Blizzard Relents, Lets Me Cancel WoW Early

Not that they bothered to mention this change of heart to me directly or anything.

Previously I mentioned how serious Blizz seemed to be about keeping their Annual Pass subscribers from cancelling their accounts, even those who had already paid in full months before.  Like me.

Then there was the customer support run-around, where official representatives of Blizzard repeatedly told me that they were not in anyway refusing a request to cease charging my credit card, while clearly and unambiguously refusing to cease charging my credit card.  Sometimes in the very same run-on sentence.

This mattered to me because I happened to have a very short window of time between when the annual pass would expire and when the subscription would renew and my credit card would be charged again.

The only assurance I received was that if I somehow got charged, I could contact them for a refund.

Of course, when a group of people who have no power and/or inclination to deviate from company policy tell you that they will happily violate the stated policy of the organization at some later date (Blizzard explicitly says “No Refunds” in its billing FAQ), I do not think one can be blamed for any skepticism that might result.

All of this was enough that Green Armadillo wrote a public service announcement over at his blog on the subject.

And that was pretty much the state of things a little over a month and a half ago.

Something must have changed since then.

I went to check my WoW account yesterday, just to make sure that the times and dates hadn’t altered for whatever reason.  Everything seemed about the same.

However, the cancel button was no longer grayed out.  So I clicked it.  And I was brought to the standard “OMG, is there something we can do?” set of options that indicates that you are trying to do that thing that Blizz hates; cancelling your subscription.

Wait, you’re leaving? But why?

Of course, they want to assure you that if anything is wrong that you can call customer service.  I won’t discount their ability to fix some problems, despite my recent experience, but they cannot fix my problem.  The second option in their survey summed it up about right.

The game used to be fun, but isn’t as fun anymore.

That about pegs it.

Then there was a further list.

Just to clarify even more so…

Account compromise came up again.  That seems to worry Blizz.  In fact, that looks like a pretty good list of WoW problems, which is what you would expect the customer service group to generate.  The closest item I could find to my own reason was simply running out of things to do.

That is not really true.  There were always plenty of things to do, I just felt no joy in doing them.  But you have to pick something, and that was pretty close.

Can you explain the lack of fun?

Of course, it carries on, looking for more details.  I like this second list, because it reflects some of the deeper reasons that Blizzard realizes people quit over.   This list seems to focus a lot on changes to the game around class, talent trees, and equipment.

WoW competitors like Trion would do well to understand this list that Blizzard created.  Don’t be doing things like Patch 1.11 very often, as it appears to drive people from your game.

I chose the second item about the direction development.  A lot of people are happy with the game, but my own desires no long seem to be on the agenda.  Such is life when you fall outside of the first standard deviation of the bell curve.  And that was about it.

They did want to know how likely I was to come back.  I won’t say never, but right now there are a lot of other games I would play before I went back to WoW.

Coming back?

Then there was a request to be able to contact me about future changes to the game.  I said okay to that.

And, finally, I was give a 255 character window in which to add any additional comments.  I decided not to waste it on a quip like “Contact me? Like you contacted me about changes to your Annual Pass cancellation policy?”  Instead I pointed at SOE and their attempts to farm nostalgia with the progression servers and asked why they couldn’t do the same.

So, my comment was probably still wasted, but not in an angry way.  I doubt Blizzard will ever formally do anything like a classic server.  Going backwards is not a Blizzard trait.

One more button and I was done.

Subscribed no more.  The account will run out Tuesday morning and that will be it for now.

Feel free to speculate in the comments about how likely I am to return.

In the mean time, I still have my daughter’s account to cancel.  Due to bad alignment, it still has another 1 month billing cycle to charge before the annual commitment is paid off.

11 responses to “Blizzard Relents, Lets Me Cancel WoW Early

  1. You have one month, then, to enjoy the Feline Familiar Hallow’s End pet – the cutest pet EVER, in my considered opinion. (I consider 127 pets to be ‘considered’, heh.) It wears a little witch hat! It flies on its own broom! And you can even rename it.

  2. You have to give it to Blizzard, they seem to be, on a large scale, pretty informed about what their players like and don’t like. (I’m not saying that always leads the to the right conclusions about what to do in the future, because that also means they need to understand the reasoning behind these opinions, which is much harder.)

    When I canceled my account, I was surprised at the detail of their questions and choices, and in a way honesty. More than once I thought, “Yes! Yes, exactly that!”. This is different from a lot of those questionnaires that I see, that make me feel like I’m doing something wrong when canceling a subscription, because “you’re just too stupid to understand how great this game/service is, and deep inside, you really love it if you were just honest to yourself”.

    I can’t remember my answers, but it also started with “it was fun, but not any more”.

  3. My billing date is two weeks out of step with the end of the annual sub, so I changed my billing period to one-month payments. They’ll get a month more out of me but I’ll cancel on the day the annual sub expires.

    You’re right about Trion as well, I’m not against the class changes but it was so overwhelming – and I didn’t have my old leveling talent build written down so that’s gone for good :-/

  4. I failed to screenshot it, but I’m 95% sure the cancel option was still blocked when I wrote the post on Thursday. Guess that system wasn’t immutable like they told you after all?

  5. “You have one month, then, to enjoy the Feline Familiar Hallow’s End pet – the cutest pet EVER, in my considered opinion. (I consider 127 pets to be ‘considered’, heh.) It wears a little witch hat! It flies on its own broom! And you can even rename it.”

    I have to agree with this!

    I have been playing WoW again after a long hiatus, but that is always the way I have played WoW. Intense bursts of playing followed by months of other games. I actually really like Pandaria, more than I thought I would, but it certainly IS a different game than vanilla WoW. It is nice to see the game so busy again, though.

  6. @Pia – Well, actually, I have a day to do so, because none of my characters are on my daughter’s account. So I wouldn’t really feel like playing.

    Still, maybe I can get on tonight and get the last two of the damn masks I was missing last year and end my subscription on an achievement.

    Or have they added panda masks as well? It might not be possible to get four masks off of the long list.

  7. They have not added pandaran masks. And, you can buy them from the vendor in Stormwind if you have the tricky treats (they are pretty cheap), so you do not need to run around hoping to get the last few you need.

  8. I remember having similar thoughts when I cancelled my account eight months ago. I think my selection was “used to be fun, but not anymore” > “too many changes to the game” > every single tick box but the class changes one if I recall correctly. I thought it was quite impressive that they knew so well why I was quitting but still showed no inclination of doing less of the things that I disliked. But I guess they do have more than enough happy players.

  9. If they have the “reasons for quitting” analysis nailed down this well, doesn’t it follow that the changes to the direction of the game are actually happening to address the reasons people are giving? Or they could just be asking the questions and ignoring the answers, I guess…

    Of course, all MMO development is like balancing a wobbly table by sawing a piece off one of the legs…

  10. @Bhagpuss – That, of course, hits the nail right on the head. They have collected data and put it into a set of nice buckets. (I am sure individual comments get discarded at some point in the process.) And then what do you do with all that data? How do you plan to address those seemingly specific (but really rather vague) issues?

    I am sure that somebody at Blizzard would point to Mists of Pandaria and be able to tick off how a given feature addresses issue X or Y. And that will fix things for one set of people, break things for another, and generate indifference from a third.

    How do you fix a problem like “I don’t like changes to my class?”

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