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Mockingbird

Deceptive Marketing

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Hey again

I am currently making a list of important information that Turbine have told us through the forum which should have been placed in a more prominent position.

My main example is the new PvP zone. This was announced in an official press release as a new feature for ROI. While it has been acknowledged by blue names in the middle of forum threads and briefly mentioned in interviews with the media, Turbine have never stated prominently that the new PvP zone will not be coming. This means a number of players had an unpleasant surprise when ROI was available for pre-order and they were still unaware that the new PvP zone wasn't coming. They had no idea as they had taken the press release at face value and not been watching the forums or reading news articles that mentioned it.

Can anyone give me other examples such as this? If information is given as a certainty on the forums (e.g. 'this will be coming' or 'this will not happen') in a thread started by a blue name for that purpose and then later dropped but only acknowledged on other threads or mid-thread that would also count.

The point is that if Turbine state something positive in an official and prominent position and then do not announce via similar method that they are not going ahead with whatever it is then it is deceptive.

So examples...?

P.S. Link to the original announcement whether press release, producer's letter, forum post etc would be appreciated :)

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I just had a workshop where I learned that watching news too often is bad for your psyche (because news are mostly bad news). So just ignore Turbine and play whatever you like instead of searching for errors in Turbine's marketing. We all know not to trust them. Isengart is fun anyway.

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I just had a workshop where I learned that watching news too often is bad for your psyche (because news are mostly bad news). So just ignore Turbine and play whatever you like instead of searching for errors in Turbine's marketing. We all know not to trust them. Isengart is fun anyway.

Strangely enough I didn't need a workshop to recognise that news can be bad for your psyche, I rarely follow the news at all.

Something else that is bad for the psyche is being misled and manipulated by companies who claim their product is something it isn't. I think Turbine have taken things too far in this respect and are not complying with various consumer laws and so am writing a report to the Attorney General in regards to this.

I have no problem with other players enjoying lotro. I no longer can and am exercising my consumer rights and in doing so am asking for a little help on this subject from those who feel the same.

P.S. 'Error' would imply that their marketing is misleading due to an oversight. I can't believe they are that incompetent - if they were they would never have managed to put lotro together in the first place.

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Delayed products are really a different matter. Almost all software projects suffer them. For sure we wouldn't have opted to delay all of RoI until the new raid and the new PvP zone are ready.

I would prefer to beat up Turbine over non-code deception, so to speak.

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Delayed products are really a different matter. Almost all software projects suffer them. For sure we wouldn't have opted to delay all of RoI until the new raid and the new PvP zone are ready.

I would prefer to beat up Turbine over non-code deception, so to speak.

It's about marketing. We wouldn't have opted to delay ROI for the new PvP zone because the new PvP zone was never started (which they admitted later). So basically they advertised it as part of ROI in the original announcement when they hadn't even decided to follow through and develop it yet. It was basically just a marketing move to encourage PvP players to keep playing in the belief the expansion would contain the new PvP zone - this is deceptive marketing.

Personally in terms of genuinely delayed content I don't have a problem so long as I can believe that it is delayed for unforseeable reasons. Content was rarely on time prior to MoM coming out and I never had any issue with it because they were just a bit ambitious and the content would still land. They certainly weren't profitting by delaying it. Likewise when MoM came out and was missing Lothlorien I wasn't too bothered by it as I knew it would follow.

However, when a pvp zone is announced officially as coming with an expansion and then dropped from expansion without the information being properly put across to players, or when they claim that the instances from Update 5 belong to ROI despite never been announced and having had months to fit them in or solve resource issues I don't think it is genuine at all. In both situations they will have gained overall.

I am interested in other examples like these, not where content has been genuinely delayed.

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There is the infamous 'convenience, not advantage' that's been purged from the forums. Sadly, one can see that Turbine did NOT neglect the Moors with this update.

There's no new map, but if ever there was a definition of pay-to-win, it's what they've done there.

Given how bad the official documentation is and always has been, I don't envy your task.

How about the new and as yes non-existent instance cluster? For the life of me, I still can't figure out what the rationale is to that. Why is it that it needs to be paid for if you don't pre-order Isengard again? Are the instances not related to Isengard, but simply bonus content for pre-ordering RoI that Turbine didn't mention in their promotional materials?

Not a help to your case, I know. But I fear most of the things that you'll find are so obfuscated as to be - well - like that.

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It is interesting/weird/convenient that the RoI subforums have been taken off the official forums as per today.

I am guessing they are in the main discussion forums... can anyone confirm?

