IAMA former Blizzard customer service representative for WoW aka Gamemaster. AMAA
Hey there guys. I've worked for Blizzard Europe from 2005 to 2010, exactly for five years. I can't talk about anything that happened since then, cause I'd have to speculate, also I cannot talk about any upcoming games, like titan.
Frontpage? Come on you guys.... you're making me blush. :)
So there it goes AMAA.
Edit: I'm having a blast you guys. This is really awesome. :)
Edit 2: How to become a GM: Just go to jobs.blizzard.com/ If you're 18 you should be fine. You should have proper "native language" (so english, german, whatever you're applying for) and you should not be a dick. But since you're on reddit you should be fine. Edit 3: You always have to work from the office, no working from home!
Edit 4: Alright you guys, 10 hours of AMAA are enough. I'll go to bed and answer any remaining questions when I wake up. I had a blast and, while I don't think I will, I hope to do one again. :)
Haha, of course. Since we had all kinds of people from all over the world at our office, they had trouble with the language, you see... I was working the German queues, but all the ticket notes the gamemaster had to write down where in English.
So one raid had troubles with the dragon onyxia. They killed them, but couldn't loot the questitem aka onyxias head.
So obviously the gamemaster wrote down the note: Onyxia didn't give head.
What was the point of GM island? And why were you guys so keen on banning players who traveled to it? Is there any deep dark secrets associated with the island (and the dungeon beneath!). Thanks!
There is nothing on there. But you'd have to exploit to get there and exploiting is a bannable offense.
What does the GM UI look like? What's the coolest thing you can do?
It's just panel with different buttons on it. You can turn invsibile, fly, run at like 1000%, kill stuff instantly etc. Typical GM stuff.
Many of us don't know what typical GM stuff is ;)
Edit: accidentally a word.
Well, uh.. ok.
Spawn monsters, despawn monsters, kill monsters/players, spawn items, teleport players, fly, bug testing things, fix quests with console commands... reset scripts... etc.
Did you (or any other GM's you know) ever teleport offending players to GM island? I heard that GM Island was originally used for this purpose but I don't know if it's just a rumor or not.
I did once by mistake. But we typically just suspend players for a while.
I've GM'ed on my friend's private WoW server once before, and we had to manually type in commands to the chat box to eteleport, learn/teach spells, transform our appearance/size, fly, adjust walk speed, etc. It's pretty awesome to hear you guys had an overlaid panel with some of those functions.
Did this panel work as an addon or did you need a special install for it?
It was an addon that only worked with a modified wow.exe.
When I was last hacked and got my items restored, I also received a hefty amount of gold which I assumed was from the hacker. I've had this happen to friends as well. Are you just not able to tell that it's not technically ours, or are you just being nice? :D
Most of that stuff is done by a script now. Since the volume of compromised accounts is so high we didn't check all the characters for that kinda stuff. Also most of us didn't care if you got more back.
Horde or Alliance?
Come on. Horde obviously. :)
Can you really see from the players point of view?
We could hijack players characters if we wanted to, yes.
What situations would require you to do this (if any?) Do you know of any situations where this occurred?
Was there a specific system for how to do this? (e.g notify the player, or do it whilst they're offline).
Assuming yes to the above: Did you personally ever have to do this? Elaborate on any experiences please _.
Oh quite a few. If we had to restore items/fix something/the player was offline etc. Really this was a very versatailled function.
Perks of working at blizzard?
craziest convo you had?
How'd you get the gig?
35hrs/week including bonuses and overtime about 30k a year give or take.
Perks well, you get all the games for free, we'd usually get one or two collectors editions one or two regulars and some additional keys. You get invited to all the betas and can invite your friends as well. We have one huge BBQ with all kinds of fun stuff, like bouncy castles, dance contests and food in the summer and one huge christmas party with booze, food and dancing in the winter. Both are at high class locations. Additionally we have one or two team building excercises a year. Something like lasertag or some larp thing. Pretty cool.
Craziest convo... mhhh there are a ton of them and I buried most of them. :D But one that always sticks out is the one with a very funny and flirtatious female customer I had.
Back in the day we had to reimburse items by hand, using excel and a very crude ingame addon. We had to wait for the player to come online then talk to them and tell them, I have X items for you character Y. How much inventory space do you have right now? "X" and then we'd fill the inventory and proceed with the next character....
So I was doing that with this young lady and she had about 30 characters all filled up to the brim with stuff. I mean all of them... the bank... the guild banks and her inventory....
