Alright, MMOs. I have a small bone to pick with you. Why is it deemed absolutely necessary by the playerbase at large to have to watch videos of a dungeon or other encounter before you can attempt it? Seriously, where is the fun of pure discovery? Of being able to figure a puzzle out on your own?
I’m not a fan of strategy guides, either. If I’m going to use one, it’s only going to be after I’ve got far enough in the game to where it doesn’t make a difference and to satisfy my completionist itch. But reading it beforehand or watching all of these videos BEFORE you do an encounter? Isn’t that just plain cheating?
“Hey, look! We beat the boss by doing exactly what this video told me to do! We also beat it by using this exact skill build somebody else figured out!” … Are we just playing games for other people, now? You let somebody else do 90% of the work, and then you perform your role like an automaton. Really, there is no self-accomplishment in that. Is there no pride in figuring out a tricky puzzle yourself?
When you go to the movies, do you have to first read every spoiler about it you can? When you read a book, do you just skip right to the ending? Why does it feel like nobody likes spoilers, but everybody still wants them. How essentially having the game played for you is fun doesn’t make any sense to me.
The only points I will concede is that it saves time. Also, since probably everyone else in your group has cheated and watched every video, too, you’re at a social disadvantage and will stumble over your feet while everyone else is acting like a pro, mimicking what others have done before them.
So, fine. I get it, and to not look like a fool, I’ll watch the stupid videos to appease the gaming elite. It just really irks me that this laziness is the social norm and these games are designed that not following these mores hurts not just you, but your team as well.
My solution: A solo version of a dungeon. Don’t give great loot for it’s completion, or really give a huge incentive, but allow people to use it to see the story and practice the mechanics of encounters without having to resort to these out-of-game videos. Since loot is pretty much the only real reason players run dungeons to begin with, why not give an option to those who just want to see the story? So, for example, a dungeon can have a “solo” mode, a “regular” mode, and then whatever “hard” or “epic” difficulties you want after that. I’d have no problems running a dungeon on solo a few times to learn the encounters, and if I get a few random drops and some experience along the way, all the better! I could still make some character progress and be even more ready for the group encounters. But more important, I’d feel like I’d accomplished it myself, instead of just having it handed to me by a video or guide.
Have faith that your players aren’t lazy and actually enjoy a challenge, and you will see returns on it.
P.S. – To it’s credit, the only MMO this really doesn’t apply to is Dungeons and Dragons Online. They already have this system in place. I don’t know if it’s in 100% of their dungeons, though, but it’s a great idea that I feel could do the rest of the genre a big service.
It is now Day 3 after I was hacked and had a permanent ban placed on my Guild Wars 2 account. Still no resolution…
Not even a response back after the last time I sent them information at 2 PM yesterday. It’s now 7 PM, so that makes it 30 hours since their last e-mail sent to me. Unacceptable.
As a frugal gamer, it takes a LOT of thinking for me to drop $60 on a new game or anything, for that matter. $60 on entertainment is a significant amount, and I spent the full $60 for Guild Wars 2 because I thought I would be getting a true quality product for it. I, like all my fellow gamers, have waited 5 years for this game. So what do I have to show for it? I played for… what… 2 days? Now, it’s the start of a nice 3 day weekend, a great time to put in some gaming time… and I’m still up in the air, having been blocked out of it for reasons that OBVIOUSLY WEREN’T MY OWN and also receiving NO REAL RESPONSES FROM MY REQUESTS.
Listen… I’m not callous. I see and understand that they are swamped. However, I’ve also worked in e-contact for a major international corporation before and have been swamped myself. We also replied to EVERY e-mail, personally, no automated responses, within 24 hours with only a team of 6 people. If it was an issue that involved some more research, we made sure to check in daily with our customers to let them know we didn’t forget about them. I know that seems more like the exception than the rule, but I lived it from a CS perspective, our customers loved us for it, and I have come to expect that high level of quality from businesses I contact.
Here is a quick rundown of the Laurel and Hardy type communications I’ve had with ArenaNet’s Support so far:
Initial hacking and permanent ban complaint lodged by myself at 08/29/2012 03:33 PM via the Support website. No e-mail had been received noting of hack or of the ban before this time.
