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Taking legal action against The Secret World

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  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    This thread gets my vote for the most stupid posts trying to sound smart.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • nukempronukempro Hudson, FLPosts: 76Member
    Originally posted by Ashar1972
    Originally posted by Phry
    Originally posted by Ashar1972

    What I find interesting in this debate, is the use of the words Lifetime Subscription. EULA's and such aside, the question stands, is it fair and reasonable for a customer to believe they are purchasing a subscription for the lifetime of the game? Legally that is, not under the judgement of other MMO players who may have no idea of court precedents in their own jurisdiction, little alone in another's or internationally.

     

    I would put it to the MMO industry that if you are going to use such language then you are fortunate that you don't appear more often before legal instruments of associated jurisdictions when you do not fulfil your implied offer, which was for the life of the game.

     

    To give an example, in Australia, a telecommunications company offered "Unlimited" broadband for $x, but when you read the fine-print there were indeed limitations. The courts weren't so much interested in "didn't you read the TOS or EULA [insert insult at OP]" but instead about this language being deceptive and misleading. I know this is not the only case of it's kind amongst many Western jurisdictions.

     

    I am fairly certain Norwegian law follows fair and reasonable tests in cases. This aspect of the questions presented by this situation is actually quite important to this industry. Why are companies allowed to get away with possibly misleading and deceptive advertising and systems? It has nothing to do with EULA's and ToS, and I think more to do wish consumer apathy. We expect MMO companies to not have to live up to their end of the deal, and that should be unacceptable.

     

    Whether or not someone gets their money's worth is mostly subjective in these forums, but it probably would also be another question, in particular if the complainant is seeking compensation, as opposer to ruling on misleading and deceptive behaviour by companies, in this case Funcom and EA (or whoever had responsibility for the membership policies) Courts also take into consideration a whole heap of other relevant information, such as the power imbalance in the processes of purchase, activation of rights, etc. Furthermore, the OP may not have to present to a lawyer directly, instead petitioning to an authoritative body which overseas company/corporate conduct within their jurisdiction. While Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a treaty signatory to heaps of EU legislative agreements, I am pretty sure here also corporate behaviour being one of them.

     

    Given all that I think this would be an important test case, if all the facts held. It might force games companies to take a step back on using language which when things get tough through their poor decision making, they have no interest in upholding. I would not expect Massively or MMORPG, or any other gaming "journalism" company to offer the OP advice on the matter. In MMORPG's case, this is one of their advertisers, and that relationship could make them offering advice detrimental to their partnership problematic.

     

    Furthermore, I am also a LTS for TSW. My interest is less about how much financial/in-game compensation they are giving me, and moreso that they will continue to provide a game that I find very much to my liking. If there are financial considerations, then it is that I would not be spending more than I would have anyway, and so far I haven't, and cannot foresee that happening. That does not excuse them though for being deceptive or misleading, even if it almost seems like an industry standard, and they should (as other companies) be made to account for their actions.

    It would only be an interesting test case if it didnt get thrown out of court in the first place, but as its doubtful it will even get that far, it really doesnt matter.  This whole situation is really an attempt to force an out of court settlement of some kind, Funcom would in fact be better off letting them go to the expense of attempting to bring legal proceedings, and just simply let it get thrown out, force them to waste their money chasing unicorns. These people with their constant litigation attempts against various MMO companies, are nothing more than ambulance chasers, dubious legal standings and dubious moral practices included. image

    I gather this means you will be the presiding judge then? MMO companies are doing a great job of wasting their investors money all by their own, but none of that addresses what I raised about responsability for the language used. While I am sure there are a number of ambulance chasers, after nearly two decades in social justice and community advocacy, I am also acutely aware that the ambulance chasers are in the minority. Most importantly though how does your response add to the conversation?

    What about personal responsibility? You know that your own actions have accountability....if you read the TOA and EULA for whatever mmo...and still decide to buy it...you get what you get. That's the chance you took. They make it pretty clear that they can do whatever they want, whenver they want. YOU agreed to that. Why? If you didn't agree with it you should have closed it and been done with it. But judging from your post your nothing but a filthy socialist. Go take your Social justice and community bull and go read a book about the fall of the soviet union.

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYPosts: 3,437Member Uncommon
    Judge Judy I think

    image
  • TorikTorik London, ONPosts: 2,343Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ashar1972

    What I find interesting in this debate, is the use of the words Lifetime Subscription. EULA's and such aside, the question stands, is it fair and reasonable for a customer to believe they are purchasing a subscription for the lifetime of the game? Legally that is, not under the judgement of other MMO players who may have no idea of court precedents in their own jurisdiction, little alone in another's or internationally.