We're at character 13 or so and we've been at it for 2 hours, so I tell her
Me: "Alright, got another 86 items for you."
Her: "Stick it in, baby."
I was in stitches after that.
I'm sure I'll remember more stories as this goes on... it's been a while since I thought of those. :D
Me: "Alright, got another 86 items for you."
What has to happen to require such an extensive restoration? Something like an account takeover in which the thief sold every item on the character(s) and in the bank(s) to finally transfer off the gold?
Also slightly OT:
35hrs/week including bonuses and overtime about 30k a year give or take.
Since you mentioned multiple languages, I assume you worked in the Paris office? Was that a good salary considering the city's cost of living?
Probably as much as you can make without having any degrees from university. It paid the bills just fine and you could have lunch everyday. Which is really awesome when you're in paris.
ever "death touched" someone?
Only if they challanged me to a duel. :)
How is your "proof" proof?
It's a blizzard nameplate only given out to blizzard employees. I could show you my name etc. but that would only make me a target in case I talk about something I shouldn't.
ive always wondered, do you guys have like an overhead view of the entire world and you can just pop in whenever you want and monitor anything, anywhere, anytime?
GM chars are just regular characters, except flagged as GM and therefore allowed to cheat. Nothing more.
I'd say about twice a month. We'd get people reporting in suicides or saying things like "If I don't get that item I will kill myself" (seriously). We'd send police over and the people then had time to cool off in jail for a night. Some were even send to clinics for a couple of days. Don't ever joke with a GM about killing yourself.
I've had a similar experience with this in the past.
I was around 14 at the time (late vanilla WoW) and I was a regular on the forums, mostly general discussion, my posts and threads weren't very wise but I felt part of the community at the time, I played WoW occasionally but I was more drawn to the forums. I was going through issues at school at the time, mostly bullying and my father passing, and thinking back on it, I should have talked to my mother sooner but , but when you're 14 and vulnerable it's a completely different world, I just wanted help and attention, without the intention of actually killing myself.
I posted on the general discussion forums asking for the quickest way to commit suicide, e.g, what pills would make it easiest, but low and behold, not 30 minutes later the thread was closed and police were at my door, I remember them walking in as my parents answered, asking if I lived here, they then spoke with my parents privately while my step-dad was speaking with me in my room, I was then called down and had to explain, police are incredibly friendly when it comes to situations like this.
I was too scared to admit to it and said that my friend had logged into my account and posted for me, however they were obviously sceptical as they didn't ask for the name of this "friend", and left after speaking with my parents again, I then told my folks everything and recieved help.
When I think back on it, it's incredibly silly.
See this right here is why we take this so serious. Never underestimate talk of suicide. People that say stuff like this just scream for help.
911 dispatcher here, have actually talked to blizzard employee about wow player threatening suicide. They were very informative and polite. Even emailed us a transcript of the threats.
Standard procedure really. We try to be as helpful as we possible can. Hope you guys didn't have many problems because of us. :)
Did you ever sneak out items or gold to friends? Also, what ratio of your support tickets were whiny 12 year olds.
I actually didn't do it for friends. But I broke the rules a couple of times when I thought the customer was in the right.
The ratio wasn't that bad. Most where very nice. The thing is the whiney stick out more. But the worst thing was when there were technical difficulties aka lag. The whine came in waves then.
Would you recommend this job to others?
That depends. If you think about doing this for a summer or a year or two then sure. But if you want to do this for a long time then no. It's very boring and stressful after a certain time and the fun goes away.
Is it even possible to do this work if you have never, ever, played a Blizzard game?
Sure. It's just not as easy or fun.
Does Blizzard make GMs do the RP when answering tickets or am I getting help from hilarious weirdos?
It's the GMs choice. Most prefer spicing up their boring work day with some RP.
If you know what I mean.
Hey, friend! Thanks for doing this. A few questions:
- Are game masters allowed to actively play (i.e, raid) themselves? If so, did you?
- With the ever-improving customer service of Blizzard, was there more required of you over the course of the five years?
- Would you say you enjoyed working there, and what made you quit?
- Lastly, can you tell us about the funniest/most peculiar experience you've had either as a player or a Gamemaster?
PS: How many jokes were made along the lines of "haha ur a gay-master"?
yes we raided. But since we were working shifts we couldn't really do it that much.
