When I got my first job working on a MMO four years ago at Flying Lab, I thought I should become more familiar with World of Warcraft because it was the clear market leader. WoW was and continues to be the standard, so I figured it’d help me in my job to be better acquainted with it. So I got the game and the latest expansion and spent the required hours patching and updating. I played for one afternoon and found it intensely boring. Was the game really supposed to suck me in with starting quests like Kill 10 of Monster X? I figured I’d get back to it, however, so I kept paying the monthly fee. My co-workers assured me that if I got deeper into the game and joined a guild, I’d enjoy it a lot more. I just never did though because I was working FLS, running Green Ronin, and trying to have a family and social life and that kept me plenty busy.
A year later my credit card expired and I thought that was a sign. At this point I’d invested a couple of hundred dollars into WoW and had one play session to show for it. I did not update my credit info and figured that was that. Then four or five months later I was looking at a bank statement and noticed I somehow was still being charged. So I e-mailed Blizzard and explained the situation. I told them I had played their game exactly once. I was clear with them that paying for that first year was on me though. I could have cancelled but I didn’t, despite not playing, and that was no one’s fault but my own. However, I had not given them my revised credit card info and I felt they had no right to keep charging me. In fact, I was at a loss as to how they even did it. The response I got: “It is not Blizzard’s policy to refund money.” I exchanged three of our e-mails with a custserv rep, always remaining polite and trying to be reasonable. I got the same inane response every time: “It is not Blizzard’s policy to refund money.” I called my bank and explain the situation. They said Blizzard must have “pre-approved” my card for six months before it expired and I could fight it but I’d probably lose. So I formally cancelled my account and sent a final e-mail to Blizzard that I asked be kicked up to a manager. I explained my issue again, remaining polite, and said that this whole encounter was making me think less of Blizzard. Did they really need to squeeze that last $60 out of me? Naturally, I received no response and no refund. It’s not their policy, you see. Of course, it’s not my policy to be ripped off.
So now I’m back working in the MMO field at Vigil and just like at FLS, people talk about WoW all the time. It’s a constant reference point, both positive and negative. “We want to do X like WoW, but Y very differently. And oh, this bit is like the Blood Fuck Canyon section of WoW.” It’s gibberish to me, especially when they use the leet acronyms and such. Now on the one hand I’d like to be able to do my job better and I could participate in these conversions more meaningfully if I knew WoW. On the other hand, those weasels bilked me out of money and I’m not keen to reward that behavior by reactivating my account. My righteous indignation is at my war with my dispassionate professionalism. Which side do you think should win?
Originally posted on LiveJournal on November 14, 2010.