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:
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.
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.