The requirements constantly changed. In the beginning volume was all that mattered... which I sucked at. I'm good at doing work without doing mistakes, but that takes time. That's why I became tier 2 rather quickly. Later the changed it so that quality was more important.
I did enjoy working there. The first 3 years were great. The people there are awesome. Really resolving a players issue gave me great satisfaction, specially the complicated ones. Sometimes I sat for hours with them if I had to. Really cool. What made me quit was the fact that I was doing it for five years and all we did was to restore compromised accounts all day. Which was fine back in the day where you could talk to players, but the volume of CA (=compromised accounts) increase so much that we got a new tool that basically restored everything for us in 1/10th of the time that also meant no more talky and 10 times as many tickets a day.
No jokes about "gay-masters" no. People were mostly friendly.
What can you tell us about GM Island?
It's boring. It's an island... with a house... and tons of inactive GM chars that are logged in through our GM tool to chat with people.
Does it still exist in Cataclysm?
Cataclysm seemed to strip a lot of the more fun bugs out, from what I know, GM Island is one of them.
It should still be there. But they could've change it since I left.
Compromised accounts. There are a lot of them.
I'd like to thank you (and your entire department) for responding to tickets ridiculously faster than any other mmo out there.
You're welcome. It's a lot of work. :)
Are you answering any questions about Rampart?
I hate that dungeon! (sarcasm people, sarcasm)
What's your best GM Joke?
I'm terrible at those. I'm terrible at remembering jokes in general. But there were some fun ones like:
What are a couple of paladins in a bathtub: Bubblebath.
The only GM joke i got a chuckle out of was
How many GM's does it take to change a lightbulb?
Answer: None, the lightbulb is working as intended.
Haha yes that one is great. :)
Could you get banned for playing on a private server?
If you told us about it.... which happend once... yes.
Do you guys keep files on "repeat offenders" who get reported? Most realms have a "clown" or two- the ones who are clever trolls, spam, wipe raids for laughs, things like that. Did you keep a record of things that have occurred and what the player was warned would happen? One of my friends has been temporarily banned for various offenses a good 20 or 30 times, and a GM used to joke about the file Blizz had on him when he would message my friend about another suspension. Always wondered if that actually happened to the worst of the worst.
Well yes, of course. We make a note in the offenders account everytime something happens so other GMs could see what kind of stuff that guy pulled.
Why did you quit the job? i think this is the most obvious question.
It was getting boring and repetitive. I actually loathed going to work after a while. Also boobs. (girlfriend lived in germany)
Did you meet her on WoW?
I actually met her through a ticket. :) We just hit it of right of the bat and I created a char on her server, flirted for a while etc. It lasted for about a year.
are you Polish?
kurwa! ... Polish people at work teach me bad things, I'm sorry.
Haha. Because we're awesome. :)
upvote because I just read all your answers and you seem like a really good guy!
I'm pretty awesome. Also modest.
Do they have a fleet of neckbeards?
Only strong viking beards allowed inside.
How do I get this job?
You just apply on their website. Except they just let go of over 600 reps, so I'm not sure if they're hiring again.
I used to bot a lot, like 4-8 different accounts running all the time when I wasn't playing myself. Everyone that knew me, knew about this. I never hid it from anyone, we talked about it openly, even in the guild. The only rule was to never call it "botting", but "piping" (came from a long joke, w/e).
Anyway, this lasted for atleast 2 years where this word was so common and I made barely any attempts to hide my botting habits, yet I've never been caught, at all.
So my question: Do you actually read any of the chat of players you suspect to be botting?
No. This is all done by scripts. We never read chats unless it's about harassment.
Do the surveys we fill out after speaking with a GM actually mean/do anything?
Yes. They directly influence how much bonus that GM gets.
Why the fuck not the Emerald Dream? Why Pandas?
Because WoW ED doesn't sound as cool as WoW MoP....
A few years back i had a GM tele me to some odd dark square room for a fraction of a second to fix a bug, what was that room?
A developer room. I think you mean the black one with the white stripes going across? There is a chair in the middle and light is shining down on it from the top. Pretty funny, but basically useless.
I'm pretty sure this is an at location job, right? Do you just sit in a cubicle all day and answer tickets? Is it like an actual office environment?
Pretty much. Everyone has 2 screens and a fairly good computer so you can open multiple instances of WoW and other programs.
How often were you faced with people who claimed they had been scammed and wanted items/etc. back?
