Zarhym: Hello, everyone! Welcome to the World of Warcraft Customer Support Q&A. I’m Zarhym, one of your resident World of Warcraft community managers, and I’m here to help facilitate this chat between the community and our customer support representatives.
Zarhym: Over the course of the next hour we’ll be fielding any questions you have about support policies, procedures, and strategies. Our goal is to shed some light on how Blizzard operates to best support our players. :)
Zarhym: Without further ado, I’d like to welcome our panelists for the evening! Joining us today are CS Forum Representative Vrakthris, WoW Game Support Manager Marcus Maczynski, SC2 Game Support Manager Angelo Concepcion, D3 Game Support Manager Andreas Unger, Senior CS Information Specialist Charles Areson, and CS Social Media Manager Antonio Achucarro.
Antonio Achucarro: Hi everyone! /wave
Marcus Maczynski: Greetings All! Marcus here. :)
Angelo Concepcion: Greetings everyone =)
Andreas Unger: Hi all! :)
Vrakthris: The #hoof is in the house!
Charles Areson: Hello all-- thanks for joining us!
Can we talk personally to a GM about an issue?
Charles Areson: Hi Axel! Several of the participants here are former GMs, actually... but if you're looking for support on a specific issue with your own account, you should make sure you've submitted a ticket in-game or through the support site (https://www.battle.net/support/
Zarhym: These fine gentlemen are in the midst of combing through your questions and typing up answers. Increased momentum inc!
Why, when someone makes a personal agreement via in-game chat with a player about an item can't Blizzard honor that agreement?
Marcus Maczynski: Hey Maelstromedes!
We actually try to honor player agreements, but it depends on the transaction type. For example, there are a lot of transaction we don't support (such as cross realm trading, open loans, etc). In each of those, we will make sure scammers are brought to justice, but don't necessarily want folks to rely on Customer Service to aid these transaction. Others, such as crafting, the game doesn't really have the functionality to ensure you transact safely, so we get involved and go off the agreements we see.
Screaming over twitter is the preferred method of communication, correct?
Angelo Concepcion: Screaming over twitter huh? Haha we would actually prefer if you use one of our other contact methods. =) You can find them on our support home page, located here: https://us.battle.net/support/en/
Unrelated to questions, but I have to say the Item Restoration feature works beautifully. I lost my Honorary Brewmaster Keg to careless vendoring and had it back in 10 minutes. A+ would restore again.
Andreas Unger: Hi eldersgapingmaw! Glad to hear one of our automated systems took care of that lost item for you!
For those not in the know, you can find more info on this feature right here: https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/battle-net-item-restoration
Are there any plans to update/change the in-game ticketing system for World of Warcraft so that the wait times for tickets can be reduced?
Marcus Maczynski: Hello Legracen! We're constantly evaluating how we receive CS requests from players. Right-Click-to-Report and self-service options (such as Item Restoration) are both examples of this building in this efficiency. Updating the in-game interface to prompt players for exactly the information we need to service their requests is definitely something we want to do.
Do you have a responsibility to customer service even when you guys are "off duty"?
Charles Areson: Absolutely. We're never truly 'off-duty' since we have support staff working 24/7 in every region. Even when our phone hours are closed, and when our servers are in maintenance, we're working on players' requests and sending responses. You could say the sun never sets on Blizzard Support =)
After our work day ends, we still care about the support experience, of course, but we don't actually take tickets or talk officially to players unless we're on the clock and in the office.
How do you repair bugs? How do you know the report of a bug is truthful or not?
Hi Shadow! Good question. As a rule, Customer Support doesn't really handle bug reports. The in-game feature to report a bug is actually sent to the development teams who have a chance to read, compile, and obviously fix any bugs you may run into. The truthfulness of a bug report? Our Quality Assurance team will test it extensively and try to see if they can figure out what's wrong :)
How large is the Support team for WoW? About how many new tickets do you receive on an average day?
Charles Areson: Blizzard Customer support consists of hundreds of employees, and we take thousands of calls and tickets every day. Our support volume can fluctuate based on things like recent game launches and major patches, so we adjust our daily schedules and priorities (and our support channels) to account for that.
I would like to know exactly how the Report feature works.
When used, it seems to put the offending player on an ignore period of about 24 hours, yet nothing seems to happen to the individual offenders. Personally I have reported one individual on my server multiple times for multiple violations, only to see that person back at it within a day or two's time. It simply seems the feature is merely a placebo effect meant only to give players the feeling that they are actively particpating in policing their realms. So in short, please expand on this feature, how it works, and secondly, how do the GM staff feel about ToS violations and how seriously do they take the issue?