Reply back from Customer Service individual #1 at 08/29/2012 07:22 PM, ~4 hours later, requesting information to prove I am the owner of the account.
I reply at 08/29/2012 07:51 PM, ~30 minutes later, giving them all the information I can requested through their customer service site.
Reply back from Customer Service individual #2 at 08/29/2012 08:10 PM, ~20 minutes later, requesting the same information that CS #1 requested.
I reply back at 08/29/2012 08:26 PM, ~15 minutes later, with more information, copying the information from the initial request. I notice that two tickets are open for the same request and I close one of them. The other one is still open and active.
Having not received another response, I add to the open ticket at 08/30/2012 07:51 AM the next morning with more information, hoping that there wasn’t a confusion from having multiple tickets.
I receive a reply from CS individual #3 at 08/30/2012 01:05 PM, ~3 hours later, asking for the same exact information I gave CS#1 and #2.
Third time’s a charm, I think, and I reply back at 08/30/2012 02:21 PM, ~80 minutes later, with the same information I gave CS#1 and CS#2. The worst part is that I can see the entire chain of information I’ve given already, and am copying/pasting the information. It’s obvious I’m repeating myself.
As I write this post, it is 8/31/2012 07:24 PM, ~30 hours after the last communication I have received from them and ~29 hours after my last reply, and I haven’t received a response to my last inquiry.
UNACCEPTABLE! I mean, I can see the responses I’ve given and received, why can’t they? I’ve repeated myself multiple times and am almost at my breaking point. Every response I’ve given to them has been polite and direct to the point.
The worst part is, what’s my course of action? I’m not even sure where I stand! Do I demand my money back? Do I just write it off as a loss and to never give them money again? In this situation, I feel helpless. I feel like I’m being screwed over by a company and a community that I liked and respected with no course of action I can take beside just voicing my opinions and warning others.
So that is what I am doing.
If this is solved tomorrow, will I still play? Yes, and I’ll probably still enjoy it. However, the shining admiration I have had for ArenaNet as a company is fading fast, and so in the future, I’ll be less likely to give them more of my hard earned money, and warn you all against it, too. If you need support from them, I wouldn’t expect it to be quick or efficient.
“Mistakes will happen, but it’s how you fix them that count.”
P.S. – If only they had a phone number to contact. I’d sit on hold for an hour to get this fixed no problem, and I’d do it with a smile. This lack of communication and being left up in the air is driving me nuts. Day 3… and still nothing.
P.P.S. – I do realize that this can definitely be chalked up as a #FirstWorldProblem, and there are lots of other things in the world that are much worse problems. However, this is a gaming blog, I KNOW I’m not the only person going through this problem, and I feel like I am the little guy fighting against a much bigger opponent. I will not be giving up this fight until it is won or lost. This is also very frustrating and this is a nice cathartic release. If this suddenly gets fixed in the next 5 minutes, I’ll feel very foolish, but as of right now, I’m a very angry customer who just wants to get his money’s worth, and doesn’t have many options left to do so.
[Update 9/1/12 - Everything has finally been cleared up and my account has been returned. As off 11:22 AM, my password was changed to something GM derived and I was told by e-mail that I could log into my account again. The e-mail indicated to "Please be aware that the Support Team is unable to restore any missing characters or items." Since my character is level 13, I'm sure anything I lost could be easily gained again, so this wasn't a problem for me. I signed in, and... nothing was different. I still had all my items, my measly 6 silver which the hackers apparently didn't show any interest in, and I was in the same exact location I last signed out at. Nothing changed.
As a recourse, and because it seems Guild Wars 2 players are being heavily targeted, I changed my password to one of the strongest I've ever created and I changed my account name. Hopefully this doesn't happen again.
So, to recap. My account was brute-force hacked from a location in China as my password wasn't the strongest. I was given a permanent ban with the explanation that it was based on RMT transactions. I was contacted by 4 different members of the Support staff, after giving the same information to 3 of them. Finally, on the 4th day after the hack occurred and ArenaNet was notified, my account was fully restored.
4 days after the event is by far not the best, as this was a pretty open-and-shut case. To ArenaNet's credit, though, and this is a definite nice point: I was not once, during this process, berated by ArenaNet for having my account attacked.]