Since I was a tier 2 GM... pretty much all day. I guess scams were about 30% of what I did... compromised accounts another 50% or so. The rest was bugs and some raid issues.
What are the different tiers? What are the differences between them?
They mostly differ in responsibilities. Tier 0 only does normal tickets. Tier 1 does all of tier 0 + swaps and some other things, tier 2 does all of tier 1 and compromised accounts, scams etc. tier 3 does all those things + is on the phones and so on.
Is it really that much trouble to migrate between servers that it warrants a 20€ fee? Same goes for faction change etc.
Probably not. The price is in place so you don't swap all the time. But wasn't doing anything of that so I wouldn't know.
Something that I've always been wondering: does Blizzard keep track of all the chat messages?
Hey, I always wanted to ask. How's the thing with WoW addiction seem by Blizzard employees? Is it a taboo to talk it about or is the general opinion positive and firm (like "it is a problem that happens to just a small fraction of the comunity" etc).
I want to know both how employees see it, and what is the "inside official version" about it.
thanks for the AMA!
I don't think there is an official version. It's the same as alcohol or other drugs. It's not the drug that's the problem but the amount you take in.
Have you moderated Roleplay-Servers (RP)? Why are roleplay events never supported by GMs?
Never have. We simply don't have the manpower to do that. It would take 300 dedicated GMs to do this properly and we don't even have that many in the big language teams. (EN, DE).
What's the most corrupt thing you've ever done as a GM?
The most corrupt?
Never did anything in my favor tbh. I deleted 3 items from one guy and gave them to 3 of his friends, because he rolled for them by mistake and the guy was begging me to do it. He was in tears, I could tell. Back then we didn't have the raid swap policy in place yet, so technically I broke the rules.
Did you guys have any kind of policy regarding so called bug-jumping? I remember that as being one of my absolute favorite pasttimes in WoW and i could get almost anywhere on the map by doing it :P One of the coolest places was when i got in to Hyjal in TBC, or if you jumped up on the dome at nightbane and he couldn't hit you .
If we caught you, you'd get one warning for exploting. If we caught you again: BANNED
Do you get tired of someone and just give them what they need?
No I don't think I ever did that. I did however give people stuff if they asked nicely and I thought they'd deserved it.
How many tickets did you get from peoples that lost a item but never had it?
In my time working at Blizz... I'd say maybe 10. So very little.
What was your favorite raid related bug to fix for players? Did you ever sit in on a raid and observe?
Ahaha. Yes. There was a bug where romeo and juliet were stuck. I unstuck them and continued to act with them on stage. People thought it was hilarious. :D
What do you think about Blizzard's current state? Have they changed? Is WoW showing signs of decline?
Any MMO will decline at some point. This is simply science really.
Have you played WoW since you quit?
I did. But not recently. Last time I played was around a year ago.
What is the best way I can word a ticket to expedite the process of answering a request?
Just put in all the information without writing a book. Something like: Killed Boss X at time of ticket, could not loot item Y. Please send item to me/other player etc.
Not sure if you'll know this, but why does the US get significantly more communication from blues than the EU?
They have the devs in the same building. Face to face time is really important.
This will probably get buried, but I've always wondered whether or not you guys log on and go invisible or whatever to watch something like a world first kill by a top raid guild. Have the top guilds ever been spectated unknowingly by one or more of you GMs? Also, does the CEO of Blizzard play WoW?
We did actually. Once I got a ticket about a first kill and saw 6 GMs floating in the raid. Was pretty epic.
Every single time I have spoken with a game master and I have had my issues dealt with, I have always posed the question, "Why don't the tauren females' portrait have their eyes open?". I've been playing for around 7 years and I love the tauren, but this has always irritated me. Do you have an answer for this?
Maybe they just had poor timing when they took that picture.
Just wondering if you know of any 'secret' areas in vanilla WoW that, as far as you know, no players ever got to. The majority of my time in vanilla wow was spent glitching and trying to get places I should not be, like in Hyjal, etc. So would be cool to know if there was some super secret place that no one found.
Also, did you ever catch any players on the GM Island?
While I am on the topic of glitching, can you please explain what the hell was going on under Deadmines? Video for context: Deadmines
I've never had the time to explore that much, no. But I caught a couple of people on GM island. Just gave them a warning and send them back to orgrimmar... yes the alliance as well. (happened once by accident... hilarity ensued. )
And this is just what happens when you get below the world. It just blanks out.
Is there any ticket or story that sticks out in your five years there?
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