Tag - hammerpoint interactive

The War Z Databases Hacked

WarZ

This was just sent out from Hammerpoint Interactive/OP Productions llc have revealed that hackers have gained access to the form and game databases for their controversial The War Z, leading to the comprising of player data. Thankfully, the official statement does reveal that payment information was not compromised, so that’s a plus.

Official PR Text

We are sorry to report that we have discovered that hackers gained access to our forum and game databases and the player data in those databases.  We have launched a thorough investigation covering our entire system to determine the scope of the intrusion.  This investigation is ongoing and is our top priority.  As part of the remediation and security enhancement process we will be taking the game and forums down temporarily.

We are issuing this Security Alert to all Survivors as a precaution so you can take some precautionary measures on your own. We have already taken a number of steps to increase security and are continuing to work with external advisors and investigators to identify and implement measures to minimize the chance of this happening in the future.

The data accessed included email addresses used to log-in to the forum and game, forum passwords which we encrypt, encrypted game passwords as well as in-game character names and the IP addresses from which players log-in to the forum and to the game. If you posted other information to the forum it is likely that such data was accessed as well.  We do not collect the names or addresses of our gamers so that information was not impacted unless you posted it on the forum. We are investigating whether additional information may have been obtained.

No Payment information Exposed.

All payments are made through a third party and not through our system.  Therefore there was absolutely no exposure of your payment or billing information of any kind.

Email Addresses.

If you registered on our forum your registration email address was taken. Those Survivors who use the same email address to access their game accounts should be aware that the hackers have the email address.

Passwords.

We encrypt all passwords. However, there is a possibility that simple passwords can be obtained using brute force even if they are encrypted.   Our research shows that many users are not using strong passwords. 

Therefore, we are asking all of our players to please change your passwords immediately. You may do this by visiting our website or by clicking “Forgot Password” on The War Z launcher screen. If you use the same password for accounts on other services, you should change those passwords as well. Please make sure to use a strong password that is unique and uses a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.  Longer passwords are stronger. We suggest not to use password shorter than 8 symbols, with 12 to 15 symbols long password being preferred.

What we are doing.

We have engaged outside experts and investigators to assist in our investigation of this incident and committed substantial resources to that effort.  We have identified how access was obtained and have enhanced our security to improve game and forum safety. We are undertaking a full review and update of our servers and the services we use and adding additional security mechanisms. 

The security of your data is important to us and we want our players to be assured that we take this situation very seriously.  We have taken steps to improve security to minimize the chance of this happening in the future and will continue to invest in improving security going forward. 

This has been a humbling experience for us.  While we all know that there is no guaranty of security on the internet, our goal is to try our very best to protect your data.  We sincerely apologize.   

We will update you on status as we make progress.

Thank you, 

The War Z Team

The War Z Creator Sends Open Letter to Community

the-war-z-alpha

Here is a letter from Sergey Titov, Executive Producer of The War Z, to the gaming community. In the letter, he addresses some of the concerns regarding the controversy surrounding the game on Steam.

Dear fellow Survivors,

It has now been more than two months since we launched public access to The War Z. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, and I thought that this Holiday break was the right time for me to try to step back a little and think about our journey since it started. This may be a little long, but I would appreciate if you could stay with me for a few minutes as I try to go over the highlights of the game as well as some of the hurdles and controversies, how we have addressed that and what our plans are.

First of all a very big and sincere “Thank You!” to all of you. We are really proud of the community we have formed with you guys. Every day we have hundreds of thousands of players on our servers, and this is a life-changing event for the team and me. We are blessed to have you as members of the community and we are well aware that without you the game would be nothing.  Along with that thanks, though, I need to admit that we failed to effectively communicate some of our plans and actions to both our existing players and to our new prospective players. This failure to communicate resulted in some very negative feedback from some members of our community, but while it might be easy to label them as “haters” or some other dismissive term, in all honesty this is my fault.  I became arrogant and blinded by the early success and quick growth of The War Z, our increasing number of players, numbers we were getting from surveys, etc., and I chose not to notice the concerns and questions raised by these members of the game community as well as others.  This failure is entirely on my shoulders and if anything I owe thanks to that vocal minority and admit that I should have paid attention sooner. I chose instead to concentrate on the bigger picture – my dream of turning The War Z from being a game developed by a small indie team into a large online venture, instead of addressing small things first and staying focused on the game issues. At the end my arrogance led us to the moment, when all those small things finally caught up and created a “perfect storm” that affected all of our community members.  For that I’m truly sorry and apologize to all of our community as well as the larger PC gaming community that is not yet playing The War Z.

