PTOF: Players Collective Greivance
RE: Formal Grievance – Pirates Tides of Fortune
We, the undersigned, wish to bring to your attention a number of issues which have resulted in this collective, formal grievance, undertaken by a considerable number of players of your Pirates: Tides of Fortune game played via the Facebook platform. As our grievance relates solely to the game within the Facebook system, we have elected the use of English as the dominant language and understand that any actions would fall within the United States jurisdiction.
We understand that as a commercial entity, securing a healthy profit margin is of primary focus and normally you would strive to maintain a healthy engagement of dialogue with your customers. Despite your company intentions, we have reached a stalemate in regards to a complete lack of appropriate communication with your appointed staff members. The following represents the current issues which have been put forward and are the basis of our discord; they are listed in no particular order of preference:
- We understand the need for continual development of the game and look forward to new and exciting ways of playing however we have no access to the Plarium Development team in order to communicate problems or suggestions. The non-legal personality of Anne Bonnie, operated by a number of non-identified individuals has become a farcical situation. Suggestions are ignored and the freedom to express genuine issues has now been met with threats of ‘disciplinary’ actions against member’s havens. We appreciate that as a Game Developer your company promotes the use of Community forums and we have noted your published article “23 useful tips for a game community administrator”, which supports our assumption. (http://company.plarium.com/news/featured/23-useful-tips-for-a-game-community-administrator/) We would therefore request that a system is put in place, similar to your published guidance as linked above, to enable communication with the game players so that we are capable, and have freedom, to express the results of any changes made, and put forward relevant suggestions irrespective as to whether they may be positive or negative in nature. We believe that this would create a balanced view point for the game developers and assist them by knowing from the experiences of the players, what changes are of benefit and which are detrimental to the game play.
- The current Help-desk system is flawed, resulting in many reported issues being ignored or not even logged in the help-desk system. Genuine issues such as sudden loss of troops and/or resources are met with a standard judgmental response that the individual player must have lost the troops and/or resources in a battle, despite no battle having taken place. It is interesting to note that a lot of these losses coincide with non-confirmed ‘system updates’ although the completion of such updates is continually denied. This has now resulted in a complete lack of confidence from players to report any such matters to the Help-desk and we would request that this system is reviewed to enable a non-judgmental help-desk to provide genuine and non-fictional resolution of issues.
- The current format of ‘update’ releases is flawed, by which consistent issues are created due to new bugs and/or glitches which affect the standard of the game play. We would request that a more rigorous system is implemented in respect of the system testing prior to release to prevent such issues continually arising. We are still plagued with glitches and/or bugs as a result of previous updates and yet such reports of these are again met with consistent denials that any such updates have occurred despite many players being unable to access the game due to the game being updated.The continual number of glitches is astounding based on the level of obvious commitment you have to improving the game and the players’ experience. Some are fairly innocuous, such as having to refresh your game screen every time a new in-game message comes up to read it, other glitches can result in missing troops. So far all glitches have been reported via the Community Page and the support system. The community page again ignores the comment, deletes it or is disrespectful to the player in a response – the standard line is “clear your cache” and if that doesn’t work, “delete the game from your profile, refresh and then reinstall”. If these methods actually worked then that would be great, but they do not fix the issue and we are again left in a less than acceptable situation in order to continue to play a game we enjoy.
- This game is advertised as a free-to-play, free to join. Players join on this representation, yet it soon becomes apparent that to become competitive within the game, you must buy rubies in order to gain exclusive troops and other benefits. This creates a fundamental divide and resentment between players. It is our core belief that continual and obvious alienation of free-to-play players will only lead to the considerable reduction in players overall; this will affect the community on a whole and the loyalty level to your brand. In order to be interesting and profitable, the game needs committed members who are regularly logging on, irrespective of whether they purchase rubies or not. From a commercial stand point, by implementing systems to enable more players to compete for the same rewards that ruby players do, there is a greater chance of an increased overall spend. We would therefore suggest that there be an equalisation between rubies and the advertised free-play. We appreciate that efforts have been made in respect of this by way of tournaments and so forth but this does not reduce the divide to a satisfactory level for most. It is suggested that this could be achieved by making the units, fortifications and such like, which are available exclusively to ruby purchases also available for discovery so that all members are able to build the units rather than just buy them.
These issues are most disturbing as we have been made to feel like our only value to Plarium is as paying players. Many of us have played this game since its inception, whilst others have committed over or under a year; what we all have in common is a healthy enthusiasm and commitment to your game. We want to continue to play because we enjoy the game and the community that internally many have been responsible in building. The issues currently on the community page have already resulted in the loss of numerous players from the game completely with even more waiting in the side-lines to leave.
We are ultimately bringing all this to your attention direct as a collective community unit in the hope that you will be able to extinguish our concerns in an appropriate and timely manner. We may only play your game, but we believe we deserve the same level of respect and commitment that we give to you and your game.