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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  Warhammer Online (Moderator: tazelbain)  |  Topic: Interview with a former CSR 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: Interview with a former CSR  (Read 13214 times)
Delmania
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on: August 04, 2009, 12:38:57 PM


Nebu
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Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 12:48:55 PM

Quote
By January, the team's optimism was ancient history. Our game had been beaten into submission by gold farmers, cheaters and WoW's new expansion.

How about "the game was beaten into submission by itself".  

Don't bother reading this trash.  It's written by someone that can't see the obvious design flaws in the game that they worked for.  

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
Hindenburg
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Itto


Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 12:50:05 PM

Author's delusional.

"Who uses Outlook anyway?  People who get what they deserve, that's who." - Ard.
Delmania
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Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 12:52:27 PM

Don't bother reading this trash.  It's written by someone that can't see the obvious design flaws in the game that they worked for.  

Meh, he's under an NDA and fairly neutered in what he can say about Mythic.  Plus he was a low man on the totem.  I just though it was interesting from an employee's POV.

Nebu
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Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 12:58:53 PM

Meh, he's under an NDA and fairly neutered in what he can say about Mythic.  Plus he was a low man on the totem.  I just though it was interesting from an employee's POV.

It's always good to get an insider's view.  Sadly, this article just reads as 4 pages of "The job was fun until we all started getting laid off."

I appreciate the link, but found the content to be lacking.

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
fuser
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Posts: 1572


Reply #5 on: August 04, 2009, 01:04:15 PM

Well someone just cut his job pool in the gaming industry down.

Quote
Everything was perfect; we all knew we would be promoted to development within a year.
why so serious?

Quote
With well over a million pre-orders alone, everyone who bought the game would theoretically shell out at least a couple months' worth of subscription fees. At Mythic there were catered lunches, launch parties and logo-stamped mugs and t-shirts for the whole staff. Nobody seemed worried. EA might have been in trouble, but here, at Mythic, we were safe.

Are you kidding me that no one, even the CSR's post launch had ideas of customer gripes? Even this "journalist" which by definition requires you to find an unbiased point of view or research?
Lantyssa
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Reply #6 on: August 04, 2009, 01:09:57 PM

Game journalist.  Even worse.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
brake 7
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Reply #7 on: August 04, 2009, 03:13:47 PM

A broken pencil of an interview.
Tmon
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Reply #8 on: August 04, 2009, 03:37:56 PM

Game journalist.  Even worse.

Yeah, I wasn't expecting much and he delivered.
waffel
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Reply #9 on: August 04, 2009, 05:17:26 PM

Fuck I just read the whole thing before reading everyone's comments.

This guy seems pretty clueless of a lot of things.
Lum
Developers
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Hellfire Games


Reply #10 on: August 04, 2009, 05:35:58 PM

Well someone just cut his job pool in the gaming industry down.

Quote
Everything was perfect; we all knew we would be promoted to development within a year.
why so serious?

It's not an unrealistic expectation. Generally very few people work as a CSR with no aspiration to do anything else (the few that do are rapidly promoted to lead roles in CS). Given that CSRs are the people who know the game the best it's also not a bad place to look for new content developers, assuming they are otherwise qualified.

Most of the mid-level producers on Warhammer in 2008 (including probably every name you can reel off from people who've appeared publically) were CSRs on DAOC in 2001. Jeff Hickman, who currently is #2 at Mythic, was hired to create their CS department and moved to game development from there. It's certainly not unreasonable for the new hires to see that history and go "hey, that could happen to me, too!".

This is also not unique to Mythic. In fact the only company I know where CS isn't seen as a stepping stone to bigger and better things is Blizzard, because Blizzard has several hundred (if not more) CSRs and there's no way they can all get promoted into development (plus, most of them are here in Austin, several time zones away from Blizzard's game teams).

Quote
Are you kidding me that no one, even the CSR's post launch had ideas of customer gripes? Even this "journalist" which by definition requires you to find an unbiased point of view or research?

Of course they did, but you have to balance the "we're all in a bunker together" mentality against that. Also, the really caustic gripes didn't start echoing outside the hard core until about a month after ship.

I spent a lot of my time in Mythic with CS, and in fact was hired to do the CS tools they used for DAOC (I would hope to god EA got them better ones than what one crazed Delphi programmer could crap out in 3 months for Warhammer, though). The CSRs I knew had a *very* realistic appraisal of the games' faults and virtues, far more so than anyone else on the development team.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 05:44:22 PM by Lum »
Nebu
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Reply #11 on: August 04, 2009, 05:44:37 PM

I spent a lot of my time in Mythic with CS, and in fact was hired to do the CS tools they used for DAOC (I would hope to god EA got them better ones than what one crazed Delphi programmer could crap out in 3 months for Warhammer, though). The CSRs I knew had a *very* realistic appraisal of the games' faults and virtues, far more so than anyone else on the development team.

That last part would make a story worth reading.  Shame that isn't what came forward.  I understand why he didn't choose to tell the story this way.  Burning bridges and all that.

