I wondered where Civony’s insane pricing for ingame currency came from, and apparently now I know.

As much as I hate to admit it, Civony is actually not a terribly designed browser game.  However, it suffers from 2 incredibly crippling problems:

  1. Its revenue model is based on charging the player for a secondary kind of ingame currency (separate from gold and natural resources) at ridiculous prices, i.e. the effective cost to send one message in worldwide chat (once you run out of little speaker thingies) is US $0.24;

  2. It still has some pretty major bugs that are yet to be addressed, and the very real threat of a server wipe at any given time, thereby making it sillier to spend said RL cash on anything that might go poof in an hour.

One of these bugs is what led me to discover the article behind the headline.  The support address in the thread claiming that the bug had been fixed asked for screenshots to be sent to an address at umge.com.  WTF is umge.com?  Was it too difficult to set up a forwarder at civony.com?

Turns out that umge.com is a Guangzhou-based company that is developing Civony, some other Flash game called Leuric, and apparently a traditional Windows client MMOG.  They’re apparently also associated with WoWMine, an MMOG farmer/gold seller operation that gets bad reviews in MMOG gold seller news sites.  Wait, there are review sites for gold sellers?  Apparently, a lot of them, and one of them really really doesn’t like WoWMine and its apparent new identity as umge.com.

… WoWMine has a large network of websites, some of which (umge.com) are working on reaching into developing games (probably to send email spam to legit customers.)…

… umge.com – In an attempt to distance themselves from their tarnished brands, WoWMine created "umge", a corporation that includes WoWMine in their portfolio…

Since the article doesn’t go into great detail about exactly how umge.com and WoWMine are the same company, you may have to dig a little bit.  I found this spam mail with the ugme.com copyright at the bottom; the WoWMine site sports a copyright belonging to their virtual office in the US.  Note:  Although the article listed earlier is pretty interesting and fairly in-depth, they apparently had not heard of a virtual office, leading to some fairly hyperbolic tinfoil hattery:

… This address is a "business in a box" address that virtually anyone can purchase and maintain anonymity — perfect for a deceptive company like WoWMine…. and Hamas ! It has been found that the terrorist organization Hamas also shares a business address with WoWMine!!!

Don’t believe it either? Click here in order to believe…and panic over the possibility (I said possibility, okay, NOT fact) of having funded an Islamic terrorist group with your hard-earned American dollars when you purchased WoW gold from WoWMine.com…

Anyone who read this site back when it was active (and being read) knows that I’m somewhat concerned about gold farming and sales having a negative impact on gameplay, and by somewhat concerned I mean flipping outraged.  However it’s fairly obvious that it’s become a thriving industry now, what with its own network of sites dedicated to comparing different service providers who will be glad to steal your kills in order to sell you the prize they stole from you for hard cash.  Any sort of controls on gold sales have to be systematic, though, so traditional economic model games like WoW are just doomed to be farmed.

To be fair. umge.com/WoWMine can’t be all that bad.  Certainly they have a whole slew of people willing to endorse them, including an old anorexic whore, who wore out her welcome years ago, and that now she suddenly speaks with a British accent, she thinks she can play guitar and she should go fuck herself.

I guess this also explains the Civony ad campaign.

Take what you will from this.  It certainly explains some of the bizarre problems with service with Civony to me, as well as their steadfast belief that stupid Americans are willing to spend a quarter just to type "lol" into a chat box.  It certainly solidifies my determination to not send any cash their way; they should be able to fund their browser adventures through the ongoing ruination of World of Warcraft easily.  Play a buggy game for free while simultaneously ruining World of Warcraft… win win?

30 Responses to “Civony Update: Free Game Apparently Funded By Thousands of Stupid World of Warcraft Players”
  1. There’s nothing good anymore.

  2. And…the plot thickens. When confronted with this little tidbit in their ingame forum, any post that even breathes the word WoWMine gets evaporated…yet the authors don’t get any sort of demerit…they are simply acting as if the posts never happened.

    There was another game development a few days ago, in which a primary component needed for rank and title advancements were basically ‘nerfed’, meaning you can no longer get these items as battle rewards. The ONLY way to get them now is to…you guessed it…purchase them. It is the number one major complaint in the game forum now, and yet…silence from the UMGE team.

    And now I know why.

