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Everything posted by Hajile

  1. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, the latest in a long string of letdowns and disappointments, the full extent of which I'm still compiling to go into the complaint letters. I'd rather not go into my reasons for being originally annoyed about it, because they're not really relevant. Besides, to do so would open it up as a semantic discussion about personal preferences, and at this point it's clearly gone far beyond that. Whatever my reasons were, I had a legal right to an uncomplicated refund and their refusal to issue me with that refund caused my dissatisfaction to snowball. So I did a little homework and the full extent of their transgressions suddenly became clear to the extent that I felt the need to get their parent company and licensor involved. However I arrived at this discovery is incidental. The focus of this complaint is on the misconduct of Turbine, and their unlawful behaviour. To be frank, it doesn't matter if some people like the stat changes and some don't - this isn't a matter where you should excuse their unlawful activity because you think the results are satisfactory. Whichever way you look at it they violated the aforementioned legislation, and we as paying consumers should never tolerate that sort of thing. It's about the law and our rights. They have legal obligations that they need to adhere to in all territories, and they have violated those. It sets a dangerous precedent and it needs to be stamped on, hard.
  2. Been working on it a little tonight, and that's basically the jist of what I say. "Give them a chance to sort everything out and make amends, but if they can't or won't don't be afraid to pull their license" sort of thing. That way if they end up with a pulled license it'll be their own damn fault and people won't blame me. I'm open to ideas for further causes for complaint, too - everyone feel free to message me if you have any other examples that haven't been mentioned already.
  3. It's fine by me for you to repost it, although I would ask that if anyone else wishes to repost or bring up the matter elsewhere that they refrain from doing so until the letters have been sent to Warner Brothers and Middle-earth Enterprises. I will let you know here when that has been done - I hope to get a bit of free time sometime in the next 7 days to sit down and write them. Once that is done I will post the content of the letters here too, so if you would like to follow up on the matter online, you can do so. Anything that will increase the visibility of this complaint will be welcome when the time is right. I'm hoping that by the end, the matter has at the least become slightly uncomfortable for Turbine. They go to great pains to preserve a supposedly immaculate reputation, so if we can drag it through the dirt a bit, I'll be more than happy. Incidentally, I will be making mention of this forum in the letters - 1300+ disgruntled players who can't trust Turbine to allow them their opinions on the official forums is not a sign of a satisfied customer base. Once the letter is done and posted here I may attach a poll so other forum members can add their voices to it as a petition for later in the process.
  4. Thanks for the kind words all! I'm currently in the process of compiling a list of all of Turbine's offences to go in the letters, and I'm intending for this to be quite thorough - I'm even going to include the accusations of chauvinism in the Isengard promotional material that was debated at length on their official forums, which never received an official response. Basically, anything dodgy, unethical, mean, dishonest or a discredit to the license that they have done is going in these letters. I want to make sure I don't miss anything, so it may take a little time.
  5. Wow. They really are desperate to convince us all that Finesse isn't going to be like Radiance, aren't they?
  6. Howdy mate - thanks for the rep! :)

  7. Howdy gang. Just thought I'd let you know something incredibly interesting - it IS possible to obtain refunds from Turbine, regardless of their "all sales are final" spiel. I just got my money back from them for the Isengard preorder. Long story. I was initially furious with Turbine for holding back on the announcement of the stat changes until after they'd allowed people to preorder, so I asked for my cash back, and they said no. I attempted to get my money back through Paypal, but seemed to have no luck, so I went back to Turbine. They said all sales are final, and besides, the Isengard product key was now permanently registered to my account and could not be removed. So I looked into it and got some interesting advice from Consumer Direct and emailed Turbine back with some juicy info. For a start, if proof of purchase can be produced (which it certainly can be, as receipts are generated via email), the Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that any imminent changes to the product or service must be declared, and if they are not a refund can be asked for and must be given, provided that refund is requested at any