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My Turbine complaints department saga

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Any chance of Hajile explaining to us why he was so furious about the removal of the stat cap? There are many things that have happened ingame with regards to the ingame store that I disagree(alot of them being posted in this thread) but I really cant figure out why removal of this game mechanic would trigger such a strong reaction from him.

I am also interested in other peoples reaction on this change. Do most people welcome it or have issues with it?

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Any chance of Hajile explaining to us why he was so furious about the removal of the stat cap? There are many things that have happened ingame with regards to the ingame store that I disagree(alot of them being posted in this thread) but I really cant figure out why removal of this game mechanic would trigger such a strong reaction from him.

I am also interested in other peoples reaction on this change. Do most people welcome it or have issues with it?

See, I wanted to find out the same. I can't see anything but positives from the removal of stat caps, so I'm not sure why this was the thing to force such an epic beatdown.

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Any chance of Hajile explaining to us why he was so furious about the removal of the stat cap?

I'm not sure why this was the thing to force such an epic beatdown.

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.

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..... I'd rather not go into my reasons for being originally annoyed about it...would open it up as a semantic discussion about personal preferences, and at this point it's clearly gone far beyond that.

I'd really like to hear your reasons and this is a disucssion forum after all. We can open up the discussion on a seperate thread if you want to keep it seperate from here.

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....

Agreed, you shouldnt have experienced any problems in getting a refund and I fully support you in you actions in seeking this. I look forward to reading the contents of you letter to Turbine/ME so I can decide whether there is any substance to your complaint. I wont be jumping on any bandwagon just yet.....

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Blister with a post count of 2 all in this thread causing some distribution, bewildered Lotro fan or Turbine fan/employee?

Well done Halije I've said for years that Turbine and CM to the same extent were operating illegally only to be shouted down in old threads on CM. Send your letters, its not your fault that Turbine have been operating illegally, your just highlighting the facts. Nobody else can force them to break or follow the law so if anything comes about from this Turbine and player base have nobody else to blame other than Turbine themselves. This isnt their first mmo and they should fully well know the legal laws/system in the countries they sell in.

Well done and Turbine should be held accountable for breaking the law regardless of whether we the player base would suffer because of it. Breaking the law is breaking the law at the end of the day and should be punished, you should also consider sending a letter to the comsumer ombudsman/watchdog if you have them in the UK so they can investigate and take legal action against Turbine.

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Blister with a post count of 2 all in this thread causing some distribution, bewildered Lotro fan or Turbine fan/employee?

I assume by distribution you mean disturbance? Anyway....sorry to disappoint you Rob but I am neither and no need to judge someone by their post count as this just distracts form any valid points you may have to say. As I said I look forward to discussing the contents of Hajile letter when he posts it here and establishing for myself whether I agree/disagree with the points he makes. Until this time I congradulate him on obtaining his refund for ROI which in my eyes he was fully entitled to seek. I'm not going to make any decision on his complaint letter till we see the contents and others would be wise to do the same.

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I'm with Blister on this.

It does seem weird that it's a positive thing that's made him go overboard. We've had countless negative things happen but the minute we get something like stat cap removal to help us it seems like 'how dare you give us something good? I demand my money back! What's next, you'll be offering a free spa day to all LotRO players? Disgusting'.

I mean, how can something that doesn't have any negatives to it (that I can see) be the thing that was the main basis for a complaint?

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I'd really like to hear your reasons and this is a disucssion forum after all. We can open up the discussion on a seperate thread if you want to keep it seperate from here.

I've already said that I'm not prepared to do that - it's irrelevant to the matter at hand and will simply muddy the waters of the messages I am attempting to convey to licensor, developer and other players. Please respect my wishes when I ask that you don't keep asking me to do so.

I don't want to see this matter drawn off topic, it's too important. Besides, as I'm going the route of official complaints to these large businesses I feel it important that I take care with what I say, and try to keep my comments strictly factual, objective and opinion-free.

Please feel free to start up a different thread if you wish to solely discuss the stat changes, although I think one already exists. I would suggest that your answers will be found there. I will not be taking part in that discussion, though.

It does seem weird that it's a positive thing that's made him go overboard.

I think you are misunderstanding the nature of the complaint. Whether the stat changes are good or bad is personal preference, and is subjective. That is why I will not be drawn in on that discussion any further, as I have already stated.

That they have violated consumer rights legislation in innumerable ways is a demonstrable fact. It doesn't matter if anyone thinks what they are doing is good or bad for the game. They have repeatedly acted unlawfully, and seemingly without either hesitation or awareness. They should be made to answer for that conduct.

