The makers of card game monster-battler Duelyst [official site] recently got into bed with publishers Bandai Namco. But now the problems of this transfer of power are rearing their heads and, oh no, they UGLY. The most noticeable issue is that some players from Russia and other non-US countries have found themselves locked out of the game. A game they’ve spent a huge amount of time and money on. And it appears this is part of a larger shutting down operation.
Russian player Alpod first noticed the problem when he tried to log in last week and since then his complaints have usually ended with the response that the game is simply “unavailable in your region”. While other users have also complained about being locked out (including one user from Venezuela), others find they're still able to play if they don’t use Steam as the launch client, or for some other mysterious reason. The problem is further complicated by login issues caused by the recent transfer (players have had to “relink” their accounts from one company to another as part of the move and that itself is causing lots of lost passwords and related problems). In other words, it’s all a bit messy.
It’s hard to get a straight answer from Bandai Namco or Counterplay about this. A statement from the original creators says that “the issue of Geo-IP blocking […] we are required to do for legal reasons”. In fact, they say they can’t even name the countries they aren’t allowed to operate in anymore, also “for legal reasons”. Meanwhile, when we asked Bandai Namco about the region locking we got this response:
"Unfortunately, to ensure compliance with U.S. and international laws and regulations and to fulfill [sic] our obligations to various third party service providers, Duelyst will not be available to users in all countries or regions. A timeline for sunsetting Duelyst in countries and regions where it will no longer be available will be announced shortly."
That last sentence is probably the most important. It heavily suggests that some regions are now being totally shut out of the game, the doublespeak term “sunsetting” being used in place of the more realistic “shutting down”.
We’ve asked again for the countries and regions where this will be happening, impatient to see this list. It’s unfortunate this “sunsetting” plan was not made clear to players when the handover was first announced, as there are doubtless people out there who have bought in-game items and card packs without knowing they were about to be ousted from the entire community.
It’s a big pity. Duelyst is an excellent game, one of the best CCGs out there. We’ll update the story when we know more.
Oh, and if you’re thinking: “So what, Russian? Just use a VPN.” Well, that's a totally different problem.