I do not take this situation lightly, and last week events were especially humbling for me. I’ve experienced a range of emotions, most of which centered on regret for not having addressed some of the issues differently than we did, but we can’t change the past. The only thing we can do is to be sure that we won’t repeat the same mistakes in the future. I have realized that as the leader of this ship, I missed all early warnings that were saying, “Your community is not as happy as you think they are, you need to alter course.” I was too focused on how great we are and how a small independent team got their first game to over 700,000 users in a two-month period.  Though thatis something to be very proud of, allowing that to overshadow the existing community and their satisfaction was poor judgment.

I want to give you some insight into what our plans are for the future, but before we get to that, I’d like to clear the air with you on several important topics.

Community management and moderation – the problem

Even since the early Alpha launch, this game has always cultivated a large and loyal player base that is very active in the game. Again, thank you for this. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for this large success and the way we managed the community was not the way it should’ve been. We relied too much on forum moderators, whose primary role was to punish those who break rules, not to engage the community and guide conversations into productive discussions about problems. There wasn’t enough presence of the development team on forums, there wasn’t enough updates on development of UPCOMING features. We failed to communicate our position and messaging on the outside platforms such as Facebook, twitter and various online websites, and when we did this we chose to rely more on arrogance rather than being humble and trying to understand why people were saying negative things. We chose to tune out negative reactions to the game, not paying enough attention to them – and this, again, is my fault. We chose to rely too much on numbers – percentage of refund requests, number and dynamic of our daily and monthly active users, etc. Well, in hindsight – those things probably work well for more casual games, but the hardcore PC gaming community is much different and can be very vocal about what they feel. Even when the percentage of players with negative comments is small, as the community grows, even a small percentage can add up to be a very significant absolute number. And it’s not just a number – those are real people with real issues they are having with the game. OP Productions (publisher for War Z) and me personally have failed to address those issues effectively.

Community management and moderation – the solution!

We’re changing our community management procedures and rules right now. We’re going to reevaluate publishing and marketing team performance, and I will make sure that Hammerpoint Interactive developers will have a much stronger voice when it comes to community management and we won’t rely 100% on OP Productions to single handedly handle this. Lots of changes will be happening very fast in the weeks to come. One of the ideas that I proposed was to select 10 players from around the world who can represent the player community and invite them to our offices in Los Angeles, to meet the team, check out what we’re doing, and share with actual developers their concerns, wishes and thoughts on the game. We also will involve community, to a much higher degree, in the process of making our next map for the War Z (called “California”). We’ll be discussing many of the aspects of the map with you and asking for feedback.

We’re revisiting our forum policies; we’re going to bring on an additional community management team, additional moderators and we’ll train them how to respond to things properly. There will still be restrictions on harassment, trash talk, etc. But we’ll make sure that every opinion is heard. At the same time, I must also be cautious: we cannot address all issues and there cannot be only one voice. Please accept that. With hundreds of thousands of players playing, talking, chatting, voicing their strong opinions, there will always be diverging opinions. And some issues that are minor ones are sometimes brought to light by very vocal channels. I would even say there is sometimes a beginning of controversy because the game is now so popular. So there is sometimes a distortion between the severity of the issue and the attention it gets. But we will clearly implement steps to better listen to the community.

What is Foundation Release?

The most asked question of the last week was “is this the final release?”  My answer has always been that for an online game a “final” release means that the game is dead – so there’s really no such thing, you never stop developing, making changes to and adding new features to the game. This is how we came to call the current version of The War Z “Foundation Release.”  We launched the Foundation Release on December 17, 2012 as our first-stage release that we use as a foundation to build upon. It does include the core features and a fully playable environment. This is our version 1.0, and of course  we will continue to improve that version as time goes on.  Did we rush to get it done? That is a tough question, but to answer honestly I think that we all pushed very hard to be first to market and in time for the holidays. Our entire team was working late, long hours to iron out issues and include as many features as possible.  This is part of the reality of being a smaller, independent game developer. If we had a larger team and more funding we may have done things differently, but I’m not sure. I don’t think it was a mistake because our numbers have been strong since day one and, even with the recent negativity, our metrics are really solid and we’ve been continuing to grow.  The negative opinions are always the most vocal, but most players are really enjoying the game and we’ve been attracting more and more daily active players every week.  A lot of the gaming journalists that have been playing the game have also given us some great feedback. I realize that we will take a few hits from some of the traditional gaming press in terms of review scores, but I’m hoping that even they will consider that this game is a living project that will continue to evolve as time goes on. We are very proud of our Foundation Release, and we do stand behind it like we have stood behind any previous version.

What’s on the Horizon?

As for what will happen next with The War Z? We’re currently evaluating the relationship between Hammerpoint and OP Productions.  I firmly believe that Hammerpoint should be playing a more prominent role in publishing/game operating process. We’re in a process of adding new key members to our team, bringing on guys who have much more experience operating and growing successful online games and I know this is going to make a huge difference in terms of development.  We’ll be making some big decisions in terms of leadership for both companies and I will personally change how I handle many things.  Above all we will continue to develop and make this game the best that it can be.

