Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Latest In YoWorld

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Hey YoFans,

It’s been a few days since the last blog post, so we wanted to give you an update of the goings on in YoWorld and some other important info!

Cheating

The cheating issues in YoWorld took a little longer to resolve than we would have liked, but the majority of them are now fixed and we’ll be cleaning up the remaining few minor ones soon. If you see anyone that looks like they’re cheating, send us a screenshot.

Events

We’ve made some updates to events in the past few days. You’ll now be able to start an event in any of your homes, the event window will function properly, events now have the owners name attached and some other minor fixes.

Player Support Backlog

We’re still hard at work helping players as fast as we can, however we are currently several days behind. The demand has been much bigger than had ever anticipated, and we’ve been putting a lot of resources into resolving the root cause of tickets.

IMPORTANT: If you did not receive an auto-response to your email, make sure you’re using the correct email address. We can’t help if you can’t receive our emails.

The main source of tickets have been loading issues. We’ve fixed the houses that were causing the problem plus a few items which were known to be glitchy too. If you’re still having issues, first clear your browser cache (reload the game using CTRL + F5 (Command + F5 for macs)) , make sure your flash player is up to date (check here: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html), and try a different browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. If you’re still having trouble, reach out to [email protected] with your Facebook profile link.

Another big source of tickets are account bans from before Big Viking Games took control of YoWorld. As we’ve mentioned, we’re setting up a second chance account ban review session for anyone banned in the last few years, providing they weren’t clearly doing something wrong. We aim to have this done by June 1st. Players who are not unbanned on June 1st can contact as per the instructions they get when they log in.

Thanks for your patience while we get caught up!

Account Security

The only way anyone can “hack” your YoWorld account is if you give them your Facebook details, either on purpose or by accident. Safeguard your Facebook details like it was your life savings. Never share your details with anyone. Make sure you’re logging into https://www.facebook.com to avoid getting hacked. How do you know if you are or not? Keep reading.

Real site:

  • Facebook.com in black
  • Padlock symbol on the left
  • https:// in front

Fake site:

  • Facebook.com greyed out
  • No padlock symbol
  • No https://

Know the difference. Be safe! If in doubt, don’t log in. Always type facebook.com manually into your address bar and log in there. Don’t type your details after following links, especially ones from other players, emails or anywhere you don’t recognize.

Scamming

VERY IMPORTANT: People cannot double your coins, or duplicate your items. At best you’ll get scammed and at worst you’ll get hacked. Report players who claim they can do this. We cannot reverse trades, so anything you trade is gone forever, whether or not you were in control of your account at the time. Don’t get lured in with false promises.

Forum

We know a few of you have been asking how our new forum is coming along. The answer is: great! We’re adding some more features to it before we can consider it ready for primetime. Our ultimate goal is to provide a safe and secure place where you can chat, discuss the game and have fun, so everything will be geared towards that.

New Items

Many of you are hungry for new items, and want information on where we’re at with this. Well, we’re primarily focusing on fixing the issues first before we jump on the content train, but rest assured your ideas are being considered and there will be lots of new items in the future!

That’s it for now, see you in YoWorld!

Gary Stevenson
YoWorld Team
Big Viking Games

No Name Glitch

By | Important | No Comments

Hey YoFans,

We have now fixed an issue where players could set themselves to have a blank name and wouldn’t be able to play the game properly. Affected players are now renamed to “YoWorld Player” and the system will prevent future incidents.

Going forward, names will need to be 3 – 18 characters and cannot contain only whitespace characters.

Have a great day!

Gary Stevenson
YoWorld Team
Big Viking Games

Important Game Issues

By | Important | No Comments

Hi YoFans,

We wanted to take the time to address some important things that have come up in the past two days.

Account Reversion

Support

Community Issues

Live Chat FAQ


 

Account Reversion

A small portion of players have reported their items have gone missing.

There is unfortunately no recourse for recovering the lost data. We know many affected players have screenshots, videos or other proof of missing assets and would request for us to recreate them. After much deliberation, we’ve decided that the only course of action we take is to do what is fair for everyone affected. Due to our inability to verify anything, we cannot offer coin or item reimbursement at this time.