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I did a couple searches for ROI and Rise of Isengard and got plenty of hits in both searches. Like this advert that lives at isengard.lotro.com

By the way, one of those adverts claims that buying a package gets you the Fellowship quests, and those are free aren't they?They are only part of the legendary pack, yet even the basic pack would get them, though it doesn't state that explicitly.

Trying to follow certain links gets you to a page that says :

Hi XXXXX, thank you for your interest in The Lord of the Rings Online™ !

You must have an active LOTRO subscription to post on our forums or use other members-only features. You may also receive this message if you do not have access to the forum or feature you are attempting to use. Don't have a LOTRO account? Sign up at http://www.lotro.com and start playing for free!

Thanks again,

The LOTRO Team

So the stuff is there, they are just blocking it out from non Turbine people.

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I am guessing they are in the main discussion forums... can anyone confirm?

It seems RoI got merged with 'General' subforums. I looked for a specific RoI thread, and found it there.

BTW, usually I don't log in to the forums, because it logs me out too often. I can read everything I want to read either way. Is that non-logged in access granted because of my IP address?

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It seems RoI got merged with 'General' subforums. I looked for a specific RoI thread, and found it there.

BTW, usually I don't log in to the forums, because it logs me out too often. I can read everything I want to read either way. Is that non-logged in access granted because of my IP address?

I believe the forums are public, but only being logged in gets you the ability to post.

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By the way, one of those adverts claims that buying a package gets you the Fellowship quests, and those are free aren't they?They are only part of the legendary pack, yet even the basic pack would get them, though it doesn't state that explicitly.

'The Path of the Fellowship' is a bundle of LoTRO quest packs Turbine packaged together and sells at a reduced price. It comprises Trollshaws, Eregion, Moria, and Lothlorien, and unlike many things, they're actually quite straightforward on what this one consists of.

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'The Path of the Fellowship' is a bundle of LoTRO quest packs Turbine packaged together and sells at a reduced price. It comprises Trollshaws, Eregion, Moria, and Lothlorien, and unlike many things, they're actually quite straightforward on what this one consists of.

Went and looked, found it. Still strange. The whole game is about the fellowship, other than the areas they added where clearly they did not go, like Angmar, North Downs, and Evendim. Those areas should not even be IN a pack about the fellowship.These areas should be.

Ered Luin (Gimli)

Shire (obvious)

Breeland (where the hobbits met Aragorn, and Old man Willow, and the barrow wights, and Tom, and Bill Ferny)

Lonelands (Weathertop)

Trollshaws (ford of bruinen, and rivendell proper)

Eregion (pass through the mountains that got blocked, then lead up to Moria)

Moria (obvious)

Lothlorien (obvious again)

Then at some point Sam and Frodo head towards Mordor by way of Gondor followed by Gollum/Smeagol, and the rest head to Isengard to confront the Uruks who have taken Meriadoc and Peregrin, sans Boromir who turned into a dick courtesy of the ring.

All those places should be in a quest pack. Mind you they give a lot of that free now, and if EPICS are free, the path of the fellowship should also be free. They'll never give Moria free, that content alone can get you up past 65, without ever stepping out of the mines. My personal guess is for Gondor next, if they don't pull an AC and close the game down in 6 months.

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Went and looked, found it. Still strange. The whole game is about the fellowship, other than the areas they added where clearly they did not go, like Angmar, North Downs, and Evendim. Those areas should not even be IN a pack about the fellowship.These areas should be.

Ered Luin (Gimli)

Shire (obvious)

Breeland (where the hobbits met Aragorn, and Old man Willow, and the barrow wights, and Tom, and Bill Ferny)

Lonelands (Weathertop)

Trollshaws (ford of bruinen, and rivendell proper)

Eregion (pass through the mountains that got blocked, then lead up to Moria)

Moria (obvious)

Lothlorien (obvious again)

Then at some point Sam and Frodo head towards Mordor by way of Gondor followed by Gollum/Smeagol, and the rest head to Isengard to confront the Uruks who have taken Meriadoc and Peregrin, sans Boromir who turned into a dick courtesy of the ring.

All those places should be in a quest pack. Mind you they give a lot of that free now, and if EPICS are free, the path of the fellowship should also be free. They'll never give Moria free, that content alone can get you up past 65, without ever stepping out of the mines. My personal guess is for Gondor next, if they don't pull an AC and close the game down in 6 months.

Not sure what your point is here. The Fellowship quest pack gives us Trollshaws, Eregion, Moria and Lothlorien. We already get Ered Luin, Shire, Bree and Lonelands free.

