How Orcward: Mythic Billing Craziness

By Kieron Gillen on April 10th, 2010 at 12:32 pm.

I do like orcs. But not sexually. Well, a bit sexually.

A lot of people mailed us about this. In short, reports have came in of Mythic’s billing system going mental and charging people multiple times for their subscription. Go to the forum to see some of the reports, with some people reporting hundreds of dollars being vacuumed out of their bank accounts. The official advice at the moment is that the vendour will reverse payments in 24-36 hours, and if it hasn’t by then, you should hit up your bank, who should reverse the charges (And if they don’t, you should phone Mythic Billing). They also promise more news on the issue next week which – considering some of the tales of over-draft annihilating woe in the comments threads – better include at least some conciliatory compensation to those affected.

While this seems to be a US issue, I suspect anyone with a Warhammer account probably should check their account.

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71 Comments »

  1. august says:

    CASH FOR THE CASH GOD

    • sdaeuq says:

      @ august
      :D hahahahahaha

      Mythic’s Warhammer MMO isn’t doing as hotly as expected. Doesn’t mean they don’t expect the same level of cash!

    • Batolemaeus says:

      You just won a few internets, sir.

    • Hunam says:

      utter genius. Not often the net makes me burst out in laughter. If I knew you i’d buy you a pint for that one

      :D

  2. Jockie says:

    Does this only apply to US players? If I’m remembering right European players account management etc is handled by GOA.

  3. Heliocentric says:

    April fools… Oh right.

  4. Haplo says:

    “So there it was, beautiful, pristine. Clear. I was prepared. My finances were in order, my bank details organised, my accounts cheerfully and neatly filled…

    When suddenly, out of nowhere, I spy 600 dollars worth of charges and 600 dollars’ worth of overdraft fees! Where’d they come from?

    Whoever put those fees in my account must’ve been some kind of tactical geniu- CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!”

    On a more solemn note: Any ideas on just how vicious the fallout from this could be? Any US players here who’re reconsidering the game after this?

  5. Dave says:

    EA Mythic has declared bankruptcy in a late-night (more like fly-by-night) filing, good luck getting your money back.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Lk srsly, wtf?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Dave: That’s bullshit though. They’re part of EA. Are you saying all of EA are bankrupt? Don’t be ludicrous.

      KG

    • Heliocentric says:

      Subsiduaries can be cut off from financial responsability, its half the reason they exist.
      Sounds like bs though.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Couldn’t find it anywhere else on the web. I call BS.

      Still though. Who has worse service, Mythic or Cryptic? Also taking other challengers!

  6. Dave says:

    I just spoke to “Ann” from customer service, she confided “my friend and I don’t think we’ll have jobs this time tomorrow” and that she’d been told her boss’s boss was “on vacation”, but and hour ago she saw him in his office “looking stressed”.

    • Heliocentric says:

      He is, the kind you don’t come back from.

    • Psychopomp says:

      >she confided “my friend and I don’t think we’ll have jobs this time tomorrow”

      Oh god…

    • Ziv says:

      WE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rich says:

      You’re playing a very cruel game Dave.

    • Choca says:

      When Mark Jacobs was sacked from Mythic last year, his e-mail adress had an auto-answer message which said he was on a sabatical. Pretty hilarious.

  7. terry says:

    This is the most glorious meltdown imaginable.

  8. Tei says:

    Bad luck, I suppose.

    I don’ think theres nothing evil behind, or things.

  9. Jon says:

    As I read in the thread over on the Warhammer forums, this is not epic fail, this is mythic fail.

    I really would love to know what magic words Mythic used to get a bank to refund an overdraft fee, I suspect they are instead having to pay for the fee themselves.

  10. the wiseass says:

    Well I stopped playing Warhammer Online after the first month and stuff like this is the reason why I pay my MMOs by prepaid cards. This, in my humble opinion, is absolutely inexcusable no matter if this was intended or not.