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
Lum
Developers
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Hellfire Games


Reply #12 on: August 04, 2009, 05:46:49 PM

Not only would it not be terribly different from what you read here, it would not surprise me if some posted here anonymously. It's not like hardcore MMO gamers suddenly stop being hardcore MMO gamers when they get hired.

True story - a developer at another MMO studio (whom I won't name - he was fairly high profile as was the game he worked on) was a avid - RABID - player of DAOC. He played a high RR hunter. Constantly gave me flack about it too (Midgard often percieved itself as the poor stepsister - sometimes accurately, sometimes not). He also posted on the VN boards (which were the main DAOC community) constantly, which I would read.

After a particularly harsh hunter nerf was announced, he posted a long diatribe about how Mythic never played their own game, didn't care about their customers, was completely clueless, and it was all just a slap in the face to players. I immediately IM'd him when I read it. "Dude. You KNOW that's not right. You had your OWN players say that about you. DUDE."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. But come on, look at those patch notes!"
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 05:50:25 PM by Lum »
schild
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Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 06:17:11 PM

I bet I could get different answers out of that guy.

By different, I mean better.
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 06:18:42 PM

And by guy you mean semi-sentient glob of goo?

"Me am play gods"
schild
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Reply #15 on: August 04, 2009, 06:21:36 PM

Well. It's hard to talk about. They let him write it himself and represent himself, so there was no need to get verification on anything. Easy way out for Escapist imo.

Someone there should've interviewed him FOR REAL and put it together and actually gotten more than one side of the whole thing. Meh. Whatever. Not even worth talking about really. Not even really an interview.
UnSub
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Reply #16 on: August 04, 2009, 09:58:09 PM

From the article:

Quote
There were computer scientists and programmers, a charming handful of intense Hot Topic-styled anime fans and a surprisingly large number of ex-military.

And suddenly I understand MMO CSRs that little bit better.

Quote
Like the Avengers wrapped in the Justice League with a dash of the A-Team.

Uhh, I got concentrated nerd on me. It stains.

The story - "I had a great job that was peachy until the customers came along and the game failed then I got fired" - isn't that interesting. What is interesting is that it shows how much Kool-Aid was being drunk inside of Mythic about how big WAR was going to be. It certainly doesn't seem that they were sparing any expense internally prior to launch.

ghost
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Reply #17 on: August 04, 2009, 10:58:36 PM

This little story gave a great deal of insight into how fucked up everything was at Mythic.  The dude probably would like to get hired again doing something so I don't think he would come out with all guns blazing. 
Nebu
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Reply #18 on: August 04, 2009, 11:04:48 PM

This little story gave a great deal of insight into how fucked up everything was at Mythic. 

I must have missed it.  He liked his job.  The atmosphere was fun.  Then people got fired.

The only bit of information I got from the story is that noone will comment on the trip WAR took from 1 million boxes sold to a small fractions of remaining players.    The author was either in denial about this or is being candid to keep his options open.  I respect him for the latter, if that's the case, but the story wasn't all that informative. 

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
ghost
The Dentist
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Reply #19 on: August 04, 2009, 11:12:05 PM

This little story gave a great deal of insight into how fucked up everything was at Mythic.  

I must have missed it.  He liked his job.  The atmosphere was fun.  Then people got fired.

The only bit of information I got from the story is that noone will comment on the trip WAR took from 1 million boxes sold to a small fractions of remaining players.    The author was either in denial about this or is being candid to keep his options open.  I respect him for the latter, if that's the case, but the story wasn't all that informative.  

Quote
At Mythic there were catered lunches, launch parties and logo-stamped mugs and t-shirts for the whole staff. Nobody seemed worried. EA might have been in trouble, but here, at Mythic, we were safe.

and

Quote
At Christmas, the company provided a catered meal for the CSRs who had to monitor an in-game event and work through the holiday. I don't know if our bosses just ordered what they usually did, but the surplus of food made it seem like our department's slow decline had gone unnoticed. There was enough food for an army, but only a handful of us were left. For weeks afterward, the break room fridge overflowed with unopened trays of leftover corn. It felt like an offering left to appease the layoff god. Maybe this delicious corn would sate his mighty hunger.

tell me quite a bit.  Huge disconnect between reality and the people running the show.  I thought it was an interesting, if not particularly shocking, read.
schild
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Reply #20 on: August 05, 2009, 12:40:54 AM

MMO CSRs are a bunch of $8-$10 an hour gaming nerds who don't get benefits. All those other things used to describe them are just sensationalism on the writer's part.

Those who DON'T want to be CSR's but take such a job because they need one, probably - more often than not, do a bad job.

Yes, Ghost - to this:

Quote
At Mythic there were catered lunches, launch parties and logo-stamped mugs and t-shirts for the whole staff. Nobody seemed worried. EA might have been in trouble, but here, at Mythic, we were safe.

Except, you have it backwards. The CSR sounds relatively deluded.