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Went and looked, found it. Still strange. The whole game is about the fellowship, other than the areas they added where clearly they did not go, like Angmar, North Downs, and Evendim. Those areas should not even be IN a pack about the fellowship.These areas should be.

Ered Luin (Gimli)

Shire (obvious)

Breeland (where the hobbits met Aragorn, and Old man Willow, and the barrow wights, and Tom, and Bill Ferny)

Lonelands (Weathertop)

Trollshaws (ford of bruinen, and rivendell proper)

Eregion (pass through the mountains that got blocked, then lead up to Moria)

Moria (obvious)

Lothlorien (obvious again)

Then at some point Sam and Frodo head towards Mordor by way of Gondor followed by Gollum/Smeagol, and the rest head to Isengard to confront the Uruks who have taken Meriadoc and Peregrin, sans Boromir who turned into a dick courtesy of the ring.

All those places should be in a quest pack. Mind you they give a lot of that free now, and if EPICS are free, the path of the fellowship should also be free. They'll never give Moria free, that content alone can get you up past 65, without ever stepping out of the mines. My personal guess is for Gondor next, if they don't pull an AC and close the game down in 6 months.

I'm not sure what your point is: Ered Luin, The Shire, Bree-Land, and Lone Lands are the base, free areas. You don't have to pay for them at all. Everyone gets them the minute they create an account.

The Legendary RoI Pre-Order pack includes Trollshaws, Eregion, Moria, & Lothlorien, zones that you'd otherwise have to pay for separately.

Also, Gimli is not "from" Ered Luin (though he was born there); he lives in The Lonely Mountain, in Erebor. If you consider his journey as a part of the Path of the Fellowship, then it would start (within the timeframe of the book) there and continue through the Misty Mountains. Legolas would probably have also come via this route, since he is from Northern Mirkwood; it was Legolas' father that imprisoned Thorin and Company in The Hobbit. These elves also held Gollum for a time after he was tortured by Sauron.

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However you want to nitpick, I really don't think you can accuse Turbine of deceptive marketing on this one - the product contains what it says it contains. If you feel strongly about the name, you might want to bring your case up with the devs, or more likely the marketing folks, but nobody's lying about what you get when you pay for it.

I may be mistaken, but it seems on the deceptive marketing front, Turbine has committed far greater sins than this, if you consider this a sin at all. Unfortunately, their documentation is spotty, or it gets purged, which leaves you with precious little evidence of anything.

How a bundled quest pack is named when all the items in it are enumerated - really not a problem as I see it. A buggy quest pack being fobbed off as an expansion - BIG problem with that one.

The development was either rushed beyond belief, or even the devs have given up with Isengard. One more argument on that is the way that passive stats (block, evade, parry, accuracy, etc.) were taken away. NONE of the pre-66 gear reflects this. Wardens, the avoidance tanks, can no longer avoid. They can't pull more than two on-level mobs, three if they're lucky, and survive the encounter pre-66. There's simply no gear for them to compensate for everything that got taken away.

I haven't been playing the other classes all that much, but that's a serious problem. How expansive is an expansion? Balancing everything for end-game and letting people cope however they can until they get there?

Not that that will help with legal complaints, either, but I'd expect a real expansion, if it was going to have that kind of a nerf one way, would make up for it another way for the first 65 levels of the game. With RoI, Turbine apparently couldn't be bothered to beta-test much on lower level toons.

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However you want to nitpick, I really don't think you can accuse Turbine of deceptive marketing on this one - the product contains what it says it contains. If you feel strongly about the name, you might want to bring your case up with the devs, or more likely the marketing folks, but nobody's lying about what you get when you pay for it.

I can't really see the issue with the Path of the Fellowship being deceptive, so either I am not getting the point or else perhaps it is a question of interpretation.

I may be mistaken, but it seems on the deceptive marketing front, Turbine has committed far greater sins than this, if you consider this a sin at all. Unfortunately, their documentation is spotty, or it gets purged, which leaves you with precious little evidence of anything.

Fortunately, despite their attempts at purging things they believe may cause trouble (thanks to this forum I have 'convenience, not advantage' armed and ready!) there is actually a lot of supporting evidence and I have been screen shotting it all as I go along.

Siege of Mirkwood

I am still trying to find out if they ever fixed Siege of Mirkwood skirmishes so that those who purchased it prior to F2P continued to get the Eriador skirmishes if they drop to premium. If they haven't that is clearly unlawful. You cannot take back something someone has paid for and require them to purchase it again.

