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Customer Support - The Turbine Experience
Author: Brian Anderson
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Customer Support - The Turbine Experience
May 02, 2007

So we are now at two and a half hours with absolutely no response, no update, nothing. I don't even know if any GMs are actually on. But I wait… And at the 2 hour and 50 minute mark low and behold here comes a GM. He asks how he can help, even though it's already described in the ticket and considering it's a known issue he should already know. I respond to him with a status on what the situation is anyway. I wait… about 30 seconds later he responds with "I want to help you, please respond". WHAT?? I already did! But I respond again with a "Can you hear me now" type of response. Again… dead air. After several responses from me I get a response from the GM, "Sorry it took so long, we're busy. But since you're away and I don't know what you need I am closing the ticket".

WHAT??? How can he for one not know what I need considering I listed the quest that we were having the problem with by name, and it's a known issue? Also, the GM should be able to see the status of my character and the quest I'm in, as well as monitor group/party chat. So for a second forget that he seems to not be able to get my response, he still should know what I need. But no… he closes my ticket and moves on. While never EVER responding to any of my in game messages.

Now what about those in game messages? Could the system be broken? I guess that's possible, however I did send a "tell" as they call it in DDO to another guild member that was on and he got the message no problem. So why didn't the GM? And why didn't he check our party chat? They can. They can monitor all chat, either via text or voice. But he didn't even try. Why? The only reason I can come up with is that he really didn't want to. But why? Isn't that their job?

Here is what I think. Granted, this is only what I think, but it is based on having worked in IT for close to 15 years now and having actually worked on a help desk in my early IT days.

First, they are very likely not Turbine employees but outsourced contractors. With the insanely cheap rate that these offshore centers can offer 24/7 support for, it only makes sense that Turbine, like most companies that offer "support" to their customers, do this as cheap as possible. After all, they are a for profit company. Unfortunately, as I have experienced time and time again, these outsourced help desk contractors have little to no skin in the game and aren't really that interested in helping the customer. They just want to get paid. Wait, how do they get paid you ask?

This brings me to the second problem. The way most of these help are either rated or paid is based on the number of tickets they close. I know from personal experience that most help desks are rated not only by how many tickets they close, but how long they work on a ticket.

So when you combine the fact that the GMs are contractors sitting in some other country being paid low wages (but likely decent wages for where they live), have limited powers, are rated (and possibly paid) on how many and how fast they close tickets, the paying customers are on the losing end of this stick.

You may think that maybe I am simply unlucky or have an axe to grind with Turbine. I can say that I am not unlucky with support, and point you toward the DDO forums for more complaints that are nearly identical to mine. I also submit I am a paying customer of this game for over a year and really enjoy the game. So I am far from a Turbine hater.

Truth be told, Turbine seems to care little for the individual player, and in many cases they seem to have utter disregard for them. From research and personal experience I can say that their track record in support is not a good one; and it appears to be getting worse. I for one would not recommend that anyone purchase any Turbine product. Not because the game isn't fun, not because it's poorly designed, not because it's too expensive. None of those reasons even apply. It's simple… when something goes wrong, and considering the complex nature of MMOs something will go wrong, you are going to be left out of the house on a cold snowy winter night to fend for yourself. And that, above all else, is what is going to make or break an on-line game. So before you pluck your hard earned money down on Turbine's latest and greatest product, consider what your support is going to look like. Especially in a few months after the shine has worn off.

I welcome all comments, suggestions, flames… and even a response from Turbine.

Please drop by the Forum and feel free to post any comments or questions.

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