Marcus Maczynski: Hey Swifty! I'm glad you asked.
The Right-Click-Reporting features are *crucial* to us. There is a temporary "squelch" that it does to try and prevent in-game situations from escalating further, but it also does more than that. It provides us with all of the information we need to investigate these reports.
One of the reasons you might see someone continue to ...be less than great chat-wise... is that some of our initial suspension times are pretty short. This is something that we're in the process of changing, as we certainly want the focus to be on game-play, rather than dealing with another player's language.
We don't like ToS violations, and take them very seriously, which is why we're working on improving our penalty system. Please, if you see language that is ruining your fun, let us know. We don't want those folks to continue to ruin your experience. ;)
Charles Areson: @Marcus: TLDR much, haha
Marcus Maczynski: I'm a good man, and thorough. >.>
Charles Areson: Can't disagree there.
Have you heard the song Gangnam Style?
Antonio Achucarro: Yeah, it's playing around the clock in our office! :D
Andreas Unger: I'm doing the dance right now.
How do you manage to keep your cool with more... difficult customers?
Marcus Maczynski: Ping pong. Violent games of ping pong.
Angelo Concepcion: Also air conditioning helps.
Hi CS people. When you respond to tickets via in-game chat, are you chatting one-to-one, or handling multiple cases at once?
Marcus Maczynski: Hey Slowjoe! It depends largely on how complex the issue is, and how interactive the conversation needs to be. For example, if you're in the middle of a boss fight, a GM may elect to take on another conversation while waiting for you to return.
If the situation isn't a familiar one, they're probably going to be focused entirely on you for that conversation.
Do you plan on bring any new features to us like the Item Restoration feature?
Marcus Maczynski: We're always looking for new opportunities to create self-service features. They're win-win for both of us. You get to take care of your issue, and we get to worry about other tickets that require more human-level-thought.
How do you prioritize tickets? And do you try and catch people online? I find that to be the best method of contacting CS and getting the best service.
For the most part, we'll answer tickets in the order they're received. If we have a large pool of tickets about a single widespread issue (such as a bug), we'll send a response to all of the affected players at once. Contrary to rumor, putting certain words into a ticket isn't going to get it ahead in line.
Is there a list of bugs they they are working on, so we don't spam the development team?
Angelo Concepcion: We keep a list of known bugs for each current patch on the bug forum for each game. It’s a good place to start for information regarding bugs that we are aware of.
Bug Forums for each game:
StarCraft II - http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/13440/
WoW - http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/1012660/
Diablo III - http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/5386229/
How is the current botting issues in WoW being addressed? As we all know they are more than rampant and annoying...
Vrakthris: We address botting or exploitation in a number of ways. We actively investigate reports that are generated by the right click report feature used by players in game. That information helps us take action individually as well as improve our detection systems. These investigations take a great deal of time as our goal is to maximize the benefits with them.
Recently, the /afk report feature for the Battleground system has been revamped and should help address much of what has been seen in BG’s of late.
Do you guys ever watch sports at the office?
Antonio Achucarro: We do! We've got break rooms with TVs where we gather for our own BarCraft sessions! Well, without the bar. :P
How happy is Blizzard with the queue times right now? Are there plans to make getting support even faster?
Marcus Maczynski: I can't say I'm thrilled about them, but they're better than they've been recently. My job is largely centered around trying to ensure we're enacting support strategies that will bring those queue times down. I'm working on it!
Whats the craziest things you have had to deal with in office?
Andreas Unger: Well, we HAVE had folks showing up outside the office protesting Hardcore Diablo character deaths.
Antonio Achucarro: He only says that cause in our office polls he is ranked "No.1 craziest thing in the office" :D
Why do users not have the option to delete their own account completely? It could be implemented with a built in safety feature, which puts a 32 days delay before it is finally deleted…
Marcus Maczynski: Hey Flow (can I call you Flow?)! We do have the ability to delete one's account by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We don't have a self-service method for this, largely to protect people from making rash decisions. Of the requests we receive to that address, you wouldn't believe how many people regret their decision days/months/years later.
What is the policy about selling an account in WoW for cash IRL?
Can we ask any question accross any Blizzard universe? Or is this going to be one game at a time?