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I think you are misunderstanding the nature of the complaint. Whether the stat changes are good or bad is personal preference, and is subjective. That is why I will not be drawn in on that discussion any further, as I have already stated.

That they have violated consumer rights legislation in innumerable ways is a demonstrable fact. It doesn't matter if anyone thinks what they are doing is good or bad for the game. They have repeatedly acted unlawfully, and seemingly without either hesitation or awareness. They should be made to answer for that conduct.

So you're not complaining about the stat changes but you're complaining that they made any changes at all?

Oh great, now we're not going to get any unmentioned extras with RoI. We only get what we've already been told, which is a whole lot of nothing. Brilliant.

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Yeah, probably best to postpone the discussion until you have posted your complaint letter. It may well turn out that I agree with everything you say but there is little point in discussing until you have reached this step. Until then I will sit on the fence...

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So you're not complaining about the stat changes but you're complaining that they made any changes at all?

Oh great, now we're not going to get any unmentioned extras with RoI. We only get what we've already been told, which is a whole lot of nothing. Brilliant.

Sigh.

Look, I'm just going to pull myself out of any and all forum discussions on this subject while the complaints process is ongoing if this sort of accusatory tone is going to continue being waved in my direction. Perhaps when the complaint has been heard and responded to by WB and ME you'll understand why Turbine's conduct warrants this action.

If anyone wants to make further suggestions for content in the letters, please do so by messaging me and not on the thread, which I would ask that a moderator lock ASAP to avoid it descending further.

I'll post the letters on fresh threads when they are done.

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Well Hajile, your story is out and has even caught the attention of one of Massively's contributors: http://mmovoices.ning.com/profiles/blogs/turbine-and-consumer-rights?xg_source=activity

Although I do enjoy a good "sticking it to the man" story as much as anyone, I too wonder why you got so worked up about that change. To clarify: I understand wanting your money back when a product is not what you were promised, and I fully agree Turbine should refund in such cases, but changes to the stat cap? Is all this fuss and bother really worth it? As others have said, you might just end up causing a whole lot of trouble for those Turbine customers who are happy, changes or not.

One thing: I don't want to be lumped in with those who came here because they felt stifled by Turbine on the official forums. I came here because many of the Codemasters forums did as well, and I've always liked posting there and wanted to continue to do so with many of the old "gang". I see no problems in Turbine "censoring" their own forums. Those are theirs to do with as they please, whether I like it or not.

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Folks, can we keep the discussion friendly please? There's a lot of hostility around, I'd rather not have to pull out locks and trouts to slap topics and people with.

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Folks, can we keep the discussion friendly please? There's a lot of hostility around, I'd rather not have to pull out locks and trouts to slap topics and people with.

I hope that wasn't in reply to my post, because no hostility was meant on my part. In my opinion Hajile should just be careful not to mess up things for a great many people just because he feels wronged (which is a right I do not want taken away from him, either). Besides, wasn't this forum created so people could speak their minds?

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I've always found it odd that only in the gaming industry, and particularly in the MMO industry, can you ask a customer to pre-order and pay for a product that you have yet to fully describe. Whilst I personally have no issue with the stat cap changes, indeed I think they are a positive change, I can see why not disclosing such a massive change before asking for your customers to part with there cash is wrong.

I haven't pre-ordered ROI, I did with the last 2 expansions but this time round I didn't. I have however just pre-ordered SWTOR and to be honest they have done exactly the same thing, they're asking for us to pay for and fund the release of a product that hasn't even be fully described yet (indeed we don't even have a date yet)! The difference here is, so far all I have paid EA\Bioware is £5 for the privilege and can cancel at anytime, Turbine (as far as I am aware) are taking all the money up front and a policy of "no refunds" here is clearly wrong, particularly as we are still in the dark about large chunks of what is coming.

Incidentally if Turbine have an EU presence at all I believe they are also subject to Distance Selling Regulations for internet purchases and are obliged to refund within 7 days of purchase if you so much as just change your mind.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made

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I've always found it odd that only in the gaming industry, and particularly in the MMO industry, can you ask a customer to pre-order and pay for a product that you have yet to fully describe. Whilst I personally have no issue with the stat cap changes, indeed I think they are a positive change, I can see why not disclosing such a massive change before asking for your customers to part with there cash is wrong.

I haven't pre-ordered ROI, I did with the last 2 expansions but this time round I didn't. I have however just pre-ordered SWTOR and to be honest they have done exactly the same thing, they're asking for us to pay for and fund the release of a product that hasn't even be fully described yet (indeed we don't even have a date yet)! The difference here is, so far all I have paid EA\Bioware is £5 for the privilege and can cancel at anytime, Turbine (as far as I am aware) are taking all the money up front and a policy of "no refunds" here is clearly wrong, particularly as we are still in the dark about large chunks of what is coming.

