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Author Topic: Failgate London or “Why You Don't Outsource Important Services.”  (Read 73938 times)
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on: November 18, 2007, 02:30:26 AM

Failgate London or “Why You Don't Outsource Important Services.”

You've probably noticed that up until today, I was a pretty big supporter of Hellgate: London. In fact, I defended them even under the most blundering decisions. Design, QA, launch procedure, billing woes, etc. It didn't really matter, I simply assumed that due to the experience at Flagship that they would work through all of this. But there was one issue I consistently complained about: The Memory Leak. Normally, with any game – particularly an online one, this is the most important thing to get fixed. See, for people to talk about the game, enjoy the game, and most importantly, recommend the game to others they need to be able to play it. For a little more than a week, I haven't been able to play the game.


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« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 02:30:49 AM by schild »
Samwise
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Reply #1 on: November 18, 2007, 02:42:37 AM

I think it's time to call in the heavy hitters.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
caladein
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Reply #2 on: November 18, 2007, 02:49:25 AM

I loved "We are sorry about CSR Marcus, probably he did not understood your issue" from the last response awesome, for real.

That was "TAXI TO VICTORY, the Customer Service Edition". Awesome as always Schild... except this time a lot of us are out $150, so it's a tad less funny and a lot more sad.

"Point being, they can't make everyone happy, so I hope they pick me." -Ingmar
"OH MY GOD WE'RE SURROUNDED SEND FOR BACKUP DIG IN DEFENSIVE POSITIONS MAN YOUR NECKBEARDS" -tgr
Phildo
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Reply #3 on: November 18, 2007, 02:57:18 AM

I took some time to review the terms of service that you have to sign to subscribe to their service(lifetime or otherwise).  A few things came up that are bothersome to me.  Of course, this could all be standard gaming contract stuff, but if it is... shame on us for swallowing it.
Quote
You acknowledge and agree that Ping0 may update your Game Client with our without notifying you.
They can download things to your computer without telling you about it?  Or what it does?  Really?
Quote
the Service is offered with the understanding that Ping0 may terminate any Account registered to you and/or your access to the Service at any time, for any reason or no reason
Or no reason?  They can just decided to turn off your service because they feel like it?  Nice, guys!
Quote
13.2.    YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY DISPUTE WITH PING0 IS TO STOP USING THE SERVICE, AND TO CANCEL ALL ACCOUNTS REGISTERED TO YOU.

Now I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like the kind of contract NO ONE SHOULD SIGN.  EVER.  The company providing the service isn't responsible for providing the service at all, and if you're not happy with it, go fuck yourself?
schild
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Reply #4 on: November 18, 2007, 02:57:48 AM

I like the typos in the TOS. Ping-0 sucks a fat dick.
Trippy
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Reply #5 on: November 18, 2007, 02:58:16 AM

Ping0 is a joint venture between FSS and HanbitSoft so FSS "outsourced" their CS to themselves.
schild
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Reply #6 on: November 18, 2007, 02:59:15 AM

Ping0 is a joint venture between FSS and HanbitSoft so FSS "outsourced" their CS to themselves.

They seem to operate as arms of a different body though. The left arm doesn't know what the right arm is doing. While the right arm is shoveling shit into this two-headed hydra's mouth.
Samwise
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Reply #7 on: November 18, 2007, 03:08:47 AM

I took some time to review the terms of service that you have to sign to subscribe to their service(lifetime or otherwise). 

...

Now I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like the kind of contract NO ONE SHOULD SIGN.  EVER.

That was pretty much what I thought the first time I heard of the concept of a lifetime MMOG subscription.  The stuff you quoted is pretty standard TOS stuff, but with a lifetime subscription you don't have the option of bailing out when they abuse their end of it.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Bunk
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Reply #8 on: November 18, 2007, 03:08:59 AM

Hmm, interesting. Having been on the recieving side of many conversations with customers wanting refunds on software, I will say that sending out canned email responses is bad form. Beyond that, I don't know. I've been playing the game since launch, and can't really say I've felt a need to ask for a refund. The memory leak is an issue true, but I've only actually had the system crash from that three times. Add to that a couple more crashes involving inventory screens - yea it's annoying, but as you said your self a week ago - the game loads up again fast.

I'm assuming that you are experiencing much more frequent crashes than I am, based on your anger. Honestly though, your rant comes accross a little on the ... I can't think of a good word without sounding insulting, so I won't.

