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Another Lovely Star Wars Moment

March 14, 2012

Dear Reader,

Okay, I was off of bashing Star Wars for a while, but here again, I’m going to bash it.  Really, I’m not so mad at the game; I encountered an annoying but easily fixable bug situation.  I was helping my buddy on Korriban’s Flame Station, and upon trying to leave, the door that would lead to my ship was unresponsive.  I couldn’t use my fleet pass since I had already used it that day (about 2 hours before that, so another 16 hours to cool down), and my buddy had already left and couldn’t come back to see if that might fix it.  No problem, I’ll just write a ticket:

Ticket:

My character, Stubborn, on Lord Adrass server, is stuck in a friend’s Jedi Consular (okay, I made a booboo there, he’s a Knight, but based on the next piece of information, that would be easy enough to tell) quest area, Korriban’s Flame Station.  He left the station before I was able to, and the door is now non-interactive and I cannot return to my ship.  He can no longer see the station on his map to return.  My fleet pass was used earlier and is on cooldown.  I’d like this to be taken care of quickly, as I only have about an hour left to continue playing with my friends before one of them has to go.

Quickly thereafter, I got a response email.

Greetings Stubborn,

I am Protocol Droid H7 – Y1 Human-Cyborg Relations.

I have received your transmission.

Thank you for contacting us regarding the quest that you cannot abandon.

Your report has been forwarded to our development team, who will investigate further. We regret that we will be unable to provide you with further updates on this issue, but recommend checking the latest patch notes at http://www.swtor.com/patchnotes for information on any fixes or changes related to this issue.

We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and to thank you again for the valuable feedback you have provided. Please do not hesitate to report any other issues you may encounter while playing.

Galactic Support is our Specialty…

Sincerely,

Protocol Droid H7 – Y1, aka (Xxxxx)
Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service

We would love to hear your feedback on our Customer Service and invite you to fill out the following survey to help us to continually improve our support!
[https://www.research.net/s/TOREN?c=4382150

Well, that’s annoying, but at least it’s being seen by the “development team.”  Sounds fancy.  I go play another game for a while, then return to find this in my log in mail – not my email mind you – my log in mail.  I have deleted the formalities both because they’re basically the same as the last one, but also because I had to type this, as I couldn’t c/p from my log in mail and I never got an email about it.  I assure you, though, it is otherwise word for word.

If you are stuck somewhere in the game, please use the command /stuck to attempt to free your character from the location you are unable to move from.

You also have the option to use your Quick Travel ability, which will allow you to travel to any Binding Point that you have manually discovered on your current planet.  Additionally, you can also use your ‘Emergency Fleet Pass’ which you will receive the first time you enter your allegiance fleet.

To find these abilities, please press [P] to open your abilities menu, then click on the ‘General’ tab at the bottom.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.  Should you require any further assistance with this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

I got a little upset, honestly, for several reasons.  Let me enumerate them.

1) They clearly didn’t bother to read my ticket, as I specifically described the problem, as in how I was stuck (not immobile, but behind an unresponsive door), where I was (which has no bind points as it’s not a planet), and that I couldn’t use my fleet pass.

2) I understand they can’t safely assume knowledge on my part, but my ticket was well-written without any written errors (though I did say consular – whoops).  I’m clearly not an idiot.  Plus, since I’m stuck in level 45 zone, they could probably safely assume I know how to open my abilities bar.  It’s condescendingly toned.

3) Therefore, they provided zero solutions to the problem between two emails (the only solution in the first is to “check the patch notes,” which really makes no sense at all if you think about it).

I got a little hot tempered and replied like this:

Since my first ticket was essentially ignored (see ticket 4382150), I’m resubmitting it WORD FOR WORD, then adding a few details at the end:

My character, Stubborn, on Lord Adrass server, is stuck in a friend’s Jedi Consular quest area, Korriban’s Flame Station.  He left the station before I was able to, and the door is now non-interactive and I cannot return to my ship.  He can no longer see the station on his map to return.  My fleet pass was used earlier and is on cool down.  I’d like this to be taken care of quickly, as I only have about an hour left to continue playing with my friends before one of them has to go.

Well, the last part is null and void, as the first person just sent it up the ladder.  The second team to look at it basically dismissed it, so let me make myself clear.  I should NOT have to wait 16 hours for my fleet pass to cool down because YOUR game had a bug in it that caused me to be stuck.  I’m not stuck in place, so /stuck does not work.  This zone does not have a bind point, so fast travel is out of the question.  The fleet pass is STILL cooling down, so I can’t leave that way.  There was NO REASON for this ticket to be dismissed with only phony, useless suggestions in response.  I am stuck.  Either move my toon to my ship or reset my fleet pass.  It’s THAT SIMPLE.  Your game broke; I should not be dismissed by your customer support team to have to wait until my fleet pass cools down.  Fix it, or admit that you won’t.  Don’t pretend this is somehow my fault and I should fix it myself.