     

    I would put it to the MMO industry that if you are going to use such language then you are fortunate that you don't appear more often before legal instruments of associated jurisdictions when you do not fulfil your implied offer, which was for the life of the game.

     

    To give an example, in Australia, a telecommunications company offered "Unlimited" broadband for $x, but when you read the fine-print there were indeed limitations. The courts weren't so much interested in "didn't you read the TOS or EULA [insert insult at OP]" but instead about this language being deceptive and misleading. I know this is not the only case of it's kind amongst many Western jurisdictions.

     

    I really do not see the argument here.   What kind of 'implied offer' does the term Lifetime Subscription present that Secret World has not honored?  The subscribers still get access to the game for the life of the game and get functionally the same access to future content that they had when they bought the subscription.    I just do not see any reasonable claim for false advertising. 

  • Ashar1972Ashar1972 BrisbanePosts: 12Member

    Law is not [only] about what you or I think is going to win a case, it is, especially the higher you go, about answering/clarifying pertinent questions, and they can go further than the initial presumed scope, which in this case is Funcom, to the broader scope, of which I pointed out was interesting to me, of the MMO industry's language around subscriptions etc. The example I gave from Australia would be for some a trivial issue, over a silly amount of money, and indeed there were, as there are in these forums many folk who:

    a) stated it was just people trying to make money;

    b) would ruin corporate-consumer relations;

    c) was frivilous;

    d) was a waste of the legal resources allocated by the State...

     

    However the end result was a bonus for consumers, and interestingly the naysayers didn't have a lot to say when the Justice ruled the telecommunications company was actually being deceitful and misleading. As I mentioned before I am positive there are many, many cases around the Western jurisdictions, which make this position around Lifetime Subscriptions look like a valid case to be clarified.

     

    As I mentioned, my experience is one of social justice and community advocacy, and so I see the importance of seeking clarification of this issue, because it does seem to actually be an issue, and not only for the reasons the OP outlined from his/her perspective. I have read in too many forums about too many MMOs about how people feel they have wasted their money and/or time because of the lack of accurate information coming from gaming companies prior to launch. Unless someone supplies our community with a massive social enema (metaphorically speaking), we are unlikely to force the gaming companies to change their culture's shady habits. These questions boil down to questions around honesty in advertsing, maybe others too, but defaming, sledging, belittling people like the OP are not going to clarify these issues at all. Quite the cotrary, I would think they breed subservience, and mediocrity.

     

    What is particualry noxious is that in the broader community we have so many folk venting their spleens about the misleading behaviours of MMO hype etc as if truth in advertising was a fairytale, not a requirement. You can dress up the truth in adverstising as long as the core of truth is easily accessible and understandable. It is quite healthy for a society to make sure these questions are being clarified, and with some regularity. I think there is a fair case to be answered at the free run gaming companies are having at present to print money, especially those like EA who are essentially the McDonalds of the gaming world. Quality is only in their interest if it is more profitable than quantity, or at least happens without endangering profits.

     

    I have also worked closely with four judges in my time on boards of directors, and numerous lawyers. The discussions we have had about legal issues around truth in advertising is very, very interesting (to me) and not at all straight forward. Some interesting things about those discussions. Lay folk seem to operate under the presumption that the law is essentially straight forward, that all lawyers (when corruption and profits are put to the side) agree on the law, and judges all find the same things interesting. Jurisprudence, I think, says otherwise. Moreso I have had a particular legal battle, where a lawyer, friends, etc told me I couldn't win, to fall on my sword etc. I went on to defend myself, because I believe at the heart of the matter was a issue that needed the courts calrification, and I won. Our courts are there to be used, not to collect dust and cobwebs - for the public to decry cases as frivolus is funnily enough, not our call. If the OP is willing to spend the time and other resources, including risk, good on them.

     

    Then we get into the discussion about how the question is framed, what other material is brought to bear on the matter. From my experience most of us lay folk have little idea of what will be important in cases. You rightfully point out "What kind of 'implied offer' does the term Lifetime Subscription present that [Funcom] has not honored?" You may be perfectly right, partially right, somewhat right, or not right etc. Indeed the case might get a Judge that doesn't find it interesting, and does find it frivilous, whereas if they had a judge with a differing perspective, they might get a completely different outcome. We won't know until people like the OP put the time and effort in to seeking clarification on these issues. I argue we will have a better corporate-customer relationship for these issues being brought for clarification. I also argue that it is valuable to have people like the OP vent their spleens. Indeed in the end that is what it may be limited too, and that is o.k. because it is actually healthy to have controlled conflict around these issues for our community. It's the defamatory/belittling/derogatory character assassinations we have to guard against, and MMO forums are really bad for that.