No amount of apologies or reassurances will make the upset of losing your homes or items disappear, but please know that you have our sincerest apologies for this and our assurance that we will absolutely never let this happen on our watch.

Support

Since relaunching YoWorld on Tuesday, we’ve had over 3,000 people get in touch with us via email alone, and countless more via Facebook and other channels. It may take us a little while to get caught up, but please know that we’re working hard to make sure everyone gets a response.

As we gain experience and resolve issues, we expect response time to decrease considerably.

Community Concerns

We know there are some bad apples causing trouble on the Community Group. Please report posts as you come across them so we can remove troublemakers. In future, we intend for forum and game accounts to be tied together, and abusing either one will result in a ban in both.

Live Chat FAQ

We still want to do our live chat, however timing issues have meant we’ve had to delay it for now. Rather than waiting to answer your questions, we’re going to answer as many as we can here, and then we will try to arrange another event at a later date which is more interactive.

Will I be banned for having free gift items?

Definitely not. Cheating is wrong and we will be putting an end to it, but while many people were very aware of the nature of the free gift items, quite a few were not, and it wouldn’t be fair to them.

See our recent post for more info: http://yoworld.com/?p=52

Will there still be a kids/adult server split?

We found the system that was in place for this to create more problems than it solved, both for players and for us. However, we do recognize the desire for some to be able to get shield themselves from younger players, and we’ll be working on ways to do this.

Why did I get banned?

If you were banned prior to our takeover of the game, it’s not something we were involved with or have details on. After the takeover, if you get banned, we will A) make sure it’s for a good reason, B) tell you what that reason is and C) give you a clear answer as to whether or not the ban can or will be lifted, and how.

Will you unban players who were previously banned?

A second chance will be given to those who were not obviously hacking. We’ve heard from so many players who were seemingly banned with little cause, we feel this is the right thing to do. However, we do intend to monitor abuse reports regarding those accounts more closely to make sure we haven’t made a mistake.

Can you recover my account from the Myspace migration several years ago?

Our agreement enabled us to obtain the last 2 years worth of player data. As the Myspace migration predates this timeframe, unfortunately we won’t be able to recover your old account.

My items went missing, can you get them back?

In order to replace any items, we need to verify what happened to them. We don’t have the ability to determine this prior to the migration, so unfortunately any items lost prior to May 13th would not be recoverable. However, going forward, YoWorld will have full item tracking any future issues like this can be looked into for you. Thanks for your understanding.

Will you change the pricing of YoCash/YoCash items/give away more YoCash?

We will evaluate this as time goes on, and the new items we create will have a variety of pricing, some free, some high, some low. The game should feel rewarding, but also must be balanced with the need to keep the game running. We’ll do our very best to strike a good balance.

Will you be adding more levels?

We would very much like to give players more levels to achieve. This is likely to be something that would happen later as part of a bigger update.

Will the old YoVille.com be coming back?

We received a portion of the old YoVille.com code in the transfer to us. It needs to be evaluated by our team to see if we can fill in the gaps and get it back online. We’re not sure why it was taken offline, it may very well have been due to security flaws, which will pose an additional challenge. Rest assured though, we know you guys loved it so we’ll look into it and let you know.

Will you make a YoWorld app for smartphones?

We think this would be very cool. It’s unlikely we would be able to make a native app that has all of the same functions and features as YoWorld due the technical challenges involved with the Flash platform, but we remain open to the idea of a companion app later down the road if it makes sense to do it.

Will people still be able to cheat?

We want to make YoWorld a place with no cheating. This won’t happen overnight, and we’ll need your help to make it a reality. A variety of detections will be added on the servers, and giving players more ability to report cheating to us is on our list too.

Will you support linking accounts together?

Playing on multiple accounts is against Facebook’s terms of service, so we would not be adding any features like this. You should only play on one account, we can’t do anything about Facebook account bans!

Can you add a feature to remove unused houses?

We’d like to. This is on our list of things look at.

Will you reinstate VIP membership?

