Thursday, August 2, 2007

Game Master, I Despise Thee

Imagine a world with no punishment. No system of checks and balances. No law enforcement. No rules dictating behavior.

That'd be a little scary, wouldn't it? I mean, it'd be cool speed down the highway at 120 while sipping a martini and holding a cellphone up to your ear, but really, think about what else it'd be like. Theft, death, rape, and chaos on every street corner, ignored and going completely unpunished. Not all that ideal, is it?

And then there's the REALLY important stuff. You know, like console launches. Envision yourself waiting in line all night in front of a worn-down Best Buy or Wal-Mart for an Xbox 720 (because you're honorable like that), only to have some douche bag walk right up to the front of the line, take one of the few available systems, push you off the curb, losing your place in line, and leave without so much as a glance from the two fat security guards standing nearby.

You yell and scream at the officer, "Hey! That guy just took off with the loot and totally screwed me of my place in line! Do something!" You try and make your way after the culprit, but are held in place by a seemingly invisible force. Then, the officer throws a look your way and responds, "He didn't do anything wrong. Be more careful with whom you come to stand in line with next time. Is there anything else I can help you with? No? Please let me know what you thought of my service." The officer points to a blank sheet of parchment, curled and worn and lying on the floor, untouched and empty.

"What?!" You ask yourself. "As if I have any control or knowledge of the people who show up at the same venue I do?" If your reaction is along the lines of "What in the living hell is this utter bullshit?!" then you are a totally right, and you fully understand what it is like, dealing with a World of Warcraft Game Master.

Moments after having the loot ninja'd while on a PuG run in Shadowfang Keep, I messaged a GM about my complaint. His responses were as passive as a prunified bowel movement. I was told that the ninja looting behavior and booting me from the party without explanation was not against the rules, so the guilty party wasn't really guilty of anything, and my complaint was null and void. Fantastic.

The Ninja knew nothing would come out of my complaint, as was probably the case in many previous complaints against his name. He laughed when I told him I would report his behavior and replied with "Like that will amount to anything." Indeed, it hasn't, and it won't, and that's why he'll do it again, and again, and again. Seriously Bliz, wtf...

Way to look out for the good guys.

Disappointed, I close the ticket and move along with my questing. And then I noticed something. ZOMG. I didn't complete "Arugal Must Die!" I couldn't loot the Arugal's Head! His behavior disallowed quest completion, AND THAT IS AGAINST THE RULES!!!!

I'm telling ya, I was giddy as I opened up another ticket, detailing the facts of the matter and envisioning a triumphant response from the answering GM. When one finally came a calling, I was bombarded with questions, as if I were the one that had done something wrong. GM: "Did you even TRY to loot the body?" he asked?

Me: "Of course. Many times (you dip shit)."

GM: "Were you the only one that couldn't loot?"

Me: "(WTF?) No, others in the Party were complaining."

GM: "Was it converted to a raid group?"

Me: "I'm assuming so, since it was on Master Looter. But that was changed only near the very end." I was starting to realize that this would be going no where.

GM: "You still should have been able to loot a quest item if it was on Master Looter."

Me: "I couldn't."

GM: "I'm sorry to hear that."

Me: "So, about the player's behavior. He prevented the completion of my quest. Anything gonna be done about it or will he be free to do this again later today or tomorrow?"

GM: "You should have been able to loot the quest item. Master Looter does not affect that ability."

Me: "So why don't I have it? And why do I have a screen shot with repeated 'You don't have permission to loot that corpse' messages on it?"

GM: "Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: "No (useless PoS)"

GM: "Please fill out our survey..."

It was unbelievable. A GM has every resource he can possibly have at his disposal. He can check Instance logs, the player's actions and conversations, and with a flick of a wrist and a click of a button, can figure out that I was indeed unable to loot the corpse of Arugal and that the ninja really did break one of Blizzard's rules dictating behavior.

So, why was there no punishment? Why no enforcement? Why no action? Why is all of this "dishonorable" (as a GM put it) nonsense allowed to continue on?

Zy thinks my complaints were brushed off because I am a Warlock, and apparently, the Warlock is WoW's equivalent of reality's black man. Umm... maybe...? But I think the issue goes beyond race. Why else would almost every complaint that I hear is taken to a GM come back rejected? Why else would people be so frustrated and let down by the quality of service Bliz provides to it's customers? Why are we fed all of this bullshit while those who do wrong get off scotch free???

I can't figure it out. If someone else can, please, enlighten me.

And to the ninja: I can't wait to see you again.


EvilCheeseWedge said...

Meh. As much as I want to say I wish they did something for you, I'm kind of glad they didn't. Not that I don't like you, but how easy would it be to fuck people over if there were real consequences for people ninja looting stuff? As in… what could I do to make it look like you were a ninja if I just didn’t like you or something. I mean, the GM has a point… only group with people you trust.

What are you going to report next?

Evilcheese didn’t heal you and you died, and should be forced to pay your repairs or something?

