Extended downtimes, terms of service and player reactions.

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Lotro, posts by John
Tags: , , , , , , ,

As with all computer based systems or websites, sometimes they have to come down to be fixed/updated or for general tuning up to make them run effectively. This has gone on since as long as I can remember and is very much embedded in the online gaming culture, particularly with the MMO genre of games.
Servers are taken down and patches are applied to the game servers which allow players to download and play the latest build with all the new loot and bug fixes but I’m sure you understand the concept of patching a game so I’ll just skip over the rest of it for your benefit.

Turbine, host and owner of the Lord of The Rings Online (or LOTRO) announced more than a week ago that on Wednesday the 13th of Febuary that they would be taking down their servers for back-end system maintenance, which would last twelve hours then the servers would come back up and everything would be fine.This was to occur on not just LOTRO servers but for all of Turbines online games (Dungeons and Dragons Online and Asheron’s Call) and is perfectly understandable and acceptable although as always with mmo games, some people did voice strong opinions against such measures as it would cut into their game time.  However, what these people failed to read was that in the terms of service for LOTRO, which you must agree to in order to play the game, There is a section which states..

“Turbine may change, modify, suspend, or discontinue any aspect of the Game at any time. Turbine may also impose limits on certain features or restrict your access to parts or all of the Game without notice or liability.”  
Which is exactly what Turbine have done. they have suspended the game so they can do this essential work on their back-end servers, but as always people will complain.
Anyway, I’m getting a little off-track here.
This period was later postponed until Thursday the 14th of Febuary (Valentines Day) which seemed to please a lot of people as they would be spending this time with their loved ones but once again, people complained and asked for compensation for losing game time.
After the period started, it was quickly extended to twenty-four hours of downtime and that things were going fine, despite this news. However, approx four hours before this was due to finish the player base was informed via twitter that they would not make the twenty-four hour deadline and did not have an ETA for the servers coming back up, which is still within their rights to do. The player base, of course has erupted into acts of stupid posting and rage aimed towards the LOTROcommunity team, whom has absolutely no say in how the servers are maintained and are only there to relay the messages onto the players.
This beggars the question, do people even read the terms of service before they ever sign up to playing a game or do they just click “I Accept” and go on in ignorance of the actual conditions which you agree to partake in the product that the company has contracted you to.
Should people who don’t read and understand the Terms of Service automatically have their contracts voided and be banned from the game? Isn’t agreeing to and signing a contract, which is what you do when you click on “I Accept“, without first reading and understanding it not cause for dismissal from the contract?
Or are Turbine going easy on the players so they keep paying them?

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