[Heroes of Gaia] Recent pricing errors and bans - official Kongregate statement

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As many of you have noticed, there was a substantial problem this weekend with prices being changed in Heroes of Gaia, with packages previously costing $100 suddenly only charging players $0.10 (1 kred).  This pricing change was not intentional, and in fact Snail Game had nothing to do with it.  It was unfortunately due to a security exploit on our (Kongregate’s) side.  We have added substantial security measures to ensure that this never happens again, but unfortunately some damage was done over the weekend to a few games, Heroes of Gaia included.

While it’s true that games do have great sales every once in a while, 99.9%-off probably should have been a clue that something was wrong.  A few users decided to go crazy with this situation, one user literally purchasing that package over 1000 times (thus gaining $100,000 worth of HoG Points for only $100) and quite a few people purchasing this package hundreds of times.  As far as we can tell, no one alerted us as to the problem – it was only discovered this morning by Snail Game.

Quick actions had to be taken to control damage and triage until the facts could be sorted out, which is why a number of accounts were banned.  We are not intending to ban anyone on Kongregate’s side – while you should have known that something was amiss, this was not criminal and none of you were the hacker responsible.  Instead, we’re going to try to figure out the fairest solution possible.

The fact is though, with nearly $1,000,000 worth of points illegitimately flooded into the game over the weekend, the game’s economy is substantially messed up for these servers.  We’re working with Snail Game to figure out, both technically and logistically, what can be done and what would be fair to as many people as possible.

 
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I like the part where you tell us that nobody alerted you to the problem.
For months we have been telling you that the game was hacked and we told you who the hackers were.
We told you about the babel snipe and gave you videos to prove it
We told you about the farming bots and supplied videos to prove it
We told you about the bossing bots
We told you they were able to do this off line
We told you about the feeding at caps
We told you about the spam bot and supplied a video
We told you about the unbelievable amount of alts

You never ever even acknowledged us
you never took the slightest action , zero, nothing , zilch

Why would you think somebody would alert you with that kind of a track record?

I am seeing that already you are trying to pave the way for minor sentences.
All for the sake of making money which you wont if you are not having a policy of honesty.

The same people you banned are still on and playing. They just switched to using an alt.

Melachim, Sexy and Royalflush are alts used by Dice , Galama and Khaidhun.
There are many more that are doing the same. So much for being fair.

Please, don’t claim you didn’t know it. Your own inertia and unwillingness to resolve the issues is to blame.
We did warn you many times over with no result and now you say we should have alerted you. Get real.

 
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It’s not like it’s our fault there.You had a bug,and we didn’t knew about it.Now should we stay frozen because of a mistake?It’s not really fare to be honest.

 
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I would love to see an acceptable answer brought up by DogStretcher from Snail. These are all valid topic issues that you have not even shown you care about. BOOM someone hits you on the bottom line and you call cheat. Ha Ha Ha in stead of trying to find new ways for the money spenders to get an advantage over everyone, why not spend some time to fix what is causing many players to quit a game that is fun and a place to hang out with your friends.

 
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Let’s get something straight here, we are not responsible for making sure your website is free from errors. It is not our duty to do your job and inform you when something is amiss. Sounds like a Kong employee should perhaps be dealt with over this crap, not us consumers. Ever hear of false advertising?? You can’t put something out there and expect people to not take advantage of it. 1000 points for 1 Kred sounds too good to be true but there it was in black and white, on your website, published by you, not us. By using the top-up system designed by you the way it was designed to be used gets peoples accounts frozen?? Get Real, accept full responsibility and unfreeze our accounts and find a better solution.

 
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Please don’t pretend to be stupid, “customers”.

If the “sale” had said “20% off”, no one could have blamed you. It would have been perfectly credible. Same goes for 40% off, even 60% off.

No one can say where exactly it becomes dubious. But what can be said is that at 99.9% off, even the dumbest knows that something is wrong. All HoG is about is grinding; if they suddenly let everyone have everything almost for free, the game is kaput. You knew that, so you also knew that this could only be some error.

Exploit an error – no biggie.

Exploit an error, get caught and punished, then complain – ridiculous.

 
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Originally posted by iSpoiler:

Let’s get something straight here, we are not responsible for making sure your website is free from errors. It is not our duty to do your job and inform you when something is amiss. Sounds like a Kong employee should perhaps be dealt with over this crap, not us consumers. Ever hear of false advertising?? You can’t put something out there and expect people to not take advantage of it. 1000 points for 1 Kred sounds too good to be true but there it was in black and white, on your website, published by you, not us. By using the top-up system designed by you the way it was designed to be used gets peoples accounts frozen?? Get Real, accept full responsibility and unfreeze our accounts and find a better solution.

