LiveGamer/EQ2 Issues Continue After Power Outage

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Ever since the San Diego power outage on which knocked out all SOE servers, players attempting to use the LiveGamer service to transfer/buy/sell items and characters on the Bazaar and Vox servers have been receiving the following error message:

Item not sent! Transfer Asset Failure

On September 13th, Bunji posted in a thread discussing this issue on the EQ2 Forums:

This issue is currently being investigated.

There were two followup posts from Bunji indicating that the service should be working, but whatever was fixed on SOE’s end did not resolve the situation, suggesting a problem on LiveGamer’s end.

On September 16th, new EQ2 Community Manager Isulith commented:

We are still looking into this matter. We are very sorry that we don’t have an update for you right now, but it is being investigated. When we know more information, we will let you know.

Thank you for your continued patience in this matter.

Yesterday (September 19th), in a different thread, Zoltaroth commented:

Just to keep you guys up to date, we are working on this issue.  There are lot of moving parts with this system and whatever is broken is not obvious so it is taking a bit longer than we would like it to.

Meanwhile players have been hammering LiveGamer phone and e-mail support attempting to get some response. Most have had no luck, but one received this response to a LiveGamer Support Ticket:

Hello ,

We apologize for the delay. Due to the recent power outage on the west coast, Asset transfer service is temporarily unavailable for EQII. We are working hard with SOE to resolve the issue ASAP. As you are aware, all sales on the Exchange are final. When the service is back online, you will regain immediate access to your inventory. We appreciate your patience.

Best Regards,

Live Gamer Support

Opti of the Bazaar posted an interesting perspective on the situation:

The funny part to me is this: When LG doesn’t work, and that is often, it takes forever to get it fixed, because it affects a minimal amount of people and doesn’t help anyone. However, if the gambling goblin were to accidentally work for even 5 minutes or we accidentally got an extra accidental double xp weekend, the server would be brought down INSTANTLY and it would be fixed. If it hurts us, it doesn’t matter. If it were to provide us with a benefit it gets fixed right away.

While I’m on the topic of LG being a bad service, why does it take so long to get what we purchase? I’ve bought things from across the country on ebay and received them quicker than I got virtual goods from LG. Whats up with that?

Why use LiveGamer at all?

In a February 2008 article on the WarCry Network, SOE President John Smedley commented on why SOE was outsourcing its RMT-enabled Station Exchange servers Bazaar and Fox after having previously managed them in-house:

“We’re getting to the point now where we needed to take very aggressive action on the fraud screening end,” said SOE CEO John Smedley. “When I say fraud, I am talking about people defrauding us; that never hits the customers.”

“We have been fined [for customer chargebacks]; just the fines alone are over a million dollars, and a lot of those are from Station Exchange,” said Smedley.

The contract with LiveGamer, however, is a double-edged sword, as while the Exchange servers are no longer dinging SOE due to chargebacks, SOE’s hands are tied about the possibility of merging these servers, or exploring other avenues to improving the population.

LiveGamer has apparently managed to dodge the credit card chargeback knife by being a Paypal-only funded service. Paypal does not allow chargebacks for virtual goods. Most if not all other credit card processors will chargeback any disputed transaction.

Some have pondered whether this outage might be the necessary leverage to terminate the contract, however this action would require SOE to once again pick up the responsibility for managing these servers. Unless the Bazaar and Vox could be merged with the EQ2X server, meanwhile introducing those RMT features not already present on EQ2X, SOE resuming responsibility for the Station Exchange servers might be more trouble than its worth.

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Comments (10)

  • Karith

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    My entire guild just abandoned Vox server and restarted on Nagafen. This is the third large raiding guild I can think of to do this in the past few years. We got stuck finishing EZ mode raiding and having a x3 only show up at every raid and unable to put a few mobs back on farm that we needed pieces for to go into HM raiding. To me that was the tipping point, but a lot of stuff lead up to that point.

    I will never be on an RMT or LG type server again unless the entire game is and unless server transfers allowed to any other server.

    Reply

  • Torin

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    Maybe if SOE would fulfill there contractual agreement with there customers, they wouldnt have displeased players and probably not as many chargebacks. Sometimes pleasing your customers goes farther than worrying about how much money you can get off of them.

    Reply

  • Coopendor

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    The guild I was with 3 weeks ago on The Bazaar server just up and left for AB server as well. They all left and created new toons and I am sure they are power leveling them as quick as they can. I did not want to go through that headache again so I stayed on the Bazaar.
    I have only used live gamer 2x. Once to sell a 90 Coercer to a friend for the smallest amount you could charge, and the other time was to purchase some of the Sentinals Fate raid shards or marks or whatever they were. I personally think SOE should take this opportunity to drop LG and merge Bazaar and Vox into other servers and give us a free server transfer on those 2 servers. I cannot speak for Vox but the Bazaar has a very low population. I dont think we have even finished the Dragon ring event in GD yet. There are only a few raid guilds left and we are mostly hitting EM raids due to lack of people.

