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Inadequate support services.

Discussion in 'UHall' started by TitusPullo, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. TitusPullo

    TitusPullo Guest

    I've been reading the UO forums (and occasionally posting) now for around a month.

    Judging by the posts I've read, the common theme seems to be that UO's paid support services are almost an insult to the customers who've been loyal to this product for so many years.

    People paging GM's and trying to word their pages correctly for hours, just to get a human response? When you do, you are told they can't help you with issues that are clearly what support services should be involved with assisting. (Like fixing logic errors that result in items not being properly being removed from the game world)

    Two players page a GM:

    Player A wants to place a house but can't, some random item is hanging mid-air on the map.

    Player B wants to place a house, however, another home owners house needs to be moved just a TINY bit to the left to make room.

    GM analyzes situation A: This situation was caused by a logic error. There is no way for a player to manipulate or remove this bugged item. I should intervene.

    GM analyzes sutation B: It's possible that the player who owns the existing house won't care if I move his house a tiny bit to the left.. However, it's also possible the existing home owner purposely placed his house like this to prevent another house from being placed next to his. I should not assist in this situation.

    Are the individuals employed as GM's not able to make these sort of common sense decisions?
  2. Babble

    Babble Guest

    Remember the GMs also have to get calls for Warhammer and DAoC too.
    So they do not know all the games too well and you have to be content with the luck of the draw.

  3. Sorry but I can't help but to respond to this and the resentment isn't focused at you, Babble. :D

    I don't give a flying rat's posterior what a GM's other job(s) are, if he has to support 1 game or 10 or if he has to swab the decks in the men's room as part of his duties. UO's GM support SUCKS at the very best. Sure, I've been helped a few times since I came back a couple of years ago but I've been thwarted a good many times on simple matters that should have been simple fixes such as stuff falling under my house.

    I know that I could show my discontent with my wallet and eventually I will. For the moment though, I guess that like the thousands of others, I'm going to have to eat the crap sandwich that is UO customer support. :(

    Cal? Care to respond to this? :lol::lol:
  4. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter

    Mar 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    The three biggest issues facing UO:

    1. A declining player population.
    2. A TOS that isn't being enforced.
    3. Abysmal customer service, especially that available in game.

    And all three issues are related in more than one way, and all three feed and magnify each other.
  5. TitusPullo

    TitusPullo Guest

    Very valid point.

    It's an interesting situation they've created for themselves.
  6. Evlar

    Evlar Guest

    1. Often difficult to predict what the best solution to this issue, simply because so many voices want to be heard.

    2. I seldom recall a time when TOS criteria have actually been stringently adhered to, or enforced properly.

    3. Which has got worse over the years, rather than better. Considering there was a price increase a while back, part of which was designated for improving CS. I certainly don't think we've received anywhere near the value of the increase, or indeed, anywhere even approaching it.

    True. All three are tied together on many different levels.

    Perhaps the rose-tinted glasses I'm often accused of wearing, also obscure my recollections of being able to walk past a GM stood at Brit Bank and even share a few words in passing?

    Even if a classic option is provided, I doubt we'll see that level of integral support ever again...

    Anyway, soon for release at the EA Games store...


    The "official" EA Customer Support Gnome Action Figure. (It only features one action...) ;)
  7. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    May 12, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Thank you so much for the good belly laugh.
  8. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme Guest

    Hmm wouldn't that be us, assuming the position after we page?
  9. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter

    Mar 3, 2006
    Likes Received:
    All three of those problems go back a long way. An unenforced TOS goes back to the very beginnings of UO, the declining population really started prior to the release of UOR, even though UO experienced it's greatest subscription levels after UOR. And the horrible customer service started with the end of the counselor program.

    The reason why I say the population decline started before UOR is because UOR was really a dev response to the loss of subscriptions. One thing that happened with UOR was that a lot of current subscribers opened additional accounts so they could own more than one house.

    The increase in subscriptions really was an illusion and didn't result in a player population increase, and while every new expansion has resulted in a bump in subscriptions, the long term trend in player population has been consistently down.