QFT

 
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How about we take this to the court system. You state we should’ve known it wasn’t right and that we the players made the critical error by (purchasing) the points. Hmm, I see it like this. Snail appointed ingame moderators a few months ago and Snail has its own GM’s to deal with issues that arise in game.

The system and GM’s are a joke you report something and wait all day with what it says are 2 people in front of you, would reporting this in the bug system have kept us the people from doing what was done? I think not. The points were talked about and purchased for 2 days before anyone from Snail said anything about it. No one hid what was going on. Snail and its so called moderators failed on all levels. Snail is blaming the gamers trying to protect their on butt’s from being fired. We the gamers have talked and are waiting patiently but, let me stress this, if we take this to a higher level you will lose.

We all bought points legally through your site and it went on for 48 hours before anything was said from a Snail employee. Global was on fire with it, so it wasn’t hidden. Unlock the accounts and you (Snail employees) take the blame for this. Man up and stop trying to turn all this onto the people that actually pay for the game and your salaries. As for what bart says exploiting an error. That error was going on for 48 hours or longer (Snail is the ones playing dumb here not us). Snail had plenty of time to catch it. Being said, after 48 hours and not a peep from Snail how was anyone to know it was mistake. They took our money so the system seemed to be working fine in my book. I have a copy of my purchase and I demand the account be unlocked. Like I said if this goes higher Snail will lose and I am sure the money you(Snail) say you lost now won’t even compare to the lawyer fees and settlements you will make once the big spenders are done getting what is owed to them. Some one needs a copy of the consumer protection laws and gambling laws in the US. That wheel is a form of slot machine. Spin for a chance to win, which is illegal in USA. A good lawyer could turn that easily here. I ask, does Snail even have a legal department? From where im sitting I would say no.

Class Action Lawsuit, baby

 
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No one tilted the machine to get the thing to say 1 kred for 1000 points. You can’t just ban people because they took part in what they thought was a normal crazy sale. There was even a rumor going around that this was Snail Games last ditch effort to make some money before closing the game.

In essence, you did get a lot of the bot cheaters/babel snipers/alt players frozen, but you froze them for something that isn’t illegal. What you did is called bait and switch, and that is a legal term you should be worried about.

Not only did I have teammates and friends frozen, but other ‘frienemies’ and if there’s one thing I am, it’s honorable and I’ll defend anyone that got rooked by Snail Games inconsistent rules.

 
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Ok, I know this sucks, there’s no getting around it. When someone illegally breaks into computer systems and starts changing things it creates big problems that have to be solved. We’re spending a lot of our time and resources trying to repair the damage that this jerk created. I’m sorry that it happened, and we’ve put in a lot of steps to ensure it won’t again, but we have to figure out how to move forward. And to clarify, I’m writing as a representative of Kongregate – I cannot speak to any earlier hacking problems or support issues as those are within the developer’s domain.

Pricing errors do happen and stores do not have to abide by them. I personally once ordered a great deal online, got charged and a confirmation, and then later got an email informing me that there was an error and the order had been canceled. Yeah, I was pissed off, but it was their right to fix it. In this case, leaving all of these accounts unbanned in their current state would completely screw up the game. It would be unfair to everyone who didn’t jump on the exploited price, especially to people who had been playing for years and in some cases paying the normal, full price for the items. The game would be broken – whether these purchases were just or not they’ve screwed up the servers substantially. That’s not a placement of blame, just an observation that the result is a mess that needs fixing.

We will be giving back all of the kreds that were spent on the 1-kred packages. We are still communicating with Snail to try to figure out how to fix the situation as best as possible. We will update here once we know more, which will hopefully be later today.

 
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I was online when I saw in global something about a points-sale and stuff like that, but having not been on since Sunday I had no idea that all hell had broken loose in my abscence. I got to know just recently, but I can say one thing:

It definately servers everyone busted right. I saw it in global, alot of people shouting out stuff about almost free points. Actually I decided not to check it out, and now that I see the actual numbers (99,9% off!) I’m in shock. It’s absolutely fair, because I think everyone has a ceratin amount of common sense. 99,9% off sounds too good to be true and people should definatly have realized this.

I think alot of people used this oppertunity to try to exploit the bugs in the game even further. Where is common sense? All this bullshit that people didn’t know it was a security-breach/hack/whatever and actually thought Snail was SELLING OUT anything is just stupid. jesus christ, get real. You got caught, live with it. Serves you right.

I can absolutely agree that not much have been done about cheaters and hackers before despite alot of proof, but now ALOT of those cheaters and hackers have gotten caught WHICH IS FANTASTIC. Common sense would say that 99,9% off is an error, and it’s wrong to exploit that error and THEN COMPLAIN AND WHINE WHEN YOU GOT CAUGHT. I didn’t, and look! – I’m still playing!