  11. eot says:

    Bad luck?

    Dude, even people who canceled their accounts months ago are getting billed, some for over a thousand dollars. They shouldn’t even have their credit card info stored anymore. There are lots of people potentially stuck with no money depending on their situation, and on top of that they get hit with overdraft fees. It’s completely unacceptable. Whoever’s responsible shouldn’t be allowed to operate a business like this

  12. Calabi says:

    That is scary bad. I’m gonna be worrying, about when I was playing this. I dont think I gave them my card details, but what about those other MMOs I have payed to play. Just that they are even able to do this, with an error, even on accounts that are not in use. No checks or balances in the system at all.

  13. Out Reach says:

    If Blizzard did this and kept the money… They would be like… Richer than the Richest thing ever.

    • Azhrarn says:

      Even estimating at the lower end Blizzard is raking in excess of $100 million a month from WoW subscriptions without overcharging.
      I doubt they feel any urgent need to ruin their fairly good reputation with something like this.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Thermal Ions says:

    This is just the type of thing that stops me from setting up any sort of recurring periodical debit system on my bank accounts.

    Having worked in banking and actually having read the debit authority terms and conditions, most authorise the debiting of ANY amount at ANY time – regardless if there is an amount listed somewhere else on the form. They’re basically written that way to avoid the need for a new authority if premiums / charges increase however they mean that should the company you deal with overcharge (intentionally or accidentally), you have no / limited recourse on the bank. They’re under no obligation to refund overdrawn fees / debit interest / dishonour fees. Not to mention you being out of pocket the actual overcharge until the company fixes things – which usually doesn’t include reimbursement for any bank fees you’ve incurred due to their stuff up.

    Will be interesting to see how Mythic deals with the additional fees people have incurred. Privacy laws would usually mean that individual’s banks can’t tell Mythic what fees resulted on clients accounts, so may need individuals to provide evidence to Mythic directly.

    • OldRat says:

      Yeah, they’d be fabulously rich… for about two seconds before being hit by literally millions of lawsuits.

  15. Pijama says:

    Well, we already know that the U.S. banking and financial regulation system is at best non-existant, so get ready for a big ole class legal action or lose your money.

  16. Philip says:

    Yeah I got hit with 14 payments, which sent me into overdraft. Its a student account, so hopefully I won’t get charged, but you never know!

  17. Mac says:

    At least they met their month end targets for March :p

    Just wait until next month when they have to double it to cover up the credit for March

  18. Jake says:

    http://herald.warhammeronline.com/warherald/NewsArticle.war?id=1073

    With varying numbers of payments, this sounds less like a billing error and more like a malicious script.

  19. postmanX3 says:

    I’m so glad I don’t play any MMOs.

    Anyways, it sounds like this isn’t even the first time this has happened. Or at least, that’s the impression I get from reading Mythic’s forum. Why is anyone even still playing that game, if something as drastic as this is at risk of happening?!

  20. Dave says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsNlJhq6bjs&feature=email

    And yeah, the comments I made about EA Mythic going bankrupt were a windup, you might want to remove them Kieron, if I get sued for libel I’ll say you put me up to it.

  21. Uhm says:

    It’s a risk with any company that you hand your details over to.

    The most surprising thing to me is how many people seem to have fairly low funds but still play an MMO with monthly charges. Not that it’s for me to say how people should spend their money…

    • Dave says:

      It seems that users are being charged 10-20 times per account (or do I mean character?), just because you can’t take a $400-$800 hit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be playing a $15 a month MMO, especially since it’s the most value-for-money entertainment around.

    • Spoon says:

      Or maybe people just don’t keep that much in their checking accounts?

    • Uhm says:

      Yeah, some are. And some are taking 5 and going into overdraft or have about $30 left, or whatever. It’s just not something I’d have done when I was in that situation a while ago. I’m not much of an MMO person so my sense of value will differ from yours. Especially since so much is free.

