back to article Kabam! Facebook gamers fume after script deletes fake stuff

On August 4, Kabam turned up in The Los Angeles Times, lauded as a small social gaming company "quietly gaining momentum" in an arena dominated by giants like Zynga, Electronic Arts, and Disney. But that same day, engineers pushed out an update to one of its massively multiplayer Facebook games that would challenge the tiny …


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  1. HughNoble


    Maybe this will teach people a lesson about spending real money on fake stuff!

    1. TimeMaster T

      Good one!

      I almost choked!! and first post as well. Well done sir, well done.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      So you've never paid for any form of entertainment in your life? Ever?

      Thought so.

      1. MrCheese

        Of course we all have

        If you'd stop stop being pednatic for a moment you'd realise that comment should've read "don't spend real on fake dross on a sketchy platform like Facebook, much as an yet more sketchy third party", it just doen't have quite the same ring to it

    3. Wize

      Or maybe lessons in micropayments

      I've never understood the need to use micropayments in a game. Either your game is free (possibly paid for by adverts) or you paid for the game.

      Micropayments turn into the same sort of thing as gambling addictions. Just another pound and I'll beat this guy/upgrade my farm/etc followed by the same thing a little later. You could end up spending serious money and unlike gambling, there is no chance of it coming back (or possibly like gambling if you are bad at poker)

    4. Graham Marsden

      There's an old saying...

      ... about fools and their money...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Probably NOTq

      Facebook fools are not able to learn, that's the problem.

  2. dssf


    Khu-hhuuhh.. HWEE! Shooonk...

  3. Raz

    Remove titles!

    Incompetent design, or incompetent script designer. The script should have only taken out only items added in the previous xx hours. Either who wrote the script did not do this, or who designed the DB did not add a field for the item buy date.

    This may have still removed legit items bought in the last xx hours, but it must have been a lot less than all items ever bought. Also, did they not hear about DB backups done before running this kind of scripts? Unbelievable...

    1. TheFifth
      Thumb Down

      I expect that's what they did...

      Deleting items added in the last xx hours is not the correct way to do this. What if someone has legitimately purchased an item within that xx hour period? I expect this is exactly what they did and that's why they are in so much trouble.

      The only way I can see to sort the issue is to marry up purchase records from their payment provider with items purchased on the site. Any item that does not have a valid payment record should be removed, those that do should be left.

      Now this will obviously depend on how well their DB is designed and if they are storing the payment provider's invoice ID with the purchased items. If they aren't, then they are going to have a hell of a job working out who paid for what legitimately.

      1. Tom 13

        I expect that wouldn't really work either, but at least it is getting closer

        You need a hybrid - if before date xx, keep, else check purchase record. Keeping purchase records beyond a certain time frame is likely to entangle you in PII laws.

        From the way the complaints are being voiced, not sure they even went with the before xx, parameter. Might have just nuke all the stuff that could be sent for free.

        Probably plenty of posers posting about stolen stuff on the public forums too.

        Full disclosure: I dabbled in Kingdoms a while back but gave it up. I'm not overly fond of MMOs in the first place, and there's just something WRONG about it in a social networking environment.

  4. nyelvmark

    Moral of this story:

    Don't get too attached to your virtual property in online games. If either you or the game operator are hacked, it can disappear, and the game operator has no obligation to reimburse you. It says so in the Terms and Conditions that you must click "I agree" to before you can play the game.

    I learned this the hard way after I played World of Warcraft for 2 years. I tried to log in one day, to be told that "suspicious activity has been detected on your account, and therefore your account has been suspended for 24 hours". My immediate reaction was to run every security check I could think of on my laptop. I found nothing at all.

    I tried to contact Blizzard, but the 24-hour block included posting anything on their forums (no, they don't advertise an e-mail address). There was a web page which allowed me to directly appeal the ban, but it required me to enter the answer to my "secret question". It wouldn't tell me what my secret question was, and after 2 years I couldn't remember (mother's maiden name? first school? preferred breed of sheep?).

    When the ban expired I was able to log in again. My 2 level 70 characters (the level cap had just recently risen to 75) were still there, but all their equipment, money and possesions were gone. The 6 or 7 lower-level characters had simply been deleted. Nearly all of my virtual possessions were held on these characters. About a week later, Blizzard restored the armour and weapons of my 2 level 70 characters.

    I spent about 2 months trying to talk to Blizzard about what had happened, without eliciting a single human response (it was still possible that the security breach was at my end, but I needed the co-operation of Blizzard to help me track it down). Eventually, I cancelled my account and deleted my remaining characters out of sheer annoyance.

    I would love to play WoW again, and I will do so when it has fallen so far out of fashion that Activision sell it to someone else, who might value existing customers over new ones, and employ some semblance of honesty in their customer service.

