MMO developer Wargming is in hot water over their treatment of customers. Earlier this month, the developer partnered with Humble Bundle to let players purchase in-game cash and ship for their still in beta title, World of Warships. At the time, anyone who purchased the bundle would get access to the closed beta, get premium ship Murmansk and 1,000 premium credits. These items also would have carried over into open beta and beyond. After the latest game patch however, the deal has been altered and many fans have found their beloved ship missing.
In a June 16th post on game forums, developers confirmed that those who purchased the Humble Bundle would get to keep the ship and cash after the end of closed beta. This made a lot of sense as the closed beta period was about to end and it wouldn’t make sense to buy something that would later get wiped. With confidence their purchase would be secure, many fans took advantage of the Humble Bundle deal to snag themselves some steel.
Today, World of Warships transitioned to open beta and fans were met with a bad surprise. Upon viewing their ship inventory, many players were shocked to find that their beloved Murmansk and their premium credits had gone missing. Re-entering the code also did not yield any results but at first fans were patient and hoped it was simply a bug. However, developers soon posted a statement that the Humble Bundle deal was only meant for closed beta. Moreover though, developers also admitted that they had bungled the message and had taken a week to fix their mistake. The crucial parts of the clarification statement can be found below with bold being mine own emphasis:
Being involved with Humble Bundle, an organization that supports a wide range of charities such as the ESA Foundation, Child’s Play, and Video Game History Museum are a noble cause, and one we’ve always wanted to be a part of. Unfortunately, we bungled this first-time effort. This is on us, not Humble Bundle.
Last week we said you’d get the Murmansk on your accounts after we went into Open Beta. That was incorrect; we had only ever intended to treat this partnership with Humble Bundle as an opportunity to preview premium World of Warships content and to help drive donations to charity.
While we were quick to work with Humble Bundle to revise messaging on their web portal on June 17, we neglected to revise our own forum thread topic from June 16. Should we have left that thread unaddressed for a week? No. That’s our failing in effectively communicating back to you.
We screwed up, plain and simple, and we hope you understand that we’re sincerely sorry. This was never our intention and we hope that you can forgive us for this blunder.
Many angry fans have taken to reddit and the game forum to voice their complaints. During the mixed messaging period, a large number of players had bought in, thinking that the official stance was that they would keep their items. Furious accusations have ranged from deception, fraud, and a bait and switch and many are demanding that their purchase be honoured under the original terms. So furious was the response that the forum thread has grown to over 57 pages in the 6 hours since the company backtracked and the World of Warships sub-reddit is swarming.
Wargaming has stated that the bundle was meant to help support charity and bring in more players to experience the closed beta. One does have to at least give credit that Wargaming has owned up to their mistake so easily. However, given that fact that Wargaming have admitted they screwed up the messaging, the least they could do is give the items the fans purchased with real money. Given the fact that these are digital items and many might not have purchased the Murmansk had it not been for the bundle, that only seems fair. The lost trust of players is something that no amount of perceived revenue lost could justify, not in the least for free to play games.