ROI

The ROI issues are all over the place, the primary and most clear cut among them being primarily promoting features that are not contained in the paid product but free to all players.

The delayed 'free anniversary' raid and the Update 5 instances being counted as part of ROI is dodgy to say the least and will probably count towards Turbine being deceptive in their marketing of the VIP package.

The other ROI issue is that the paid product of ROI is a quest pack content update and not an expansion in its own right. That Turbine choose to give the expansion type of features for free is irrelevant to the paid product. The same is true for MoM & SoM. At the time they were released they followed the same criteria for what constitutes an expansion. Since F2P they have been broken down piecemeal and are now quest packs, not expansion content.

The Store

It isn't just a question of 'convenience not advantage' but also what they claim in the FAQ about 'premium loot' and that VIPs have unlimited access to all game content and features. If it is recognised that the relic removal scroll was taken out of gameplay and made into a store exclusive then it is a feature of the game that is not included in the subscription. Store exclusive relic is the same example. PvP has been changed signficantly in nature purely to accommodate F2P and in doing so has broken convenience not advantage. The list here is quite extensive.

Shadows of Angmar

There is also still a question over whether Turbine can withhold Shadows of Angmar content from those who purchased the product and subscribed for a period of time. The EULA containedon the box stated the following was necessary to play the game;

- the box / product key

- a subscription to access the server

- an internet connection (that turbine are not responsible for)

When F2P came out they kept saying that subscribers had always paid for access to content which was wrong. The question is whether they can retrospectively change that. If they cannot then there are two mutually exclusive payment options as to keep to the original EULA from the box means that all three above conditions need to be met to play the game. The thing is if this is the case then those who bought the box and meet this criteria are paying for a subscription-based game not a microtransaction based game. The hybrid model they spoke of originally never materialised. The store is not confined to fluff and convenience and the game development and designed is centered on the store and working a microntransaction model not a subscription model. So if Turbine want to claim that subscribers are still held to the original EULA they must develop the subscription based game that we bought.

All of that said it isn't bullet proof and there is wiggle room for them. I think this issue will be very dependent on the Attorney General's take on it. The question being 'Does Turbine's right to change gameplay included in the game boxes they sold for the first three years also give them the right to fundamentally change the approach to gameplay to support a different payment model'.

These are just broad examples.

The development was either rushed beyond belief, or even the devs have given up with Isengard. One more argument on that is the way that passive stats (block, evade, parry, accuracy, etc.) were taken away. NONE of the pre-66 gear reflects this. Wardens, the avoidance tanks, can no longer avoid. They can't pull more than two on-level mobs, three if they're lucky, and survive the encounter pre-66. There's simply no gear for them to compensate for everything that got taken away.

Wow that is a serious problem. Not sure if it would apply legeally though. I will hope for the best on this one and assume it was an oversight that Turbine will be quick to remedy. If for no other reason than that they don't seem keen to alienate their new players.

The other point about what has historically been included in an expansion is something that improves lower levels - whether adding new features or updating old content. That said, historically expansions were only relevant to subscribers and the revamped zones and new content for lower levels usually wasn't in the expansion itself. It wasn't free however since everyone was a subscriber and content updates were part of the subscription. Actually that's a good point, I hadn't thought of it that way before. In the past there was always something for subscribers who didn't purchase the expansion. Where is that content this time? It's either paid via the quest pack or free for all players.

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Siege of Mirkwood

I am still trying to find out if they ever fixed Siege of Mirkwood skirmishes so that those who purchased it prior to F2P continued to get the Eriador skirmishes if they drop to premium. If they haven't that is clearly unlawful. You cannot take back something someone has paid for and require them to purchase it again.

I just checked skirmishes at my secondary V2P SoA+MoM(box)+SoM(preF2P) Account, and I cant play only Thievery and Mischief, Stand at Amon Sul, Defence of Prancing Pony, Ford of Bruinen, Attack at Dawn and Icy Crevasse. The rest are unlocked.

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I just checked skirmishes at my secondary V2P SoA+MoM(box)+SoM(preF2P) Account, and I cant play only Thievery and Mischief, Stand at Amon Sul, Defence of Prancing Pony, Ford of Bruinen, Attack at Dawn and Icy Crevasse. The rest are unlocked.

