Customers of MMORPG developer Turbine Inc. have been flocking to their forums with complaints of erroneous payments for many of their games. Managing many long standing titles such as Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, an error in their billing system has caused the developer to allegedly charge customers double their usual rates. Worse still however, forum posts suggest it is also charging individuals over accounts which have been cancelled and others reporting hundreds of thousands taken from their financial reserves.
This error is not an isolated case either. Turbine previously made a similar error at the end of April this year and claimed to have made an update to their system in response. An update which was apparently not very effective if the complaints on their forums are to be believed. Despite similar statements that the issues were resolved on September 30th, complaints and stories of players massively overcharged continue.
Turbine Inc. has responded quickly in dealing with these problems in many cases. Their forums and customer support continue to assist those hit by this mistake, and many have already had their issues dealt with.
Unfortunately, their response is far from being entirely good news. In a move reminiscent of Piranha Games Inc. and Hammerpoint Interactive, Turbine Inc. has been deleting the posts of those involved and even outright banning accounts. Those primarily targeted in these actions are members of MMORPG communities seeking answers for why the error persists, but even posts reporting these errors have been removed. Proof of their actions remains in the form of screenshots taken of now deleted posts and threads from their forums, and the threads reporting instances of overcharging with specific posts very obviously removed.
The actions of the company’s Community Management could easily do more damage than the incident itself at this point. While Customer Support could easily repair such damage with their responses, attempts to hide any evidence of developer mistakes and silence customers has been seen to do major damage to community relations in other games. Mechwarrior Online being just one such example, with their actions resulting in outright hostility towards the game’s creators.
What affect both continued problems will have on the player bases of the multitude of MMOs Turbine Inc. runs remains to be seen.
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