Then, for good measure, I went to the comments section of the support page and dropped this in their digital box:

I am extremely disappointed with the customer service I received on my ticket, 4382150.  I detailed a problem that was caused by a bug in the game, and the response I got was that I should just wait until I could take care of it myself.  I was stuck in a “foyer” area between an airlock and a friend’s instance which I could not enter, but due to my fleet pass being on cooldown, I could not hearth out.  The door to the airlock was unresponsive, and I was stuck in that foyer with another 16 hours left on the cooldown of my fleet pass.  My ticket was sent to a “specialist” team by the first person who read it (and was “locked,” which is how I know it was), but the second person’s solution was to give me USELESS advice based on what I described as the issue (use /stuck – I’m not stuck like that, use fast travel – there’s no bind points in that area, which they could learn just by checking the information I gave to them, use your fleet pas – which I indicated was on cooldown).  Apparently, your customer service staff are so busy that they won’t be bothered to actually SERVICE CUSTOMERS.  Thanks to the game’s bug and the dismissive attitude of your staff, I’ve lost a day of gaming that I paid for and was looking forward to as I had today off.  Thank you so much for your extremely disappointing customer service.

I know two wrongs don’t make a right, and I know that by the time this gets taken care of my damn fleet pass will be cooled down, but at least I feel a little better.  Man, this game has so many things about it that have really disappointed me.  I guess I’m not totally innocent, though, since I did lie to them.  I wasn’t really looking forward to playing; my buddy just wants to get to 50 and doesn’t want to do it alone.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and, of course, disappointed)

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. Krel permalink
    March 15, 2012 12:12 am

    I made it to 48… and that’s as far as I’m going to get, I’m afraid. I have zero desire left to log in anymore. I’m disappointed with SWTOR, I really thought I was going to like it more. It’s just too… too breadcrumby (I think I just made up a word), too linear… too everything I’ve gotten tired of about WoW.

    On the bright side, I’m playing EVE again seriously for the first time since 2008. I spent a couple weeks corp hunting and I think I’ve found a very promising group – time will tell, of course.

    • March 15, 2012 10:43 am

      I told both my wife and my buddy that after this incident, when I had so much free time to fool around and got stuck and then was left there to rot, that I’d probably simply stop if they didn’t want to finish. I have felt done with the game for some time (since I realized the story was pretty railish, at least from my point of view), but this put the last nail in the coffin lid for it. If I don’t want to play, and Bioware doesn’t want to let me play, then fine.

      I’ve been poking my nose around EVE for some time, and despite Gev’s glowing discussions of it on his blog, I’m just not sure. I’m not a businessperson; I’m not trained in that type of warfare. I look to play games where I can be a hero. I’m just not sure. Maybe some day.

      Also, I think breadcrumby is an excellent word to describe the trend of all MMOs nowadays. There’s no exploration, not chance to get lost, just a constant stream of breadcrumbs leading us from objective to objective. They’re breadcrumby (;

    • Krel permalink
      March 15, 2012 5:43 pm

      “I look to play games where I can be a hero.”

      In a game like WoW, everybody gets to be a hero. Kil’jaeden, Arthas, Deathwing, everybody gets to kill them (at least in theory, although I suspect it’s probably true for almost everyone via LFR) as many times as you want – you get to be the hero who saves Azeroth. And so do I. And Jimmy, he wants to be a hero. And Sara, although she’d prefer to be a heroine. And Nick, and Tim, and Lucy – they all get to be the hero who saves the day and defeats the menace that plans to destroy the world. The things I can do in-game don’t tend to have much if any impact on the game world, however. Deathwing will be back next week whether I kill him this week or not; in the words of Mr. Incredible, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again! Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes?”

      On the other hand, in a game like EVE, the heroes are few and far between. I’m not one. Odds are very high that you’re not, either. I can think of only one offhand – Chribba. In fact, most of the people who are famous in EVE are famous for being villains, not heroes. Jimmy may want to be a hero, but he’s not going to be one. Sara isn’t either, etc. But in EVE, the little things that I do can make a difference, with real consequences to the game. I could corner a trade route for a while, making more ISK for myself but causing everyone who tends to buy their ammo from a certain location to pay more, drawing the attention of other players to compete with me. I can be part of a major alliance holding sovereignty over multiple star systems, and preventing other players from using those resources. I’m not a hero in EVE – I’m a resident. I’m a space trucker or miner trying to make a living, a pirate who preys on the inattentive, or a vigilante who hunts pirates.