Zarhym: Feel free! While the focus of this session is World of Warcraft, our panelists are equipped to field customer support-related questions pertaining to all Blizzard titles. :)
Is there a pajama day at Blizz HQ? If there isn't, WHY HASN'T IT BEEN PUT IN PLACE?
Antonio Achucarro: That's a great question, Calderbad! In Customer Support, we have PJ days at the end of new hire training, usually accompanied by a Potluck for all the noms! :)
Do you guys enjoy listening to your customers and do you share a laugh every now and then while reading the weird things people say and request on the forums?
Marcus Maczynski: Hey Trevor! Absolutely we do. Some of my best days are those when I get to laugh with a customer. Also...people do say some pretty weird things sometimes. >.>
There should be a way to appeal a name change when someone reports your name.
Andreas Unger: Hi McFly! You can absolutely appeal a name change. Go to the support site (http://battle.net/support
), login, open a support ticket, and explain the situation and it will get a second look. That being said, if the name really IS bad, it will remain unavailable :)
Working in customer support for another gaming company, I know we have strict policies I wish we had more control of. What policies or procedures do you wish you had more control of?
I'm more in the position of helping to create policies, so I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this question. However, we do allow for some leeway depending on the situation. If we creating policies that were too binary, then...why have humans do the customer service? It takes a human to really evaluate odd situations.
How often do you guys get stumped and have to ask for help or look something up?
Vrakthris: The game is fairly vast and while most of us are active players, we aren’t necessarily versed in all aspects of the game. Since we are all gamers ourselves, if one person doesn't know another might. We also have a lot of resources that our In-Game Support staff has access to.
Sometimes, I receive a response for a ticket without ever speaking to someone. How do you decide which issues need to be handled personally, and which ones can be given a quick response?
Charles Areson: Great question Leslie. We love talking to players online, and know that you guys generally prefer it that way. We've got a lot of tickets to reach, however, so we tend to reserve live chat for those cases when it's essential to resolving the issue, and when we catch the player online. Otherwise, we write back to the player with the answer/instructions that we believe will best help them.
Do all of your GMs work at Blizzard HQ or do you let folks work from home or satellite CS centers?
Andreas Unger: All our support staff works in our various global locations, not just the HQ, but nobody works from home. Well, I do sometimes, but that's just because I can't keep myself from checking my email a hundred times a day when not in the office.
Is the office decorated with alot of Warcraft/Starcraft and Diablo stuff? Like drinking from a WoW mug?
Antonio Achucarro: Hey Eelco! Our office is decked out with the coolest swag, actually. There's plenty of Blizzard stuff like posters and figurines but in an office full of geeks, you can expect to find pretty much anything from My Little Pony over Nerf Guns to Star Wars and Lego... the list goes on. :)
You guys need a helper? I have always gotten great support from you all, thanks!
Charles Areson: Awesome! Blizzard can always use help, and we keep our job listings (for support positions and many others) posted here:http://www.blizzard.com/company/careers/
What is the purpose of GM responding in game tickest with RP personas? Do they make up their own RP introductions and farewells? Or are they pre-set?
Marcus Maczynski: Greetings Shakezy! I was flying overhead when I heard you had a question about RP personas! I hope you are finding yourself well this day!
This was actually something that happened kind of organically over time. When I first started in CS (back in the before times) this was something that was rare. We found that many players seemed to like it, and it let us have some fun. There is nothing mandating it, so when you see it, it's just something that GM decided they wanted to do, and they probably made it personally. :)
Zarhym: We're coming up on 6 p.m., but I'm getting a strong vibe from these gentlemen. They seem to have a bit of fuel left yet. We'll see what else we can squeeze in!
Are GMs specifically assigned to a realm or do they respond to a mass list of tickets spread across all realms?
GMs aren't assigned to specific realms; they draw tickets from a single pool that includes all realms.
There are some items that i accidently deleted a while back but forgot about them (2 months ago) i cant restore these. What to do?
Two months is a long time, unfortunately. :( Unless they were tied to an achievement or something, it may be difficult for us to prove that you had it. I would caution folks to use caution whenever deleting an item.
When dealing with a hacker complaint, how long does it take to analyze and process the complaint? I feel there is a lot of mystery surrounding this subject.
Angelo Concepcion: Hey Moosie. =) This really depends on a many factors. We want to make sure we investigate each case properly to make sure we are actually punishing those that deserve it and not just everyone that gets reported. It takes time to make that determination correctly and we try to work through those cases as quick as possible. We do appreciate the reports we receive from everyone, it definitely helps us try to keep our playing environment as clean of hackers as possible.
