How can you help your friendly neighborhood Game Master?
By a long-term game master
I’ve worked on a major title as a Game Master/Customer Service Representative. I’m writing this to give you guys some insight into the work of a Game Master, and to give you some pointers for when you talk with one, when you need the help, or when you write feedback. I’ve played online games for eight years, and have received all kinds of service, from excellent to horrible. I decided to become a Game Master to be able to provide players proper service and to aid you on your way to the phat lewt and glory. We all know you most likely pay to play and when you do that, you expect something in return, not just a good game.
I knew when I got the job that I wouldn’t be able to help all of you with all your queries, but I would do what I could to make sure that you got a good experience and to make sure that you understand that not all Game Masters are ego-tripping power abusers.
Warhammer Online Game Masters
As a Game Master I needed to level my own expectations with the expectations of the players and balance this with the policies and procedures of the company I work for. Although my player demands the restoration of an item and I see his case and genuinely want to help him out, I’m still representing the company I work for and for all the service to work, we have policies and procedures. You’ve no doubt heard about those and cursed them several times, when a Game Master has rejected your demands.
How can you help me to help you?
There are many different kind of players with different goals who have different expectations of a GM. I’ll try to explain how I can help you as a player. I want you all to understand that I know players are different. You guys are literally what make a game become a great game, and it takes time and effort to grow into the position, as a gamer, you’re in today. You guys are the reason I had this job, and I greatly enjoyed my job and the interaction with you! You can’t be put into boxes, but for the sake of this article, I’ve done it anyways. Most of you will fit into many of my boxes; some of you will not fit into any of them. Also I would like to make sure that you all know that not all Game Masters work like I did. We all have our different approaches to your issues, all within the procedures of our job. This is my main reason for writing I instead of we. All MMOs on the market today have more or less varying policies and procedures for their Game Masters to follow, so what you read here may not apply to the games you play.
Image: Runes of Magic Game Master
The casual players
They bimble around spending a loooong time completing quest chains, finding game specific fluff and chatting with their guildies. They like the lore of the game and want to suck it all up before heading to a new area where they can start over, with more lore and quests. They will most likely have issues with a quest they can’t complete for various reasons.
Pr0tip of the day: I cannot give you hints about how to complete quests and find lore fluff. I can’t tell you where to find Wolf Skin; you will have to find it yourself. However, I can tell you that everything in your questline is currently working, so you shouldn’t run into any obstacles on your way. To help yourself, try making good use of one of the many, many sites that are dedicated for you to find the information you need right now.
They live for the heat of battle and killing other players. They spend a significant time on various blog sites, information programs etc, min-maxing their characters to become even better. Not to forget mentioning gloating about their own success and spreading it around them. They’ve most likely reported another player for abusing mechanics or bugs, harassment, ‘speed hacking’ and various other things that takes the joy away from the other players around them.
Pr0tip of the day: I need definite proof of another player doing something wrong. According to our policies, before I can take action towards him or her I need solid proof. Your screenshots and videos are unfortunately invalid information, as these can be tampered with. I need to see the offender doing something wrong with my own eyes, and get the proof myself. You also need to understand that it can take time to get this proof, and you might run into the offender again before I’ve taken the appropriate steps to keep him or her sticking to the rules in the future.
They spend a lot of time on preparing for their weekly bash at the various encounters in the game. Just as the PvP’er, they can spend significant time on their character sheet. They’ve most likely reported an issue with a specific encounter and need help to get on with their raid. Or they finally killed the Boss and now the loot is gone.
Pr0tip of the day: I can only give you limited assistance with your encounter. I can’t kill the Boss for you; you need to do that yourself, regardless of how tough it is. Also please understand that sometimes an encounter is just broken. Plain and simple. I can’t help you if that’s the case. I unfortunately can’t recode the game from my position. And I can’t help you get on with your raid. Sorry. I can, and I will, report the bugs you report to me to the developers.