    I think that trend can be reversed, and perhaps recently has been, with some of the changes that have been introduced. But I think a lot more needs to be done in terms of aggressive targeted advertising and community development.

    I think EVE has shown that you don't need to be a behemoth like WoW to succeed, and continue to grow. EA needs to look at the lessons that can be learnt from CCP's experience, and apply those that can be applied not just to UO, but to WAR and DAOC as well, because I think that UO will have more of a chance of being successful in the long term if both those IP's also have a healthy subscription base and are profitable.
  10. Lady Storm

    Lady Storm Grand Inquisitor
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Feb 20, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I am going to weigh in on this for a small reason.

    When UO started the GMs were everywhere. They played UO. They moved houses, replaced items lost, and generaly got to know their players.
    Then some bright idea hit a few players to abuse the system.... GM & company response was to cut off the players to use this abusive ways they had uncovered and exploited.
    Hense no house gets moved, no item lost gets replaced... not even if it is their fault... unless threateded with lawsuit as some did and got action out of EA in the past. (Origin and EA)
    EA has cut UO from its general purse strings to Mythics hands. That said Cal and the rest have done fantastic to help fix past fubars and goofups. That the EA crews at Redwood Shores screwed up. EA hired after the move to their HQ in northern california NEW GMs replacing good people who couldnt make the big move.... Some were not worthy to wear the GM title. Some even made "money" on the game. The move to virginia and Mythic might have been too much for the remaining GM's of old to uproot familys and move 3000 miles east.
    Remember the elder GM's had only just moved from Austin Texas a short time prior.

    Now after a year of cut backs that saw many staff losses.

    They are running things on a limited staff, remember EA cut alot of jobs when the ecconomic losses hit everyone. They didnt slide by on it EA took a hit too. So jobs of some went poof. The move to Mythic of UO was our saving grace. Cal and his crew of wand weilders do alot to make UO fun again. This on a small budget as EA redirects funds to new projects. Yes Cal has put out a call for hiring new GM's but they need training.. and I might add they didnt say how many they could hire ether... Time to train and get them up to speed... remember they might not have played UO as the Elders from Texas did.

    Give the Mythic crew a break, they are doing the best they can within EA's corporation rules.
    Yes we have over the years lost alot of players to stupid things that the kind word or help from a GM could have prevented, its water under a bridge. We forget it takes time to fix the past woes made by bad disissions.

    **Tiny fact: the counselor program stoped helping the GM's after EA started to order them about like paid staff in 2000, this got a lawsuit and the loss of many helpfull players who were some of those counselors. They use to pop(How may I help Thee?) in see the trouble for the GM's help if it was possible if not expedite the call to the hands of a GM and poof away (Safe travels to thee). Though they tried a service of paid help it still didnt work out like players from the game... I wish it never happened but it did and we lost out.
    I miss Oghma, Silvani, Platnum, Atlas and the good GM's we had, they cared for the players and the game. I hope Cal finds us people like them...
  11. Rakoth

    Rakoth Guest

    It somewhat boggles me that EA.. or mythic or bioware or whatever... Doesn't employ a system similar to what EverQuest 2 has in the Guide system.

    Yes, it's a volunteer service. I imagine it's similar to the old one UO used to have, too, since it's basically just to run little events and interact with players. Can't say I've heard anything negative about it from anyone, ever, in EQ2 (aside from "Dang, Guide event over at X, why now when I have to go do raid/house decorate/guild meeting/whatever :(")

    Guides do not have any real powers, aside from a few teleport tricks and invulnerability and placing down a few set pieces, but I suspect that a -lot- of the problems I read 'bout in UHall could be solved by someone popping up long enough to move the player a tile or two or unlock an item from the game world. I can't fathom it being that difficult, but what do I know.
  12. I'm sorry Storm, I'm not giving them a break because EA doesn't fund them properly, cuts the staff and lays people off. Granted, we aren't talking about world matters here, it's a game but dammit, it's a subscription based game! By the way, I was Sr Counselor Jondolar for a couple of years so I know all about support and I miss the wonderful GMs that we used to have, too.