Maybe I'm being nieve, but I'm going to go with the idea that they know there are issues and are working on them. You seem to be upset that they haven't been running around screaming about how horrible the crashing is and how quickly they will fix it!!! Yea. Software companies don't do that. Especially with a brand new game they are still trying to sell. You know as well as I do that this type of bug can take forever to fix - and you knew the issue was there when you subscribed. Take a deep breath, remember that you have about 800 other games coming out this month that you plan to play, and come back to this one in the spring when its likely to be a lot more stable - hell, it's not like you are wasting monthly fees.  awesome, for real

As to the issue with the character slots - you are coming across a little entitled there. Yea, if they opened up all of the subscriber content to non subscribers, you'd have a reason to complain.

If you'd been ranting that you needed a refund due to the carpal tunnel caused by repeated deleting of bonfire tofee blueprints - then maybe I'd be agreeing with you.

"Welcome to the internet, pussy." - VDL
"I have retard strength." - Schild
Seanzor
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Reply #9 on: November 18, 2007, 03:09:41 AM

http://forums.hellgatelondon.com/showthread.php?t=45597

^ Link post on HGL General fourms - wouldn't surprise me if it gets locked or deleted, but the post linking to the somethingawful slam of HGL was never moderated, so who knows.

I'm interested to see if this thread lives through the night, and what the general reaction will be.
Bunk
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Reply #10 on: November 18, 2007, 03:12:11 AM

I just want to clarify - I'm not defending ping0's customer service here - its obviously inadequate and deserves the derision. I'm just a little suprised that you expected to be able to get a refund.

"Welcome to the internet, pussy." - VDL
"I have retard strength." - Schild
schild
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Reply #11 on: November 18, 2007, 03:13:17 AM

Quote
As to the issue with the character slots - you are coming across a little entitled there. Yea, if they opened up all of the subscriber content to non subscribers, you'd have a reason to complain.

Entitled my cock. First of all, I don't care much about the money. It's the way the CSR folks handled it that bothers me more. Secondly, there's only 3 reasons to subscribe right now as the rest is based on THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE. More Character Slots, Hardcore Mode, and Broken Special Events. Considering they can't even get that shit right and they aren't fixing CURRENT PROBLEMS that keep people from playing before adding MORE PROBLEMS that keep people from playing, well, I'd say that the 24 character slot thing is a big fucking deal.

As to your most recent post:
Quote
I just want to clarify - I'm not defending ping0's customer service here - its obviously inadequate and deserves the derision. I'm just a little suprised that you expected to be able to get a refund.

Quote
It's not even about the money anymore. At first I was like, OK, I should probably be getting $140 back. We're far past that now. I'm more interested in gamers knowing what's going on. Also, I want to make companies aware that Aria Systems (the billing company, www.ariasystems.com) and Ping-0 (the CS company, www.ping-0.com) should never be hired for any game in the future. That is, if you value customer service and would like some sort of system in place to distribute a refund in situations where customer's really get fucked over and deserve a refund due to no fault of their own.

Please to be reading the whole article. I really, really, really don't care much about the money. I just want to rip them an asshole where their forehead used to be.
Falwell
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Reply #12 on: November 18, 2007, 03:18:04 AM

They probably consider the zombot a holiday pet and thus the reason it's on the bullet list. Regardless, always good stuff Schild.

EDIT: Forgot they made Halloween stuff public. I am a mongoloid.

How in the hell a game with top tier dev talent, a ridiculously long development cycle, and what had to be a pretty hefty budget came to this kind of base, amateur hour, hack job is beyond me. Disappointing to say the least.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 03:35:30 AM by Falwell »
schild
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Reply #13 on: November 18, 2007, 03:18:28 AM

Seanzor, I don't exactly appreciate you linking the official forums to here. See, official forums are full of gibbering retards that we just end up banning. Please to not be doing that again.
Seanzor
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Reply #14 on: November 18, 2007, 03:24:05 AM

Seanzor, I don't exactly appreciate you linking the official forums to here. See, official forums are full of gibbering retards that we just end up banning. Please to not be doing that again.
Yeah, that makes sense.  Will avoid in the future.
Trippy
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Reply #15 on: November 18, 2007, 03:36:30 AM

I took some time to review the terms of service that you have to sign to subscribe to their service(lifetime or otherwise).  A few things came up that are bothersome to me.  Of course, this could all be standard gaming contract stuff, but if it is... shame on us for swallowing it.
Quote
You acknowledge and agree that Ping0 may update your Game Client with our without notifying you.
They can download things to your computer without telling you about it?  Or what it does?  Really?
Quote
the Service is offered with the understanding that Ping0 may terminate any Account registered to you and/or your access to the Service at any time, for any reason or no reason
Or no reason?  They can just decided to turn off your service because they feel like it?  Nice, guys!
Standard practice FSS copied from Blizzard (among others). What's even more scary is how Valve has taken it to the next step with Steam where they can for any reason (or no reason at all) lock you out of any or all of the games associated with your Steam account. Blizzard and Co. only do it for the multi-player part of their games but Valve can do it for "your" single-player games as well ("your" is in quotes cause the games aren't really yours if you run them through Steam).