I have a silly question. I've been helped by Game Masters a few times and I've always wondered...do they get annoyed when asked for a GM joke after a solution for their problem has been found? Also, are they made up on the spot, or is there a secret binder or list that you keep for such occasions?
Antonio Achucarro: Straight off a colleague across the office:
"Did you hear about the wedding of the two antennae? The wedding was lame but the reception was excellent!"
We're always happy to share a joke and laugh with you, of course! Some keep a list of great jokes at the ready, some are just really that witty. (<<< not this guy cause I apparently had to ask a colleague, haha :D)
What's the most memorable (funny, weird, entertaining) ticket you've ever handled?
Marcus Maczynski: Letherchereo, fantastic question.
I once had to troubleshoot someone's jelly donuts for having too much jam in them. If you're out there, "Hi!".
Do you choose ingame names or are they chosen for you?
Antonio Achucarro: Great question, paxbrat! You get to choose your own name during new hire training. We do make sure they don't mean anything or have some copyright on them, of course.
Can you walk through the process for policy creation?
Charles Areson: This is an epic question, but here's the short short version. There's a cross-team 'policy council' here that takes direction from Development leadership and input from a small group of veteran support managers. This group builds policy as content develops, and communicates those directions to the support teams as needed.
Pie vs cake, Ninja vs Pirate?
Marcus Maczynski: Pie-rat!
Andreas Unger: Pie. Pirate.
Angelo Concepcion: Ninja's always win.
Antonio Achucarro: Nu-uh! Pirates do! Arrrrr!
Is everything recorded in WoW from the beginning?
Zarhym: I really want to paste the dramatic chipmunk video right now, but I'll resist.
What do you think makes WoW so popular?
Antonio Achucarro: Well, you, the players! It's the communities you build, the experiences you have together. o/
Charles Areson: Wow, that hour went by fast. We're typing up replies on our final questions now!
What is the average response time on helping someone with lost/stolen authenticators?
Vrakthris: It varies, but they are often handled fairly quick. We have a webform specifically for those who are having an issue with a lost/stolen'/broken authenticator. It allows you to attach an ID for proper verification. https://us.battle.net/account/support/remove-authenticator.html
What experience requirements are required when applying for a Customer Support Job at Blizzard? (i.e. Computer sciences and other experiences). Do you guys hire customer support members often? Where can you apply and work as a customer support member?
Andreas Unger: Hey Tom! We actually have two Customer Service Representative positions posted right now, but at the moment they are specifically for people who speak Portuguese or Spanish. The requirements - apart from the specific language skills - are in line with what we look for in someone whose working language would be English though.
For more info on job postings, check our career opportunity pages at http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/careers/
If a player forms a raid and sets masterloot, says nothing at all the whole raid about any loot rules...is that player then entitled to do as he wishes with the loot that drops? Often you see the issue of being called a ninja for example.
People generally assume that when they join a PUG, they're going to have a fair shot at loot. Not stating any loot rules, and just planning on doing whatever you want with it doesn't exactly feel honest, and is largely against the expectations of the raid. I mean, you're basically tricking people into running that instance.
So, generally, we will evaluate those situations carefully, and take action accordingly. We typically will not re-distribute any removed loot though, since we do feel there are other looting options that could be used to avoid the situation.
It's a tough problem to meet everyone's expectations on, and another reason why we employ humans to make judgement calls.
A comment more than a question, but I just wanted to thank ALL of the Blizzard CS team for the awesome support I've received over the years. I have not always liked the answers I've received, but every interaction has been professional, timely and excellent! You guys rock!
Charles Areson: That's a good one to close on, thanks Debra. We <3 you guys too!
Andreas Unger: We <3 you all too!
Angelo Concepcion: Thank you as well and thanks to everyone that participated in here. =)
Antonio Achucarro: You guys rule! Thanks so much for participating! :)
Marcus Maczynski: Really appreciate taking the time to listen to us answer questions. You guys make all of this possible. :)
Vrakthris: This was awesome, thank you everyone for joining us! <3
Zarhym: (Calling Vrakthris out for becoming increasingly more anxious about making it to a certain midnight premiere.)
Zarhym: And with that, on behalf of our customer support team, we thank you all for sharing your time with us this evening. This exercise has been very helpful for us. Hopefully the feelings are mutual!
Zarhym: The conversation doesn’t have to stop here, either. For daily Blizzard customer support insights and interactions, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@BlizzardCS) and Facebook (BlizzardCS).