Often when loot hasn’t dropped it’s a glitch in the game and I will let our Quality Assurance department look into it. I will do everything in my powers to make sure that you get your loot, however if you have deliberately killed the boss in a position where the loot cannot be reached, I can’t help you. You chose to kill him there, not me. Also in these situations, it’s vitally important that only ONE person from the raid, usually the raid leader, writes a ticket to me. If I have another 5, 10, 20, 40 people writing to me about the same issue from the same server, it will take longer to solve your issue.
They spend a lot of time interacting with each other on a level that’s hard to understand for most other players. Roleplayers ‘live’ in the world that the developer has created and use this opportunity to meet people with same interests. These players are quite often also lore junkies. They often have an impressively well developed character that they roleplay exceptionally well. These players mainly report other people for not being ‘in-character’ in open chats.
World of Warcraft Game Master
Pr0tip of the day: I really enjoy your dedication to your character. But honestly you also need to tone down your expectations of newbie roleplayers. Perhaps you could help and guide them on their way to become a good roleplayer, yourself?
This kind of player is self-explanatory. They will whine and moan about literally -everything- in their path to supreme elitism. Nothing is good enough for them. A quest is not developed well enough, a boss hits too hard or not hard enough, Class A, B, H, M and X are all supremely overpowered or underpowered in comparison to the class they play themselves. Or the other players cheat and abuse the game, because they themselves got beaten in battle. And don’t get me started on the lore whiners. For me it’s easy to understand that a whiner usually whines from a good heart, they just want the game they play to be better, faster, harder! But for other players, the constant stream of negative blah blah can be pretty annoying.
Pr0tip of the day: If you can stick to being informative, constructive and somewhat neutral in your criticism, I will make sure that the developers gets your feedback. However if all you can write is curse words and insults, you can be pretty sure that your feedback goes straight in the bin.
These guys just love the game. They will spend an enormous amount of time doing everything they can to get the most out of it; they will do PvP, PvE, do quests and sometimes roleplay, just to enjoy themselves more. These people have a genuine desire for the game to be successful in any way. They quite often get into heated battles with the Whiners on forums, blogs and other community sites. Fanboys can become rather extreme and even sometimes refuse to see that a particular aspect of the game actually is broken. Perhaps class X -is- overpowered, but to the fanboys class X is just ‘utilized’.
Pr0tip of the day: I generally appreciate your love for the game. It’s great to see someone genuinely enjoying all aspects of the game; however you don’t need to send feedback praise about the look of a particular tree in the world every other day. As with the whiner, keep your feedback constructive. Although it’s great to hear how much you love and enjoy the game, it does take time to process your query and that will take time away from people that genuinely need assistance in the game world.
The connection between all of you is that you want to enjoy the game. I for one understand that, I play the game myself after all. But often you also need to grab some insight into your own behavior. Game Masters don’t set the rules (our bosses do) we only enforce them. It’s up to all you lovely players out there to make sure that you enjoy the game. A game community is a very, very strong assembly of people that share the same interest on various levels. Even if you have the opportunity to nail a newbie to a plank, you shouldn’t take it. You’ve been a newbie yourself at some point and everybody understands that it’s a tough job to grow as a player to get to where you are today. Help each other; be friendly and positive towards another player. If players rub you the wrong way, then turn your back to him or her. Use the ignore function and get on with your game. I promise you that with mutual respect and courtesy towards other players, you will enjoy the game even more. With that said, you shouldn’t accept any behavior from other players and if they generally become really nasty towards you, report them to me and I will take care of them from there on.
It takes hard work
And dedication to be a Game Master, and more than anything I need to stick to the rules that I’ve been given. Otherwise I could lose my job. And to be honest, the 10 bucks a month you pay to play, does not outweigh my paycheck, at all. On the contrary, I’ve had some great hours with my players, and definitely also with my colleagues. I can definitely recommend being a Game Master as a job, if you have a desire to help the people you play with. Just be aware, that you cannot be the bird, but every single day you will be the statue.