Quote
Quote
13.2.    YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY DISPUTE WITH PING0 IS TO STOP USING THE SERVICE, AND TO CANCEL ALL ACCOUNTS REGISTERED TO YOU.

Now I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like the kind of contract NO ONE SHOULD SIGN.  EVER.  The company providing the service isn't responsible for providing the service at all, and if you're not happy with it, go fuck yourself?
Another version of the standard software "warranty" where the software is sold/licensed to you "as is" with no warranty whatsoever.
Nerf
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Reply #16 on: November 18, 2007, 03:51:26 AM



Edit: Unblurry Image.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 04:00:58 AM by schild »
Phildo
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Reply #17 on: November 18, 2007, 03:53:23 AM

Yeah, I went through the Steam contract after making that last post.  That kind of crap makes me want to stop giving these companies money if there's no guarantee of satisfaction.  "Oh, your service sucks?  Keep my money, I didn't need it anyway!"  Could they bend us over just a little more, please?
Oban
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Reply #18 on: November 18, 2007, 03:59:43 AM

I just canceled my account.  True to form, there was no request to know why I was canceling.

Palin 2012 : Let's go out with a bang!
Velorath
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Reply #19 on: November 18, 2007, 04:08:56 AM

Seanzor, I don't exactly appreciate you linking the official forums to here. See, official forums are full of gibbering retards that we just end up banning. Please to not be doing that again.

Or worse yet, they'll linger around for years having the same discussions on where the game went wrong until you're forced to give them their own forum in the Graveyard just so you won't have to see it anymore.
Falwell
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Reply #20 on: November 18, 2007, 04:43:08 AM

Nice touch with the Shanghai hypnotist's cat Nerf.
Slyfeind
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Reply #21 on: November 18, 2007, 04:50:04 AM

I'm no lawyer, but I heard one once say that if you sign a contract that says it's okay for someone to do illegal stuff to you, that doesn't make it okay. And I think some of that stuff may be illegal, like that whole "as is" business. We've always got a right to sue.

I too have been on the CSR side of customers demanding refunds. I've tried arguing with them about why they shouldn't get their money back, and that never went over well. They just made my life miserable, dropped death threats and burning poop on my head, went straight to the manager, and the manager gave them their money back anyway.

Other times, I've given customers a full refund, no questions asked. Those customers came back a week later, asked for me by name, and gave me more money.

"Role playing in an MMO is more like an open orchestra with no conductor, anyone of any skill level can walk in at any time, and everyone brings their own instrument and plays whatever song they want.  Then toss PvP into the mix and things REALLY get ugly!" -Count Nerfedalot
Amaron
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Reply #22 on: November 18, 2007, 04:56:18 AM

This probably doesn't matter at this point but I was a little confused about one thing while reading.   The memory leak has been the thing they've been most forthcoming on and there are some fixes for it in this patch.

Based on what Cellwind has been saying in this thread: http://forums.hellgatelondon.com/showthread.php?t=38375 (which is probably the most revealing thread any programmer has ever been allowed to post in the history of online gaming) it's probably actually a memory leak in the drivers.

As I said though that probably matters for nil at this point.
Trippy
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Reply #23 on: November 18, 2007, 04:58:34 AM

You'll need to copy and paste that post cause the HGL forums aren't public (you have to have an account to view them).
tkinnun0
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Reply #24 on: November 18, 2007, 05:00:19 AM

Refund for canceling a lifetime subscription? What an intriguing idea.

You've paid 150$, played 1 month and you probably have some 49 years 11 months left. That works out to a refund of 149.75$. That about right?
schild
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Reply #25 on: November 18, 2007, 05:03:13 AM

Refund for canceling a lifetime subscription? What an intriguing idea.

You've paid 150$, played 1 month and you probably have some 49 years 11 months left. That works out to a refund of 149.75$. That about right?

Again, I don't care much about the refund but...

I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they thought people would get 15 months out of the game. Or rather, that's what you get when you divide the lifetime vs monthly subscription, 15 months of paid time. As such, I asked for $140, 150-10 (cost of a month). And again, mostly because the game is unplayable. I would probably resubscribe if they got their shit together. Though, odds are I'm stuck with the lifetime account, which is OK. I'm just more interested in them fucking up less and less. Because right now, they might as well introduce an NGE. (lulz swg reference)
Amaron
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Reply #26 on: November 18, 2007, 05:14:05 AM

You'll need to copy and paste that post cause the HGL forums aren't public (you have to have an account to view them).