We’ll be looking into the particulars of this. It would likely be similar, but not exactly the same. It has to be valuable for players and sustainable for us. We don’t want to let you down!

What will you do about scamming?

We aim to put more steps in place to protect people from being misled by other players. There are many cases where a trade goes ahead and both players get what they asked for, but later regret can occur. For this reason we have a policy of not reversing trades.

Will there be a new trading system implemented to make transactions more secure?

There are plans for a new trade window which should lower the incidence of scamming. It is extremely difficult to protect people from doing things like giving their things away for free for the promise of coin or item doubling for example, without extremely limiting all players’ ability to trade freely. We believe that 2 step confirmation, warnings, player education and social shaming for untrustworthy players will go a long way to putting a stop to it.

Will you put YoWorld on back on other social media sites?

We only have plans for Facebook at the moment.

Will you let new players join again?

Absolutely. Letting new players in again is already in place. A world isn’t any fun without people.

Can I become a ninja/viking?

Later down the line, once we become well established with the game, we will consider offering players the ability to help us. We do believe that allowing player vikings could potentially hurt our ability to provide a consistent player experience, so we’d want to find a good solution for this first.

What made you want to buy YoVille?

There are a lot of reasons why we decided to do this.

• Your campaigning touched us. We, as gamers, have had our favorite games closed down over the years and we always wished someone would be able to save the day.

• We knew that we could do it, and do it well. We’ve successfully run several games over the years with many happy players, and to have the chance to do it again with such a well-established game was a hugely exciting idea.

• Our mission statement is to make fans, and there’s no better way to make fans than doing something awesome for someone. Or hundreds of thousands of someones.

What is your vision for YoWorld in a year?

This is a dangerous question! It’s early days yet and we don’t want to disappoint anyone. That being said, in a year’s time we’d LOVE to see YoWorld’s community thrive, with a healthy, happy community of excited players. We want the game itself to be as solid as a rock and free of bugs. Safe and secure from hackers and abusive players. Full of new ideas, iterated upon by our team and our community. We want YoWorld to be an awesome place to be, somewhere you’re proud to call home. We want you to be able to say “Big Viking Games is the best thing that ever happened to YoWorld.”

Does your team at BVG have the capabilities to provide new items and new features?

You bet! Putting lots of new items in the game, however, isn’t necessarily a good strategy. That itself needs to be finely balanced, in terms of what should be YoCash and what should be YoCoins. It’s not an easy task. Moreover, game content must also be finely balanced with the amount of new features that we create. Rest assured, we’re focused on giving you a good mix, and with your feedback, will work hard to get it right.

What are some ideas that you have regarding features?

The great thing about having a new team on YoWorld is that there are many pairs of fresh eyes, filled with the excitement and possibility that YoWorld can hold.

It’s early days to be providing a concise list, but in the immediate future they all center heavily around our YoValues:

Safe and Secure – fixing hacking, giving players tools to have a good game experience.

Community Engagement – making sure players can talk to us, and we can listen.

User Generated Experiences – doing things that let players make fun for each other, rather than us trying to do it directly.

Do you expect YoWorld to reach the popularity that YoVille did in 2009?

We’d love for that to happen, but it’s unlikely. There are a few reasons for this, namely:

• It’s exceedingly rare for a game to peak, decline and then exceed its initial peak again without spending a huge amount of money on advertising. Money that could be better spent on making the game awesome.

• Facebook is a very different platform than it was in 2009. The ways in which games can gain new players, communicate with existing ones, and do interesting things with walls, feeds etc have all been severely restricted.

• Our focus is on making fans and improving the game. We’d have to switch focuses to make that happen, and we don’t want to do that!

Previously I purchased YoCash with the previous owners game cards, how will this work once BVG takes over?

You can buy Facebook gift cards at many retailers which we accept in-game. You will soon be able to redeem gift cards and also find stores to buy them at by clicking a “Gift Card” tab on the Add YoCash screen. For right now you can redeem them at http://www.facebook/giftcard and use the balance to buy YoCash/coins on our screen. We don’t have the ability to accept the old game cards, unfortunately. We could if we would!

