MMO ‘Customer Service’

Yikes! It’s been over 2 months since I posted! Sorry about that! I’ve gotten sucked into Guild Wars quite thoroughly. It’s nearly as bad as Warcrack. It’s great fun, and it takes up way too much of my time, according to Jimbo. I don’t know what he’s talking about, I only have 6 characters who’ve made the max level 20. I have at least 4 more to go. Then there’s the Friends of the Luxons title to max, Holy Lightbringer to Achieve, Master of the North, Legendary Vanquisher, etc., etc., etc.

So, what brought me out of my little MMO bit of heaven? A message to Guild Wars Customer Service. I use the term ‘customer service’ very, very loosely. It’s so loose that it won’t even stay together with superglue or steel welds.

Here’s what happened. I was playing a mission with my paragon character. I wanted to capture an elite skill (GW has regular skills and ‘elite’ skills–the uber-skillz that everyone wants to have on their skill-bar). This involves killing the appropriate boss with that skill and activating your ‘signet of capture’ or cap sig, and waiting for it a full 2 seconds before you can click on the skill to capture. Normally, this works pretty well, and I’m able to capture the skills I want fairly easily.

This time, however, the boss in question, Overseer Boktek (Ketkob? TekBok? Doesn’t matter, they’re all made up anyway), was at the very end of the mission. The mission ends as soon as he dies. I discovered this when I hit the cap sig but got booted out of the mission area to an outpost by the game mechanics before the signet could activate to catch the skill.

For those of you whose eyes glazed over by word 2 of that last paragraph, the upstart of all that was that I couldn’t get the skill goody I wanted because the game is designed stupidly there.

Being the pragmatic sort, I thought I’d contact Arenanet (aka Anet by us Guildies) and let them know that there was a problem. I spelled out what the problem was, why it happened, and what I thought could be done to solve the problem, i.e. just give people about 30 seconds between the time the battle ends and the mission ends. This seemed like an easy-to-implement solution.

Apparently that’s not the way Anet does things. The exchange went like this via email:

Me (initial post): Could you please build in a little time before the cutscene starts at the very end of the mission to allow signet captures of elite skills from the Overseers? Currently the cutscene starts as soon as the Overseers die, which does not allow any time to capture these elite skills. I would have liked to have captured one skill, if not both, but it’s impossible to do right now as the mission is currently designed.

Thank you for your consideration.

Anet:

Response (GM Zanith) 04/10/2008 05:42 PM
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Guild Wars Support about this.

We encourage you to consider posting your suggestions on one of the many Guild Wars Fansite message boards. A compiled list can be found on the official Guild Wars web site at http://www.guildwars.com/community/fansites/. By posting on one of these message boards, other players can comment on your ideas, concerns, and suggestions, and Development Team members are able to catch up on what the community wants to see in Guild Wars. Fansite forums make it easy and efficient for us to learn from those playing the game.

Thank you for your efforts in assisting us to make Guild Wars the best gaming experience possible.

Regards,
The Guild Wars Support Team

That has to be one of the most unique and bizarre approaches to customer service issues I’ve ever seen in my life. “Don’t bother us, go spam your complaint on multiple fansites.” If I said to my customers “Oh, don’t come to us to fix a problem, go complain about it elsewhere to other customers and potential customers,” I’d be out of a job very quickly. Of course, if you’re playing the game, you’ve already bought the product and there’s not too much more for Anet to sell to you, so I guess they don’t have the same incentive to care about their image.

Well, I duly noted the problem on the website of my guild, The Lost Haven. I also posted on GuildWarsGuru, despite the fact that I probably wasted not only my time but the bandwidth of those 2 sites to gripe. It could be worse, however. One of my guildmates commented, “Come play World of Warcraft. Everybody is brushed off there. The difference is they don’t try to pretend it is not so. It is working as intended.” All I could do then was laugh.

Guess what I got in my email inbox yesterday? A customer service survey from Anet. My friend, stoffe, asked “Is there a ‘what customer service?’ option?” I laughed even harder.

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