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Update Regarding 18+ Chat

AuthorMessage
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.

Regards,

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.



Survivor
Mar 08, 2009
2
This is ridiculous that we have to pay for open chat still! You should change it to anyone over at leavst 30+ gets open chat. This disapoints me majorly.

Survivor
Jul 10, 2010
2
Bravo!!!!! Kings-isle I commend you for doing more than any other game I have ever played has done... and that is listen. I was not affected by this change but commend you yet again for fixing this matter!!!

Survivor
Jul 11, 2009
8
:D Thank you for listening, explaining this, and taking action to fix the problem (and being willing to admit your mistakes). This is one of the things that makes KingsIsle such a great company.

Survivor
Jun 05, 2010
6
THANK YOU! thank you so much *cries*

It has been so hard to talk with my friends these past few days. And the thought of not being able to get open chat until my gift card funded subscription ended was maddening.

I will contact what friends i have that may have quit to let them know of the change. Hopefully the ones that i cannot contact check the news or will log back to find the changes themselves. There are a few i know that quit that i would really like to see again.

Survivor
Sep 04, 2009
1
Well i have more than 18 and they got my open out, anyways thx i getting more crowns with credit card and see if i get open back.

Hero
Jul 27, 2009
755
you have stated once an account has been verified to be 18 or older with a credit card.. does the credit card have to remain on file or do you have a place where the verification is listed so if we wish we may remove the card info and go back to using the gift cards?

i do so love getting the pets from the cards and was looking to collecting a whole menagerie of Critters this way.

Survivor
Aug 24, 2010
2
Very well stated KI, and thank you for admitting when you have made a mistake. More companies should do the same.

Kids just do not realize, no matter how many times you tell them, that there are people out there that will stop at nothing to get to them. Responsible adults and companies are only doing what we should - help to keep this to a minimum. That is why you have put these safeguards into place and I commend you on it.

Survivor
Sep 11, 2010
2
wanda59 wrote:
This is ridiculous that we have to pay for open chat still! You should change it to anyone over at leavst 30+ gets open chat. This disapoints me majorly.


What about those that are under 30+. I agree it was not right when they didnt inform players but Your idea would punish those that are over 18 but under 30. And thats selfish to those of us who dont fall under you concept.

Defender
Jun 29, 2009
165
Uz3r013 wrote:
THANK YOU! thank you so much *cries*

Ditto!

An in game list friend contacted me with the great news. The change will facilitate much easier communication. Honestly, those kids are so creative working around that filter, it's the adults that have issues. LOL

Again, THANK YOU!

Delver
Mar 18, 2010
262
Thank you so much for doing this! So nice to see a company listen to their customers and do the right thing.

Megan

Survivor
Mar 04, 2009
43
KingsIsle THANK YOU!!!
This was the right move. I award you for listening to the community, and finally being there for the Pay-As-You Go Player.

Survivor
Apr 25, 2009
14
Survivor
Oct 22, 2009
2
:D Bravo!! Bravo!! (clapping hands) Well done, King'sIsle! Great job in the listening department!! We DO have to protect our kids, whether they like it or not. A good portion of them don't think about the dangers that lie in wait for them-most especially on games like this.
Bravo to the parents who play on here with their kids as well! Together we'll keep this community fun and entertaining..
AND SAFE!!!

Survivor
Dec 18, 2010
2
Thank you :)
*buys crowns*

Also nice to see that some that would be likely to abuse open chat won't be in the game for much longer. I feel sorry for your costumer support team though.....

Champion
Aug 10, 2009
483
KI,

I just wanted to say thank you for getting this all worked out quickly. I have played most of the online games out there and never has a company responded so quickly and admitted their error. Big hugs to all who are working hard at KI

ellie

Survivor
Aug 03, 2010
3
zardozfl wrote:
:D Thank you for listening, explaining this, and taking action to fix the problem (and being willing to admit your mistakes). This is one of the things that makes KingsIsle such a great company.


I agree with this guy, and Kingsisle is the best company, and Mr.Coleman, if you created Wizard 101, it is my favorite computer game! :P

Survivor
Feb 14, 2009
1
Thank you KI and I just want to say I recommend this game to every parent I talk to and even to the adults. I tell them to try it themselfs and then they can let their children on to play. I think the age appropriate chat is the best. :D

Survivor
Jul 31, 2010
2
Survivor
Jun 05, 2009
5
Thank you! Thank you! I really appreciate you guys listening to us! I agree that you DO need to verify that some one is old enough! One of the MANY reason I love playing this game! But a lot of my friends lost their chat abilities and like they said its the kids who are creative with getting around the chat and the Adults who have issues. Namely me!

Again Thank you for listening KI and explaining everything even though I knew it already why you had to have verification. Thank you for making this change.

Survivor
Feb 25, 2009
5
Thank you very much!! I wasn't quite sure why you guys changed it, I'll admit I figured it was greed, wanting more people to switch to subscription not crowns, and I apologize for that, I think the fact that this change caught many players off guard added to our outrage. But I am very glad you guys put it back!!!

Survivor
Aug 09, 2010
1
So now, I'm still confused. I'm only 16, but I've never badmouthed anyone or said anything mean, rude, or offensive to anyone in the game. Am I going to not be able to talk to the friends I have when my subscription ends? That seems a bit unfair to me. I intended to start the pay-as-you-go thing so that I could buy the game myself since my mom doesn't want to pay for it anymore. You'll just be losing business.

I liked the chat the way it was.

I think you should rethink the having to be 18+ thing. It's not fair.

This DOES explain why there suddenly so many safe chat people, though...

Survivor
Dec 16, 2008
1
sweetsnsuch wrote:
wanda59 wrote:
This is ridiculous that we have to pay for open chat still! You should change it to anyone over at leavst 30+ gets open chat. This disapoints me majorly.


What about those that are under 30+. I agree it was not right when they didnt inform players but Your idea would punish those that are over 18 but under 30. And thats selfish to those of us who dont fall under you concept.


i agree with both it is just wrong! :(

Survivor
Dec 29, 2010
1
I would like to bring up a concern, that has involved the Wizard101 community. Many people playing the game are associating themselves in an inappropriate manner! I have seen most players asking, "Do you like me?" "Does anyone need a girl? a boy?" I find it disrespectful for these players to be talking to others, as if they are in a dating site. Would someone please inform this and make a change somewhere? I would really appreciate it! Considering the fact that this is a family game, I do not find it appropriate for younger children, to be associated with these conducts! I love the game, it is fun to play and I would like to make this issue known!

Thank you for your time! :-)

Survivor
Aug 25, 2009
6
I am genuinely impressed with KI's prompt response and reaction based on customer feedback. I truly appreciate the effort that goes into making this game safe for kids, which is why I allow my own children to play it. Additionally, however, I appreciate the accomodations you have in place for your 18+ users, which truly makes this a "kids' MMO for adults" as well. I have spent countless hours enjoying this game with my children and with adult friends as well. I am pleased to see that players who are verified as being 18+ will be treated equally, regardless of whether they are crowns players or subscribers. Kudos to you, KI, for your attentiveness to your client base!