How Not to Do Business Part 2: TopWare
I wrote last week about the surprise DLC for the seven-year-old RPG Two Worlds II and how I decided on a whim to buy it. Well yesterday was the official launch day for Call of the Tenebrae and yet, twenty-four hours later, I’m still not playing the game. So far, I have not received a Steam key for the game, despite the money being deducted from my PayPal account on the 5th of June. So naturally, I have made enquiries as to what is happening and have endeavoured to contact the publishers TopWare. Let it suffice to say that my attempts to resolve the matter have proved fruitless and I have discovered that TopWare are far from the embodiment of German efficiency.
I was initially surprised when I made my purchase last Monday week, that I didn’t receive a Steam key immediately. However not all games allow you to activate and pre-load content and as this is an older title I simply put it down to logistical reasons. However, as yesterday was the official launch for this DLC and I had not been informed of any delay, I went straight to my account at the TopWare store to see if a key had been added. Its absence was conspicuous. So, I decided to use the messaging facility linked to my order and sent a simple enquiry as to where my key was. The website curiously rendered my message into German and then back into English, so what I currently have in my chat timeline is not the exact message that I sent. As of writing this post, that message has not been responded to.
I next decided to see if I could find out anything further about the Call of the Tenebrae launch in case it had been postponed. TopWare delayed the release of Raven’s Cry several times at short notice, so they have form for such changes. After some checking, I soon discovered that TopWare were not exactly regular users of social media. They have three Twitter accounts (One US, One German and another specific to Two Worlds II) that have no launch day information. Previous tweets date back several weeks. There Facebook page is similarly devoid of anything other than press releases and woefully out of date. So, I opted to send an email via the default info email address. Again, thirty-six hours later I’ve had no response.
As I fast approach fifty, I tend not to get as irate as I did in my youth. That’s not to say that I’m not annoyed by this inconvenience but in the great scheme of things and especially within the context of my personal life at present, this isn’t such a big deal. So, I have decided to use this situation as a writing opportunity. I suspect that there will not be a quick resolution and I can see myself having to get PayPal to claw the cost of this game back from TopWare. In the meantime, it would appear the Call of the Tenebrae has launched on consoles and possibly on Steam. I have seen no feedback yet about the quality of the game itself but the inclusion of a cash store and microtransactions does seem to have caused a controversy. All I can add to the proceedings at present is that TopWare seem to be providing the gaming community with a text book example of how not to do business
I received an email from TopWare customer support on Sunday 18th June. It contained my serial key but there was no explanation or apology regarding the delay. I now have the game installed.