I've enjoyed playing storm 8/team lava games, bakery story, restaurant story, and farm story, for over a year. If you had asked me what I thought of their products prior to May 2012, it would have been a stellar 5 star review.
However, recent experiences with harassment by adults and underaged players have made their games unpalatable. Despite repeated emails sent to team lava with screen shots, I am still being harassed. It has come to the point where I fear whether or not the players will move their harassment from the virtual world to the real world.
To make the situation even more frustrating, I have been suspended from their games when I tried to fight back and when I attempted to help others being harassed along with me. The harassers, though, are still doing what they do without any disciplinary actions by team lava.
For months, perhaps years, players have asked for a ban or an ignore feature on their walls so that they have the power in their own hands to stop harassment immediately. [continued below]....
..... To this day, this is something team lava has not provided. Instead, they are busy raising the prices of items players can purchase. And, they work diligently to invent new ways to trick players into buying gems with real money by using "gem traps". After purchasing gems, either wittingly or unwittingly, you may find your gems simply disappear with no fault of your own. And when you ask team lava to refund the money or gems, you will get the same answer every time (i.e. we are unable to reverse lost gems as it is against our policy.)
After experiencing relentless harassment that lasted about 6 wks, I decided to start campaigning for a block button feature to be installed on all of the story games. It's a feature players have been asking for for 2-3 years. It's already available on storm 8 games yet team lava says they don't want to provide the block button for story games because " A Block button has both positive and negative effects. Yes, with a block button, you can easily block an inappropriate player so they don't bother you again, but this won't stop them from causing trouble for other players." Quote taken from team lava forums ( http://forums.teamlava.c). Not only does team lava refuse to provide one of the most requested things of all time on story games, they've also suspended my account for 3 days for campaigning a blackout, asking players to not log into their games for a week. I was told by a team lava agent that the best place to ask for a block button is on the team lava forums since it is monitored by team lava employees. So, I went to an existing block button thread saw the following post by a player opposed to having a block button:
"Now I'm sorry but I laughed when you wrote (In a world where we have freedom of speech). If you use a block button are you not taking away the other persons freedom of speech ?"
THIS IS MY REPLY TO THAT ARGUMENT (BUT IT WAS CENSORED & REMOVED FROM THE FORUMS BY TEAM LAVA MODERATORS WITHIN 7 HRS):
Dictionary definition of freedom of speech: The right to express any opinion in public without censorship or restraint by the government.
"This definition misses some critical aspects of our common usage of the term. For instance, free speech is of no value if nobody is allowed to listen to the speech; people in solitary confinement have perfectly free speech, but that does not mean that we would have considered it an acceptable solution to lock up Martin Luther King Jr. in solitary confinement and let him preach what he may; along with the obvious unjust imprisonment we would consider this to be an obvious example of trampling on free speech. We should also consider the right to free speech as the right to listen to anybody we choose."
The next logical question would be, if we choose not to listen to someone's speech or expression, do we have the right to block their speech? The answer is yes, as long as it is written on another player's wall. A block button does NOT take away a person's freedom of speech because that person is still free to express himself on his own wall or anywhere it is welcomed. However, if a player has been told that their messages are not welcomed at a particular wall but continues to post there, our right to choose which expression to receive has been trampled upon.
Wikipedia: "The term freedom of expression includes any act of seeking, receiving and impartinginformation or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity and incitement to commit a crime.
Freedom of expression has multiple subsets but many people only think of the first one. Freedom of expression includes: 1. Freedom of speech 2. Freedom to choose whose speech we would like to receive 3. A freedom of speech that is reasonably limited
It may feel team lava is trampling on our rights when a player who has organized a blackout or boycott is censored. That is simply not true. Team lava & storm 8 as a corporation holds no responsibility to fund or host any speech that is critical of them. However, should that same speech be moved to another forum that is not sponsored, hosted, or funded by team lava/storm 8, they have no grounds to censor in that instance.
Is it true that freedom of speech cannot occur in the presence of censorship? No, in fact freedom of speech coexists with censorship (of things that are libel, slander, or threats.)
In fact, multiple posts from countless players asking for a block button is censored daily. Pretty much the only thing you are allowed to say on their forums is "I want a block button." And every now and then a moderator will say "I will forward this request yet another time to team lava." This has been happening for the last 3 years, over and over again, like a broken record.
Team lava/Storm 8: CEO Perry Tam said in an article on June 8th, 2011 withhttp://insidemobileapps. that "This is a huge market and my intention is to figure out how to conquer it and become the biggest social gaming company on mobile platforms."
That WILL NOT happen if they don't change their unethical practices. Consumers will take notice and rebel. They will find other developers for apps that entertain but also take care of their customers whenever customer service is needed.