time up to 6 years after purchase. The only way out of it would be to make a like-for-like offer, although in the case of an online game that would entail providing me with my own exclusive version of the game sans stat changes. Totally unfeasible, so if I want a refund and am based in the UK I have them bang to rights - as they're offering the product/service to UK customers they have to abide by UK law. Gotcha number 1. That's not the only UK law they are in breach of. It seems that if there are imminent changes to a product or service that alter the product in a palpable way (like the stat changes), failure to declare them before you allow the transaction to take place - thus denying the customer the opportunity to make an informed decision - is in violation of the Misrepresentation Act 1967, which makes their conduct illegal in the UK. Their "game experience may change for any reason" nonsense in their EULA is irrelevant because they're breaking the law. Gotcha number 2. Also - and you are going to absolutely LOVE this - if you tell your customer one thing and then do the opposite regardless of your past statements to the contrary, you are also in violation of the Misrepresentation Act. Like, ooh, I dunno, say your cash shop will offer "convenience and not advantage" and then sell things that you freely admit are "advantages". Their back-pedalling over that "convenience and not advantage" statement is in violation of British law! Technically it's also fraud because you've misrepresented your product to get the customer to enter into a contract of service. Gotcha number 3. And that's not all! If Codemasters were not aware of Turbine's plans to go F2P while Codies were reassuring their customers that there were "no plans to go F2P", then Turbine are open for corporate legal action because they effectively caused Codemasters to involuntarily violate the same act. Turbine could face legal action from every single Codemasters' customer too, for forcing the company with which the customer had a contract of service to violate the law. Gotcha number 4. The sweetest part of it is that removing the statements that they made in the past on their forums is basically an admission of guilt, and effectively means that they were attempting to cover up illegal activity. What's hilarious is that if they still had Codemasters as their European partner, they could pretty much say whatever they liked and get away with it, as they were not handling the European service themselves. As soon as they started directly dealing with European customers, they had to start abiding by the relevant legislation. They walked straight into it and left themselves open to cop it in the neck for every violation of our more stringent consumer rights laws. Bwa ha ha ha. I pointed all of this out to Turbine, along with advising them that if they wish to offer their service directly to overseas territories they should have done a better job of familiarising themselves with the consumer rights legislation of those territories. Alternatively, if they are unable to do so, they should hand their overseas services to partners who can. I also pointed out that I would be writing a letter of complaint to their parent company Warner Brothers advising them of all of Turbine's transgressions under the leadership of the Paizes. I will also be informing Middle-earth Enterprises of their unlawful conduct and asking them to reappraise Turbine's status as a licensee. They have been known in the past to revoke licenses for less. Strangely, the very next day, my Paypal claim was reopened and my money was credited back to me. Funny, that. Weirdly, I still have my Isengard goodies and preorder registered to my account too. I will be watching that with interest, because if they suddenly vanish from my account, that means when they originally refused my refund under the grounds that the product key was permanently fixed and could not be removed, they were telling me enormous lies in order to wriggle out of giving me my money back. And that's a whole new can of worms... Turbine really should learn that they should not mess with European customers. We are clearly not the pushovers they are used to. If they have to learn the hard way, then that's fine by me. And I'm still going to write those letters to Warner Brothers and Middle-earth Enterprises.
  8. Nah, you can't see the prices up front on Turbine's account system unfortunately. I had to go most of the way through the subscription process just to find out how much they cost.
  9. Guesswork and generalisation, really. $17.59 is the cost of a one month subscription. If they're making less than that on average across their entire customer base, then they are making less per capita that they would on a standard subscription model. If that's the case then it was all a waste of time and they would have done better to not bother with all this cash shop nonsense, simply up their promotion of the game and attract more players under their old model. Which is why they're clearly scrabbling to get more players to spend money on points - I don't think they are making more than $17.59 per player any more.