 
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The easiest way to fix it is to allow that sale to the players not banned atm for a day.
Then it would even out the system. Just banning all these players will only wreck the game completly.

 
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Thanks for setting up this forum Kong. We appreciate you opening up this line of communication. Now, we know that Snail knew very early on from both players communicating immediately with GMs (there are a bunch of players that can testify to that) and the fact that the server went haywire and the game crashed several times. So that is either a lie on Snail’s part or just something you haven’t asked them.

As far as exploiting, or sales, or whatever, lets take a step back. There was an error to the game, which was more than just your casual one. But it was through the standard channels. I click to top up from snail box, go to kong site, and there is the cost. I am sorry that your system was hacked and multiple games were harmed, but that is not the error or obligation of your customers. It is yours. And I would have to imagine that you knew about this early on because it was system wide, not just this dying game. If a retail store accidentally marks something down too much, do you know what consumer protection laws state? The store must sell it to the customer at stated price. Otherwise it is violation of the law. This is no different. I don’t think anyone wants to go down that road, but some people have been playing this game for over 4 years and could have spent thousands on it. They are not just going to walk away. And the law is on their side.

Let me propose a solution. The game has been dying. When this error on Kong’s part occurred, people came back to the game that hadn’t played in months or years. It overwhelmed the servers. Take this as a marketing opportunity. Ask Snail if they will give all other players on Olympus credits for some nominal price too. That way the playing field is relatively evened. People will come back that haven’t been on in awhile. Those same people might even spend a little bit more money than before. Revenues go up, everyone wins.

I look forward to enjoying more kong games in the future, I would hate to terminate my relationship with this company over something that I think has a straight forward solution.

Regards

 
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I understand what you are saying phoenix00017 but, let me make this very clear to you….. Under the consumer protection laws both Kongregate and Snail will lose. I want what I paid for and recieved in my inventory and thats all that will solve this issue for me and all others whom were banned over this. I have played since pan server along with alot of these people and I know for a fact we have dropped tons on this and other games hosted by kong. The law is on our side and as for your story, you are full of crap!!!! No company can advertise something in the United States of America and say oh sorry you can’t have it at that price. (The laws were changed and they have to honor it even if the company printing the ad messed up). You can shove your explanation!!!!! If the items purchased aren’t in my inventory after I made a legal purchase on Snail and Kong’s site, be prepared I am not alone and you will face action. You just admitted that some one hacked kong and you all knew it yet instead of shutting the games down for maintance is all on you and you piss poor mods. I advise you to contact your attorney’s, one you sound stupid trying to say one thing and have no clue about laws and sale items. Two you best not put any kreds on my account unless it is from 4 years back and a cashiers check made out to me.

 
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The best way to of fixed this glitch, rollback the fucking server. Snails done this many a times. Everybody in that 24-48 hours to the howewer fucking long this went on for, loses everything they gained, AND the people who didn’t abuse it would more likely be looking on the side of ‘yay that glitch didnt effect us’ more than ‘crap i lost everything i did in that period of time’. ALl I have to say was the situation could of been handled better on both sides.

On another note, Snail did not ban all the accounts, even though I abused this glitch with 5 kreds, and have a small account there because I do not play, I did not get banned. Who else abused this glitch and did not get the same penalty? Even when Snail’s GMs do something, they do it half assed.

Another thing, Snail, if you’re actually reading this, you bit the hand that fed you thousands of dollars. You probably just banned 90% of your income, have fun with server uptake and any money you actually put into this game now, though I doubt its much since you’ve abandoned it up until now.

And another edit, but why isn’t snail in this forum? This is about THEIR GAME. They should be here along with Kong. The best way for you all to solve this is by communication, and it seems kong is the one communicating, where as Snail is staying quiet because they know they’ve not done crap about any other glitch in this game.

 
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Ok Sporty I do understand where you are coming from regarding your account, but if nothing at all is done … those of us that were not given the opportunity to buy things at the same price would be done. Snail would lose A LOT of people by doing nothing as well. They really need to figure out a way that will satisfy both sides and I am not convinced there is one at this point. They messed up by not immediately shutting down the server and just rolling it back when the error was pointed out. Now they need to back peddle hard core to find a solution. This was handled badly by everyone!

 
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Since phoenix00017 speaks for kong, then kong should pay snail fo the revenue that was lost being it was their system and fault not shutting kongregate down once they seen it was hacked. Kong is at fault now because you stated and I copied it that you and kong mods knew this was going on same as snail and done nothing till it was to late. Honor what you priced and kong pay them their losses or lets take it to a higher authority.

 
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Only good way is: rollback server for 2 days

but that will not solve the problem of those cheaters and bot users

Maybe it is better for those players still playing if all players stay frozen forever.

