Blizzard have redeemed themselves in my eyes.

Posted: December 6, 2014 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

This article is actually not about any of the products they have released recently.  It’s about the customer service experience I had recently.  Before I go into that though, I need to tell a little backstory about how my previously bad opinion of Blizzard began.  When Cataclysm released, I wanted to resurrect my years dead WoW account to check out the revamped original zones, maybe see if any of my friends were still playing.  Long story short, some nefarious person had hijacked my abandoned account and done all sorts of nasty things resulting in my being banned.  I of course contacted support and asked for help in recovering my account.  To say they were not helpful is an understatement.  Although I repeatedly told them that none of my other accounts or emails had shown any evidence of being compromised in any way, they insisted that they were in no way responsible and it was somehow my fault.  The support agents insisted that this only happened when people willingly sold their accounts and refused to reactivate mine on any terms.

So I did what any person not overburdened by pride would do; I just bought another battle chest for 20 bucks.  Immediately on rejoining the community, I went to the forums to reacquaint myself with the community.  The first thing I discovered in the general forums was much anger that the new water effects in the 4.0 patch were causing a few graphics card models to suddenly overheat and become permanently dead.  Blizzard’s response had been nonexistent on the forums and people were understandably outraged.  Being an experienced modder, I immediately lent my assistance to a few other players who were attempting to make a workaround for this and some of the other bugs that were fairly serious.  We all knew we were taking a risk.  The terms of use clearly state that while you can use add-on content that goes over top of the game, you cannot in any way modify the original files.  Everyone stated that we were only acting with the best intentions and that we would gladly donate anything useful we created to Blizzard, free of charge.  We also said that we would immediately stop if there was a fix of some kind issued officially that solved the problems.  This finally provoked a response from the moderators.  In super sneaky private messages, we were all told that we would be sued if we didn’t immediately remove all altered content links, delete any references to our posts and not link them to any other players in private messages.  The bugs were eventually fixed, but the PR response was next to nonexistent and I was not the only one who thought it was bogus.

I played for a while, on and off, but I never really felt the same way about the game again.  The wound of losing the characters I had put so much time into broke the yearning to get just one more.  Since that time I have never raised another character to the present max level.   I’ve never maxed out a profession, or joined a new guild to take a hand in their rankings.  I’ve mostly just peeked my head in from time to time to see if the snow was still falling in Kharanos.

Then along came WoW’s 10th anniversary.  Even though the game at this point in no way resembles the game I fondly remember, I felt compelled to return one last time.  I had put my years and my dollars into this game and I deserved that achievement (and whatever ultimately disappointing reward item would come with it).  I logged into my account and took a look at my games.  There were my Diablo and Starcraft logins, minding their business in case I ever needed them and… oh no, there’s my WoW account, banned.  In the description when I clicked on this “banned”, there was also the word permanent.  Fearing the very worst, I sent this embarrassingly long, half pleading, half rambling ticket request to the WoW admins.  It took almost 24 hours, but I finally got a response.  The admin (who I won’t name, since I forget to ask his/her permission) apologized for taking so long to reply, mentioning that the launch of WoD had kept them busy.  My accounts were reactivated and everything was good, thanks for my patience.  I almost couldn’t believe it.  My accounts?  Even my original account, which was still on the same overall battle.net account, was now just inactive.  After all these years, it was really happening.

I should have managed my expectations.  The nasty gold farmers or whatever had wiped my original characters and replaced them with a bunch of level 1 gnomes on many different servers.  Go figure.  This was in no way the fault of Blizzard though (unless the original breach was their fault, but oh well), I just waited 4 more years to find out the extent of the damage.  What made it all okay though, was that all of my account wide bonuses were restored.  Everything else, I would have lost anyway had I started out fresh on a new server.  This small gesture of holiday kindness really made my week, so I did everything in my power to repay them.  I filled out the survey and promised to write a semi-lengthy article about how I was wrong about them.  I do my best to keep my promises.

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