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Counselors

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Radun, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Radun

    Radun Guest

    we need em... the GM queue is hours long. bring back volunteers! make them sign away their right to sue for wages if you have to, just bring them back.
     
  2. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    Hire Japanese players apparently in Japan it's not illegal to "volunteer" for a for profit organization..... and I honestly don't see why Japanese players can't volunteer on other shards.
     
  3. Radun

    Radun Guest

    as long as they're fluent in english and orcish, i wouldn't have a problem with that...

    the reason i brought this up is... there are so many exploits and other illegal activities that the GM has to witness to be able to take action against an account, and with queue times measured in the HOURS it's very very difficult to page and have the GM show up in time to witness the infraction.



    plus, the counselors could clean up the queue of all the pages that don't require the action of an actual GM... like when people page asking gameplay questions etc, and 'this guy tricked me into going to fel and killed me' etc... this way the GMs can concentrate on all the pages that actually require immediate GM action.
     
  4. MR_CLEAN

    MR_CLEAN Guest

    Is that what happened with the Counselors of old? They sued for wages?

    Who says a Counselor works for EA? If the agreement is written so that they are considered to be players...just playing a different role, then I don't see the problem.

    Having Counselors back would be a very good idea...if to do nothing but help new players and people that just have stupid questions.
     
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Guest


    It took one bad apple to create a group of bad apples that did, indeed, sue and won from my understanding. The papers I recieved in reguards to this asked me if I wanted to participate, Heck no! I shredded the papers and put them in my cat litter box. To this day, I sorely miss all those blue robed folks, and I miss being one!
     
  6. Radun

    Radun Guest

  7. Peaches

    Peaches Guest

  8. Radun

    Radun Guest

  9. Moreeg

    Moreeg Guest

    From what I understand the GMs are no longer shard specific... they are now GMing every shard, which is why the wait is so long.

    I appreciate the idea of the satisfaction survey, but it isnt going to do anything. They know the wait is long, they know we arent happy. They are understaffed because EA itself isnt doing well, and UO in particular isnt a game that is making lots of money... so they arent going to pay money out to hire on more GMs.

    As for the counselors... well, unfortunatley... welcome to "Litigious America." Companies have to act as if they are going to be sued for everything to cover their butts, and innocent, well intentioned people (all of us) are the ones who suffer.

    As to the suggestion above, while it is well intentioned, there is no legal way to sign away your right to be paid for work. It isnt a matter that is simply between EA and the individual, because the government WANTS you to be paid for the work so that they can collect taxes from your pay and taxes from the employeer.
    Its like when places put up signs stating they are not responsible for blah blah blah... your legal responsibilities are your legal responsibilities and you cannot circumvent them by notifying people that you arent responsible.
     
  10. QMSoar

    QMSoar Journeyman
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    The game Puzzle Pirates uses a player to player help system to take care of the little questions that clog up the GM queues.
    They simply allow anyone who has played more than 6 months to activate themselves as a "Greeter" or player helper anytime they are online. This is done with a simple chat command. Once they activate themselves the Greeters receive help requests from players who press a Help button located on the main menu. If the help request is beyond what they can do, they tell the player to page a GM. Greeters have no special powers beyond this.

    It's basically just a way to facillitate peer to peer support, and appears to be working well for them.

    Unfortunately the chat system is a bit more advanced in that game so you wouldn't be able to transplant it directly to UO without upgrading. Which is a situation I have always thought very odd as Puzzle Pirates is a Java applet. Perhaps it's time for a player communication systems overhaul :)

    Soar
     
  11. Radun

    Radun Guest

    oh then in that case, I guess EA/Mythic's hands are bound, and there's absolutely nothing they can do...rolleyes: in that case, they're excused from any responsibility to provide the customer service we're paying extra for...:hahaha:
     
  12. Nat/Bella

    Nat/Bella Guest

    The Companion program was set up to help new players with their questions. I'd log in my char as a Companion, and could recall to a young player anywhere in the game, to see if they wanted help with anything. No way would I do that again. I gave up some of my ingame time for free to help out, and some of those peeps were just downright rude and awful.
     
  13. DevilsOwn

    DevilsOwn Stratics Legend
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    was severely addicted to manning the bilge pump there for a spell :D

    we've always had the ability to set up something like this with the ingame chat window (and how many new players even know that exists?) and I've never known why it was more widely accepted.... open the chat window, look for the "Help" room, ask your question, or describe where you are and someone could find you... the window itself is a bit intrusive, but to accomplish this it would be a fine alternative
     
  14. MR_CLEAN

    MR_CLEAN Guest

    We had someone that was a Smurf in our guild a long time ago. He and I lost touch, but from what he told me back then, you had a schedule you were required to follow?

    I mean, that is not exactly a true volunteer program. But if they rolled it back out, and made it truly a 'do it when you feel like it' arrangement, how can they call that anything even close to "employment"?

    If I want to stand around in a blue robe and answer questions...by god I should be able to do it!

    Not sure I want to spend my time that way, but hey...I think we should have the ability if we wanted.


    Hmmm...we could start a Counselors Guild...and just dress up in blue robes and help people. I wonder if EA/Mythic would give us the cool blue robes if we did?
     
