World of Warships apologizes for issuing promo code that personally attacked a content creator

    
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Even while under the public microscope for aggressive and possibly predatory monetization schemes and the near-collapse of its influencer program, Wargaming is making few moves to quietly slink out of the spotlight.

The latest controversy started when a Russian-language World of Warships community contributor named Turry accused Wargaming developers of not playing the game they work on. Wargaming responded by removing Turry from the community contributor program. While this may seem a bit heavy-handed, it gets a lot worse, and the worldwide community took notice when during an official Russian language stream, Wargaming presented the audience with a bonus code: W0LAXU5FKUTURY5. English-language players noted the code contained a combination of letters that appeared to send a profane message to one specific person: FK U TURY. And lest you think it was an unhappy coincidence, Wargaming conducted an internal investigation and determined that the code was indeed intentional. Here’s the Google translation of the apology on the Russian forums.

As you know, last Friday on our official stream was distributed a bonus code with inappropriate content, insulting our player and the popular streamer Turry. This is absolutely unacceptable. We conducted an internal audit and found that this situation was due to the actions of one employee. He has been suspended and subjected to the strictest measures based on the results of the audit.

On behalf of the entire World of Warships team, we apologize to the players, viewers of Friday’s stream, and most importantly, we apologize to the players, the audience. @Turry. We have made absolutely unacceptable statements addressed to you and are fully aware of our responsibility.

We understand that now words alone are not enough and we want to offer you a bonus code: TURRYWEARESORRY

With respect and hope for your understanding,

World of Warships Team

But don’t worry, folks; English-language gamers haven’t been left out! Last week, we learned the company sent emails to players with dormant accounts, attempting to lure them back into World of Warships as part of a customer win-back campaign. Superficially, the email seemed benign, promising goodies (via random containers, of course) to players who logged in and won five battles. However, players who clicked on the links within the email were sent to a web page containing a Universal Tracking Module (UTM) containing the word “whales.” UTMs are used to track the progress of online digital campaigns, and apparently “whales” was the name chosen for this advertising campaign, which under the circumstances seems to convey just how much respect the company has for its users, not just its influencers.

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Bruno Brito

Felt the knife at the neck and stepped down, eh?

What a bunch of dipshits. Gotta love companies that are absolute cowards in the name of pure greed. Now that they take the heat, all the bluster goes out through the window.

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Nate Woodard

Agreed, but attacking a player in public was a low blow.

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Matthew Perry

Interesting. Wargaming are almost approaching Cryptic/PWE levels of hatred toward their Star Trek Online playerbase!

Leo
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Leo

the childish behavior I would expect from the bro culture that is all over the game industry

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wjowski

Between this and Actiblizz I’m honestly wondering if there’s any game company out there run by functional adults

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Arktouros

I mean sure there are. You can throw a rock and hit any various company with fully functional adults running the show. You just don’t hear about them because they are functional adults doing normal things that aren’t generally worth hearing about.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Sort of like how there have to be PVP fans who aren’t complete sociopaths. I’ve never *noticed* any of them, because I avoid PVP whenever possible and the few exceptions are when PVP has come looking for me *despite* trying to avoid it. I know that statistically they have to exist. My *personal* experience is exclusively with bullying toxic sociopaths though, because those are the ones who will abuse systems and bend the rules so that they can attack someone who *doesn’t want to PVP.*

Same problem here – the companies run by sane, functional adults don’t end up making the news for being a bunch of paint-chip eating dude-bros… because they aren’t paint-chip eating dude-bros.

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Arktouros

I mean, like, do you want to come hang out or something? Listen to a buncha 30-40+ year olds play Crowfall while young kids scream in the background on discord or our funny school teacher makes puns we all groan or silently shake our head at?

Offer aside the issue at play in your scenario is the assumption of intent. Like I will 100% straight murder randos I see in the games I play for sure, but it’s not out some sociopathic need or desire but rather that’s simply a part of the PvP games I play. I see a player. The game rules say I can attack other players. There are certainly people who employ a grief play style but that’s true of virtually all game environments be it PvP or PvE or otherwise (plenty of grief to be had in “social” game settings).

EmberStar
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EmberStar

“I mean, like, do you want to come hang out or something?”

Not sure if serious…

Spoiler

Especially since I mention, probably way too often, that I don’t play PVP-based games. Nor will I use voice chat. So… yeah. I suspect sarcasm, but I’m not completely sure. Sorry.

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Arktouros

It was half made in jest.

The issue is one where it’s impossible to prove the scenario exists because it’s often times people who don’t play PvP environments or any experiences they do have just leave them with the sense we’re all jibbering psychopaths.

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Peregrine Falcon

The video game companies have spent the last 20 years treating their customers like garbage and getting away with it. So they’ve become convinced that they can just treat everyone like garbage.

In no other industry would a c-level executive tell customers “If you don’t like our product then don’t buy it!” like EA’s Patrick Soderlund did.

Video game management and PR has been lying to their customers about product features, and selling broken garbage, for decades now and many of you all defended them for it.

When you reward bad behavior you get more of it. This is the monster that we, the customers, have created.

Turing fail
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Turing fail
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Shibby523

I think I may have played this is beta and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve been reading these articles since their latest snafu(s) (something about slowing down to get a view of a car accident). I have to say, this company does not seem to care about their customers unless they pour money into their pockets. While all companies need cash to survive, you don’t go out of your way to make it obvious that that is all you care about. Given their actions and their reply to all the content creators leaving, I’d say this latest promo code shenanigans was most likely on purpose and they were aware of it. Easy to blame that one guy that works in the corner that doesn’t exist. I could be wrong, but actions speak louder than words.

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Schmidt.Capela

I doubt the company intended for the offensive code; given how it brings them no benefit whatsoever, and can cost them a lot of goodwill, it would take true idiots in the company’s management to approve of this gratuitously offensive behavior. Thus, I find it easier to believe it was a single idiot employee acting on his own initiative.

On the other hand, management is responsible for allowing — and perhaps even encouraging — the internal culture where employees think they can get away with being offensive and openly reference their customers as “whales”. So the company isn’t completely off the hook.

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TheDarthStomper

Remember when SerB was still writing the patch notes on sister title World of Tanks? Yeah…

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IronSalamander8 .

I left WoT a few years ago as I realized I was spending too much money on the thing despite it being ‘free to play’. I do love collecting tanks and battling with them, but not sad I left. I was definitely a ‘Whale’ back then.

Warships sounded great but I never played and it looks like this a good thing. Jim Sterling has fun with this one:

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Neurotic

I guess that one employee was made to walk the plank. :D