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Found 2 results

  1. First off I'd like to thank Grapeshot for committing to creating and expanding their customer service department to help players deal with issues they encounter. I appreciate that you're doing what you can with limited resources and manpower available, and understand the limitations you are working with. Given those limitations, it's not hard to grasp why the company would decide that the best use of its time and efforts in regards to customer service would be limited to extreme cases and trying to fix the issues from a technical standpoint. However, it's also easy to understand why this would leave many players frustrated and unsatisfied with the level of support they've received. In today's gaming ecosystem, MMO players have come to expect a certain level of customer service, even during early access or beta testing phases of development. This can be quite difficult to achieve with minimal staffing, especially if the company does not have extensive experience with providing customer service. Grapeshot's standpoint of trying to keep to resolving tickets by preventing the need for them in the first place is a good idea, but it leaves much to be desired. It's akin to being in the process of being mauled by a bear, and rather than helping everyone is standing around talking about how they can prevent bears from getting in in the first place. Thinking about the future and taking steps to prevent issues from occurring in the first place is good, but it's unwise to do so at the expense of the present. So I'm here to offer a suggestion on how to better serve your customers while staying within the limitations your company currently finds itself stuck with. Many other games, MMOs and in other genres, have had success in employing help from volunteer moderators. There are many people in your player base that have a desire to help and would ask no recompense as seeing the game get better - in part because of their efforts - is payment enough. I think Atlas is a perfect candidate for the implementation of volunteer help in dealing with customer support tickets. The best implementation I can think of would limit the abilities of the volunteers while still providing them enough information and tools in order to significantly lighten the load of the GMs during the development cycle. I believe two GMs (one for NA, one for EU) could act as coordinators for the volunteers, and a number of volunteers would be active on each server, with a handful of additional volunteers helping go through the backlog of support tickets. Volunteers can help to sort through tickets to determine trends, find which ones are non-issues, which ones require more information, and which ones contain enough information and fall into the right categories to take action. Other volunteers can spend their time investigating the latter (I like to call them Pirate Investigators - see what I did there?) and feeding information back to the GMs so that proper action can be taken. I envision the workflow as follows: PI (volunteer) 1 reads support ticket #34513, regarding a player exploiting. Enough information is included in the ticket to proceed with an investigation. PI 1 then refers the ticket to the GM. GM then assigns ticket #34513 to PI 2, who then teleports to the location provided to investigate the issue, and reports their findings back to the GM. The GM then decides whether or not to take action and what action that may be, and PI 2 carries out the GM's verdict. This is just an example of how it could work, though your company may be able to brainstorm better ways to implement the system. From a technical standpoint, developing robust admin tools would benefit your company greatly in the long run. Extensive audit logs provided in an easily-readable, searchable interface with the ability to filter events would go a long way toward being able to investigate issues quickly and efficiently. Also giving players more information they can provide would help as well - for instance, most players do not know their ship ID number, as it's only ever shown to them in the company log, where it gets buried under other messages quickly. That could be valuable information for certain tickets, and should be readily available to players. Offloading a lot of the heavy lifting on to volunteers can help significantly lighten the load of just a few people, allowing them to investigate and take action on many more tickets and provide support for a much wider array of ticket types. This would also leave you in a much stronger position to enforce the code of conduct and deal with any new hacks, exploits, methods of griefing and widespread bugs in the future. It would leave your customers happier, they'd be more likely to recommend the game to a friend, and you'd have done so without incurring additional expenses. It's a win-win situation that leaves everyone happier, so I hope you will at least consider my suggestion.
  2. I am repeatedly getting this error message whenever trying to connect to any NA PVP server. It occurs right after the game files load when graphics should begin loading. AMA
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