    1. Justin 5


      This happened to me too! It definitely wasn't on my end as the "suspicious activity" happened when my account was in limbo...

    2. Rave

      Me and everyone else who have played any of the games Kabam has out were not shown the Terms and Conditions so we never had to agree to their TOS. In fact in order to even read them you have to go on their website.

      if we had of had to read and agree when we first started out then yes we would be bound by their TOS but as it stands now we are not bound by them at all.

  5. theBatman

    "separate but related"

    "a 'separate but related' problem involving a backup system affected additional players"

    I wonder if that means they weren't *using* their backup system? :D

  6. marianne

    Played for Almost Two Years

    I played Kingdom of Camelot since October 2009 when it first came out in FB. I seen a lot of changes in the game - some for the good. However, lately I also have observed that they seem to care about if you spend money. This game has been in Beta since October 2009. It was first managed by Watercooler and then Kabam took over. It seems that the Customer Service went south when Kabam took over and bit off more than they could chew. They would continuously, and still do, open up new servers so they could allow more people in to play instead of taking inactives out and repairing the problems at hand. For example, I had tickets with the same issues going on today that were reported last year in early summer 2010. All we would hear was: We are working to resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience. Well I think that people's patience are wearing thin as this is part of Customer Service. I do not play anymore because of the recurring problems in the game. The only benefit - making friends. But is the stress of poor Customer Service and not fixing issues that have been a problem for over a year worth it? That is the question and why I chose it is not and walked away but still support those who play.

    1. Rave

      umm duh

      Kabam is Watercooler. The company changed its name to Kabam

  7. Phoenix333

    Avoid games by Kabam

    Over 300k players (15%) have abandoned kabam in just the last 5 days. The forums are filled with thousands of disgruntled players. There are several facebook groups set up because of the way they have treated people. When you pay for something (virtual or not) you expect to keep it. Kabam apparently do not view it that way, but they are happy to continue asking people to spend more money in the middle of this, whilst deleting any forum posts that cast them in a bad light. Their reviews for their games are dropping through the floor. Even the moderators on their own forums refer to their customer service as appalling. Investors, beware!!!

  8. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    pixelcrack got smoked shocker

    more news after these messages from our sponsors..

    Microtransactions, the world's gone mad I tell you. I for one look forward to the time when after winning my loot in GTA vs Camelot a WVM turns up with a slightly smoking plasma TV and a discount code for offloading it via Ebay.

  9. AngryCat

    Biting the hand that feeds you

    Unfortunately, these *free gifts* explain so many aspects of how certain players and alliances grow to enormous proportions seemingly overnight creating an unfair advantage of players vs developers in some cases, and this is only MY opinion. These gifts had valid links... albeit hidden, which indicates they were in use for someone. One developer even told the masses in an early post people would be allowed to keep those gifts, later that was retracted and swept under a carpet never to be heard of again. To this day almost a week later people are still in limbo, still missing paid inventory items and are largely being ignored except though carefully worded selective forum posts and messages that lead nowhere. I will admit that Kabam has accepted the blame for this graciously yet have failed on attempts to restore inventory, keep players informed and have indicated falsehoods on their own forums to the very people affected. The problem also lies in the customer service aspect. When Kabam's bottom line is affected, they go all out to fix and recover the problems, when it's the average customers bottom line in lost items or moeny, they claim they don't need to return or refund items over a beta game.

    Classic case of biting the hand that feeds you... which in itself is unfortunate. What used to be a player based game has gone by the wayside in an effort to make money, which is understandable, but to disrespect of the players who are paying you (even though it's a glitch ridden faulty game) is completely ridiculous. Outright stealing from them is just plain wrong... shame on you Kabam. I'll remember the next time I submit a ticket for losing troops how fast you moved to get YOUR OWN items back when it directly affected you, especially when you tell me that you can't or won't refund me anything I lost do to instability with your systems simply because you hide behind a BETA game. While I doubt this will end Kabam, I certainly hope they rethink their own strategy and treat their customers better then they do now.

  10. JDX Gold badge

    Real World

    It doesn't matter how much you shout and scream about bad service, and how right you are... if a company is deluged in 1000X complaints and customer service calls, they are not going to be able to respond promptly. Regardless that it's their mistake, what _exactly_ do you expect them to do about it but struggle to fix it as quickly as they can?

  11. Andy Tunnah

    this is just pathetic

    why do people have to go whinging and crying over eeeevery little thing nowadays ?

    so you lost a few items, lodge a complaint, ask for it's return and i'm sure it'll be done

    the problem is with the advent of the litigious society we've become that every little hiccup that happens warrants some massive outcry and backlash, and it's permeating every aspect of our lives

    perfection - or nearest cash value

    1. Anonymous Coward

      .... and yet

      I can see nothing in the article referring to litigation. Just people complaining as you suggest. Then complaining more loudly when these are ignored.