I know that to some people my words won’t matter much. I understand that. I hope that will change as we move forward and deliver the features that our players have been waiting for. I can promise you that from now on things will be much more transparent, and we’ll provide better communication and engage our community to discuss upcoming features way before they appear in the game.

I do believe that we aren’t even close to uncovering the true potential for The War Z, and I hope that in the coming year, we’ll be able to regain trust from people who were alienated by our actions and we’ll be able to move forward and grow the game together.

Thank you for reading all this, thank you for supporting the game and thank you for helping us to change and realize what’s important as well as what is not.

I hope you are all having a happy holiday and I wish you the best for the New Year!

Sincerely,

Sergey Titov

Executive Producer, The War Z

The War Z Removed From Steam Amidst Gamer Anger and Complaints of Fraud

the-war-z-alpha

Steam has taken gamer opinion into account and removed Hammerpoint Interactive’s The War Z from Steam, where it was being sold as a “Foundation Release” (as coined by the developer). Gamers immediately began complaining as most of the features being touted by the game’s store page were not actually implemented in the game. The War Z recently finished alpha testing and moved into beta, where it currently is still at despite developer claims to the contrary. The features being touted on the store page simply are not implement yet, but it is being presented as a completed game to unaware purchasers. In reaction to the forum outcry, Valve has removed the game from Steam for purchase until they can review a build from the developer.

Valve’s Doug Lombardi had this to say in response to our official request for comment:

“From time to time a mistake can be made and one was made by prematurely issuing a copy of War Z for sale via Steam. We apologize for this and have temporary removed the sale offering of the title until we have time to work with the developer and have confidence in a new build. Those who purchase the game and wish to continue playing it via Steam may do so. Those who purchased the title via Steam and are unhappy with what they received may seek a refund by creating a ticket at our support site here.”

Personally, I have played The War Z in its alpha and beta stages and see a lot of potential – but it is still far from where it needs to be in order to be marketed on Steam.

The War Z Enters Beta, Announces New Content

LOS ANGELES – December 4, 2012 – After a highly successful public Alpha that cultivated a community of more than 500,000 players, the online, multiplayer survival game The War Z is officially transitioning to Beta today.  This latest evolution will include several new features, including the release of the full game map as well as new purchase options for incoming players. The War Z is developed by Hammerpoint Interactive and is currently available for purchase at http://thewarz.com/buy.

With the start of Beta, The War Z development team is introducing some highly sought after content and features, including:
  • New Characters – new playable characters
  • Clan Support – in-game clan tags, in-game clan chat, visual markers for clan members
  • New Playable Area – final section of the “Colorado” game world opened up, increasing current map size by 50 percent
  • New Items – players will have access to new items in the game marketplace
Additionally, to honor the core community that supported the game through Alpha, Hammerpoint will be providing current players with a bevy of perks and also eliminating the existing “Survivor, Pioneer and Legend” game packages, which will be replaced with three different packages for new players.  The new packages will include guest keys and in-game currency, but will not include any of the special recognition perks offered with the previous packs.  More information can be found at http://www.thewarz.com/buy.
“We are extremely happy with the way our public Alpha has been going,” said Sergey Titov, executive producer for The War Z. “We will now move to a short Beta period before we transition again to our Foundation Release, at which point we will continue to work with our community to add features and content that will continue the evolution of the game.  As long as our players keep playing, we will keep developing!”
The War Z is an online, multiplayer, survival-simulation game set in an open world infested with zombies.  Players are thrust into this post-apocalyptic world five-years after a viral outbreak that ravaged the human population and left, in its wake, a nightmare of epic proportion.  Hordes of undead zombies roam the cities, and the few remaining human beings have devolved into a lawless, nomadic society where the sole objective is to survive at any cost. Players must use skill and cunning in order to acquire food, weapons and other supplies necessary for survival.  While navigating the vast landscape, they will discover cities teeming with the undead as well as other players that may or may not be friendly.
Players can visit http://www.thewarz.com for more information.
They can also have a chance to win gear and game access by “liking” on Facebook (http://facebook.com/warzmmo) and “following” on Twitter (http://twitter.com/the_war_z).

