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MMO Money Magazine

Writings on the business of fun: Virtual Worlds and Real Money Makes Online Gaming a Big Business. My economic view on the world of online games - without the hype.

Author: Inktomi

Dear NCSoft, My Aion account was hacked and I lost everything. Please refund my time.

Posted by Inktomi Friday January 29 2010 at 1:35AM
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 I know that it is not possible to travel backwards or even forwards in time. We are not going to have a metaphysical conversation here. What I feel would be good customer service and would heal relationships between NCSoft and its customers is by taking care of the victims of the latest hacking spree going on.


In recent posts I gave a good friends story of how her account was hacked and how badly she was treated by customer service. The first thing I asked her was, “Did you get your gear back?” and the second after she told me no I asked, “How long will it take you to earn it back?” Her answer was “Weeks.”

As an MMORPG gamer and veteran I know how long it takes to get endgame gear in the first place. Now to have to regrind all that back is annoying to say the least and time consuming. She told me that a few of the dungeons are at least 3, 6 to 9 hours to complete! There are no insurance policies for virtual goods.

You are not alone.

Is what I said to comfort her. I simply googled ‘aion accounts hacked’ and got a slew of forum complaints from other victims of their Aion accounts hacked. Here are the links if you want to read some of the other horror stories I found.

Account hacked! What will NCSOFT do?

My wifes account was hacked today.

Account hacked second day in a row.

NCSecurity: Phantom Hacker Steals Aion Account

Account hacked, what do I do?

Husbands account hacked...

 Can you see the trend here. One or two in not a problem, but there are a lot more I didn't post. It seems to be the same cause and effect is happening while the company does nothing to help the customer other than restore their accounts. And in some cases even slow to do that.

A worst case scenario.

Imagine you come home to your house/apartment to find your front lock is changed and your key does not work. After finally breaking the door down you walk it to a ransacked apartment. Your electronics are gone, so are your jewelry and even your old microwave. It has to be one of the worst feelings in the world to find out you are robbed. You may be lucky to have insurance on your stuff; you call the police, fill out a report and hope for the best. It still doesn’t remove that gross feeling of being invaded and you cannot even begin to calculate how much you lost monetarily.

The bottom line is you could have protected yourself as best as possible, if someone is determined to rob you, they will. And it’s not your fault you were robbed. The best you could do cut your losses and move forward. But what did you really lose?

You lost your time. When it comes down to money, you have to look at the time it took to make the money to buy that DVD player and Xbox you lost. The jewelry might even be heirlooms that are irreplaceable. It will still take a long time to build it all back. I think your first investment would be of course new ways to secure your home so it never happens again. At that point any help is a relief.

My proposal.

I’m willing to fight for you. My dedication has always been to the honest paying game player like myself, this is why I write mMO MONEY.

In my opinion I feel NCSoft should give at least 2-3 free months of gametime subscription to anyone who had their account compromised. As well as Aion customers they can also be held accountable for customers of Lineage and Lineage II,City of Heroes/Villians and Guild Wars as well. If their security is bad for Aion, it has to be for their other games too.

I think it’s also very important to improve their security too. They removed their gameguard before going live and maybe it wasn’t a good idea to do so. I also know that it created many technical issues, but I would rather have that than lose weeks or months worth of my efforts because of faulty security.

Here’s my strategy.

There is a website that offers a free online petition service: if you, the MMO community would be kind to collaborate with me for this cause, or are a victim of NCSofts’ faulty security and would like some retribution. Then give me some feedback and your support, please. In the meantime I am going to write a thesis on WHY they should be giving their customers the time to replace some of the equipment they were robbed of from these terrible hackers. I think they least they could do are to give 2-3 free months of subscriptions to their customers. Don’t you agree?

I’ll post it and I will start a largescale petition to rally the community to stand up for themselves against NCSofts weak response to this problem. What do you think? Any and all feedback is welcome. This is not the first time an online game account was hacked so this is  going to send a message to NCSoft but hopefully change the way that all MMO distributors will approach their games security and most important how they treat you, loyal customer.

It’s you loyal customer, who pays his $14.99 a month not matter what, and who is the most important person at the end of the day. Don’t you think it’s time these game companies started treating you like one?

I am starting a forum post here for your feedback. Thanks in advance =)

Play safe,

Frank Inktomi