      Litigious society meet kneejerk society.

  12. johnwerneken


    Kabam games are well intentioned, blending puzzle competition socilizing. But like all (afaik) internet firms they announce and market and then play catchup getting things to work with greater balance and reliability. New things which backfire for many players and sometimes for Kabam as well are pretty common. Generally patient players are made whole and then some. Can't swear if all the WHINER types are as well served, imho they may not deserve to be.

    Where the social network is kept going by involved players the games stay fun and the newer bells/whistes work out ok after time. So on the whole I recommend them.


    "BETA when DEAD" remains their motto, the games never quite stabilize, don't expect it any time soon...

  13. Trygve Henriksen

    The Problem with WoW...

    Is that 'high-level' stuff can be sold or transferred from one character to another.

    In games like MoM(Minions of Mirth), all the 'high-level' stuff is soulbound and can't be transferred to another player.

  14. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Tom 13

      When you are annoyed about a big thing,

      minor things become larger. ... Plus it is a chance for flamers, trolls, and LULZ types to come join in the chaos. ... So it may not be as buggy as the forums make it sound.

      Still I agree with your point that if you don't like the game you should move on. Sometimes even if you like the game, and it is taking too much of your time, you still need to move on. That's why I quit play it about a year ago - I didn't enjoy it.

  15. Yag


    "These are people who went pretty deep into their pockets during a recession"

    Priorities guys, priorities...

    "they have also delivered a buggy product whose customer support is consistently below industry norms"

    You know that this IS the industry norm those days.

    A friend of mine once said : "There is three kind of beta testing for computer games : Closed beta, Open beta and Paid beta"

    1. Lamont Cranston

      I paid £5 to get a new weapon

      in Remnants of Skystone (on Kongregate). Regretted that almost instantly, and learnt a lesson that these players apparently did not.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Not the work of Anonymous?

    Just wait for one of those pompous douchebags to pop up and claim credit.

    Mine's the one with*out* the ID.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    "... calling for a boycott of the game"

    Way ahead of you there I'm afraid

  18. Sir Cosmo Bonsor


    Has anybody told these people that it doesn't actually matter?

  19. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Is it any wonder

    "My own inventory was restored correctly, but there are people on my team who are still missing paid inventory. These are people who went pretty deep into their pockets during a recession," Broer tells us.

    It's stories and statements like this that explain why so many people have such a low opinion of gamers as being sad little dweebs with no social life.

  20. Teorias

    If they are dumb enough to spend money on Facebook

    They deserved what happened to them...

    Ladies and Gentleman Facebook has disclosed your credit card info to random game devs...

    Now SOD OFF to their crappy games.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rule 1 of QA

    "separate but related"

    Bollocks. If you hadn't fucked up you wouldn't be messing with the code. Once or several times, it all stems from the fuck up.

    And the rule? The more times you stick your fingers in a pie, the less its worth eating. Unless its a hairy pie. Neeewwjjj!

  22. Morteus

    The element of risk...

    ...exists in all forms of e-comerce be it from unstable software, hackers, trojans, and the like. You can certainly take steps to limit it, but the only way to be 100% safe on the internet is not use it. It's hardly fair (or mature) to point at and admonish people who have been nothing more than unfortunate.

  23. Stevie


    "All they seem to care about is money".

    You guys do understand that this kind of operation isn't set up for fun, don't you?

    What you should be complaining about is the un-businesslike approach to making money the company has adopted that has led them into this Fiasco.

    From where I sit it looks very much like the updates that started this whole mess, and the subsequent fix, were penned by someone who didn't "get" that the game was now a business and not a hobby.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up



  25. Anonymous Coward

    What ever happened to lazy Customer Service?

    Just give them $50 credit if you zapped their stuff and be done with it.

    It isn't as if the crap being sold *actually* costs anything...

  26. Rave

    kabam failz

    Actually there was no update happening when this gifting glitch was discovered. it was just kabam giving family and friends good items. once they found out us regular players were able to send and recieve these gifts they has a tantrum shutting down gifting then proceeded to go into approx 1.9 million of its koc playerbase accounts and remove items. aside from the 70k mentioned they took legit bought/won/gifted items. then they proceeded to commit fraud and charge peoples credit cards and paypal acccounts. they then shutdown the game and it got worse when it got back up. yes they helped 70k people get their inventories back but what about the rest and yes a ton of people quit. lots more refuse to hzve credit card or paypal info for any kabam games.

    Kabam is a slum company that keeps their products in beta so they can keep releasing bugged and glitched updates and overcharge people for items. they ban people who ask for refunds. kabam is a slum company plain and simple

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