It will make my losses exceptable but otherwise Sweetlove and gaga11 got unfrozen too in the past

Snail does only care for our money, nothingelse

 
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I suppose I should throw my two cents in.

By the time anyone beyond Galama was exploiting this, it was confirmed by global chat to be a bug and not snail going crazy before shutting the game down or whatever excuses start flying.

Also, not ten minutes after it became widespread, Snail’s kong GM account – Heriers – was online in chat and people were getting answers from various GMs in the help channel in game. They knew as it was happening and very well could have shut the server down, rolled it back, or started issuing freezes to curtail the abuse. They did nothing.

From where I stood during it, it seemed snail’s horrible servers had broken again and they’d just rollback when they figured out what had broken and issue a warning by way of 24~72 hours in the freeze box to anyone who had abused it. I’m honestly shocked it was kong’s fault and not snail’s significant incompetence. Did kred payment break in many games or just this one? That could go a long way – at least in the minds of the people here – to either strongly suggesting who’s guilty of the hacking or clearing TE from being an incredibly likely suspect.

 
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Rolling back the server is absolutely not acceptable either , nor is it fair to those that have nto abused the glitch / bug. All of you talking about lawsuits might want to read the games TOS again. They have the right to do whatever they want when it comes to anything dubious being done on their game as they see fit.
All of you talking about "oh just roll back server is BS and not at all fair to anyone that has not got frozen. think about this if you did not get froze becuase you could not or did not take advantage of this bug/glitch or whatever would you want the roll back to take away any troops you have built, healed or any gems, coins , and so on that you farmed on world map I think not so you all should just accept your fate, and either start over or find a new game to play.

 
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Fearless, I understand its not 100% fair. BUT banning all these people who put a lot of work and money and effort into their heroes and account getting banned by a mistake on snail, and on their part, is just plain unfair to them. A rollback would screw the ones that did not cheat, but Snail, if the cared, which they don’t, can send compensation packages to everybody but the people who weren’t banned. There is no win-win solution because Snail did not act immediately, I don’t see why any player should get screwed because of a game management mistake, but its inevitable at this point.

If you read this snail, I don’t mean 5 fortune coins and 5 lucky chests and keys as a comp pack to the unbanned, if you do this course of action, I mean, 20 fortune coins, 20 lucky chests and keys, and 20 gems of l1, and some silver, or something that is substantial. I mean, you can farm what was stated just now in one day.

 
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Have a good solution:

create a new server just for the banned exploiters only and move their accounts on to it. They can play nice with all 58 banned players together there. Never let them back on servers between other players. On the newly created server just for them they can play nicely with their “obtained” stuff, wich in my believe is stolen stuff. Really how big of an idiot you have to be, to not see the prizes could not be right at all.

No they thought let’s quickly exploit it as much as possible before the fault is being taken care of. Grab as much as possible before things are turned back. Seriously, just look at the names who got banned: everybody will see there are a lot amongst them who should have been banned a long time ago.

For the ones shouting about laywers and such: every company has general terms and conditions wich you always can read somewhere. Better believe there is something in it that will justify their decission to ban the players, who only were thinking of grabbing as much as possible before it was too late and the bug/error/glitch/hack was dealed with.

 
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Trolol. I just got 12 hour muted for downing these gms, but no ban from kred abusing.

 
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How can you say a roll back is not fair?? It is not the weekend and since all the opening of stuff was going on I know that nobody could farm because of the lag. Oh my god, so you lose like 10 gems and a few Fortune coins, nothing was dropping anyways (if you watched global or farmed at all you would know that.) The best solution is to roll back to sunday and go on from there! I hope that Snail is at least reading this forum as it does not seem to be reading it’s own. Snail started a thread on their forums and locked it before anyone could post there. The global bashing is getting really old and to say that this helps the cheating is beyond hilarious as SL and gaga11 have been abusing HoG since its begining!

 
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All you people claiming the “common sense” defense of players buying points that were obviously mispriced is completely irrelevant. Where in the TOS or EULA does it say “Players must use common sense when buying points.” Common sense is completely relative to how one player may view it. You can’t base any sort of policy on common sense so stop trying to use it. The bottom line here is Kongregate’s ass is on the line right now BIG TIME!! It was the security breech of their network that allowed this to happen. Companies that suffer far less damage than the $1,000,000 that was spent on points have gone under due to security breeches of this sort. Snail is doing damage control on their end by banning only the players who bought a certain amount of points while other players who only used 10k and under still play on. It obvious by Snail’s actions they are CHOOSING who they think they should be banned which is a huge fail. You can’t ban just certain players who took advantage while leaving others to play. This would not stand up to litagation and both Snail and Kongregate would LOSE!! I apologize to my fellow guildies if this gets you banned too…