Thank you for clarifying this. So basically the following skirmishes which you no longer have access to were part of the skirmish suite included in SoM expansion;

Thievery & Mischief

Stand at Amon Sul

Defence of the Prancing Pony

Ford of Bruinen

Since Turbine will no longer allow you access to these skirmishes as premium unless you purchase them separately then they are asking for you to pay for the same thing twice. Sound legal to you? })

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Thank you for clarifying this. So basically the following skirmishes which you no longer have access to were part of the skirmish suite included in SoM expansion;

Thievery & Mischief

Stand at Amon Sul

Defence of the Prancing Pony

Ford of Bruinen

Since Turbine will no longer allow you access to these skirmishes as premium unless you purchase them separately then they are asking for you to pay for the same thing twice. Sound legal to you? })

Not very.

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Another thing that bothers me is pre-ordering and then weeks later having to sign a new TOS before you can actually access the content you purchased (or even get back into the game at all). The same holds true for Lifetime members and VIPs that have paid in advance. They are forced to sign a new TOS every time Turbine decides unilaterally to change it in order to maintain access to something they have already paid for. I'm not sure how well that complies with contract law.

Any thoughts?

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I think their whole goal is to make a subscription unpalatable and eventually do away with it altogether. That's the strange thing, the big argument post f2p was about what a box purchase contained. If you bought SoM post f2p like I did, you got the whole thing sans the pre launch goodies. I did have to buy the shared storage and 2 character slots, but that's it. My status as lifetime VIP is likely why I don't lose those skirmishes, though it would seem that they came with SoM when I bought it. I don't remember any information being expressly spoken of that revealed that skirmishes were not in fact part of the package. Same with MoM, we all got Lothlorien as part of an update I believe prior to f2p, since everyone was paying subs. When you drop to Premium, you lose Lothlorien now. That seems a bit wrong. It was content delivered at the time to everyone paying a fee already.

How many times should any company expect to profit off the same product with each customer having paid (sub fees) for it once already? It's being a bit picky, but I'm wondering, since some people and Turbine claim sub fees weren't for content, then what was it for, data crunching? If they granted content while you paid a sub fee, it stands to reason the sub fee is the reason you got it. You certainly didn't get it without a sub fee. Even the wiki has a listing of what was included in the expansions and what was added with updates to already released (and paid for) content. If they weren't worth an extra fee before, why now is the sort of question that should be asked of them. Why does Turbine now charge for an update to an established quest pack? Because that is exactly what Lothlorien was, an update to Moria. Not a separate area as they now purport and charge for. If we had to consider why the game is becoming more unstable and items becoming changed due to texturing problems, could it be because of all the slicing going into the code to separate what was once a whole product? Heck even the RK and Warden are now sold separately from Moria.

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Another thing that bothers me is pre-ordering and then weeks later having to sign a new TOS before you can actually access the content you purchased (or even get back into the game at all). The same holds true for Lifetime members and VIPs that have paid in advance. They are forced to sign a new TOS every time Turbine decides unilaterally to change it in order to maintain access to something they have already paid for. I'm not sure how well that complies with contract law.

Any thoughts?

Changes in TOS always allow you to discontinue subscriptions even if you have signed up for a long term. Or at least the enforcement of new TOS.

Whether that applies to subscriptions that have been pre-payed (like 3 months VIP in one payment and they change after month 1), or lifetime, is a different matter.

I bet Turbine has put a clause about changes in TOS into the lifetime offer. And if so it's probably unenforceable.

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It is in the terms of service

2. Changes to Agreement and Game. Turbine may update this Agreement at its sole discretion, and you may be asked to review and agree to the revised version of the TOS once it becomes effective. If you do not agree to a revised TOS, you will not be permitted to continue playing the Game. If at any time you are no longer able to comply with the terms of the then-current TOS, you must terminate this Agreement and immediately stop using the Game. Turbine may change, modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Game at any time. Turbine may also impose limits on certain features or restrict your access to parts or all of the Game without notice or liability.

http://www.lotro.com/support/tos

and the EULA

8. Changes to Agreement and Game. Turbine may update this Agreement at its sole discretion, and you will be asked to review and agree to the revised version of the EULA once it becomes effective. If you do not agree to a revised EULA, you will not be permitted to continue playing the Game. If at any time you are no longer able to comply with the terms of the then-current EULA, you must terminate this Agreement pursuant to Section 2 and immediately stop using the Game. Turbine may change, modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Game at any time. Turbine may also impose limits on certain features or restrict your access to parts or all of the Game without notice or liability. You have no interest, monetary or otherwise, in any feature or content contained in the Game.

http://www.lotro.com/support/tos/218-eula

It seems to be standard in most games

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