  10. Fair points about lifers, but the lifer problem perfectly highlights Turbine's reckless short-sightedness. It may be that too many of the 'old guard' players went lifetime, leaving them with little monthly revenue from subscriptions. To be frank, that's their own fault - if they didn't want so many lifetime players, from whom they see no cash at all after the first 12 months of their play time, maybe they should, you know, not have sold so many lifetime accounts! Perhaps they saw that on average DDO subscribers stayed subscribed for less than 12 months and again made the mistake of assuming that the LOTRO player base would behave identically. More likely is that they saw the short-term gains and foolishly went for it, not considering the knock on effects. Which left them floundering in the long term and desperately scrabbling for some means of squeezing lifers for more money when it became clear that they were getting a free ride. The unfortunate effect of that is that they have no way of squeezing lifers without also squeezing subscribers, who are now complaining because they're basically being squeezed twice. Hence my belief that they are actively trying to dissuade players from subscribing by making it more palatable to go Premium instead of VIP - on Premium you only get squeezed the once. Encouraging your players to stop giving you regular monthly payments in favour of a variable income like buying store points is about the dumbest thing in the world. Once again they are foolishly going for the short-term gains that are systematically alienating their entire player base, with no eye on the bigger picture. Once they have no VIPs at all except lifers, then we will see them seriously abuse the store. Remember, using the store is irrelevant to Turbine - they currently have two revenue streams, one is subscriptions, and the other is buying points rather than spending them. If a player is not doing one or the other they are no good to Turbine. And if on average every player is not doing one or the other (or both) to the value of at least $17.59 per month, then the entire model is a bust and is less lucrative than having a sub-only game. Encouraging players to stop paying that guaranteed fee in favour of getting them to shell out unpredictable and variable amounts of cash for an unpredictable and variable period of time must play havoc with their projections. It's a monumentally stupid thing to do and will inevitably lead to store shills becoming increasingly pervasive and invasive. Just like we are seeing already. Oops, Turbine, hope you enjoyed that six months of comparatively good press, because you're going to get crucified in the next 12.
  11. The tragedy of it is that this kind of business model, in a sector of the industry as notoriously fickle as MMORPGs, is decidedly short sighted. Doubly so as Turbine no longer seem interested in keeping existing players content and playing while simultaneously growing their market in fresh new directions. Which is what any rational company would be doing. Instead, their business model seems to now be built on the wholesale replacement of their old long term customer base with a new one based on cyclical short term guests, with new groups periodically rotating in and out, spending a few months blowing money on the game and then leaving. It's a business model that will work as long as in those few months those 'guests' are spending more than the value of the sub fees Turbine would have earned for the same period on the old subscription model. That's quite a risk, as its gains could prove relatively short-term. If that's the case, it will lead to a spiralling abuse of the customer base as they struggle to retain their profit margins. I think it's fairly obvious that we're already seeing that abuse, which strongly suggests that their new business model has been less successful than their PR would have us believe. Note that they have never released numbers, nor did they quantify any of their statements. So we have no idea if the F2P launch spike was comparable/greater/smaller than the launch spikes for Moria or Mirkwood. That's very telling. It could well be that previous expansion launches were more lucrative than the F2P launch, and that's why we're seeing them aggressively push the store and bring forward an expansion launch to September. Remember, all previous releases and statements have been based around expansions having winter launches. That's why the Isengard announcement was such a shock. I think it's safe to say what will happen if they push things too far - people will leave, as they are already doing. And when people start leaving, Turbine will have no base of faithful long term players left to fall back on. Their only option to maintain their bottom line will be to squeeze the remaining players harder for more money. This would probably lead to more players getting the hump and quitting, which will lead to them squeezing the remaining players even more. And so on and so on, until eventually their entire business model is being propped up by a small group of players who are taking it up the backside in every conceivable way. And when that group decide they've had enough, or becomes too small, the game will simply fail. LOTRO will have been killed by Turbine's hubris. One could convincingly argue that this has already started to happen. From there, the only way is down. It wasn't so bad with DDO, in that it had nowhere to go but up. That game would have crashed and burned had they not gone free to play, and they bought that game a couple more years by doing so. But LOTRO was a healthy game, and it was amazing arrogance on Turbine's part to think that they could pull the same trick on a larger and, as it turns out, far more demanding and difficult to please player base. Their only mistake was in assuming that LOTRO's player base was identical to that of DDO, and that we would react in a similar way to similar changes. We didn't, and I think that surprised them, for all their big words. It feels like they're on the back foot. I'm now starting to think that DDO will actually outlast LOTRO, as sad as that sounds. But Turbine will only have themselves to blame if that proves to be the case.
  12. Oh. Oh dear. Two good decisions (b/p/e and the cap removal) nestled in between a bunch of silly ones. And when do you think they'll have the icons finished for the store-bought finesse tomes? "We won't be selling radiance in the store! See, we're not monsters!" V "We're removing radiance! Aren't we lovely? Go Turbine!" V "We're introducing a new, more subtle system that will inevitably be used as a gating mechanism, which we never said you wouldn't be able to buy in the store! So we're still not technically lying to our customers! Can we have more money now?" Tsk tsk. For shame.