Incidentally if Turbine have an EU presence at all I believe they are also subject to Distance Selling Regulations for internet purchases and are obliged to refund within 7 days of purchase if you so much as just change your mind.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made

Well, to be fair, they didn't force people to pre-order Risengard. I could understand if it was a forced purchase to keep playing but it wasn't. It was the customer's choice to buy something with no knowledge of what it contained or knowing that it's contents will be disclosed later.

This particular scenario is a bit like being sold a box by somebody who tells you that you can buy it later if you like once you know what's in it but still buying it anyway. Then complaining that it contained a delicious belgian bun (damn those things are good) when told by the seller.

Plus, I think they already gave us the date of 27th of September for it's release.

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I've always found it odd that only in the gaming industry, and particularly in the MMO industry, can you ask a customer to pre-order and pay for a product that you have yet to fully describe.

They'll keep doing this because they get away with it, and they get away with it, because people pre-order en masse. SWTOR is already breaking records and other than the lucky few testers (who are still bound by the NDA and live in fear of a wookiee ripping their heads off should they break it), nobody has yet spent any significant amount of time in the game.

I pre-ordered SWTOR, and as for LotRO, I have been happily running around in my spiffy Rohan armour on my spiffy Rohan mounts for weeks now.

When even a relatively level-headed old-timer like me can fall for a pre-order scheme, anyone can. :Y

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Although I do enjoy a good "sticking it to the man" story as much as anyone, I too wonder why you got so worked up about that change.

He already told you - "the final straw..." Different strokes for different folks. What pisses you off, doesn't move him at all, and vice versa. He's also said that he's not contributing here again before the letters have gone out (or something like that). So there's little point in calling his motives or drivers into question yet again. He's entitled to his opinion, and he's willing to act on that. Which puts him in a different class to those who simply spill their bile on forums but never do anything...

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Plus, I think they already gave us the date of 27th of September for it's release.

I was referring to SWTOR when I mentioned no date yet.

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He already told you - "the final straw..." Different strokes for different folks. What pisses you off, doesn't move him at all, and vice versa. He's also said that he's not contributing here again before the letters have gone out (or something like that). So there's little point in calling his motives or drivers into question yet again. He's entitled to his opinion, and he's willing to act on that. Which puts him in a different class to those who simply spill their bile on forums but never do anything...

The purpose of a forum, any forum, is to get discussions going. I'm sure he'll read this and reply in his own good time, if at all. No skin off my back. I am merely expressing my opinion, as this story is now out and about on the Internet, wild and free, and I am genuinely worried about the possible effects this could have.

He got his money back, whether because of his digging into the legalities of it all or not is not really important. He got a result. For him to push the issue to the point of threatening to have the licence revoked sounds a tad revengeful to me.

It is one thing to make sure Turbine amend their rules regarding refunds, but it's another to possibly jeopardise the continuation of the game, just to prove a point. I'm sure those thousands of LotRO players worldwide will be grateful they can get their money back when Turbine is forced by Middle-earth Enterprises to shut the game down for good. And ME are not exactly the guardians of all things Tolkien, but more of all things Tolkien that can make us insane amounts of money. If this gets out even more, it means a lot of bad press. Bad press is not good for business.

The blog I linked to earlier (which is Xusia's text verbatim, by the way) has one of Massively's columnists commenting below it. How long before they pick this up? If one gaming site has a story, others follow suit fast.

I applaud Hajile's dedication, and you're right in saying he went beyond just venting on a forum, which is what most people would do, but I just hope this isn't going to turn around and bite him on the butt and, by extension, our butts as well. It probably won't go that far, but even the slightest chance that it might is not a very comfortable feeling. Don't underestimate the power of a company that's not in it for the IP, but just for the money.

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No need to get overheated.

Personally I believe that it is every man's/woman's right to complain if they think that wrong is done to them. Therefore Hajile has the right to send the entire Britannica if that makes him feel that this may remedy the matter...

I also do not want for any reason companies who somehow in our time hold most of the power dictating to governments what to do to be in position to wrong somebody and then walk away with it.

If they can do it to one man they get arrogant and do it to all later.

In regard to the letters of complain I simply wanted my concern to be heard that maybe it would cause the irrevocable shut-down of the game.

But that said,I do not exchange my rights for any game at all.

If they fail to abide by the book then its nobody's else but their fault if ME closes the shop.

I doubt that ME will do something so radical unless Turbine's fault is heavy indeed to their eyes.