I think the onus rests on the players, not on Blizzard. We don’t need Blizzard – or the government – to be our mommy and daddy, because if we give them that power, we have only weakened ourselves. The onus is on you. You should’ve watched the loot rules – there’s no excuse not to, you can find add ons that blare what they are in your Fubar, or whatever. The second it was master looter, ask for an explanation. Stop helping the group. Find some mobs to pull on ‘em or something, sheesh ;)

Now, the quest item thing is just gay. But since when does Blizzard know how to program? :)

JAGOeX said...

"Evilcheese didn’t heal you and you died, and should be forced to pay your repairs or something?"

I think you're on to something...

With regards to loot rules, I don't think it was changed until well after we engaged Arugal. Not much could be done there. Bliz could make it so that you set rules at the beginning of an instance and that is how they remain throughout. It'd be quite nice that way -- makes one less likely to waste his/her time.

Order is there for a reason. Without it, you'd have nonsense like ninja'ing running loose constantly. Think about it -- if there were no consequences in a social and political environment, you'd have chaos, where everyone's possessions were open to others at no charge whatsoever. Organization (Gov., Bliz, etc.) is there to protect, even in the most basic of environments..

The thing about setting up someone for a fall -- GMs can see convos in tells, says, gchat, ochat, etc. It'd be pretty tough to set someone up when they have that kind of insight to every little detail. Why they seemingly ignore it, however, is beyond me.

I hear what you're saying, Cheese, and I partially agree with some of it, but I really can't see, given the avenues of control Bliz has, how implementing a punishment for loot-ninjas would ever be a bad thing.

Zyphre said...

For a moment I am gonna pretend I don't know you. /unbiasedness

In life and in game, shit happens. Regardless of measures and laws put there there will always be room for exploitation. Unless of course you want an environment where there are no freedoms and everything is predetermined by a governing higher power.

Just as he exploited you - you in a sense allowed yourself to be. In a pug your essentially going to go and rob a bank with a bunch of people that were on your greyhound bus. Can't assume they are trustworthy can ya?

I know that people will always come back at this kind of argument with "rape is never the victims fault" - but in reality it could well be due to a huge number of variables. Its all about being prepared.

And in this case I am gonna quote Illidan "You are not prepared."



Jago, actually everyone.
Assume that people are out to take advantage of you and prepare accordingly. I am not referring to being paranoid, just ready.

GG for not having grudgebook btw, we could blacklist him and return the favor later. Invite him to kara and boot him as soon as he enters lol.

JAGOeX said...

People are essentially good. Why? Because they know, for the most part, that attacking someone else in some way, taking their possessions, etc, opens the avenue for others to rightfully do such things to them. Yeah, it's a passive selfish preservation of sorts, but "good" behavior nonetheless.

Now, think about why an organization of enforcement exists. If people did go out and attack other people, allowing others to attack them, wouldn't it create a vicious cycle of social instability? Totally. So, there is rule and order in enforcement, set in place to punish those who attack others, so that the attacked don't have to become the attacker, and therefore, philosophically, expose themselves to the same kind of punishment.

Such enforcement isn't a universal power. It isn't mommy. It isn't daddy. It isn't Big Brother. In many situations, it isn't even a higher power (citizen's arrest?). It is simply a method of organization that prevents chaos. It prevents a circular tailspin of behavior, and also, punishes behavior that threatens the safety of others, lessening the likelihood of it happening again.

That's all I'm really asking for here. A poor, "dishonorable" behavior to happen less. It is widespread. Like you guys are saying, you have to expect it, prepare for it, and plan accordingly for it. Sure, shit happens. But that doesn't mean no one should clean it up.

Jay said...

GM's directly do not have the ability to interact or change your game experience, to my knowledge. Not the ones that respond to your initial tickets, that is.

This is why you get things escalated or investigated, so that someone who does have the ability to change something, can.

I'm assuming as with most CS jobs, the initial guys/girls that respond to our tickets are basic techs and probably only fill out tickets on their end that contain the content of the conversation, and then are supposed to escalate accordingly.

I would also assume that there are set standards as to which issues they are supposed to proceed with sending elsewhere. I don't think I've ever spoken with a GM initially and had them instantly fix anything. I know when we contacted one in Kara because of the glitchy spiders that kept resetting... they turned it over to have it 'watched' basically. Who knows how many people become involved at that point, it's not like they tell us.

When it's something important, they tell you they are sending it to investigation. Otherwise, you are going to get that cookie cutter bs response because that's what they're trained to do.

You live close enough you could apply for a GM job, Yago. Go for it<3

Anonymous said...

This kinda crap you gotta expect to happen. It doesn't make it right but its still expected so just roll with it.

~B of A

Greencookie said...

Statistics my friend.

Unfortunate as it is, that you got ninja'd, let it not be a reason for you to fret.

For (I hope) it doesn't happen to you all the time. Compare it to the number of times you didn't get ninja'd. Gimp out the bad, for it was bound to happen sometime and on some occasion.