Lawsuit – WoW Isn’t Easy Enough

Pointed out to me by a co-worker, a story over at GameSpot reports that one of my former neighbors (though San Jose is a big city) is suing Activision Blizzard over issues he has with World of Warcraft.  From the story:

He first takes exception to the game’s $14.99 monthly subscription fee, calling it the highest of any MMORPG. He contends the fee is aggravated by the game requiring players to travel great distances at a slow walking or running pace, with fast travel options like teleportation stones and mounts only available to gamers who rise to an advanced level or purchase the game’s expansion packs.

He also cited the game’s resurrection process, in which players travel in spirit from cemeteries back to the spots where they died in order to revive themselves, as an unnecessary part of the game designed to cost gamers money. Other fees at issue include the charges (up to $25) Blizzard levies to change their characters’ names, races, factions, or servers.

(Somebody find an MMORPG that charges more than $14.99 a month please.)

According to the story this guy recently had a case against the Sony Playstation Network dismissed and is currently suing Microsoft and Nintendo because:

…he alleged that a broken Xbox 360 caused him undue stress, and that a Wii system update blocking access to the Homebrew Channel third-party program interfered with his inalienable right to pursue happiness.

The rational behind his WoW suit:

…the suit also references the 2001 suicide of an EverQuest player, attributing it to a sense of alienation related to the game and mental health problems. The suit goes on to say the plaintiff has suffered from similar problems including major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and Crohn’s disease, and he “doesn’t want to end up like [the EverQuest player] did as he relies on video games heavily for the little ongoing happiness he can achieve in this life, via the gaming medium.”

In addition to the suit, the plaintiff also wants a pair of celebrities to attest to the effects of alienation. The gamer is subpoenaing Depeche Mode’s Martin Lee Gore “since he himself has been known to be sad, lonely, and alienated, as can be seen in the songs he writes.” He is also calling Winona Ryder to testify, saying the actress’ appreciation for Catcher in the Rye will make her a relevant witness “to how alienation in the book can tie to alienation in real live [sic] / video games such as World of Warcraft.”

For all of this he wants (say it with me) ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

And he wants Blizzard to fix all the issues he brought up.  Good luck on that.

20 thoughts on “Lawsuit – WoW Isn’t Easy Enough

  1. mbp

    I am sure that guy will be laughed out of court but I wonder if there are other mmo related lawsuits that stand a better chance. What about someone suing Blizzard for nerfing a valuable piece of gear that took months to acquire? It seems to me that the ongoing monthly subscription creates a live contract between gamer and developer and this bestows some rights on the gamer. I have no doubt that the EULAs that gamers sign (and sign and sign… ) attempt to close off any possible avenue for a lawsuit but in some jurisdictions consumers cannot actually sign away their rights.


  2. Stabs

    Generally judges act with common sense. Even the famous case of the McDonalds coffee there was some justification in the light of the coffee being much hotter than the industry standard and undrinkably and dangerously hot.

    The court has a duty to consider his mental problems seriously but it can also see that although this guy may claim to be dependent on video games it is still not the duty of the game manufacturers to craft their products specifically to suit him.

    Frankly he’d be better off hiring counsellors instead of lawyers.


  3. DocHoliday

    it is sad, but I couldn’t resist reading this article. For cases like this I really wish judges could make the plantiffs pay for all the court fees and for the time of all those whose time they’ve wasted.


  4. SynCaine

    Clearly this guy only Eurogamers WoW, otherwise he would know not even a lawsuit will motivate Blizzard to fix in-game issues.

    They can, however, sell him a cute pet for just $10 to make him feel better about his life, and at least he won’t feel quite so alienated once he has a panda to talk to.


  5. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Of course the lawsuit is frivolous. I just love that this guy thinks Winona Ryder is going to be able to give relevant testimony because they both happen to like the book, “Catcher in the Rye.” I would be willing to bet money that he is pretty sure he has a good chance of hooking up with Winona because of this shared interest.

    And asking for One Million Dollars was just icing on the cake.

    @Snafzg – I think dear Jack has lost his right to practice law. And, in any case, he’d want to shut WoW down, not make the death penalty mechanism in the game even less onerous.

    @SynCaine – You’re going to have to write out a definition for the verb “To Eurogamer” as it seems to have a wide variety of uses. Are you saying this guy never left the character creation window?

    And when did you go from Syncaine to SynCaine?


  6. Joe

    What a f****** idiot. Good gosh, is this what it is coming to? I want to just punch the guy in the face because he oozes stupidity. It’s your choice to play the game, so don’t pay if you don’t want to. I hope the court makes him pay for Blizzard’s attorney fee’s if this goes to any sort of trial because this is completely ridiculous.


  7. We Fly Spitfires

    That’s so funny :) It’s a shame that this sort of thing happens… used to be in the UK that lawyers would just ignore these sorts of claims and not take them seriously but now we’re catching on with the US trend and starting to see ridiculous court cases here too.


  8. Zoi

    I don’t know of an MMO that charges more than $14.99, but I know of at least one other one that ALSO charges $14.99 – Champions Online. Champions also has much less content than WoW despite being the same monthly fee (the main reason I cancelled my CO account). I think the VIP accounts for D&D Online are also around the same amount.


  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Zoi – Yes, there are a lot of games that charge $14.99.

    The only examples I could come up with that charged more would be EverQuest II, if you pay for Station Access to get more character slots and the expansion packs, in which case you are paying $29.99. Even if you pay another game, you are still paying more (half a penny) than $14.99 per game.

    And then there is EVE Online, where if you are using a credit card other than American Express, you get charged a transaction fee for currency exchange on top of your $14.99.

    Neither, I would say, count as definitive examples of a company charging more that $14.99 a month for an MMO subscription.


  10. SynCaine

    You could say any F2P MMO costs more than $15 a month past a certain point if you want to continue actually playing it, but that’s kind of a stretch.

    I think EG’ing an MMO is basically whenever you talk about it without actually knowing wtf you are talking about, either with that specific game or MMOs in general (in this case, the 15+ part). Leaving the character creator screen is optional it seems.

    Oh and the name change happened when I found the option to correct it in WordPress. An extra boring day at work will do wonders for your blog.


  11. Quixota

    Does this mean I can sue Blizz for making Pengu’s eyes blue? I spent months on three toons stealing puppies (guilt and shame were my constant companions) and pimping those cows to their new bulls (I felt like a pervert). And now I can’t even bring my Pengu out… he and I are both depressed since he was stripped of his delightful demonic red-eyed twinkle.


  12. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I’d say that pretty much gives you the green light to seek redress over the color of Pengu’s eyes. Think of the mental anguish he (and you) must suffer when people mistake him for Mr. Chilly.


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