Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Attention Readers

These past few days I've worked tirelessly to satisfy the needs of my readers; posting, answering emails, responding to instant messages, modding Chupa's comments (and those of others). 

But my life doesn't revolve around this blog. I have other blogs to maintain, a family, and other boring hobbies/activities that require my attention. I am sorry to inform you that I may not be able to post as often as once and sometimes twice daily because of health reasons. This does not mean I am terminating the blog. In fact I intend to continue posting as often as once every other day minimally.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Service Interruption - A Disgruntled Gamer

Sometimes I want to foreshadow posts to come. Such posts will contain 'Service Interruption" in the title.

I’m not a disgruntled player that spent hundreds of dollars on a game and was banned for hacking. I was never a disgruntled player. I never spent hundreds of dollars on AGE services. I was never banned for hacking. You can ask some game sages why I was banned and you'll be told I was banned for "technicalities,"  "harassing a game sage" and in some cases because a game sage tried to help me. If you want to ask a Game Master send a ticket but be mindful AGE's privacy policy says they are not allowed to divulge information pertaining to another customer's account so they shouldn't provide you with that information.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Notification of Poor Customer Service

Some at AGE have shown their disgust towards items I have posted and vocalized those opinions with threats, warnings, and terminations of friendship. When I made this blog I knew I wouldn't gain any brownie points with any at AGE. I could care less about what some of you think especially since in spite of your open hostility towards me you continue to read the content I provide. I find that quite laughable but expected since less than a quarter of correspondences I've received over the past two days were in regards to things I posted about a Shaiya Game Sage.

I'll reiterate the sentiment that if a problem has arisen because of an AGE service, you should send a ticket. Of all people Game Sages should be very knowledgeable about the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy they agreed to when they created an account. Again, let me quote Superman0x: 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Saturday November 27, 2010 around 3:15 PM the account hybridchic was deactivated while reporting a game sage for harassment, stalking, and other offensives. The most punishment he received was the loss of his tags though he continued to harass me.

About a month ago, around the time I decided to launch this blog, I announced to friends that I was done with AGE. Even after launching the blog and to this day I still maintain some contact with any number of AGE affiliated persons in spite of all that has happened to me as a result of AGE's poor customer service. Within the past day I've received around 120 correspondences. Only 12 pertained to the two posts I published about mysticmaggie.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where's Game Sage Devol

The family that plays together stays together

Before I left AGE, I received a private message from Shaiya GameSage MysticMaggie (aka GS Devol). She explained to me why it was ok to refer to me as a "GS Basher" on AGE public forums. Apparently, she didn't agree with my methods of handling a situation that involved posting a thread. Since she lives in Hartsville, South Carolina, with a husband (GameSage SirEric) and their children, I'll assume she practices far reaching mysticism that enabled her to see exactly what I was experiencing on my end of a computer screen. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Think I Can Be a Game Sage

At Aeria Games & Entertainment there is a Community Volunteer program. Those accepted into the program are identifiable by a "Game Sage" tag under their usernames where ever their posts should appear on AGE forums. Here are the basic requirements to be a Community Volunteer.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Terms of Service

I haven't posted these past few days because I was eye ball deep in legal stuff to make sure I wasn't violating someone's terms of service by publishing certain things. That and Thanksgiving is literally around the corner.

Anyhoo, I left off telling you all how I was screwed over by AGE customer service. That happened almost a year ago so if you've been wondering why I would blog about something that happened a year ago, the simple truth is: the harassment didn't stop and as far as I'm concerned AGE facilitated further harassment as well as defamation of my character. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Technical Problem

On every page and after every post there is a tiny blank block for readers to leave a comment. Not many people comment but a lot of people send me emails which is fine; I wouldn't have supplied an email if I didn't want the feedback. 
There were two confused individuals that sent me rather ironic emails that I suppose is partly my fault. So to clear up some problems and eliminate certain kinds of emails, I'm going to explain a few things.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Section 12 - The Conspiracy

In The GM, the Ticket, & the System, I said there were three things that should’ve let me know I was being screwed. Now is as good a time as any to tell you the third thing. 

November 27th, my account was deactivated. I never received any notice. I did send a ticket relating to the matter, while using a different account to submit multiple tickets for harassment. I waited three days for this response:

After re-reading the ticket, analyzing it, and contemplating it's validity, I ended up with a ton of questions.
  1. What private information? Screenshots? Unless it makes a difference that the person in my screenshots at the time was a GS......
  2. Spamming? I made three threads. The first was about the incident. The second should've stayed as it provides links to AGE websites that said I was using the forums properly since Forum Game Sage georgerav hadn’t read ToS and was abusing his forum abilities.
  3. Harassing a Game Sage on the public forum? Maybe this was for Merkz, who did harass me on public forums. Did they think I was harassing Forum Game Sage georgerav? The dude that didn't read ToS?
  4. Threatening a Game Sage? Who did I threaten? When did I threaten them? 
  5.  Harassing other players? Bullshit. Game Sages are players, not special players or employees. I didn't harass anyone but if I did, why mention harassing and threatening a Game Sage Since this accusation sums up the previous ones?

The logical conclusion I came up with was there was a mistake. So I went along and submitted a Ban Appeal to 'appeal a ban'. I won't say how I responded cause you'll probably figure it out after this:

Grab your ToS and read the first three paragraphs of part12. First paragraph says you have no rights. Second paragraph says "AGE representatives will do what the employee decides as it’s their job to act as 'judge' regardless of how informed they are."  Third paragraph says "if the customer believes AGE is wrong, there's a chance nothing will be done. See paragraph 1." 