Will the themes and categories currently available in the stores continue to be available after the transfer or will they be discontinued?

We have no immediate plans to change the store line-up, but we may remove some of the unavailable items as we think it’s a pain to scroll through things you can’t buy.

Will you be adding a way to sort our inventory items?

This is a great feature suggestion and we’ve made a note of it for future improvements in this area! In short: probably!

Will we be able to buy/sell houses between YoVillians?

This is a neat concept, we’ll evaluate it and see if we can do that. We think it’d be cool, at least!

I play YoVille and my children/spouse cannot do certain things together because of our conflicting IP address. Will this change to make it so we can all play at once?

This limitation is no longer active. We understand why this would have been put in place (to prevent cheating), but it’s so easy to circumvent there’s really no reason to have it anymore.

Player Support

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Hello YoFans,

In this post we’re going to talk about player support. Player support is a hugely important part of our plans for YoWorld. It ties directly into our YoValue of Community Engagement, and we’re investing heavily in a smart, capable team to make sure the community is taken care of. We strongly believe that high quality player support is beneficial for everyone.

We now have an openly accessible set of contact forms for players to use above the game. You can click the ‘Help’ tab to find them. Please make sure you read what each form is for before you fill one in. When you submit the form, a ticket sent to our team where it will be reviewed. If it requires a response or we need more information from you, we’ll follow up as soon as possible.

If a response is needed, the time frame for our reply will depend on how many other tickets we have to deal with, but rest assured we’ll get to you. It will be sent to the email address you provided when you filled out the contact form, so make sure it’s correct!

Our team will concentrate on providing one on one player support solely via this system for efficiency, privacy and oversight reasons. Live chat will not be continued. The forums will be recreated and our team will post on there, but it won’t be a place for one on one support. We have no current plans to provide support via twitter or similar channels, however this may change.

Now that we’ve outlined how player support will operate, it’s time to talk a little more about specific rules and policies we’ll be putting in place. There will be more than is listed here, but we wanted to make these particular ones known right away as we anticipate they will generate the most feedback.

  • Privacy and security – Our player support team can only deal with you, and the details of your account whenever you contact us. This means we cannot give you details about someone else’s account, any support interactions with them, nor can we give them items on your behalf, including your coins or yocash. We will absolutely never take away someone else’s items, coins or yocash without dealing with them directly. NOTE: This means we cannot reverse trades or auction transactions.
  • Lost Items – Losing items is seemingly something that does happen in the game currently, and we’ve added tracking to make sure we can find out where these items are going and fix any bugs that may be causing problems. We will need to verify an item did exist before we can replace it for you. Unfortunately we are unable to recover items lost prior to May 13th for technical reasons. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding on this.
  • Support limitations – Player support will be available to everyone, except in cases where a player abuses our systems or our staff members, in which case we reserve the right to end support for that particular player.
  • Suggestions and Feedback – We welcome your feedback and suggestions, and will pass them to the team for consideration. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we can make what you want happen, so please keep this in mind. Additionally, if we are able to do so, it’s on the understanding that you provided us with your ideas of your own free will, and can expect no remuneration or credit for doing so.
  • Inappropriate Names – If you bypass the name filter and call yourself something rude or profane, we can and will permanently change your name to either whatever your Facebook name is, or something decidedly uncool like “Wadsworth Featherbottom”.
  • Player Reports – We will only take action against a player if we can substantiate rule breaking activity from our system logs. We cannot accept screenshots or chat logs as 100% proof. Please do still send them in though, as they will be useful in our investigations.
  • Inappropriate Behavior – If you behave inappropriately in-game, we reserve the right to take any action we feel is necessary to prevent you from doing so again. Please play nicely.
  • Account Bans – We will reverse bans on players who we cannot find an obvious reason for their ban, this will be done automatically within 14 days. If an account has many fraudulent items, YoCash that cannot be accounted for or other obvious signs of hacking, permanent bans will remain in place. Additionally, further bans will be handed out for obvious hackers who had escaped security measures previously.