    • Uhm says:

      Spoon, reading some of the comments, they state how much they needed that money and so on. I’m not trying to generalise everybody’s case, though. I just thought it was interesting.

    • Dinger says:

      I understand that it’s difficult for some to get credit cards, and recurring-payment systems want to debit your account. But, no, you shouldn’t be giving automatic debit authority to anybody. This event underscores just why you need the authority to resolve disputes with your creditors before money changes hands. I’m sure these saps are going to be even more screwed when they find out they agreed to binding arbitration to resolve their disputes.

      “Okay, we goofed. Here’s your money back, plus two free months of game time to cover your hardship and overdraft fees.”
      “But this doesn’t begin to cover my expenses!”
      “Oh really, well we can take it to arbitration, with a $5000-buy in, and all the records are secret, so that, if we lose a case, we can learn how not to lose the next one and the thousands of others in your situation won’t be any wiser”.

      This is also why I don’t subscribe to last.fm — it’s pay in my area, and they only take PayPal™ .

    • Eamo says:

      Well, if you don’t have a lot of cash to spend on entertainment you get a lot of hours of entertainment each month for your $15 subscription fee or whatever. If you think about it the average Triple A game these days has 20-30 hours of gameplay for $60 or so. Compared to the 120 hours of gameplay your $15 gets you in an MMO if you are a typical mmo player. You are getting about 16 times the game time per dollar spent as you would if instead you spent it on other games, or you could, maybe, get to see 3 movies at $5 each, in that case the MMO is about 20 times the entertainment time per dollar. Go for a meal or a night in the pub? You will be lucky to get 2 hours entertainment there for your $15.

      If you spend a lot of time playing your MMO of choice then it represents a hugely efficient way to spend a small recreational budget. Hell, even my cable TV costs more per month and gives me less hours of entertainment per month.

    • Teachable Moment says:

      It’s almost a shame that “direct debit” became the new normal before “online bill payment” – it encouraged handing over your details to any lightly-regulated johnny-come-lately with their billing outsourced to any third-world-shithole-you-care-to-name.

      This is why you pay yer bills to these shysters on YOUR terms, kids. Put it on a credit card, set up a bill payment on your current account, or, hell, use a standing order. If they don’t accept that, do not do business with them.

    • malkav11 says:

      PayPal will arbitrate disputes and is a fairly safe way of transacting online business. I had to secure a refund through them once and although they gave the other party (an eBay seller who never shipped the 60 GB PS3 I had won as he “tested it” and “it no longer worked” but never got back to me after promising a refund) much longer to get back to them about it than I would have preferred (as I was, after all, out a few hundred bucks and that’s not small change for me), they did get me my money back.

    • Dinger says:

      Again Paypal: you wire your bank account to a PayPal account and password, and if something goes wrong, you get to ask them for your money back.

      If the huge inherent risks in this setup are not immediately apparent, I invite you to do a little investigating around the web for the issues people have with PayPal.

  22. clive dunn says:

    I think we can safely say that this is THE END for Mythic. You can make boo-boo’s with a game till the cows come home but don’t fuck about with peoples bank accounts. That’s such a big no-no.

    Love the comment in the forums from someone saying, ‘they’ve pretty much got till the end of the day to figure this out or my very pissed off wife will be “managing” my account for me’

    Wouldn’t want to be sat round the dinner table in that household!

  23. Tainted says:

    Just imagine if this was world of warcraft instead…

    Angry internet man would be VERY displeased indeed

    • Sceptrum says:

      Oh man…if Blizzard had done a mistake like this, we would need another word for nerdrage, as it would not cut it.

      Hmm…wondering if Bobby Kotick is getting ideas…

  24. Philip says:

    I don’t believe in punishing people for other people’s mistakes. If I stop my subscription now, then that means the developers of one of the best MMOs around stop getting paid. I’m sure the people responsible for the error get fired anyway.

