Lost Ark, the Amazon-published PC MMORPG, has come in for some flak after dishing out player rewards, then trying to take them back.
The situation arose when Lost Ark players received an in-game mail titled “Notice: Skill Trees”. The email was to remind them that Skill Tree effects would now apply to characters, not gear. So far, so good. The snag is that, in the words of one of Lost Ark’s community managers, it “..included rewards that weren’t intended to be sent along this message.”
The rewards in question included ten Pheons, Pheons being one of Lost Ark’s in-game currencies. You can’t buy Pheons with real money though you can earn them in-game. But you can buy Royal Crystals which, after a couple of steps, can be turned into Pheons. So every single character unintentionally received ten Pheons.
We do mean “character”, not player, and that’s where the real problem arises, according to another community manager. Players apparently discovered they could claim these Pheons multiple times by creating and deleting characters. If left unchecked, it might have become a serious problem, but Lost Ark’s team could have handled it better.
Their plan was to take the game down so they could remove these mains from players in-game inboxes. Their statement read:
“During this maintenance unclaimed mails titled “Notice: Skill Trees” will be removed from characters mailboxes, and unused items claimed from these emails will be also removed. Pheons claimed from these emails will be deducted as well. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”
Ten Pheons isn’t a lot, not even enough to buy a Legendary Item, but players took offence to the tone of the message and to the decision to remove the items. Accident or not, removing items from characters’ inventories seems like an extreme measure.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Amazon has been involved in taking back virtual items. They famously removed copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from users’ Kindles, after determining the book in question was illegally sold.
However, Smilegate and Amazon have since backtracked. They’ve confirmed that they won’t be removing the Pheons and are instead looking at offering some kind of player reward, a “make-good gift”.
How does ten Pheons sound?