The War Z Gets Content Upgrade Before Beta

LOS ANGELES – October 30, 2012 – With a current player base of more than 200,000 gamers, the time is now for remaining survivors that have yet to get their first taste of The War Z.  The game is available for unrestricted access on October 31, 2012 and, to celebrate, developer Hammerpoint Interactive is introducing brand new content that will feature the following:

  • New Characters – new playable characters
  • New Zombies – new zombie models
  • New Playable Area – entirely new section of game world opened up, including new large cities – effectively doubling the current map size
  • Special Themed Items – players will have access to special, Halloween-themed items in the game marketplace
Additionally, to commemorate this milestone, Hammerpoint will be reintroducing the “Legend” package for a limited time.  Through Sunday, November 4, 2012, the Legend package, which was previously sold out, will be available and will include the following:
  • Full Game Access
  • $30 of in-game currency
  • Six-months of “stronghold” server hosting
  • Special player recognition in-game and on forums
Players can purchase the Legend package (or other packages) now at (http://www.thewarz.com/buy)
“The last couple of weeks of Alpha, since we began allowing public access, have been incredible,” said Sergey Titov, executive producer for The War Z. “We’re extremely happy with the way things are going and the players seem to understand the hurdles of the game being in Alpha and have been really supportive. We will continue to listen to the feedback from our community and use it to add the features and content that will match their expectations and help us to make this game the best it can be.”
The War Z is an online, multiplayer, survival-simulation game set in an open world infested with zombies.  Players are thrust into this post-apocalyptic world five-years after a viral outbreak that ravaged the human population and left, in its wake, a nightmare of epic proportion.  Hordes of undead zombies roam the cities, and the few remaining human beings have devolved into a lawless, nomadic society where the sole objective is to survive at any cost. Players must use skill and cunning in order to acquire food, weapons and other supplies necessary for survival.  While navigating the vast landscape, they will discover cities teeming with the undead as well as other players that may or may not be friendly.
Players can visit http://www.thewarz.com for more information.  They can also have a chance to win gear and game access by “liking” on Facebook (http://facebook.com/warzmmo) and “following” on Twitter (http://twitter.com/the_war_z).
 
About Hammerpoint Interactive
Hammerpoint Interactive was formed in 2011 by a team of experienced developers looking to create a fresh experience in the online, multiplayer arena. Having worked with large publishers, such as Electronic Arts and Activision, as well as on multiplayer games, such as World of Tanks, the team possesses the knowledge and skill to create multiplayer games that appeal to both hardcore and mainstream gamers. The company is backed and financed by Arktos Entertainment Group.
About Arktos Entertainment Group
Arktos Entertainment Group (www.arktosentertainment.com) is a privately held Los Angeles based investment and holding company, providing investment as well as creative and production management support for companies in the interactive and online entertainment industries. Arktos Entertainment published and is operating The War Z through OP Productions, LLC, a newly created subsidiary.

The War Z Pre-Order Details Released

LOS ANGELES – October 4, 2012 – With more than 1 million players registered, the wait is nearly over for anxious survivors waiting to face zombie hordes and other players as they explore “Colorado,” the first world in The War Z (TWZ).   Arktos Entertainment Group and Hammerpoint Interactive today announced that the closed beta for TWZ will begin on October 31, 2012, with two early purchase packages that will see players accessing the online, multiplayer, survival-simulation game as soon as October 15. The two purchase options will be discounted for a limited time and are as follows:

  1. SURVIVOR: 
Price: $19.50 USD through October 20, 2012 ($29.99 USD thereafter)
Game Access: October 31, 2012
  1. PIONEER (INCLUDES EARLY ALPHA ACCESS):
Price: $29.99 USD through October 20, 2012 ($49.99 USD thereafter)
Game Access: October 15, 2012 (special early Alpha access)
Bonuses: The package includes $15 of in-game currency, special forum badge identifying player as an early, pioneer community member, and one-month of “Stronghold” map server hosting to create a unique world within the game.
Players can choose their option and purchase now at (http://www.thewarz.com/buy)
“We’ve been working non-stop to tweak and balance the game to where we feel comfortable beginning to bring more players in,” said Sergey Titov, executive producer for The War Z. “We are now at that point, but this is where the real work begins.  We want to work with our players to build and add additional features, remove those that they don’t like and continue to evolve The War Z to be the best zombie survival-sim available.”
The War Z is an online, multiplayer, survival-simulation game set in an open world infested with zombies.  Players are thrust into this post-apocalyptic world five-years after a viral outbreak that ravaged the human population and left, in its wake, a nightmare of epic proportion.  Hordes of undead zombies roam the cities, and the few remaining human beings have devolved into a lawless, nomadic society where the sole objective is to survive at any cost.  Players must use skill and cunning in order to acquire food, weapons and other supplies necessary for survival.  While navigating the vast landscape, they will discover cities teeming with the undead as well as other players that may or may not be friendly.
Players can visit http://www.thewarz.com for more information.  They can also have the chance to win gear and game access by “liking” on Facebook  http://facebook.com/warzmmo) and “following” on Twitter (http://twitter.com/the_war_z).