Edit: I should point out that I don't think it's fair that CSRs and QA folks in gaming - the bad and the good - get paid and treated the way they do. Generally considered contractors, Part-Time with Full-time hours, and always second-class citizens, they are the morlocks of the gaming industry. The ones that aren't stupid learn things they shouldn't learn and use that knowledge to gain a leg up in the industry. Others that may or may not be stupid get turned off of the industry so hard, they leave. And then there are others that are just like "AWESOME, I WORK IN THE INDUSTRY." The latter group is who I'd want as CSRs. The first group is just creepy and the second group is probably the most common. It's depressing.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 12:44:10 AM by schild »
columba
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Reply #21 on: August 05, 2009, 01:38:03 AM

I wonder how much time he spent on whacky pranks with developers.
Lantyssa
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Reply #22 on: August 05, 2009, 01:54:14 AM

Really what you describe, Schild, is true of any CSR job for any industry.

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
Nija
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Reply #23 on: August 05, 2009, 01:56:06 AM

This is also not unique to Mythic. In fact the only company I know where CS isn't seen as a stepping stone to bigger and better things is Blizzard, because Blizzard has several hundred (if not more) CSRs and there's no way they can all get promoted into development (plus, most of them are here in Austin, several time zones away from Blizzard's game teams).

This isn't completely true. A guy I know who was pasting funny Diablo 2 / Battle.net support email issues into IRC in ~2001 ended up landing on the team that did monster pathing and spawn locations in WoW, and dropped off the radar about 3 years ago - which is pretty much what he did pre-WoW announcement too. I only "know" the guy through IRC.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 02:07:19 AM by Nija »
schild
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Reply #24 on: August 05, 2009, 02:14:29 AM

Really what you describe, Schild, is true of any CSR job for any industry.
I know.
Ashamanchill
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Reply #25 on: August 05, 2009, 05:58:07 AM

I liked this review, but it struck me as being written more for someone like me (someone who has no idea what the hell the inside of the gaming industry is like), as opposed to a person in the know.  He styled it more as a reporter, with his cheezy analogies and whatnot, than as an actual CSR.  He made little specific reference to what his job was in game.

After I read all your posts it did then occur to me that he was either skirting around the true reason WAR flopped, or he truly didn't know.  I mean, he does mention several times that he was a console gamer and not an MMORPG one.  Still though, as a CSR he must have had some clues that the game wasn't up to par when people petitioned him to free them from being stuck inside the ground, or why their chat box keeps reseting and what not.

A poster signed by Richard Garriot, Brad McQuaid, Marc Jacobs and SmerricK Dart.  Of course it would arrive a couple years late, missing letters and a picture but it would be epic none the less. -Tmon
ghost
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Reply #26 on: August 05, 2009, 06:59:09 AM

Except, you have it backwards. The CSR sounds relatively deluded.

I don't think it is an either/or situation.  Probably plenty of delusion all the way around. 
HaemishM
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Reply #27 on: August 05, 2009, 10:54:24 AM

Don't bother reading this trash.

I agree. There were about 2 sentences in that whole article that were illuminating in any way. The rest was some "games journo" trying to be eloquent and failing miserably.

schild
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Reply #28 on: August 05, 2009, 11:13:29 AM

He styled it more as a reporter, with his cheezy analogies and whatnot, than as an actual CSR.

He really didn't. It was like an adult version of "How I Spent My Summer Vacation."
Shatter
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Reply #29 on: August 05, 2009, 01:01:27 PM

Nothing informative here.  Ok, they had a party at launch, things were good for a while so they ate and drank, things turned to shit and people got laid off, life sucked he got laid off, Aion came out and kicked WHO's ass.  The end
Numtini
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Reply #30 on: August 05, 2009, 02:18:40 PM

I enjoyed reading it as a puff piece, but it certainly wasn't illuminating in any way. I think it was kind of like if our First MMO that we all think back on fondly was one where we were a CSR.

If you can read this, you're on a board populated by misogynist assholes.
waylander
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Reply #31 on: August 05, 2009, 03:40:53 PM

This is about as good as saying someone did an interview with McDonalds, but instead of interviewing the CEO they interview the assistant fry cook at chain# 45,889.

Lords of the Dead
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Fordel
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Reply #32 on: August 05, 2009, 04:54:27 PM

This is also not unique to Mythic. In fact the only company I know where CS isn't seen as a stepping stone to bigger and better things is Blizzard, because Blizzard has several hundred (if not more) CSRs and there's no way they can all get promoted into development (plus, most of them are here in Austin, several time zones away from Blizzard's game teams).



Doesn't Blizzard treat CS like a real job/career and not just bitchwork as well? Or was that QA?

and the gate is like I TOO AM CAPABLE OF SPEECH
Modern Angel
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Reply #33 on: August 05, 2009, 05:00:28 PM

QA doesn't make shit at Blizzard.
Delmania
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Reply #34 on: August 05, 2009, 05:14:40 PM

This is about as good as saying someone did an interview with McDonalds, but instead of interviewing the CEO they interview the assistant fry cook at chain# 45,889.


Even with a CEO, the story wouldn't be much different.  The problem is at this point, many people want to see a verification of statement "The game is sinking due to poor design, and management knew it".  However, no one is going to do that while the game lives.

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