Questions, comments or concerns? Contact us using the ‘Help’ tab in-game. Thanks!

Gary Stevenson
YoWorld Team
Big Viking Games

Free Gift Items

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Hello everyone,

As you may know, one of our YoValues is Community Engagement. This means we want to keep you informed about what we’re doing and why, as well as giving you the opportunity to send us your feedback and suggestions.

In this post we’ll be discussing the hottest topic of them all: Free Gift items.

We’ve had a lot of feedback on the Free Gift item problem from many different players, and we’ve been thinking long and hard about it in the run up to the transfer.

Originally, we had planned to simply remove all illegitimate Free Gift items if we could. We came to this decision due to a few reasons:

  • They were created by cheaters who had exploited the game.
  • Cheating is not acceptable. If gone unchecked, it would jeopardize the future of YoWorld.
  • Illegitimate Free Gift items ruin the game for honest players.
  • Having rare items makes the game exciting and gives players something to work towards.

We stand by these points and we think most players would agree with them. However, based on the feedback we’ve received as well as having more information available to us, it turns out not to be feasible to do so. The most important reasons for this are:

  • The game didn’t do enough to prevent people from unknowingly trading for Free Gift items in the first place.
  • We don’t have the ability to refund people after removing their items.
  • Removing only illegitimate items would be a more long term technical challenge than anticipated, and we wanted to deal with this issue swiftly.

The one thing that’s clear to us is that there’s no perfect solution to satisfy every player, so we’re going to do what we think is best given the exceptional circumstances. Our new and improved plan boils down to the following:

  • As of right now, all free gift items will be non-tradeable and unsellable. Later, we will attempt to separate the legitimate from the illegitimate so you can trade the real ones again. (let us know if you spot a glitch with this)
  • We will begin working on a feature that allows you to see what other players are wearing. Individuals will not be able to pretend that they have the real thing.
  • Players who have illegitimate free gift items equipped will be ineligible to participate in any future features where appearances are the core component, for example a halloween costume contest.
  • Any accounts with more than a reasonable amount of free gifts will be closely monitored for abuse.

This concludes our current plans for Free Gift items. We’ll let you know about any future changes with this topic as they come up.

Questions, comments or concerns? Contact us using the ‘Help’ tab in-game. Thanks!

Gary Stevenson
YoWorld Team
Big Viking Games

YoWorld is Saved!

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Dear YoVille Players,

We are very pleased to announce that Big Viking Games has successfully negotiated the acquisition of YoVille! On May 12th, the game will go offline for roughly 24 hours while all the necessary information is transferred to us. When it comes back online, it will be in our hands and will be known as YoWorld from then on.

In short: #Save_YoVille status: COMPLETE!

This turn of events is without precedent, and it never could have happened without your endless support and campaigning. We are blown away by your love and devotion for the game, and the fact that you never gave up hope. You have truly shown us what the community is made of, and we at Big Viking Games are both proud and honored to be lucky enough to work with you in ushering in a new era of the game.

So what does the future of YoWorld look like? We’ll go into more detail on this next, but the plan is simple: Make the game bigger and better. Fix the bugs and loopholes. Work with players to create exciting new content and features that everyone will love.

The scope of taking over a living, breathing game like YoWorld, complete with over 6 years of history, is huge. Not just technologically, but also from a production standpoint. We’ve had many, many discussions on how to proceed, and we always come back to the same 3 core ideas – our YoValues.

YoValue #1: Safe and Secure

In order to run YoWorld successfully and make it a great experience for everyone, it is incredibly important to keep the game and its players free from exploitation. Not only will we devote a large amount of resources to moderation, but also to creating better systems to detect cheaters, give players better tools to avoid scams and hacked items, and more ability to deal with harassment.

Exploits will be patched regularly, and we will ban players who take advantage of them. Real money trading is harmful to our ability to keep the game going, and will be dealt with appropriately. The Free Gift item issues are of particular focus, we have collaborated to fix a major exploit with this already.