  • AredylAredyl Union Gap, WAPosts: 22Member

    Here is my point-of-view on the matter:

     

    First, users purchased a box-copy of the game, knowing there will be a subscription tied to the access of the game.  Current users then paid the subscription fee for access to the game.  Some users paid in advance, receiving discounts to their subscription.  Some even paid for a one-time only fee for a "lifetime subscription."  Users also agreed to the Terms of Service as part of the agreement.  Funcom agreed to offer access to users that paid this subscription, as long as they agreed to the Terms of Service and other documents.  

     

    Since then, Funcom has decided to change their subscription fee to any new users of their service.  On top of that, Funcom has decided that anybody that has currently pre-paid for a subscription to receive extra benefits beyond access to their service. Funcom also allows any subscribing user to switch to the new plan after the agreement has been fulfilled by both parties.

     

    From one point-of-view: Funcom has not breeched their end of the agreement.  They are still providing the same services to users that have paid for a subscription.  They also provided additional benefits that were not part of the original agreement.

     

    From another point-of-view: Funcom has not provided the value of the subscription, claiming that the current value is now worth nothing.  Funcom also changed the agreement by providing other services instead of access to the system for the subscription.

     

    Here is my point-of-view: The original agreement was for access to the system for a subscription fee.  Unless you happen to get a sympathetic judge to rule that Funcom committed fraud by intentionally setting up a subscription-based model with the intention to change it later, Funcom is still providing their end of the agreement.  By requesting a refund, Funcom has the right to deny your request, although it would probably be in their best interest from a PR point of view to do so.

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon
    google Centipad...EULA usually means the company can do whatever it wants and you have no rights hehe.
  • SiugSiug TallinnPosts: 1,236Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    This thread gets my vote for the most stupid posts trying to sound smart.
     

    +1

  • AtmaDarkwolfAtmaDarkwolf Edmonton, ABPosts: 353Member

    Now see, lets just pretend it worked the other way around.

     

    As example let me just mention the 'sale' screw up on steam the other day. Sleeping dogs was accedently listed at 91% off. So by YOUR thinking(Talking to OP here) they should have the right to charge each person to snatched a copy at that price for the rest of the cost?

     

    No see you bought a product at the time of sale, for the price listed. I looked over that 'deal' long ago and didn't see anywhere where it said anything to the effect of 'if we later change the service, we will cover you'

     

    Now what they have done, is make the buying of said deal STILL worthwhile, in the way of saved price in item shop, items that others do not get, etc.

     

     

    Sorry, you have no real grounds to stand on here, just a silly 'I wanna nerdrage' post.

  • HardcodedHardcoded Sidney, MTPosts: 97Member Uncommon
    Hey remember  when the class action lawsuit was filed against SOE for completely changing StarWars Galaxies, or the one when Star Trek Online went F2P, or how about Lord of the Rings online, Champions Online, EQ2, or for that matter, any game that was shut down. Nope? Thats because you are only paying for the privledge to play the game, you own exactly nothing. EULA, TOS, what ever you want to call it states that on any online game you play.
  • Ramonski7Ramonski7 Aurora, ILPosts: 2,656Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by banzai014

    As some of you may be aware, Funcom's The Secret World today shifted from a subscription only model to B2P (http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/12/the-secret-world-officially-abolishes-subscriptions/). This was a completely unannounced and sudden change: the only warning given was a "prank" youtube video (http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/10/the-secret-worlds-dev-video-blog-begins-end-of-days-chronicle/).

    This leaves players with existing subscription time and lifetime subscribers in the lurch. In this new model, players that purchase the box price have full access to the game in its current state. Players can then subscribe for $15/month for 1200 Funcom points ($10 in real money) that expire after 6 months needed to buy future DLC (slated to be released in monthly installments costing $5-10),  a fluff vanity item of the month, an xp booster item and a 10% discount on the item shop. Existing subscribers are being switched to this plan for the remainder of their subscription time, without a refund option. Remember that these subscribers also had to buy the game box in the beginning.

    This is not what subscribers paid for.  The deal they signed up for has been changed without their consent or prior knowledge. The terms of agreement have been pulled out from under them. Subscribers paid for access to updates ("DLC") but also access to the game itself. In the P2P model you simply could not log in if you were'nt subscribed. Now that you can get full access for free, the value of the subscription has been cheapened.

