Long before I started this website I worked for a company called Sony Online Entertainment. My job title there was “In-game CSR, or GM (Game Master). Before I start, I will let you know right now that I’m not going to trash the company. I see a lot of ‘X confessions from a previous X employee’ where they do just that. My aim here is to pull the curtain back a bit and let people take a gander at some of the events that took place.
The Key Master Incident – This particular event happened in the Everquest area, before my time. Dealing with irate customers is no picnic, and can send a lot of people over the edge. Long story short, a GM who will go unnamed was at his wits end, and one day he snapped. Going bat shit insane, he grabbed his car keys and started jabbing himself with them in a complete nerd rage. This guy was let go but his story will live on forever. Up until this day, you will see keys taped to a select few monitors in the building. Bad joke, but funny in a dark way.
Benny, Are You There? – Shortly after I started, the company started outsourcing to India. Initially the outsourced reps were not allowed to go in game, and were supposed to just escalate those issues to us. But as customer tickets rose, we eventually had to teach them how to handle in game issues. One of their first tasks was to send each other direct in-game messages. This seemed to be going well until the forums lit up like a Christmas tree. Players kept asking “who is benny?” and “Did I unlock my Jedi, my name is Benny!” Unfortunately one of the Indian reps had sent a message to the entire server while trying to send a direct PM. So basically thousands of players saw “Benny, are you there?” flash across their screen. Not a bad first day in-game!
The Yavin4 Space Station – Eventually SWG launched it’s space expansion. It was a bitch to assist customers in space because, well – they would fly away. I always just told them “Hey send me a msg when you’re done in space and I’ll try to help you then.” In one case another rep from India decided he would speed up the process by teleporting the player back to a planet. I guess he wasn’t thinking that if he did this, there would be an unpiloted ship flying around, but something much much worse happened. When he targetted the player, he actually targeted the entire Yavin 4 space station (mass wise one of the biggest items in the database). He then executed the teleport command and *poof* the entire space station was planted in the middle of Naboo. Players shat themselves. Knowing that there wasn’t much we could do, we ended up taking some screen shots, then photoshopped McDonalds and Starbucks signs on the front.
The AT AT – For the most part player vs player combat was lopsided. Everyone and their mom wanted to be a Luke Skywalker type, and eventually become a jedi. One day as I was helping a player on Ahazi get his items back, when I saw that they were in the middle of getting dominated by a bunch of Rebel players. At this time I was still green when it came to spawning stuff because up until later, we really weren’t allowed to do it. So as the Rebels continued to destroy everything in site, I decided to throw down some storm troopers. This really didn’t slow the Rebels down so I began to pump out some of the higher level NPCs. At this time I’m pretty sure the guy told his guild that I was helping their city stay alive so they started shouting “We need an AT AT to win this!” At first I was like “ya not gonna happen” but as I saw the Rebels pretty much taking control of everything I decided ‘meh what the hell’. So I ended up dropping the AT AT on the outskirts and then dragged it into the battle. Probably the most fun those players have ever had. I would have gotten away with it too, but someone made a video of the event and posted it on the forums. Edit – thanks Ivyhae for finding the video (shuttle drops start at around the 5:20 mark.
Server Wide Raids – When server numbers start to drop, so does the level of fun. As a rule of thumb you were never supposed to use the galaxy broadcast message unless it was to alert players of a server shut down, or your name was Pex (the events manager). However, late one night I made a judgment call to breath some new life into the servers I was in charge of (Lowca and Starsider). So without warning I began to make up some role playing type of broadcasts *Rebels need reinforcements at X location immediately* or *Imperial Transmission – need PvP support at X location now!* I had a folder with over 500 spectacular player vs player combat screenshots that I unfortunately forgot to save when I left.
Tell Him To Take His Ritalin – On yet another occasion a rep from India was frantically typing in the IRC channel about how he couldn’t help a customer. One of my co-workers calmly explained “tell him to take his Ritalin, I’ll be in there in a few minutes.” Not knowing that “take some Ritalin” was just a phrase we used when we wanted someone to settle down, this bright support rep actually contacted the customer back and said “I would be advising you to take some Ritalin.” Needless to say, that customer was fucking fired up. I remember the very next day we had to attend a meeting on how we need to be very literal with our instructions.
Faction Base Inside a House – Toward the early stages of SWG, we really didn’t have the tools we needed to help players if they lost or deleted their stuff by accident. We gave it our best though, and sometimes it caused a shit storm. On one occasion the CSR next to me was trying to replace a players faction base. Sadly, he ended up spawning the entire faction base inside her small Tatooine house. Since we were all still temps at this time, we were sure that this guy would get in loads of trouble. So 4 guys from my team tried to clean up the mess. One of us teleported all of the walls to the center of the planet, while the rest tried to kill the NPCs inside the house. In the mean time the customer was running back to her house. To make matters worse, our supervisor started walking over to us “hey guys its time to go home what are you doing?” Before he made it to our row, another team member jumped up and distracted him “hey can I talk to you in your office real quick?” Right as the lady made it back to her home we cleaned up the rest of the massive base. To this day only a handful of people know about how we helped our team member dodge a bullet.
Fight Clubs – Once the Jedi system went live, it caused more than a few issues. Jedi who killed Master Bounty Hunters would gain force rank. This lead to shit loads of Jedi exploiting the Force Rank system to make their Jedi almost untouchable. A group of them would sit on top of a large private building, and take turns killing their Bounty Hunter friends. A doctor would revive the bounty hunter, and the next Jedi would kill him. This pissed me off, but we were told NOT to interfere – it was developments problem, not ours. I didn’t like the idea that this shit was happening right under my nose, so I pretty much tried to slaughter the fight clubs whenever I saw them. First I would surround the building with Dark Jedi Masters, and one by one, I would teleport the exploiters out of the building. Players were smart though. They knew what hours I worked and my days off, and within a week, the servers started to see the highest ranking Jedi, ever.
On my third year they completely changed the way that the game was played with ‘The Combat Upgrade’. I pretty much lost my love for the game at this point and was luckily able to find a new position.
A lot of players used to call me out saying I had friends within a certain faction. This isn’t true. I simply evened up the odds at any chance I could. If a certain faction (Rebels or Imperials) were griefing the other, and the numbers were tilted, I’d often make a superior PvP character, and let the carnage begin. For the most part players loved it, but in the end a few cry babies made a big enough fuss, so I had to stop.
WTF of the day – Totally Crap
Babe of the day (nsfw) – Gorilla Mask
LOL of the Day – College Humor