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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Open Chat problem resovled.

So, as you all probably know, there was an open chat update which got a lot of people angry. I, for one, really don't have an opinion on this since I don't use open chat. But apparently a lot of people did.
Here's the response Merle Ambrose made:

"To the Wizard101 Community,

Recently we made a change to our chat system that left a number of people in our community frustrated -- or some cases, even angry. The feedback has been signficant, and I wanted to write you a quick note to let you know that, as always, we are listening.

First off, a quick apology. We did a very poor job of notifying you, our customer community, that this change was coming. To make matters worse, we completely failed to explain the reasons behind this decision. Please accept our apology for that, and allow me the opportunity to provide that explanation now.

A large portion of our effort here at KingsIsle is spent polishing our game, and all the related subsystems. It may not be apparent on the outside, but maintaining a virtual world with 15 million players can be pretty challenging. Operational systems, customer support, registration and billing, the website -- there are hundreds of individual pieces that have to fit together perfectly to keep Wizard101 running all day, every day. Our team is constantly changing these systems, improving them, polishing them, trying to make them better for you.

Sometimes when we make changes, we also make mistakes. A few weeks ago, we found that we had made an error: the explanation for how our 18+ Chat feature worked, as described on the website, didn't match the rules set that turned this Chat Filter off. The result was that a number of players -- all of them over 18 years of age, mind you -- were able to keep Open Chat working, even when their subscription expired.

Oops. Our original intention was to restrict this type of chat to active members only. We thought requiring a current, active credit card would be the safest, easiest way to ensure that 18+ chat remained exactly that -- a restricted feature meant only for our more mature players.

When we found that error, we put it on the schedule, and a short time later it was "fixed." The issue, of course, is that a number of our customers -- like those who have migrated from a subscription account to buying areas with crowns -- found themselves suddenly unable to use a feature they had grown accustomed to. This wasn't a problem before; in fact, when we added 18+ Chat, game cards were a pretty small part of our business. Now we sell them in almost fifty thousand retail locations.

Our intention was to fix an issue with our chat system -- not to alienate a portion of our community! We value our pay-as-you-go customers just as much as our monthly subscribers -- but by making this change, it certainly didn't look that way.

So the question now is: how do we resolve this going forward?

After much discussion, we have decided to move the system back to the way it was before -- and fix the messaging to accurately reflect this. As before, we will still require the use of a credit card to verify that an account holder is 18 or older -- this is not just the right thing to do, it is actually a legal requirement. This is not open to debate. But we can drop the restriction that you must have an active subscription. Once an account is verified as being over 18 years old, that account will remain verified, whether they continue to pay us or not.

We're going to make this change immediately, and I sincerely hope that this will address the situation to everyone's satisfaction. That said, player safety is (and must be) our first priority, and we will continue to review and revise our policies and rules to keep Wizard101 both safe and appropriate for all ages . We reserve the right to change things as we deem necessary, even if those changes are unpopular.

Please understand that we consider our player community to be our most important asset... We are listening, and we do care about your opinions. Thank you again for playing, and I hope to see you in Ravenwood.


J Todd Coleman
"Headmaster Ambrose"
Director, Wizard101

ps. one final note about feedback. We promise to continue listening... but only to opinions that are stated in a courteous, respectful manner. Profanity, insults or threats towards our customer support team absolutely will not be tolerated. Those who have acted in a discourteous or disrepectful manner -- in game, on our forums, or via email -- can expect their accounts to be immediately sanctioned or banned.

J. Todd Coleman
Headmaster Ambrose
Director, Wizard101
KingsIsle Entertainment, Inc."

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