    They can shut me up on their own forum, but they can’t silence me outside the game…

  3. The only complaint that guy has about WOWMine is that it spams people and is one of several dozens website run by the same people. I\’ve been playing Civony for about three weeks now and I haven\’t received a single spam email from them. And to KY; it\’s a business they didn\’t start this shit for free, obviously there\’s a catch. If you want to be a top 100-500 player your probably going to have to break out your Credit Card but for the other 160,000 of us it\’s free…for the time being.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Yah we all know warcraft players are many..

    “If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.”

  5. I appreciate that you’ve done your research. I abhor selling of gold in WoW, as it not only demeans the player base that works hard for their gear and gold, it also destroys the economy in the game. It’s against TaC for a reason. Anyone who sells gold should be banned. Anyone who buys gold should be banned. Period.

    That being said, many companies need funding to start. Joining a nefarious group to start a game that you dream of running might be your only option. Times are tough right now and you get help where you can. I am sure if it was a choice between being on the street with your family or taking help from someone you disliked….you would take the help. Nothing is free. Civony offers a free game to play and needs to be funded somehow as a starting company. Now, you were complaining of bugs. It was beta. You know how to do research so I won’t need to define beta testing for you. Expect bugs. Hell, ALL software without exception has bugs. Sometimes years after it was developed with hundreds of hot fixes later. I joined this game when the graphics were literally from Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings. Not looked like, but were the actual graphics. I have not paid a cent for this game but enjoy playing it. It has not gotten off the ground yet, but it will. My belief is that Civony will branch off in the not too distant future from UMGE to become it’s own company. Why do I believe this? I’ve seen it happen many times before.

    No, I don’t want my money to go to camel humping terrorist bastards any more than I want it to go to drug running terrorist bastards. I’d rather have it go to capitalist bastards who are going to spend it on other capitalist bastards who in turn pay me. Bank of America has had bank accounts with Al-Quaida but you don’t see people stopping the use of that bank. The address you mention is a VOIP company address shared by thousands of businesses. Here’s a clue: Stick thousands of people in the same stadium and I guarantee one of them is a criminal. That doesn’t mean the rest aren’t there for the ball game.

    I suspect you were a player by the name of Darwin. If that is the case you’re mad because you got banned for exploiting the game on a consistent basis. Guess you never learned that when you find a bug you report it.

  6. 1) It was announced as Live. Later when they changed the name of the game to Evony they retroactively labeled it as a “Beta.”

    2) Betas generally do not charge for in-game items.

    3) I noted that the address is a virtual corp, and that the article source was paranoid about funding terorism, i.e. “tinfoil hattery.”

    4) Nope I was not Darwin. He was reinstated though I think.

  7. I have very serious concerns about UMGE’s pricing policy for Evony. As end game approaches, just taking the resources of a single city from level 9 to level 10 would cost you $370. And you can have up to 10 cities. This is out of all proportion to the costs of other – and it has to be said, better – MMOGs. And if you look at the “Buy Game Coins” drop-down, you can spend up to $3,000 in one hit. A few drinks too many, or a moment of madness with Mum’s PayPal account could end up with a lot of tears. It is exploitative and an obvious trap waiting for victims.

    Which raises another point. The in-game coins can be used on a roulette style spinner to win game items. Now, if my local betting shop operated without a gambling licence, invited anyone through its doors and took $3,000 off children with no proof of age or parental consent, the owners of the business would be looking at a jail stretch. So where does that leave UMGE? I suppose their answer would be “laughing all the way to the bank well outside US and European jurisdiction, thank you very much”. Well, maybe. But from what I can see the game is hosted out of Houston, Texas. Maybe someone should check the State’s gambling laws.

  8. […] er Evony has a somewhat quixotic history of dubious marketing (not to mention dubious development), but it hit a new low this […]

  9. […] so many adverts out there. It wouldn’t be cheap would it. Well, the answer is, according to Musashi’s Cheesy Home Page (via Scott Jennings) is that the company behind the game is umge.com. A World of Warcraft gold […]

  10. PanikPark says:

    If you think that’s bad you should look into maple story. Their messengers cost $1.20-$2.50 each depending on which type you want and plenty of people use them on a regular basis, with some people going on ‘smega’ (Super megaphone) sprees using hundreds of them in an hour or so. This game has been thriving for years now by the way (With other items like virtual clothing that you buy for real money)

    So I’d say these guys are just getting on the action of a business model that’s already been proven to work.