A bug bounty program will also be put into place. The first person (and only the first one) to provide us with evidence of a particular working exploit and any reproduction steps will be rewarded with YoCash. Send any information you have to [email protected]

YoValue #2: Community Engagement

Having a good working relationship with the YoWorld community is essential for us. We value your suggestions and feedback enormously, and we want to make sure we’re listening to you and giving you the ability to talk to us and vice versa. This doesn’t mean we can always give you everything you want, but your voice will definitely be heard and your feedback considered.

The forums and product page will still be in place as before, but we will also introduce new, more direct channels for your feedback, including an active support staff, opinion polls, and more.

YoValue #3: User Generated Experiences

The thing that sets YoWorld apart from other games on Facebook is how so much of the fun in the game is created by the players, not the creators. We think that’s awesome, and want to add many new features, minigames and other exciting updates to make playing with others even better than before.

One of the first things we’ll be doing is working to get an events system back into the game, as they were fantastic for user generated experiences. From there, we’ll be reviewing your suggestions on other things you wish were in the game to do with other players too.

A big focus will be to get people coming back into the game that have stopped playing. YoWorld will be more fun with more people, and we’ll need your help! Spread the word, invite your friends, share this post!


We know there will be many more questions, comments and concerns from players in the coming weeks, and we’ve created a brief FAQ list below to answer a few we’ve anticipated. We will also be hosting a Question & Answer event at a later date, where Greg Thomson (creator of YoVille) and other members of the YoWorld team will be on hand to answer questions. Details of this to follow. You can pre-submit your questions by sending an email to [email protected]

Once again, thank you for all of your continued support, and welcome to the Big Viking Games family. It’s going to be fun!

– The YoWorld Team


Anticipated Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Will the forums be transferred?

A: We will be setting up a new community space for YoWorld players to interact outside of the game.

Q: Do I need to do anything to transfer to YoWorld.

A: No. Your details will be transferred to us automatically UNLESS you fill out the account deletion form.

Q: Do I need to fill out the Account Deletion Form?

A: Fill this out ONLY if you want your YoWorld account to be deleted permanently instead of transferred to Big Viking Games.

Q: Will events be turned back on?

A: Yes. We will be rebuilding the event technology to allow players to host events once again!

Q: Why change the name from YoVille to YoWorld?

A: It was a necessary step in being able to obtain the game, but it also speaks to our goal of making the game bigger and better than ever before!

Q: Will we keep our apartments, avatars, items etc?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What about FG items?

A: Free Gift items that were created by hackers will be removed if possible, and we aim to stop any more of these items from entering the game.

Q: What about unreleased items?

A: If we can identify and remove them, we will. We will need your help on this!

Q: What will you do about the hackers?

A: We will get rid of the exploits and take necessary action against players who take advantage of other players and the game.

Q: What new things will you introduce to YoWorld?

A: We will focus on fixing what already exists, as well as adding exciting new features and content. Player suggestions will make a huge difference in what we do, so let’s see what we can come up with!

Q: Will the Auction House be fixed?

A: We know the Auction House has some issues, and we definitely want to get those fixed up! Illegitimate items and poor performance are the biggest concerns that we aim to address.

Q: Will there be new ninjas?

A: We will have several player helpers in a similar role to the ninjas, who will be known by their Viking prefix.

Q: Why aren’t you taking over the game yet?

A: Players must be given a certain amount of time to opt out of the account transfer, as we are a third party to the previous owners and there are many internal and external rules governing this type of acquisition.

Q: Will you be re-releasing specific items?

A: Unlikely, but we may create new variations of them.

Q: What do I do if I want to tell you about a bug or an item I’d like to see created?

A: Once the game is in our hands there will be a channel for sending these things to us. Posting in the forum is the best bet for right now!

Q: We used to be YoVillians, what do we call ourselves now?

A: That’s up to you! We’re interested to see what you come up with. Current office suggestions are YoWorldians, YoWos, YoYos and YoPeeps.

Q: I have another question that you haven’t answered here.

A: We will be doing a Q&A soon, so submit your questions to [email protected] and we’ll try our best to answer them! Details of when and where the Q&A will take place will be forthcoming.