Ahh good point.  The problem is it's the whole thread.  It's freaking amazing to me in terms of "omg I can't believe some PR guy is letting him do this".

Should I actually cut and paste that stuff though?  Even the first post is huge and as he gets feedback it's clear he gets more and more of a handle on the different memory problems.  He responds to the thread constantly (like almost 1 post response per raving lunatic even).   I even got him to go into details of what they load into memory (ie a lot) when the stash/inv is opened and when it's cleared from memory.

I don't mind cutting and pasting highlights but it's going to be massive spam.
schild
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Reply #27 on: November 18, 2007, 05:16:56 AM

Please don't C&P all that, it's a good summary. The fact he's communicating should have a link on the frontpage to that thread. But doing that would require balls.
Reg
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Reply #28 on: November 18, 2007, 05:20:53 AM

Next on Oprah - When Fanboys Become Bitter.  evil
Amaron
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Reply #29 on: November 18, 2007, 05:21:23 AM

Please don't C&P all that, it's a good summary. The fact he's communicating should have a link on the frontpage to that thread. But doing that would require balls.

Yea that thread should at the very least have a link in the news on the main page.   It's like it's hidden in the crash forum practically.
cmlancas
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Reply #30 on: November 18, 2007, 05:21:49 AM

Since you're editing your original frontpage post, I might should point out that cancelled is spelled correctly in the first CSR ticket. c-a-n-c-e-l-l-e-d or c-a-n-c-e-l-e-d.

Other than that, I think it is strike one an epic fail for a lifetime subscription idea. Sorry for your loss.

f13 Street Cred of the week:
I can't promise anything other than trauma and tragedy. -- schild
Lionhunter
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Reply #31 on: November 18, 2007, 05:54:48 AM

I'm not sorry for you,you deserved it.

Mourning will release
bhodi
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No lie.


Reply #32 on: November 18, 2007, 06:39:42 AM

I'm just going to laugh. Again. Like I did at you on TS when you told me you were going to pay for this crap. Offering a lifetime sub before the game is even released is a awesome, for real cash grab, and I'm surprised no one else sees it that way. You'll probably get your cash back but only because you are screaming so loud.

But, now to your actual point.

Often the CSR/Billing/Whatever is a completely independent arm of the company. The idea that a company who has a long development cycle and good programmers can have shitty CSR makes perfect sense since it's a completely different department. It's ESPECIALLY a no-brainer if they were more focused on getting the game playable and released than worry about "trivialities" such as CSR. They likely just skimped on the internal testing for signing up/canceling/conflict resolution and didn't (don't?) realize how bad it really is.

I guess they should have listened to Lum's rant where he talks about how important the 'base/support/auxiliary services' are to a game. As you say, it's not amateur hour anymore.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 06:46:56 AM by bhodi »
Jimbo
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Reply #33 on: November 18, 2007, 07:44:01 AM

Wow, the first time me having windows XP Pro x64 has kept me from ever having memory leak.  I'll add that I haven't had any problems, no crashes, no memory leaks, no nothing...the game has ran rock solid for me.

I am a bit upset that my lifetime is only for the larger stash (hey that is a godsend, I'm a pack rat), more slots (well till the patch), and now that I know what else I was to be getting, I'm a bit torn, but it is a game company and game companies suck.

Why aren't game companies more responsible?  I don't know, if I bought football tickets in a VIP suite and then when I got there they moved us to the cheap seats, I would expect compensation (okay even if I would never sit in VIP just imagine I'm not that educated redneck who can wear shoes now), or if I bought a special year pass at the bowling alley and the owners eventually change it so it doesn't matter if you have a VIP pass or not, yeah I'd be bitching...but see those are more tangible and easier to report to the better business bureau.

That or do damage control, I do it all the time, I come out and tell a family and the patient that, "you (the patient) need to be admitted, you have 'x' and we highly recommend you stay.  Unfortunately at this time there are no beds &/or no nurses upstairs to take you, what will happen is you will stay in the emergency department until we get a bed upstairs and get you admitted.  We will help make you as comfortable as possible down here, but remember you still are in the ER and we will do the best we can but can't put you first all the time."  Believe me, when I tell them what is going on, what is being done, how long the wait might be (even if I have to say it may be till the next day @ noon when it is 1am @ night), and what orders we can do, and if I have to call the admitting doc and get more orders, etc...it is a big patient satisfaction issue.  So if this hillybilly who got an education can do customer service why can't game companies?

 Raspberry  1st time I'm glad I did purchases my OS.
Trippy
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Reply #34 on: November 18, 2007, 07:58:00 AM

So if this hillybilly who got an education can do customer service why can't game companies?
The vast majority of companies (not just game companies) treat customer service as a cost center.
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