  15. Surgeries

    Surgeries Grand Poobah
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    There is one significant challenge with Volunteers in the US, and that is that usually, a person can only work for a company as a Volunteer, if that company is a registered Not for Profit Charity, Educational or Governmental agency that can have volunteer labor, under IRS guidelines. EA would more than likely not fall in a category that could have volunteer labor.

    Otherwise the IRS has tests they apply to a person, to determine if they are an employee, and subject to wage law, and taxation, or if they are Self Employed (Independent Contractor), and pay their own taxes, on compensation they receive. The most concise info on the IRS site can be found here: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html

    So, it looks to me like EA has bitten the bullet, and decided to compensate the individuals selected in such a manner that at least their Legal department has given the nod. That would be my guess, anyway.

    And, I applaud the move. It is a good first step in revitalizing UO. We need all we can get.
     
  16. MR_CLEAN

    MR_CLEAN Guest

    I still just don't get how anyone that is asked:

    "Hey, do you want to come and do ________ and in return, we will give you ________ ?"


    Can later go back and change what _________ is, without a re-negotiation on both sides.


    If I went to my boss, after the fact, and said..."I don't think I was paid enough."

    Should he have to cough up more, even though I agreed to work for the stated wage? (In the case of the Counselors...a free UO account)
     
  17. Hoffs

    Hoffs Gilfane Keeper of the Hall
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    It would probably be a good idea to enable a 'talk to anyone' option, so you have guild, alliance and anyone chat. Of course you would have all sorts of spam on there and perhaps it would lead to lag issues, but there should be an option to turn it off and maybe they could add an ignore feature to it.

    Anyway, it would enable people to send general help requests out and maybe young players would be identified in it with a [young] tag before their name. You could see some people forming an unofficial counsellor guild with their own uniforms and members available at certain times. They would have no special powers, but would have recall runes to numerous locations. As far as EA are concerned, they would have no involvement other than enabling the chat function.

    Perhaps I am missing something though, or perhaps lag would be an issue. Maybe having chat from anyone on the screen would cause too much distraction or intrusion, although you would be able to just disable it.
     
  18. Dol'Gorath

    Dol'Gorath Grand Inquisitor
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    I don't understand how some for profit corporations are able to dodge the volunteer issue then.
    For example, Hospitals. Sure SOME hospitals are indded government/non-profit, but most of them are for profit corporations that are completely about turning a buck. Yet they are allowed to have volunteers.
    In fact, the state of Florida itself boats about how Volunteers at hospitals save the hospitals many millions of dollars a year in "wages".
    Is it because they are a hospital and everyone has a different view of it than say, a video game company?

    As I always say, if given the chance, I would GLADLY become a counselor, and a Companion once again. If it were legal I'd even sign a waiver that I could not sue EA and that those that started the lawsuit to begin with never be allowed back in, ban them for life.
     
  19. Surgeries

    Surgeries Grand Poobah
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    The answer to this question is:

    Was the wage paid at least the Federal Minimum Wage, for the hours worked, or the State Minimum Wage, whichever is greater?

    It isn't a negotiation; State and Federal Law supersede any personal agreements, no matter what. Failure to observe that law can result in severe penalties, indeed, including Jail Time for executives, etc.

    So no...you can't agree to be paid less than State and Federal Law requires, even if you want to.
     
  20. Surgeries

    Surgeries Grand Poobah
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    Only those that have governmental and/or charitable foundations established with the IRS, under IRS guidelines, and review, can have Volunteer labor, I believe. Same with Firefighters. They do not have to be paid, as long as the organization they work with is authorized for Volunteer labor. Otherwise they have some pretty strict rules, concerning compensatory time off, how OT is calculated, etc., with the FLSA.

    It is even to the point where the hospitals you refer to must allocate, and account for, assets used strictly in accordance with the charitable work they do, as opposed to the "For Profit" aspect, and those assets must be accounted for separately.

    I really enjoyed Counselors, as well. I have always had great service, when I have needed help. I have been fortunate, based on the stories some tell. But the Counselors and Seers helped make this game a wondrous place.

    I do hope they can see the way to bring them back. If they hire well, and just make sure that everyone who is a Seer or Counselor receives a fair wage that is above reproach, I am confident the ROI, although likely a bit ethereal, would certainly be there, overall.
     
  21. Moreeg

    Moreeg Guest



    Im not excusing them, Im just saying that it isnt going to happen. But really, there isnt anything they can do... the game isnt exactly a money maker for them, and they are firing people and shelving projects as we speak, to think they are going to be funneling and money into UO is naive at best.

    As for "paying extra," Im not sure what you mean. Your subscription fee? Or is there some extra I dont know about? Either way, I can guarantee you that they are still well within the TOS. Sadly, all we can do is hope that UO undergoes a renisaince and we see an influx of new players, otherwise we can only realistically expect the same as we are getting until UO is no longer profitable and they pull the plug. :(
     
  22. Moreeg

    Moreeg Guest


    I dont see how you view this as a step toward revitalizing UO. Its a game that isnt make much money for EA, and this settlement is now costing EA money because of UO. If anything, this is another nail in the coffin.

    When the time comes that UO doesnt make money, UO will be over. See the Sims Online for further evidence.
     
  23. Radun

    Radun Guest

    not sure on the exact dollar amount, but I vaguely remember a monthly charge increase for "enhanced customer service"