Do Gamemasters Really Save the World?
by: Tony "RadarX" Jones / Taea
What words come to mind when you think of MMOG customer service? Friendly? Helpful? Last resort? Something too profane to repeat? MMOG customer services is the front line of any gaming company, being their direct contact with players. Taking the brunt of bugs and errors in the game, it is up to these Gamemasters to assist players in resolving whatever inconvenient issue may arise and affect their gameplay.
It's not unusual to hear complaints about the service people receive, but what do they actually do and how difficult is this job? Whether it's banning a gold spammer, getting someone unstuck, or updating a bugged mission the GM's are probably some of the busiest people around. Players have a 24/7 expectation and with little patience for delay, these are huge shoes to fill. Those who have played Tabula Rasa long enough will readily recognize the name of GM_Rofl as one of the most fun loving, interactive, and friendly GM in any game. Rofl was kind enough to talk with us regarding the rigorous life of customer service and gave a little personal insight into the world of Tabula Rasa.
Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks so much for doing this Rofl, we really appreciate it. The life of a GM can't be easy, what is the most challenging aspect of in game customer service?
Rofl is a Little...Different
Rofl: The most challenging for me is trying to respond to everyone that sends me /tells in a timely manner. Sometimes we are just too busy to personally respond to everyone right then and there. Another thing that drives me bonkers is the occasional issue that I am unable to resolve, but that rarely happens. Its also a challenge to keep my in-game comedy up to par, actually not really, thats easy for me.
Ten Ton Hammer: We've rarely seen an comedian without confidence so it comes as no surprise. Beyond the challenges, what do you love doing the most as a GM?
Rofl: I absolutely enjoy bantering with everyone in general chat. I try to give each server equal love and show my face as much as possible. I usually wont start talking until I can jump into the conversation with a witty remark. I like making an entrance. I also think its cool that the Dev team allows us to talk with the players and make our presence known and we aren'tt forced to roleplay, from the swirling mist etc, I get to roleplay a living, breathing, internet meme. Who does that?!
Ten Ton Hammer: Times seem to have changed enough that you don't have to show up in the form of a Treant speaking in...tree. It's good to know the Dev team is comfortable enough to let you guys talk with players. This sounds like a dream job for some. How did you get into the industry? Have you worked on any other games?
Rofl: Way back in 1996 I played in the Ultima Online beta. I then joined the counselor program and one day while chatting with GM Myhrstahd(sp?). I asked if Origin was hiring GMs for the release and he said they were and I should come up and apply. So I did and I was hired. Funny story and I dont know if I should tell it but my first day as a GM I get a petition from Lord British asking how to unlock the gates to his castle. So I tinkered around with the castle gates and eventually figured out how to unlock them! Over time I ended up at NCsoft. Ive been a GM for Lineage 2, City of Heroes, and Guild Wars. TR is by far my favorite because we are allowed to interact with the players similar to when I worked on UO.
Ten Ton Hammer: So you are very much just about as much of an old school MMOG player as there is. Players can be a little impatient and demanding at times. If there was one thing you could communicate to every Tabula Rasa player to make your job easier, what would it be?
Rofl: Who says my job isnt easy?! Psssh.
Ten Ton Hammer: *laughs* That is fair enough. If you don't mind, what would you say is a typical day for you as a GM. How does the whole CS process work?
Rofl: You are so polite, I dont mind. So typical day, I wake up, get out from under my cube, fold my blankets, make some instant oatmeal, maybe take a shower, click through work-related emails that I should probably read, then log into the game and the system we use to handle petitions and off I go!
Part 2 continues below!
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