I imagine that at this point I should post the obligatory "What I look forward to in 2010" post, but being that I pretty much blog everyday, what's the use? I will cover it, either way. Also, the gaming world is strange and releases things at strange times, so I won't pretend that there are only a few major releases to look forward to this next year. The indie market is growing like crazy, as well as the F2P market, so let's just forget about "Hey look! More major developers release three games, and that's all that is going on in the world!"
Bleh. OK, OK, I pledge to cover all games, those included. :)
Just two quick hairs I need to pull out of my chest:
1) Cryptic's new "Champions Demo": OK, it is VERY LIKELY that I am missing something here (turns out that I sort of did, but it was well hidden. I accidentally stumbled upon the answer in my Steam launcher of all places). I miss stuff all the time. So, help me out. First, go to this page and see if you can see where the instructions are for starting an account and for getting this demo time started. I don't see anything, either. So, uhm..I guess you download and it will tell you what to do? I downloaded it and had nothing but the usual sign-in page. I go and make an account, a new account, and still receive no information in my email or otherwise about what to do with this new "demo."
I even validate my email, which should allow me access to the official forums. Well, it allows me access, but not the ABILITY TO POST IN SAID FORUMS. So, I cannot post a request for help. I do a search and find nothing, and even in the "demo" announcement thread, there is nothing but the usual gripings of community members. (You know the ones: "This will somehow impact me! Although I will never play the demo or pass on the information!")
So, I decide to call the help line. I call it, within the posted times:
"We offer Live Support, Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PST US"
Called 7 times through out the day, no answer. So, I filled a ticket. I decided to try the chat, and some people in there decided to help me out. They asked if I had put in my Demo Key, but I hadn't received anything from any of the three places I downloaded it, or from Cryptic, that told me how to activate this game demo.
At this point, I was just fascinated to see how far this trip would take me. I get into the chat and ask a few questions. There was someone named "Cryptic_WishStone" so I started to ask about my problems. She asked if I received a key, and we went on and on:
So, she indicated to me that she didn’t know if they had the day off or not, that they left them alone pretty much. OK, I understand that she didn’t know another departments schedule, but it would have been nice to just fire them a call or to, Hell I don’t know…scream at them to see if they were open. Also, I re-stated to her what we had said, not to be rude, but to give her a chance for any changes. I just wanted to be very clear, because wackiness like this has got to be kept in very good records: CS might or might not be open. The website says they are. She did not know, because they left CS alone. Despite the fact that they were within the same block, and well within reach of a phone-line, there was no way to find out.
This is not me trying to say that this lady was a jerk, and I indicated that very clearly in the chat. And this is not about me being rude, being that all I did was ask a question and re-state the answer, to be very clear. And later in the chat someone accused me of my “tone” being off, which I told them that tone was hard to be taken through text, and that it didn’t matter anyway because a stranger on the internet that did NOT work for Cryptic mattered not to me.
Now, this is not about me being mad at Cryptic. Basically they have teamed with 3 different distributors to pass out their game. I understand they have nothing to do with the distributors practices.
This is about a few basic things:
1) When you post a “demo”, or anything at all to do with your game that involves downloading or the making of an account, place some very basic instructions with the page. Hell, just post “Download the client, verify your account.” Yes, this is obvious stuff in many cases. But, like the “learning curve” of EVE and other games, it;s not a learning curve if you simply hide the information.
2) When you post you customer support hours, be there within those hours. I called 7 times through out the day. Today is not a holiday, it is tomorrow. Even then, post whether or not you will be on holiday when you are. Again, I might have missed something, but post something obvious.
These are the small differences between someone playing game or not. Or, these are the small differences between someone trusting your company and forming a reputation as something kind of shady.
Will it hurt Cryptic in the long run? I don’t know, only if they perform this poorly all over. I have still not received a single email or contact from all 4 parties involved. Honestly, I don’t care if it will hurt Cryptic. I have never been one of these bloggers that posts about the latest lay-offs as though it will somehow make a difference in a market with literally hundreds of companies that make games.
Also, I don’t want it to hurt Cryptic. That’s not why I wrote this. I wrote this as an example of how things can be taken quite literally, and often is in the eyes of the consumer. If a retail chain can manage to physically post correct hours in all of their stores, and to indicate when and if they will be closed, then how is it harder to do this on a website where it could literally take seconds to update the page?
I see this a lot, websites that literally have content on them from a year ago that needs to be updated. It boggles my mind.
In my second “The Year in Review” blog entry:
This is an open letter to the nurse that works in my doctor office, to the old people that come into my store, and to the co-workers and friends that do this while they go about their lives:
You are the reason that the government has spent millions on flu research. You are the reason that millions, if not billions upon billions, of cash is lost to the abyss of the Sick Day every year, you are the reason that the entire world is paranoid about mass extinction due to deadly virus.
In other words, IF YOU LICK YOUR FINGERS TO COUNT OUT MONEY OR TO SEPARATE PAGES, YOU ARE THE REASON AND ARE SOLELY TO BLAME FOR THE APOCALYPSE.
This is not 1932, a time of “Here ya go, kid..let me pull you a fiver out of my wallet, go buy yourself something pretty, see?” This is the year 2010 now so….
….QUIT LICKING YOUR FINGERS. NEXT TIME YOU DO I AM GOING TO STICK MY FINGER UP MY NOSE AND PLACE IT SQUARELY ON YOUR LIP YOU SICK WEIRDO. QUIT SPREADING GERMS. QUIT MAKING ME USE GALLONS OF SOAP AND HAND SANITIZER. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SAVE THE .0000056 SECONDS OF TIME BY GAINING EXTRA GRIPPING ABILITY BY LICKING YOUR FINGERS. YOU ARE THE SOLE REASON THAT THE WORLD WILL END IN A MASS PILE OF FILTH-RIDDEN CORPSES.
Anyway, have a happy new year, and be safe while doing it. Do not drink and drive, seriously. But have fun!!!