  13. It is very sad to see, isn't it? In the days before the Warner buyout, we rarely, if ever, saw such blatantly obvious 'corporate speak' in responses or press releases. Even when they were relaying bad or regrettable news, there was always the sense that you were interacting with human beings. Heck, even Jeffrey Steefel came across as being casual and conversational, even if he wasn't a gifted man when it came to talking to the public and the press. Warner come along and almost overnight Turbine were transformed. I reckon we'll see more and more of this arrogant lawyerese in their communication with their customers if the newfound disregard they have for us is any indication. They don't interact with us nowadays. They certainly don't listen to feedback. They issue press releases and remove from history anything untoward anybody says, leaving only fawning acquiescence. Presumably that's how a gaming arm of the Warner moneymaking juggernaut is required to behave. It makes me wonder how many of the field-level staff at Turbine are becoming disgruntled at the corporate transformation of their once independent employers. It can't be a comfortable ride for them, either.
  14. Just a little thought - we've now got over 500 members; which is a phenomenal achievement considering the forum hasn't been going for very long; but it got me to thinking - has anyone promoted the forum outside of Turbine's and Codies' own? I was thinking that if we could get some plugs to us on websites such as Massively.com, MMORPG.com or Casual Stroll to Mordor, etc it might help gain more members. We'd certainly get more of the North American crowd. Hell, if we've got websites such as that looking at us, we might even get a stronger voice in the MMO online community at large. Both newcomers and veterans alike could end up looking at us rather than the oppressive official forums to gauge the genuine feelings of the player base. That'd be something that nobody could ignore. Just a thought, throwing it out there
  15. You're absolutely right, which is the really sad part about it. My only hope is that in a while - perhaps it'll happen in the next 12 months, perhaps it'll take a bit longer - but eventually when they have completed LOTRO's transformation from an online RPG of worth into a virtual mall with a Middle-earth themed lobby area, they won't have any customers left and Turbine will suddenly go "hey, where did all our players go?" and look at the Paizes suspiciously... Not likely, I know, but perhaps that would be enough for them to start looking at the validity of the business model they have chosen. Maybe if it falls flat on its face it can be held up as an example to the rest of the industry NOT to screw your player base through microtransactions while chasing a casual gaming market that is going to burst very, very soon if industry experts have a single clue. If that ever happens, however, Turbine as a company will be done. Warner would drop them like a bad habit.
  16. More sinister and unpleasant news from Turbine: "Once you have this currency of points in the store, it lets you reward the player with that currency for the things that you like that they do; so, for example, if they are posting in the forums and they are a very positive member of the community, you could send them a hundred store points... they are helping you out." --Fernando Paiz, PAX East keynote address, March 12, 2011 In other words, he's saying that they intend to use points awards in order to bribe players into behaving like toadying lackeys and do all their PR work for them. I wonder how long it would take them to think of doing the opposite, and take points away from people for slagging them off in the form of 'fines'... Listen to the entire keynote speech if you want a good idea of Turbine's new direction. He pretty much laughs at the idea that players are incredibly dissatisfied with Tubine's direction, simply because they're now raking it in. "Oh, what's that, you're not happy? I couldn't hear your cries over the sound of all this money being counted," is the general tone... It's as shocking as it is sad. Both Paizes really need to be removed from the decision making processes at that company before they bury it.
  17. Aye. If you only paid attention to the complaining that has gone on over these last 4 years about Codies on their forums, anyone would think they'd done a very poor job. The opposite is true. Sad to see the game taken from them, truth be told, and very apprehensive about the future. Best wishes to those who are losing their jobs, too. Hope all is well for you and you all land on your feet.
  18. It could be a bit tricksier than that. When I last looked, it was illegal to advertise a job as permanent if you know they're going to be laid off in 6 months. If they didn't know, then that's fine. But if they did, and were hiring permanent staff anyway, they could be open for a massive legal smackdown.
  19. Hajile


    Has anyone linked to this place on the US forums yet? If we could get a steady stream of refugees from both sites it'd be pretty groovy.
  20. Hajile


    Howdy all. Hope y'all don't mind me jumping on board, even though I only play sporadically these days - for reasons that would likely get me banned from the Turbine forums if I detailed them over there. Hopefully if we get a good proportion of the forum-posting player base here, from the US and Europes, this new forum can become an important hub for the community. Away from the eyes of Turbine and the draconian moderation of their own forums we should get a much clearer idea of how the players actually feel. For that reason, I very much hope these forums take off in a big way.
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