After all ME is a company and not a heritage foundation.

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I hope that wasn't in reply to my post, because no hostility was meant on my part. In my opinion Hajile should just be careful not to mess up things for a great many people just because he feels wronged (which is a right I do not want taken away from him, either). Besides, wasn't this forum created so people could speak their minds?

It was a general comment to all in the thread, not aimed at any specific post or user. The overall hostility level is getting a bit too much. Feel free to speak your mind, but do so in a civilized way and without unnecessary sniping. Again, aimed at everyone in general.

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Why exactly do people think this has any chance to bring about the end of LotRO? It's one person complaining about a very benign situation.

It's not like they'll read this letter and go 'Oh no! One person out of thousands has raised a complaint and got their money back! Abandon ship!'

What will be more likely is that they just set their legal department on working out a means for them to be able to do it again in the future but legally (i.e. add something new to the agreement, add an agreement before purchase, make a subprint that says 'subject to change' etc).

For us, that just means that instead of us being able to wriggle out and get our money back if they make negative changes, we would have lost that chance because a single person has already done it for something unimportant and positive.

Sort of like a vaccine, if you will. Introduce a reduced pathogen so that when the actual one comes along the patient is immune. Turbine is getting a helping hand in their vaccinations.

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The purpose of a forum, any forum, is to get discussions going.

Of course. I was merely making the point that you were asking a question that had already been answered. Plus he has already said he's exited for the time being.

For him to push the issue to the point of threatening to have the licence revoked sounds a tad revengeful to me.

It would be vengeful if that were true, but I don't think that's what he's saying. He has said that ME have pulled licences before over much less serious issues than breaking the law. That, therefore, ought to put the wind up WB & Turbine, such that they will behave better in future. That, I think, is what he's aiming for, hence my small suggestions regarding his letters.

I also think it's right & proper that this matter is very publicly aired. Companies that do this sort of thing get away with it precisely because the majority of customers are unaware of their statutory rights. Because of Hajile & the publicity this is apparently generating, there will be a lot more people who are aware.

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Why exactly do people think this has any chance to bring about the end of LotRO? It's one person complaining about a very benign situation.

It's not like they'll read this letter and go 'Oh no! One person out of thousands has raised a complaint and got their money back! Abandon ship!'

I presume "they" is Turbine; the concern here isn't Turbine, it's ME, as has already been said. There is a possibility, albeit infinitesimally small I would think, that ME could pull the licence. What Turbine do after that is irrelevant.

What will be more likely is that they just set their legal department on working out a means for them to be able to do it again in the future but legally (i.e. add something new to the agreement, add an agreement before purchase, make a subprint that says 'subject to change' etc).

For us, that just means that instead of us being able to wriggle out and get our money back if they make negative changes, we would have lost that chance because a single person has already done it for something unimportant and positive.

It does not matter what they do. A contract that attempts to invalidate statutory rights is itself invalid. They can write any bollocks they like into the EULA; it won't stand up in a court of Law. The problem, as has already been pointed out, is that Turbine are an American company who have taken back the running of their own product but, in doing so, have failed either to accept or to recognise the difference between US & EU law.

You would have thought they'd know better. Presumably their earlier games were also run & supported by them in the EU. So either they don't realise EU law is different & consumers have more protection (recognition failure), or they know full well what the law is, but will flout it if they can get away with it, as so many companies, and even public bodies, will do.

I'm reminded of the way councils in England treat appeals against parking tickets. I have never had one allowed at the first attempt. I've always had to threaten them with the independent tribunal. Once out of three times, the council has then failed to enforce the ticket; another, I was called by the tribunal on the day of the appeal to be told "no evidence from the council; tricket struck down"; the other, I had to turn up for, and the tribunal duly struck it down because the council evidence was rubbish, and mine wasn't.

But it costs them next to nothing, the price of a letter, to tell you "Appeal denied!" And very many people will then pay the ticket, rather than risk losing the appeal and having to pay double; rather than having to go through all the aggravation attendant on appealing. So it's profit all the way for councils to behave this way.

That's exactly what Turbine have been doing in refusing refunds. Most people don't know their rights, and presume that a EULA or "Terms & Conditions" is a legally binding contract they can't challenge, even though no-one ever reads them. They're binding only in so far as they do not contravene statute. Once they do that, they fall.

Hajile letting the cat out of the bag for something you consider unimportant and positive doesn't have any effect on your chances of getting a refund in the future for something that you consider important and negative. On the contrary; it makes it less likely that WB will allow Turbine to be so careless / irresponsible in the future.

Go, Hajile, go!! })

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