black Dye
* Bottomless Skull White Dye
* Imperial Griffon Mount (Order)
* Enslaved Manticore Mount (Destruction)
* WAR Tract – earn a free level
* Choose from any of these pets – Order: Imperial Hunting Hound or Dwarf Keg Handler; Destruction: Warlord’s Fell Hound or the Goblin Bar-Back.
* Change your appearance with any of these illusion items: Skaven Skin Cloak (skaven), Kossar’s Helm (bear), or the Signet of the Cursed Company (skeleton)
For Dark Age of Camelot they’re:
* Bottomless Black Dye
* Bottomless Crimson Dye (Albion), Hunter Green Dye (Hibernia), and Royal Blue Dye (Midgard)
* A selection of rare mounts: The Fire Steed, Clockwork Steed, and Storm Steed
* Choose from any of these pets – Clockwork Cat, a Mini-Dragon, and a pet of your realm.
* Vegas Round Table Trophy
* The Old Dragon Head Trophies of Smoldering Golestandt (Albion), Frozen Gjalpinulva (Midgard), and Glimmering Culldurach (Hibernia)
Some pretty awesome sounding goodies there. For folks who weren’t affected by the issue, it’ll be like Christmas day. I wonder though if those who were affected may have preferred some real world compensation for something that caused them very real world problems, or at least some game time. In-game rewards are only really much use to you if you didn’t stop playing as a result of having your bank account plundered. In the case of those who had more than $500 taken out of their account I’d suggest never billing them again, by giving them a lifetime subscription.
Interesting to note is that the Warhammer compensation items are recycled from other rewards schemes, or elsewhere in the game.:
* The Kossar’s Helm was from a code that came with Red Alert III.
* The Skaven Skin Cloak was a reward for attending Games Day 2008.
* The Signet of the Cursed Company was given to the 200 most active participants in the Road to War viral advertising campaign.
* The Imperial Hunting Hound, Warlord’s Fell Hound, Imperial Griffon Mount, and Enslaved Manticore Mount are rewards from the Recruit a Friend program.
* Dwarf Keg Handler and Goblin Bar-Back were rare drops during the Keg End event.