Open letter to Chris Hinton, director of Customer Support, 395 Page Mill Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306-2024 Tel: (650) 963-8000
There's really no nice way to say this. Playdom's customer service sucks. Players with legitimate problems receive copy/pasted replies that are not germane to the issue, and the problems do not get fixed. Players with actual grievances are told that they've already received "goodwill gestures" in the past for other, separate issues, and are not eligible for reimbursement for their current issues. Frustrated players who make simple, plainly worded requests, such as "put me in touch with your supervisor", receive copy/paste replies saying "We don't understand your request". Players with real problems have their support tickets closed out without replies. I myself, after a 10 ticket long chain of closed tickets and followups, had my tickets set to auto-close, with no resolution.
Chris, if you want to know why Gardens of Time closed, why Pirates closed, and why Avengers Tactics failed, I can tell you. It's not that they were bad games, or even fundamentally broken. Sure, there were problems. Tactics had serious design flaws that would have required a massive overhaul, in my view. However, that's not what caused them to fail. Players would have forgiven quite a few flaws IF they felt they game's publisher actually cared about the player experience. Players don't feel like Playdom cares, because the interaction with the company that the player has is with customer service. The reps seem, for the most part, to be ignorant of the game and its terminology and apathetic, at best, to player problems. Worse, I have experienced outright hostility from the customer support here.
I am an Avengers Alliance player, for now. The reason that I qualified it with "for now" is because the game is less like a fun diversion, and more like an awful, soul-crushing job. I'm sure you had one of those jobs in high school or college, Chris. A job that caused your every waking moment to be an exercise in despair. A job that caused you to swear off an entire industry and warn your friends to never work at a place or give it their business. That's what this game is becoming. I'm approaching the point that I hate playing and want to warn everyone to spare themselves the aggravation. That is a direct result of my own experiences with customer service here, Chris. Because, like I said, customer service here sucks.
An Avengers Alliance player
P.S. I'll be copying and pasting this around various forums in the hopes that it will gain some attention. Hope to hear from you soon, Chris.
Just FYI to anyone reading this: I sent this into PD support in a ticket this past weekend after a prolonged ticket/followup session with their support staff. This included 7, that's SEVEN requests on my part to speak to a supervisor or manager, with no result. I don't KNOW that the support staff is purposely obtuse, but it sure seems that way. It may not be their fault, though. Quite a bit of the time, this is due to directives from on high. My experiences with Playdom predate MAA by a couple years. They were crap back then, too. I'm sure it's their entire corporate environment that enables support to act like utter turdbirds, but just because they're in a turdbird environment doesn't mean they have to act like turdbirds.
...man, I wish this wasn't a PG-13 wiki....
More fun with PD support.
After the long chain of requests/closings/followups where I requested a supervisor, I created a new ticket.
I'll copy/paste the whole thing here as a chronicle of my stubborn refusal to admit that these people really don't care about doing a decent job. As I said above, I'd requested to be put in contact with a supervisor seven times. After I used math to show them the problem, the ticket was closed, and all followups set to auto close. This is the new ticket that I filed.
PUT ME IN TOUCH WITH A SUPERVISOR
That's it. That's the whole ticket right there. Their reply?
-Thank you for contacting us with your game inquiry. Unfortunately we are having trouble understanding your concern based on the information you have provided. If you are still experiencing a problem in this regard, please respond to this message with as much detail as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Playdom Game Services Department
At this point, I'm just beating my head against a wall. So, whatev...my reply:
-What don't you understand about "put me in touch with a supervisor"? Please respond to this message with as much detail as possible.
, After considering it for 24 hours, they came up with the following reply:
-Dear Playdom Gamer,
Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We apologize for any frustration this may have caused. We are always looking for ways to make our games more enjoyable and we will keep your feedback in mind for future game updates. Thank you for playing and we hope you will continue to enjoy the game.
Playdom Game Services Department
Guess what? After this one, all followups were set to auto close. So I created a new ticket.
-I still haven't spoken to a supervisor, and the reply had absolutely nothing to do with the ticket. What seems to be the problem? Which part of "put me in touch with a supervisor" is unclear to you? Help me to help you help me. I want to be put in contact with a supervisor. That's not a difficult request.
Also, I find your habit of setting my requests to auto-close abusive.
I assume at some point, they'll just decide to ban me just for being snotty. meh. Oh well. It's not like it does any good to file a ticket anyway.
Meanwhile, in another thread...