  11. […] snark handy, let’ go straight to the links of hatred: Lum, Mu, Tweety, Arkenor, Tipa, Ken, and Bruce (with more condensed hatred links in his comments). I tried […]

  12. […] snark handy, let’ go straight to the links of hatred: Lum, Mu, Tweety, Arkenor, Tipa, Ken, and Bruce (with more condensed hatred links in his comments). I tried […]

  13. It looks pretty certain that Evony is just one big scam, a gold farmer going first party. More here: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/10/dont-play-evony/

  14. […] [Update] It gets even worse! Their company is linked to Gold selling and other scams, Read Here […]

  15. Evony is developed and owned by RMT-seller http://www.wowmine.com (this is not an advertisement, it’s the truth). This company earns between $300.000 to $500.000 PER DAY from selling WoW Gold, which enabled them to single-handedly develop their own mmorpg with a CHINESE team.

    The CEO of “UGME” (non-existent company!) is Eric Lam. Yes, the same Eric Lam who was sued by Microsoft for nearly a million for ADVERTISEMENT FRAUD just a few weeks ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/business/media/16adco.html

    Everything said in this blog post can be verified by e-mailing me. The truth behind Eric Lam, WoWMine and Evony needs to be exposed for once and for all! (this truth is instantly deleted if mentioned on Evony’s official forums).

  16. […] Now it looks like Lam has decided to go first party with his own MMO, thus cutting out the middleman. That game is Evony. And its heritage shows when you play the game, just about everything in the game can be obtained by paying instead of playing. A blatantly exploitative business model never seen before. […]

  17. Can’t really say this surprises me, these companies are pretty ingenious and integrating gold selling with a platform that gives them a huge amount of potential customers is a pretty shrewd, if potentially illegal (for what the spam laws are worth…) move.

  18. Is Evony infecting your PC with trojan malware?: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/07/16/is-evony-malware/

  19. bruce got owned in the game

  20. […] for-profit game, we’d have some goddamn respect for the IP of other companies.  Civony is run by WoW gold farmers in China, so they needn’t worry about international law suits.  Hence, many of the sprites are straight […]

  21. Evony are using lawyers to try and censor the truth about them: http://www.bruceongames.com/2009/08/25/evony-want-to-sue-me-for-telling-the-truth/

  22. […] header.  No indications yet on how wide-spread the legal canvassing will be, but given that there are hundreds of sites critical of Evony, including ours, you’d better hope they consider the […]

  23. We knew how many of us warcraftbusters… It’s a waste of time if doing such busted game. That’s why I find more option to met my desire to play.

  24. The only complaint that guy has about WOWMine is that it spams people and is one of several dozens website run by the same people. I\’ve been playing Civony for about three weeks now and I haven\’t received a single spam email from them. And to KY; it\’s a business they didn\’t start this shit for free, obviously there\’s a catch. If you want to be a top 100-500 player your probably going to have to break out your Credit Card but for the other 160,000 of us it\’s free…for the time being.

  25. Just another example of the rich getting ahead at the expense of the poor! If you have the cash you can progress further in the game, if not then enjoy the gutter. Sheesh!

  26. I have done a lot of detective work on the shadowy people behind Evony. Their names, photographs and locations.

  27. All this chitter chatter about evony is probaly right on the money. Have any of u actually played the game. There are people who spend alot of money on the game. Me i have not spent a dime and have alot of fun playing it. There has to be spending players otherwise the game would not be free to others. It is like any web based game. I have read a ton about evony but if people want to send there money to china then so be it. The us govt. spends millions helping foreign countrys when we have starving peope in the us. The game is meant to be fun as long as people play. If someone wants to spend .24 cents on a speaker let them. For us non paying customers it is a way to have fun and maybe meet some people.

  28. I played it for a while. It’s actually quite boring and mindless from a tactical perspective. The fact that it steals resources (virtual and real) is just icing.

  29. I agree completely with chaffed but i disagree with you Mu. I have played “Evony” since it came out of Beta and its less of a war game which is true, but neverless its still a great game and i dont know abt you but i find coordinating attacks and watching top alliances fall because of me is great

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