      In the end, I suppose it boils down to a pretty simple choice – do you want to be a hero whose world saving achievements have no impact, or do you want to be a little fish in a big pond, whose accomplishments will for the most part go unseen and unnoticed, but have a real effect on the world?

      Depends on the player.

    • March 16, 2012 10:38 am

      I feel like that’s a false dichotomy that only appears to exist due to the current limitations in MMO design. I don’t see why both can’t be true.

      I’ve played (well, mostly DM’d) plenty of pen and paper RPGs where the “heroes” were really just leading average lives, working together out of necessity which turned into trust and eventually friendship, and never did any world-shaking deeds. They might have helped in a small way to win a war by making a diversion, or they might have guarded the livery so that someone else’s horse would be available so that someone else could ride out to warn the nearby settlements, but I made sure they weren’t in a typical “ascend to godhood through deeds and magic” campaign. Hell, I had them hunting for lost objects for three or four sessions, just getting to know the real power players in the city so they knew who was around and who they could call on for information and help. My point in telling you this is that I agree; there is plenty of satisfaction in leading a normal life, but all told, sandboxy games lose my interest after about a week of playing around. Gev’s got direction, sure, he’s found his why, but I’m not a businessman, and I don’t like the prospect of losing my ship to twitchteens who are better fliers or fighters than I am. It’s not that I wouldn’t try EVE, it’s that I don’t think it’d take. That’s never stopped me before, though.

      I would be willing to bet that my loss of “meaning” from teaching has heightened my need to seek it out in other ways (which is McGonigal’s theory in her book), which is why I’m more easily disappointed and bored by games now, since they’re in no way as fulfilling as what I’m used to. I do know I don’t like being a bad guy, a cheater, a sneak, an untrustworthy businessman, or even a vengeful jerk. I prefer playing a good, quiet person who faces uphill struggles rather than some over-the top balls out hero. Most MMOs don’t provide much in the middle (and I suspect EVE doesn’t, either, since I assume you need something to make yourself worthwhile), nor do many other games. Perhaps that’s why I like my Pen and Paper games.

    • Krel permalink
      March 15, 2012 5:44 pm

      Also, with regards to the term “breadcrumby”, please send my royalty checks to the usual location. 🙂

    • March 16, 2012 10:38 am

      Gladly (;

    • Krel permalink
      March 17, 2012 8:51 am

      Thing is, in a pen & paper game, even when you’re playing “just plain folks” the world still revolves around the players, and that’s the key. An MMO by its very nature has to go one of two ways – persistent and impersonal, or repetitive (instanced) and personal. I think it’s the same problem you discussed with regards to SWTOR – if your decision to save someone and therefore don’t get the key to the planetbusting secret weapon differs from my decision to let them die and so I get it – I see no way to resolve that. Not only did we make decisions that have diametrically opposed outcomes, but we both got the opportunity to make the decision in the first place and since the planet can’t both be blown up and not blown up… Well, you get my point. There’s only one Deathwing – if the world is persistent, he gets killed exactly once.

    • March 17, 2012 11:51 am

      Actually, I work hard to make it clear to my players that the world does not revolve around them. I have many machinations going on in the background as other forces fight one another, and they learn of the outcomes of those fights. I’ve structured my most recent Vampire Campaign around another previous campaign so that they overlap with the other group of PCs (now NPCs), so they’re aware that there are things out of their hands that have happened and will keep happening regardless of their decisions. They only make things easier for themselves or muck things up (usually the latter) based on their own decisions.

      I still don’t believe that developers can’t find a way to make decisions matter, to mix, say, Mass Effect’s decision-based outcomes with an MMO. If any developer should have done it, it should have been Bioware, because in the past, decisions in their games DID matter. Or, if they don’t want to figure out how to do that, then simply let group member’s decisions float for the whole group, for good. IF you don’t want that, play alone, if you do, well, that’s the real world; sometimes one person speaks for everyone when they don’t represent everyone’s voices.

      Bah, it’s the same old argument. (; My main point was that you can make games where “heroes” are ordinary people and the world does not revolve around them.

    • Krel permalink
      March 17, 2012 1:43 pm

      “Actually, I work hard to make it clear to my players that the world does not revolve around them.”

      I wasn’t clear about what I meant by the world revolving around the players – its not that they’re the gods of their own universe, it’s that the story is about them directly and specifically, not just in the mind of the player (that’s the same regardless of whether the game is an MMO, single-player, or pen-and-paper) but also in the mind of the game master. You can have plenty of other things going on in the world, but those things only matter in how they impact or are impacted by the story of your players. 

      “simply let group member’s decisions float for the whole group, for good.”