I also have another thread of tickets going regarding the heroic battle roulette in 2.5.6. Basically, I've gotten little else but crap ISO crystals from it. In the ticket, I'm basically saying that this is a statistical impossibility. Look, I know I'm fudging the truth a bit. My goal here is not getting a level playing field on the roulettes. That will never happen. My goal is to be annoying enough that they scale ALL the rewards to level, not just the consumables. Best case scenario? The crystals get replaced with silver. Then maybe we can get them to change the tasks you get every day to deliver silver for lvl 300 players instead of only offering exp. Dream big. That's what my grandpa always said. Well, that and "Where are my teeth?" and "That wasn't me. The couch springs are squeaky" or "Must be a barking spider with reaaaaally bad breath under my chair." Anyway, I submitted a ticket, "waah! I didn't get what I wanted!" The reply I got was surprisingly long, and included links to the knowledge base, along with the standard "we can't just give you what you want" Fine, whatever. Still copypasta, but at least the kid didn't close the ticket like he fixed something. Before we get to my reply...I get that it's not what you'd call accurate. I'm following another saying of Gramps', "If you can stun em with science, baffle 'em with bulls*(%!" This is what I sent in the reply ticket:
*Jeremy, First off, thanks for putting a little more effort into your response than I normally get from Playdom Support. There are a few problems, but at least part of the fault is mine. I should have filed two separate tickets, because there are two problems here. The first problem, as I see it, is that there is no reason on Odin's green earth for those low level ISO crystals being on the roulette table for a level 300 player in the first place. They should be replaced with something like Silver. The second problem is with the results I'm getting. The statistical likelihood of me getting the same result 20 out of 22 attempts in a random event is phenomenally small. IF it were a truly random event. The roulette results are not TRULY random. Imagine a game board with 90 spaces on it. Paint 40% of those squares red. Those are your ISO prize squares. Paint 35% of them blue, those are your consumable prizes (napalm, med packs, etc), Paint 13% of them green, those are your crap weapons. Paint 7% of them purple, those are good weapons. Paint 3.5% of them white, those are your CP prizes. Now, paint 1.5% of them black, those are the eISO prizes. Take a handful of pebbles and throw them in the air over the game board. That will produce a (somewhat) random distribution of pebbles across the game board. They will not be spread out evenly, instead scattered randomly with several clusters (depending on how many pebbles you threw in the air). This is a completely normal distribution. However, because the red squares take up so much of the game board, there is a higher probability that pebbles will have landed on a red square. See, Jeremy, we have a random EVENT, but not a random RESULT. The results are weighted, or skewed towards a particular outcome, which means it's not truly random. The good news here is that all video games that generate random prizes use this type of weighted array. BUT, because I've gotten the same result so many times IN A ROW, that tells me that it's weighted too far towards the ISO, even taking into account the small sample size. Clusters in a random distribution are to be expected. As a matter of fact, there's a problem if you don't get clusters. This goes a bit beyond clusters, though. The results I'm getting with my admittedly too small sample are telling me that there's either something broken in the RNG, or that the results are too heavily weighted.
Anyway, look...stop saying the roulettes are random. That's a half truth.
So, I....mmmmight have fudged a bit. But only a little bit. Anyway, without waiting for a reply, I started adding to the ticket with legit screencaps of my roulette results from that HB. Five in a row, all crap ISO crystals, five add ons to the ticket. I even screencapped the opening of the battle, showing the "chance to win" the eISO I'm missing and sent it along with the fifth ticket and result screencap. The first four, I didn't bother adding much commentary. The fifth ticket...
*Dude, this is the fifth time IN A ROW. You realize that while this is possible in an infinite universe, the probability of it happening is about the same as Goo Hara of the K-Pop band Kara showing up at my house, swearing eternal love, and changing my cat's litterbox, right? To make matters worse, in the second screencap, note that the game is now teasing me with the only eISO I require to finish farming for them. That's just mean, man.
I just hope the kid isn't really into checking my math. ;)
Update on the roulette ticket. Finally got somone who knew what they were talking about.
"Dear Playdom Gamer,
Thank you for contacting us with your game inquiry.
Please understand that the Daily Spin is a game of chance, and that there is no guarantee it will land on the item you are looking for. Nor are the results impacted by the total amount of spins you attempt, as each spin is unique
Please know that this feature is working as designed. We apologize if this has caused you any frustration or confusion. We appreciate that you have taken the time to share your feedback with us, and we will keep it in mind when making future game updates."
I replied that, while most of what she said was true, there are still serious problems. I allowed that probability makes a poor predictor, but the results show that the roulette is still not weighted properly, as it is not a binary choice, and one result is being favored over all the others, not just the result I wanted (and eventually got). The reply I got to that was..."Thank you for your suggestion, blablabla..."