Adventures In Customer Service: Guild Wars (NCSOFT)

Years ago, I got into Guild Wars, loved the game, and have been looking forward to Guild Wars 2. I also played some City of Heroes, which is from the same company, NCSOFT.

My favorite character to play in Guild Wars was a ranger/warrior named Otter of Darkwood. Lean and shapely, with long auburn hair, I enjoyed her so much I rebuilt her in several other games I’ve tried over the years, like Age of Conan and Oblivion.

This morning, I remembered Otter and figured I’d pop into the game and kill some things with her. (The shot above I found on my computer, taken long ago).

I clicked on the dusty old Guild Wars icon, and the game went into its auto-update mode, drawing in all the changes and such that have occurred in the many long months since I entered its world. Finally it was ready. I signed in.

And got an error message telling me my account was banned.


There’s no reason my account should be banned. I played alone, or with the one friend I made in the game (I tend to be a lone wolf even in social games). I didn’t abuse anyone. I didn’t curse in the local chat. I didn’t try to sell in-game stuff for actual cash. I was a model citizen.

So I emailed them, asking them to please remedy the situation. To their credit, it didn’t take long to get an answer back. To their great detriment, this was the answer:

Thank you for contacting us. This account was blocked because we detected that it may have been compromised or accessed by unauthorized personnel.

At this time we need to verify that this is indeed your account. Please provide as much of the following information as you can:

— What date of birth did you use when you created the account?

— What is the 20-digit serial code for City of Heroes?
— What is the Unique Account ID for City of Heroes? (This confirmation code was sent to you via e-mail on the date your game account was activated with a subject header of ‘Game Account Activated’.)
— Original billing information for City of Heroes: If activated using a credit/debit card, please provide the last 4 digits of the credit card used. If activated using a game time card, please provide the 20-digit game time card code used to activate the account. If activated using PayPal®, please provide the Transaction ID or the Invoice ID associated with the original activation purchase.

— What are all the 25-digit retail access keys currently registered to your Guild Wars game account? (Please include the retail access keys from each campaign.)
— What are the last 4 digits of the credit/debit card used to make any purchases for your account from the Guild Wars In-Game Store/NCsoft Store online (Please provide the last 4 digits of the card ONLY)? If you instead made purchases using PayPal®, what is the Transaction ID or the Invoice ID associated with the Guild Wars In-Game Store/NCsoft Store purchase? (if applicable)

We look forward to your reply.

Shall I also send a goddamned stool sample?

With Guild Wars being an online game, and my account for the main game and all its expansions being activated online, I never reckoned I’ve have to reactivate it. I’m not sure I kept the boxes around that have the codes. And yeah, maybe that’s my bad, but almost all interactions with the game once its active are online. You buy access codes online. You buy expansions online. And I bought all their stuff at full price, and did nothing to justify losing my access.

I’m also not sure if my current credit card was the one I activated with. I had another a few years ago, which I no longer have, and I’m not sure I have a record of that number.

All of which is aside from the fact that we’re communicating directly through the email address which itself is the fucking account name.

I appreciate a company being security conscious, but just like at the airport, when your security measures start to amount to punishment of your paying customers, there’s a problem.

I’m going to dig around and see how much of this friggin’ homework I can do. Then I’ll send it to them and give them the chance to make it right.

I’ll update this with further info as it happens…

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