    By the way, I started playing EQ2 6 years ago and was more or less recruited by a friend who told me to create my characters on (I forget what the name of the server was called before it was changed to The Bazaar) that server. I did not even know or care what an exchange server was at that time so I stayed. I am not willing to pay the fee to transfer one or any of my toons to another server. I do not plan to ever use LG again. I wish they would just eliminate LG altogether and merge those servers into others.

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Torin,

    The vast majority of chargebacks to StationCash and Station Exchange are fraud, not dissatisfied customers.

    Do you really think thousands of customers buy StationCash or characters on Station Exchange and then file a chargeback with their credit card company because they’re “dissatisfied”? It’s because they took the money and ran.

    Reply

  • Karith

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    @feldon

    I don’t get that. Is it really fraud done to the person actually owning the credit card or what?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      @feldon

      I don’t get that. Is it really fraud done to the person actually owning the credit card or what?

      It’s fraud done TO SOE by Eastern European and Asian (and probably a few Western) fraudsters.

      I buy 5 characters on a Station Exchange server for $15 each ($75). Now I sell them to other players for $10 each ($50). Sounds like I lost money, right? Now I call my credit company and say “Who is this SOE on my credit card bill? I’ve never heard of them.” and they say “no problem sir, we will just take that off your bill.” SOE gets a $75 chargeback AND a black mark on their record. Meanwhile I just made $50 for 15 minutes work, which goes a long way in Shenzhen.

      SOE outsourced to LiveGamer for several reasons but one is they use Paypal which will not chargeback virtual goods/currencies.

      By the way, the more typical fraud is SC gifting…

      Lets say I acquire a bunch of good/stolen (identity theft) credit card numbers.

      I “buy” 2,000 SC from SOE using a stolen credit card. When you buy SC, you get it immediately.

      So I sell (via gifting) a StationCash mount to a player for 50 platinum. I then sell that 50 plat to another player for let’s say $10.

      Once the owner of that stolen credit card (Who really hasn’t ever heard of SOE) cancels their card and gets all those charges removed, guess who gets stuck with the bill? Yep, SOE.

      These fraudsters have scripts and teams of cheap labor to create thousands of new SOE accounts every day. Even one fraudulent SC transaction per day per account is profitable if you are in a country where the average person makes $300 a month.

      Reply

  • Karith

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    The SC one is really easy to understand, I knew it well because of retail experience with stolen credit cards.

    I’ve only ever used paypal on LG and only very recently to sell my toons off when moving to Nagafen. So you can use a credit card to buy but not to sell, and thus this creates the loop hole for them to charge back on purchases? Now the only thing I don’t understand is how they get away with it. I’m assuming because of lax or inadequate laws in the given country. Because when a friend’s credit card was stolen he had to sign an affidavit in order to get his money back and it was not instantaneous. Are they using stolen credit cards for the LG scam also?

    Reply

  • Ed

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    @Feldon

    I understand you sticking up for SOE and LG because there is a lot of fraud out there ( completely understandable )but what about the players who play the game to get away from the stress of the day and want to just play the game, who one day wakes up to log on to LG to transfer there purchase only to find out that there purchase has been refunded and a ban placed on there account ( like myself recently )?

    And when you contact support all you get is an interrogation about do I know the seller of the product I bought and are we in the same guild. I moved to the bazaar because i liked the fact that I could buy and sell from other players without breaking any rules. And how many more innocent players has this happened to? I cant be the only one. So in some ways Torin is right and in other ways he’s wrong. The items I buy from LG are for sale by other players, I dont know who they are nor do I care who they are, I am simply using LG’s service for these transactions.

    For them to deny service to a player for buying items off there site ( which is what they are in business of doing ) is a breach of service agreement. So yes I’m sure theres a lot of displeased players out there. So before you bend over backwards trying to protect SOE and LG, think about all the innocent players they have betrayed..Myself included

    Reply

  • Feldon

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    Karith,

    There was no “LG scam”. By using LiveGamer, SOE is insulated from fradulent purchases on the formerly Exchange servers. LiveGamer requires Paypal on some transactions to prevent the possibility of a chargeback.

    Ed,

    I did not mean to defend the practices of LiveGamer, only to explain how these types of scams work. Everyone is so defensive about the SOE Security Breach that they think only players can get ripped off and don’t realize how much fraud SOE gets stuck with the bill for every day.

    LiveGamer, like Paypal, clearly operates with a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to any disputes. And trying to get anything resolved via customer service is no doubt a nightmare. I’m sorry you had a bad experience and would guess that yours is not an isolated incident.

    Reply

  • Mystiic

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    I made a character on Vox because my friends asked me to. I knew nothing about exchange servers, and I never once used the service. I have never bought or sold any items. Now, Vox is basically dead. All of my friends are gone. I just want off. I don’t understand why they won’t let people off, especially if they can check my history and see that I never used the exchange service. I would bring my character over with no armor and no money…I would leave everything behind. I just don’t understand. I mean how fun is it to log in and have less then 10 people on in game….

    Reply

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