It really was a tough choice and a bitter pill to swallow.
Just last night, after thorough analysis and thought, I finally gave the green light to roll back character data of RF Philippines to the state of May 23, 2008 4am. And boy, it was a tough call.
Around that fateful time, a new and dangerous threat to RF surfaced – the Gold Dupe Hack. With this hack, a lot of unscrupulous players had BILLIONS of in-game cash and hundreds of thousands of gold. The economy was in ruins, prices of normal items skyrocketed and there was a huge excess of cash. Duping and screwed-up in-game economies are not new to us… we had to deal with them before but this one was quite alarming.
Thanks to great efforts of CCR, the developers for the game, the dupe was fixed fast. After the patch solution, I gathered the RF team to analyze the damage that was brought about by the cheat.
The first order of battle was to come up with a plan to fix the economy. As you may well know, virtual economies should (and could) be monitored regularly – it’s a key indicator how good or well your MMORPG is doing.
The team and I managed to come up with a plan to fix the problem – a) finding out the rest of the cheaters (the dupers) and banning them (thereby keeping their illegal billions from flooding the market) and b) flushing out the excess cash.
At first we thought that this could be managed. But when we pulled out the numbers from the database, we were shocked – the economy was bloated by as much as 500%. This means that if a server normally had 1 TRILLION cash, it now had 5 to 6 trillion! That’s a lot of cash to trace, flush out and investigate. It would take our GMs maybe up to a year just to this job.
The rollback option was last on the list. We even tried to lay out other plans such as dividing everyone’s cash by 4 but those innocent will be also be hit. By doing a rollback, we (Level Up) will also take a hit on the business side. This would mean that the revenue we gained for a week will be lost (since we’re gonna give back the GCs). But that’s the least of our worries. The main thing was to clean the economy. Trying to convince CCR was another uphill climb that me and the team had to take. Good thing we managed to convince them. Thanks to Kaye and the rest of the CCR team. Mabuhay kayo!
So the servers went down at around 1pm. Community Manager Chase and myself began crafting the official statement together with compensation plan. And here’s another problem – majority of the RF team and my marketing and community team had to fly to Bacolod at 2pm for the CUS event, leaving just me and GM Garamond (who used to to control GM Alric before in RF when I was controlling GM Hexon) to do the job of coordinating and announcing the entire rollback process.
Man, it was like the good old days… it reminded me of my Ragnarok days as community manager and also as brand manager.
We just had a slight glitch with the jade insertions. Instead of wasting more hours and keeping the game down, we decided that we had to put the game up and just reward the jades on monday.
Initial reports proved that the community is happy with what we did. Believe me, it was a long and ardous process. But keeping the integrity of the game and managing the economy is a good trade off in the long. This rollback was done to even out the playing field and keep the game fun for everyone.
I hope you do understand.
Finally, thanks to the community of RF Online who always report new cheats and bugs to us. We and CCR are aware of all these things and we’re on it. Our interest is to serve you always.
Enjoy your weekend!