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Korean Woman Sues NCSoft Over $28,000 Sword in Lineage

One 64-year-old woman would not accept NCSoft's refusal to give back her extremely rare item in Lineage, and sued the company. It did not work out in her favor.

As anyone who has ever played a traditional high-fantasy MMO knows, sometimes there are risks to getting greater rewards. Medieval fantasy MMORPG Lineage by NCSoft was released in the US in 1998 and is no exception to the rule. While US servers were shut down in 2011 due to unprofitability, the Korean market is (evidently) still going strong.

Earlier this spring, one 64-year-old Korean woman tried to enchant a weapon in Lineage worth about 30 million won on the resale market - the equivalent of $28,000 USD. The enchant failed, and the extremely rare "Jin Myung Hwang's Conduct Sword" was destroyed.


The woman contacted NCSoft to replace it, claiming that she had attempted to enchant the sword by accident, thinking it was a different (cheaper) item. According to Kotaku, she explained that she would never have actively tried to enchant the item and risk it being destroyed.

When NCSoft refused, she sued them.

Unfortunately for her, the odds were not exactly in her favor. The court proceedings did not go her way as the woman's gaming log showed that she continued to enchant other items after the sword was destroyed. It was also recorded that she failed to enchant other items as well and purchased an in-game scroll to increase her chances.

The court went on to say that even if she had destroyed the sword by accident, NCSoft has no responsibility to restore it for her.

What do you think?

Perhaps it stands as glaring testimony to the fact that I will never be a ~true gamer~, but if I got my hands on an in-game sword worth $28,000, you can be sure I would have hocked that thing in a heartbeat.

However, that doesn't mean I don't understand the frustration of losing something - in-game, as same as out. Moreover, I also understand that the main meat of the court's argument makes no sense. One item lost in a batch enchant does not mean that she was aware what she'd done immediately after losing it. Also, keeping in mind that this is a game developed in 1998, I suspect the usual safeguards (warning messages, color-coding, distinct sword design, etc.) are absent.

But the lesson remains. Pay attention to what you're doing, because no one else is obligated to fix your mistakes for you. 

I've certainly been guilty of making wrong choices (selling the wrong thing, trading in my Warzone Commendations for the wrong gear, getting my account banned because I let the wrong person use it). Some I've managed to get over, some I've managed to go to Customer Support to get back, and some I've had just had to deal with - bitterly. 

Guess it's time for this woman to face up to the same life lesson. 

Published Oct. 23rd 2013

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