    The services subscribers get with the B2P model are worthless. $15 per month for $10 worth in limited time points, whereas a B2P player can buy DLC each month for cheaper ($5) and have exactly the same access to the game. $15 (sub per month) > $10 (in virtual Funcom monies) > $5 per month for DLC you need to keep up with other players.

    I feel that the subscription option is only there so that they don't have to refund people with existing subs and of course lifetimers. The sub has no value and is a ripoff. A sub gave players both access to new content and to the game itself. Since everyone has access to the game now for the box price, the sub has lost part of its value and so people with existing sub time should demand a refund. I would really like to know what a lawyer's legal opinion of this change would be.

    I have contacted Massively and MMORPG.com suggesting they write an article investigating the legal implications of TSW's B2P change or otherwise recommend me a lawyer specializing in this area that I could talk to. I hope this way we can get something started moving forward and clarify exactly  what legal recourse existing subscribers have. My demands are fair: I only ask that players get the option of having their extant subscription time refunded, since the subscription service has so wholly changed from what they originally intended to pay for (i.e. which in large part was paying for access to the game itself).

    Are you serious? That's like getting mad at a ball club for selling tickets at the booth and you bought season passes.

    Or getting mad because you bought Torchlight II for 20 bucks on NCSoft's website and now it's on Steam for 10 bucks.

    Or getting mad because they charged full price to get into a party early and later on start allowing people in for 1/2 off.

    image
    "Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas."

  • ktanner3ktanner3 lakeland, FLPosts: 4,074Member Common

    This might even be more fun than the threats made against SOE for NGE.

    /grab popcorn

    Currently Playing: Star Wars The Old Republic

  • birdycephonbirdycephon Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 1,314Member
    The EULA and TOS are both legally binding contracts you obviously did not read before agreeing to.
  • cptndunselcptndunsel Orlando, FLPosts: 136Member Uncommon
    good luck with that - anyone who bought the lifetime sub without considering the potential for yet another funcom game to crap itself (ala conan) and then go f2p got what they paid for - a fail game from a vendor known to make games that go f2p.
  • TeknoBugTeknoBug Calgary, ABPosts: 2,156Member

    Wow I was completely unaware that this game doesn't have subs anymore, before it launched I was somewhat interested in this game but more I watched gameplay videos the more interest I lost. I may try this on a rainy day.

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  • MMOGamer71MMOGamer71 Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 1,930Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Teala
    See, it is for this very reason that lifetime subs are worthless.

    ^

    This

  • raistlinmraistlinm new orleans, LAPosts: 673Member
    Without even reading any replys this isn't going to get anywhere most of these companies are very well protected form law suits by the very tos agreement you mention.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by TeknoBug
    Wow I was completely unaware that this game doesn't have subs anymore, before it launched I was somewhat interested in this game but more I watched gameplay videos the more interest I lost. I may try this on a rainy day.

    Not having sub really fits the game play for this game. It removes the feeling that you need to progress at a certain rate to get your money's worth. For me, it made the difference between a game I would not play and one that I enjoy playing.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • TorkazTorkaz Kenosha, AKPosts: 91Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by banzai014

    As some of you may be aware, Funcom's The Secret World today shifted from a subscription only model to B2P (http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/12/the-secret-world-officially-abolishes-subscriptions/). This was a completely unannounced and sudden change: the only warning given was a "prank" youtube video (http://massively.joystiq.com/2012/12/10/the-secret-worlds-dev-video-blog-begins-end-of-days-chronicle/).

    This leaves players with existing subscription time and lifetime subscribers in the lurch. In this new model, players that purchase the box price have full access to the game in its current state. Players can then subscribe for $15/month for 1200 Funcom points ($10 in real money) that expire after 6 months needed to buy future DLC (slated to be released in monthly installments costing $5-10),  a fluff vanity item of the month, an xp booster item and a 10% discount on the item shop. Existing subscribers are being switched to this plan for the remainder of their subscription time, without a refund option. Remember that these subscribers also had to buy the game box in the beginning.

    This is not what subscribers paid for.  The deal they signed up for has been changed without their consent or prior knowledge. The terms of agreement have been pulled out from under them. Subscribers paid for access to updates ("DLC") but also access to the game itself. In the P2P model you simply could not log in if you were'nt subscribed. Now that you can get full access for free, the value of the subscription has been cheapened.

    The services subscribers get with the B2P model are worthless. $15 per month for $10 worth in limited time points, whereas a B2P player can buy DLC each month for cheaper ($5) and have exactly the same access to the game. $15 (sub per month) > $10 (in virtual Funcom monies) > $5 per month for DLC you need to keep up with other players.