      If you think in terms of the group being the entire player base, that’s what persistent worlds do.  The first MMO I played was Shadowbane, and it had some of that functionality. My guild could build a castle, and that act would change the game of the player base as a whole – there’s a castle where there wasn’t one before.  And again, as a whole, the player base could choose to let it stand, or tear it down. That works, on a small scale, but I see no way to make it work on world changing events – once Godzilla is dead, he’s dead, and you don’t get to personally kill him over and over once a week, let alone how many times he’s killed by your fellow players. 

      Yep, it’s the same old argument but it’s still an interesting and fun one to have. 🙂

    • March 17, 2012 6:21 pm

      I don’t even mind killing the same boss over and over – if players can rez, then bosses can, too. I wish there was a more enlightened reason for it than “lockout’s over,” something like a group of mages rezzing a dead god, and perhaps even once a new patch comes out, or the event ends, or whatever, when you kill those mages, the boss is no longer available. I think it could be done. It needs time, thought, and innovation, but I think it could be done.

      Also, for the record, I didn’t mean to appear dismissive of the argument, just that I was repeating the same things I had before with nothing new. You know I’m always up for a debate (:

  2. antlergirl permalink
    March 15, 2012 2:58 am

    I had the same thing. I love Bioware and I do love Swtor, but their customer service is really bad. They never seem to read tickets or give you the right solution to your problem. I stopped playing after 50. It just couldn’t keep me entertained after I’ve done my class story :/

    • March 15, 2012 10:45 am

      I’ve read some posts by Raph Koster, a game designer, who recently said that if you provide narrative as a reward, it will ruin your game (this is wildly paraphrased, but the message is the same at its soul). Why bother replaying or continuing to play if you’ve seen the story, been trained that it was your reward, and then there’s no more story? I tend to agree, but I’m not sure with what that leaves us; I like narrative elements in games (and it’s what Bioware got huge with), but for an MMO, I’m just not sure it worked.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • antlergirl permalink
      March 15, 2012 4:36 pm

      It just felt like I poured so much into my character and her companions and then it was just….done. It felt like such a let down, I couldn’t even stand to play her any more.

    • March 16, 2012 10:43 am

      Yes, I think the disappointment I feel has permanently tainted the game for me. Who knows, though? I was pretty disappointed by early WoW experiences (guild oriented, not game oriented), but I went back to WoW over and over. Maybe SW in a year or two will seem more appealing.

  3. Issy permalink
    March 15, 2012 7:24 am

    Almost the exact same bug happened to me before. I reported it of course, but knowing I might have to wait for some time for it to be answered, I looked for a way to get around it, and found one.

    If you enter a warzone (which you can do from _anywhere_) and then let it time out i.e. sit in the starter area and don´t engage in fighting.. you eventually get transported back to Fleet.

    Sorry you had such a frustrating time of it though *hugs*

    And also your comment box hates me.. it would only let me comment from this account, I hope, otherwise I´ve sent about 10 comments sorry 🙂

    • March 15, 2012 10:48 am

      You know, I momentarily considered taking a warzone, but I didn’t, thinking that it’d return me to the same place. I never would have thought to afk out.
      Shintar also said something about my comments; I’m not sure why they’re acting up; I checked all the settings and tried to leave a comment myself, but it seems to be working now. Sorry for the inconvenience (;

  4. Issy permalink
    March 15, 2012 11:14 am

    I r genius *nods sagely* 🙂
    Yeah, I think the problem with commenting is because I use a different browser for each erm *identity* and this one insisted on being one of my wordpress accounts – it won´t let me comment as my jayceandco one because it´s not logged in, and won´t let me log it in.. most bizarre. I just tried to comment as that again, and couldn´t 😛 Never mind, you can have the little gnomey 🙂

  5. Klatzy permalink
    March 15, 2012 1:15 pm

    If you have an authenticator you should go buy the fleet passes from them. You can buy as many as you like for 1000 credits. That means you can use them to get to fleet without having to wait 18 hours. As long as you had a store in your inventory.

    • Krel permalink
      March 15, 2012 5:46 pm

      Worked fine, until I had to replace my iPhone. No problem, I called Bioware and they removed the auth from my account – and then I wasn’t able to add it again on my new phone. Apparently they have (had?) a bug where once you removed an authenticator from your account, a new one couldn’t be added. Last time I tried, it still didn’t work.

    • March 16, 2012 10:39 am

      I had a similar experience with Rift, when I recently reloaded it. I had deleted my mobile authenticator and didn’t think I’d be able to get back in, but the process was surprisingly streamlined and easy, and it was replaced within a few minutes. Kudos to their support team for that process!

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  1. A Fitting End « Sheep The Diamond
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