    Here is a good point about the horrid support in UO now. I came back to the game after a four year absence. In trying to learn all of the changes, I heard about certain sites where you can search vendors. I use that search tool regularly. It's a damn fine idea in my opinion. Cal, are you reading this???

    Anyway, some unknown person asked, in game, if I knew where he could buy recall scrolls. I didn't know which vendor so, I told him about the website and named it figuring I was helping out a fellow player. Fast forward an hour, I'm out in the woods doing one of the quests and suddenly I get yanked to jail, given a 48 hour ban without an opportunity to explain my actions and get summarily booted out of the game. Care to guess why? Because I mentioned a damn website in the game that isn't owned by EA!!

    Had I known that doing so was against the ToS, I certainly wouldn't have done it but when I came back, there were books strewn about all over the place with websites as book titles, runes with website names and such so, how was I to know? I've since paged repeatedly on those who create characters with websites as names that spam their website at the Luna bank. Know what I get as a response? "If XXXX is spamming, please use the ignore feature". Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    So, there you have it. As a former Sr. Counselor who gave two years to this game and who was NOT a part of the lawsuit, I can say with a great deal of authority that CUSTOMER SERVICE IN UO SUCKS OUT LOUD!!! I don't care what spin anyone puts on it, CUSTOMER SERVICE IN UO SUCKS OUT LOUD!!! Like a great many others though, until I'm able to break my addiction to UO again, I'll eat the crap sandwich that is UO's customer support but that doesn't mean that I have to like it or refrain from railing against it!

  13. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Feb 26, 2004
    Likes Received:
    After watching what has happened to UO customer support and relations over the years, I can only conclude EA have absolutely no interest at all in providing anything to us that costs them significant sums of money, they will instead try scrape together the least they can possibly get away with and call it 'customer service' to try make it sound like they give a damn. All they are prepared to do is the absolute minimum they can get away with to prevent people leaving the game, and therefore stop paying them, in large numbers.

    Some of the GM staff care about doing a good job, understand the game, and genuinely want to help out players. Others are ignorant, lazy and totally ineffective. That happens, in any big organisation - what makes a difference is where a company cares about adequate training, proper financing, and genuine investment in their customer services. Then you get better service, a reputation for a good product, and happier customers who spend more and bring in new business, whereas UO has a worldwide, and throroughly deserved, reputation for laughably inconsistent and incompetent levels of support.

    Even their methods of taking cash - UOGamecodes, a shining example - are shoddy, inefficient and unfriendly to use, but it never reaches EA's list of priorities to sort them out until they have their little panic attack in accounting about how 'we could be making more' and throw together something else that's cheap, tacky and inefficient - but makes a mark and gets some idiot credit in the EA hive for 'clever thinking and innovation'.

    And they wonder why it's so hard to keep people, get people back, or attract new people..... it's because they won't coherently invest in anything, just take as much as they can for the absolute minimum of effort, intermittently interspersed with panic attacks causing them to leap into something that nobody was asking for but looks like it might make them more cash by copying something else out there that's more popular - and of course, those poorly concieved and mismanaged attempts also get inadequately funded, so they fail too.

    It's not the Devs, or most of the QA staff, or some of the GM staff who are at fault, many genuinely care and want the best product out there. It's the EA senior corporate ethos at work yet again - rip off as much as you can from the customer, screw over those companies and staff foolish enough to become part of the corporation, and always look at the short term profit and to hell with tomorrow, someone else will carry the can for that.

    All corporations are about making money and that's fine. Some do it with style, efficiency and consideration for the customer, and get a reputation for quality of service that retains and grows their customer base. Some do it in the style of a shoddy, corner cutting, greedy little parasite living off other people's ideas and clawing as much as they can out of their staff and customers before moving on to the next opportunity to grab the cash and run. The EA 'model' is most certainly not the first of those two, and never will be.