There seems to be two camps of opinions about Warcraft 3: Reforged. One is that’s perfectly usable and is a decent way to revisit a classic game. The other is that it’s, unironically, literally unplayable, lacking not only the “Blizzard polish,” but also many of the major changes promised. If you can’t stand to have Warcraft 3 in your library anymore, now, you can get an instant refund.
Now, anyone unhappy with Reforged can get a near-instant refund. All you have to do is request one through Activision-Blizzard’s customer support site, and you should get one. No human replies, no waiting, nothing. Just a refund in your bank account, and a game gone from your library.
Activision-Blizzard has no real official policy on how refunds work. Typically, if you’re unhappy with a game, you have a few hours to give it back. Once you play the game a little longer, or hold onto it for a while, Acti-Blizz, like any massive corporation that likes your money, is less likely to cave. But maybe bug customer service for a while about other games, and you might be successful? (Probably not. Don’t actually try that.)
Why So Unhappy?
There are plenty of reasons that fans haven’t quite enjoyed Reforged. The most relevant change to all players is the quality of cutscenes, which were promised to be “dynamic” cutscenes instead of minimal animation, a static camera, and dialogue. Blizzard announced other changes when it announced the release date, just over a month before the actual release.
Reforged also drew ire for its policy on custom made games. Unlike in the original Warcraft 3, any custom games put into Reforged are owned by Activision-Blizzard. To be fair to Activision-Blizzard, I’d also make a salty copyright/ownership policy after losing a game as massive as Defense of the Ancients.
However, it’s a massive turn away from even modern mod-friendly games such as Arma and, ironically, Dota 2. For instance, the now-popular auto chess genre originally came from Dota 2. The game seems to have a policy where Valve can replicate ideas. However, the original creators of Auto Chess maintain ownership of the name and concept. They even visited and negotiated with Valve before each group decided to create independent, original Auto Chess products.
Of course, offering refunds could be a public relations band-aid. Fans reported that they weren’t able to get refunds for Warcraft 3 easily. Plus, attempts to discuss such on the Blizzard forums weren’t all necessarily quashed. But, some reported their questions and discussions were.
I Invoked a Law Down Under
But there could be more dire legal questions at play: Remember when Fallout 76 was so unplayable to customers, it invoked pro-consumer law in Australia? Thanks to that slip-up by Bethesda, we now know that games with excessively buggy and/or undelivered features invoke essentially lemon laws in the fine continent-country of Australia.
The first relevant section, cited in the Fallout 76 situation, is section 18 of the Competition And Consumer Act of 2010, which reads:
(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.
The other law cited was 29(1)(m), which reads:
(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services:
(m) make a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy (including a guarantee under Division 1 of Part 3-2);
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Basically, fans’ complaints of promised dynamic cutscenes in Warcraft 3: Reforged already invoke the first section, where it teetered the line for Fallout 76. Then, if fans could argue that bugs and other issues with the game were enough to make the game feel needlessly buggy, Activision-Blizzard could be on for a massive ride.
Refunds don’t absolve Activision-Blizzard of the issue entirely. But legally, it appears to clear them of needing to do anything further in regards to their product. Meanwhile, Bethesda and Zenimax didn’t do their respective due diligence in refunds. As a result, the delay on refunds for Reforged meant the companies are currently required to undergo pro-consumer law training for their customer service department.
Whatever the reason, refunds always make people a little less disgruntled. It looks like Blizzard hopes its customer service does as well — and that it isn’t too little, too late.
[Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which has a partial state in Activision-Blizzard. But we’re extremely editorially independent from Acti-Blizz. Kiss our ass, Acti-Blizz.]