    I’m not really worried, because, at the end of the day they’ve admitted the error and promised to put it right. Plus my bank is awesome.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Yeah but it’s not really that good.

      Playing a Black Orc was fun and all (for the bashin and yellin and stompin, wot) but the game itself, once you got past the low level RvR areas, was pretty lackluster.

      It was pretty much still Warcraft anyways. They just weren’t different enough, and tried to go to the lowest common denominator.

      Sidenote, I sure hope I didn’t get billed. I didn’t play any more than the first free month, anyways.

  25. Dave says:

    When the game of Solium Infernum finally ends in 9 hours time someone will pre-moderate the youtube link I posted earlier, you may be able to find it by searching the title

    “EA/Mythic charging me 21 times for Wahammer online, plus my bank charges me $1.7 million in fees.”

    “The -$888,888 isn’t a fee; it’s just what Bank of America uses to keep the account open while they investigate fraud, but ensure that no other charges will go through. They don’t do it every time there’s a fraudulent charge, but they did it to my accounts when someone printed up some forged checks with my account info. The bank rep clearly explained to me that it was just a flag, and I didn’t *really* owe -$888,888.”

    I hope he had a change of trousers handy.

    • Taillefer says:

      One moment you’re a millionaire, the next you’re $888,888 in debt just because some guy typed a few numbers into a computer. It’s kind of sad.

  26. Orange says:

    Colossal fuckup.

  27. DJ Phantoon says:

    Lemme be the first to throw an insane conspiracy story out there:

    Blizzard hacked Mythic’s billing thingy to make it to this!

    /tinfoilhat

    • Hurion says:

      Counter conspiracy theory:

      Blizzard hacked WAR before the game came out and…

      Oh wait, Mythic didn’t need help to make a crappy game.

  28. Shnyker says:

    Herm, interesting, they seem to say they will pay overdraft fees. Of course, that’s the only way they have any chance of staying in business.

  29. Finn says:

    @Phantoon: yeah… because Blizzard really needs all those…er… hundreds (?) of players still playing Warhammer… right… *removes tinfoil hat

    Seriously though, I’m glad I never paid via direct billing; come to think about it, I never did for any MMO, I still play WoW and I’ve used gamecards for 4.5 years now and won’t change to direct billing.

  30. The Pink Ninja says:

    WAR is over : /

  31. Heliocentric says:

    I’d love RPS to hunt down some truthiness on this. Whats the reals?

  32. Dave says:

    Good to see youtube links need to be pre-moderated but any old shit doesn’t.

  33. DJ Phantoon says:

    I wonder if Games Workshop will demand it taken down anyways, this being a final straw, etc.

  34. Pus Filled Sac says:

    What’s happened to the game’s only selling point: the man from the pre-release videos?

  35. Sjors says:

    So, what exactly about orcs makes them sexually attractive to you Kieron?

  36. Dan says:

    WAR. Huh. Good god, y’all. What is it good for? Apart from killing your business by alienating the last few thousand people who are still willing to pay for your product, that is.

    Absolutely nothing.

  37. Dysmetria says:

    It goes far beyond current subscribers. Subscriptions that were canceled even a year ago were reactivated, got billed dozens of times, and are scheduled to be billed again in less than a month.

  38. jso says:

    well, it’s still a better game than wow

  39. FluffyM says:

    To be honest I am very surprised people are still paying to play WAR. It had quite some potential but clearly died over a year ago. I know people say “game X is dead” all the time, but it really is true for WAR.

    Soccermoms don’t care I guess…good for them.

  40. Neebis says:

    !!!!!

    There’s been a string of inactive accounts being billed the monthly re-occuring fee.
    I know its’ not the same as multiple charges to the same account but I thought I’d give everyone a head’s up because this was happening to me for the better part of this year. Cleared it up an hour ago. just be sure to check your bank statement if you’ve stopped playing this game.