    I feel that the subscription option is only there so that they don't have to refund people with existing subs and of course lifetimers. The sub has no value and is a ripoff. A sub gave players both access to new content and to the game itself. Since everyone has access to the game now for the box price, the sub has lost part of its value and so people with existing sub time should demand a refund. I would really like to know what a lawyer's legal opinion of this change would be.

    I have contacted Massively and MMORPG.com suggesting they write an article investigating the legal implications of TSW's B2P change or otherwise recommend me a lawyer specializing in this area that I could talk to. I hope this way we can get something started moving forward and clarify exactly  what legal recourse existing subscribers have. My demands are fair: I only ask that players get the option of having their extant subscription time refunded, since the subscription service has so wholly changed from what they originally intended to pay for (i.e. which in large part was paying for access to the game itself).

    Still wasting your time with this?  Your the kind of person that would sue McDonald's for pouring hot coffee on yourself...

  • thinktank001thinktank001 oasisPosts: 2,028Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rocketeer

    For a lawsuit to be realistic you need to have been wronged somehow, preferably in a financial way with fraudulent intent. Double charges on CC or charges for a banned account, taking away or ceasing to deliver something you paid for without refund, causing damage to your computer/privacy by negligence(virus, trojan etc). All of these can be a basis for a lawsuit. But giving someone else something for free that you had to pay for ... its simply not against the law. 

     

    Maybe and maybe not.  

     

    IMHO, I don't see TSW selling many subscriptions if they had announced the game could be using the P2W business model in the future.  Is that deceitful? I don't know.  On the other hand, TSW was released with a cash shop so I don't find it unreasonable that consumers should have known this was a possibility in the future.     

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member

    Here is how it would go down in court.

    Judge: Why are you taking legal action against Funcom?

    You: Because I paid to have a lifetime access to the game and now it is B2P.

    Judge: Is the game still running?

    You: Yes.

    Judge: Can you still play it with no restrictions?

    You: Yes.

    Judge: Get the fuck out of my courtroom.

     

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,763Member Uncommon
    Maybe next time some of you will listen when we are telling you when companies are going for a total cash grab......The amount they were asking for this game out of beta was insane yet some of you bit line and sinker.....Instead of suing the company maybe take a look in the mirror and use your head next time.
  • KellsKells Tijeras, NMPosts: 65Member

    Yeah, as a Grandmaster, I pretty blame myself for jumping in and buying the lifetime sub. I have played enough mmos to know that many games go f2p (or buy-once-to-play) if their sub sales are disappointing. I was just surprised that it happened so quickly in this case. That said, I am not unhappy with the compensation that I get from Funcom, which is $10 in Funcom points each month, enough to buy future downloadable content (DLC) and the 20% discount at the cash shop for vanity items. I also get a potion that grants me an hour of double XP for mob kills, with a 16 hour cooldown.

    I am also happy that the cashshop at TSW is for fun stuff, and not "pay-to-win" items like several other cashshops I have seen in various mmos.

    Yeah, I shouldn't have bought the Grandmaster deal, but I will live with it.

    And, no, I wouldn't seriously consider taking legal action against Funcom over this. Not sure the OP really is either, he might just be blowing off steam.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,223Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kells

    Yeah, as a Grandmaster, I pretty blame myself for jumping in and buying the lifetime sub. I have played enough mmos to know that many games go f2p (or buy-once-to-play) if their sub sales are disappointing. I was just surprised that it happened so quickly in this case. That said, I am not unhappy with the compensation that I get from Funcom, which is $10 in Funcom points each month, enough to buy future downloadable content (DLC) and the 20% discount at the cash shop for vanity items. I also get a potion that grants me an hour of double XP for mob kills, with a 16 hour cooldown.

    I am also happy that the cashshop at TSW is for fun stuff, and not "pay-to-win" items like several other cashshops I have seen in various mmos.

    Yeah, I shouldn't have bought the Grandmaster deal, but I will live with it.

    And, no, I wouldn't seriously consider taking legal action against Funcom over this. Not sure the OP really is either, he might just be blowing off steam.

    I've considered buying the grandmaster.  It still doesn't seem like a bad deal if you're into the game and plan on playing for a couple years.

  • rwyanrwyan raleigh, NCPosts: 461Member

    Lifer here who is completely and utterly happy with the change.

     

    I've been able to buy more outfits from the shop that I normally wouldn't otherwise buy (as I would budget additional funcom points every other month or so).

     

    There are more people to group with.

     

    I still get the content and service I was promised.

     

    Still don't understand all the drama and hysterics. 

This discussion has been closed.