You could argue, "those are the terms you agreed to when creating an account, so you should've kissed a lot of ass to prevent this from happening." That line of thinking suggests customer service doesn't have to be fair because they are quite capable of being bribed which invalidates paragraph three. I wonder….

  • Assuming, I did the things the ticket says, why did the person I reported go unpunished?
  • What is the point of community volunteers if they are capable of terrorizing any player, not being punished for it, and pretty much given free rein to do it again?
  • What is the point of the Ban Appeal system if people responding to those tickets are the same people that put you in the position of needing to send one in the first place?

The answer to these questions is simple: it's a conspiracy. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Game Master Strikes Back

I submitted three complaints for harassment against a player. Not because I was attempting to flood flawed system in hopes of getting a response sooner but because he just wouldn’t stop. Create ticket, submit ticket, tweedle my thumbs while waiting, harassed again. Create a new ticket, submit ticket, tweedle my thumbs while waiting, harassed again. Create a new ticket, describe what now amounts to stalking, tweedle my thumbs while waiting, harassed again. Well, I guess he was right when he said nothing would happen if I reported him.

Since I was fed up with this person, and because Brian Lewis (superman0x) and ToS said I could I decided to use the forums as they were intended. Forum Games Sages weren't particularly happy so I made sure to link in my post where it said I could make such a thread and why. Because they were image heavy I had to make three threads, one for each incident. Two were deleted. Guess what happened in the third? A GM responded and the thread was locked. Let's see what a GM had to say. I took this to mean "I don't care what he does to you, just stop reporting." Well I took her at her word and stopped reporting. I stopped reporting him. I didn’t even bother to report other Game Sages who for reasons I’m not entirely sure decided to call me outside of my name. (I do believe MysticMaggie was the one to coin the phrase “GS basher”.)  Well in any case let’s pretend Jecca didn't say I would be banned for spamming because I chose to use the forums as they were meant to be used. Let's focus on the items she didn't catch as violations of terms of service.

Courtesy of former head Shaiya GM Ventsol we have this list of known Shaiya Abuses posted conveniently in the Shaiya Report Behavior section so as a former Shaiya player I didn't have to look far. unlike some AGE employees people who didn't look at all.  But what exactly is the punishment for favoritism?

Customer Support couldn't recognize at least three separate incidents of harassment or if they did, it was covered up; I'm pretty sure had I submitted a ticket for implied favoritism that too would be covered up or yet another example of how I misinterpreted an AGE employee. Oi vey.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the current Shaiya GM Team, the AGE Admin Team, and Brian Lewis. Some of these links would not have been possible had you honored my request in a BBB complaint. This is perhaps the only time I wanted AGE to do something and it paid off for them to blow me off.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The GM, the Ticket & the System

After that squabble with georgerav who I'm sure believes was doing his job, three mind blowing events occurred that should've told me Stop! I'm being screwed. The first two events disappointed me greatly. The third is something that took a few days to fully wrap my ahead around and you could say triggered so many other things that I can’t talk about it in this post.

The first sign something was amiss was when a GM friend requested me so we could talk on meebo.  GM Failure told me harassment cannot occur in a private chat, that there was nothing that would be done except that she’d launch an investigation as she was responsible for the GS team. She assured me I wouldn't have any further problems with the person because she would 'deal with it'. As soon as I stopped freaking out because I'm pretty sure that's not what should happen, I exited the browser. I was too angry to try and figure it out.

Thanksgiving turkey leftovers later, I felt sane enough to send a ticket. The first thing that happened when I signed on was I got a message via meebo from guess who? Sure GM Failure said she'd do something and failed obviously. But that wasn't nearly as mind blowing as this person having the audacity to message me at all and to have the balls to tell me what is and isn't wrong.  I definitely had enough to send in at least one ticket. I'm pattering away uploading screenshots to Photobucket, inserting all the necessary details, debating whether or not I should mention georgerav, decide not to, click submit, and what happens? I am unauthorized to access that page.

I tried re-logging and was denied. Could I have been banned? I checked my email. No notice. Technically, I didn't need a notice of account suspension to have had it suspended according to terms of service. I did have other accounts so I logged on to one of those to send tickets. Over the next three days, I sent in three tickets for this one player for multiple instances of harassment. Each time the response was the same:

Anyone that has ever been a consumer of online services should know as long as you have an internet connection you will never be at a loss to find what the services entail. If you are an AGE customer please read Terms of Service Section 7 and the Play Nice Policies for the game you play. Under no circumstances is harassment tolerated. I submitted two tickets for harassment of varying degrees and I am told the situation is ‘being dealt with’. The first time you said you would deal with it and you didn’t. The second time you said you would deal with it you didn’t. I didn't care if the account was banned. I wanted you to do what ToS said you would do especially since your way wasn't working too well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Contact AGE for Graphics

I'm a little picky about graphics when it comes to distinguishing the different objects on a page. This blog is about a company that does pretty well most of the time in some areas. And because I can tell I've successfully targeted my desired audience, I thought I'd remind you guys of AGE while you read, comment, lurk, gasp, and continue doing whatever it is you do in these situations.

If you look at the Aeria Games Contact Us page, notice the color scheme. Blue header, lots of white or almost white colors, and there are some darker colors used sparingly. So yes, the current color scheme is indeed intentional and for irony your convenience.

Prelude to a Ticket

In my time with AGE, I've sent any number of tickets that may or may not have produced the response I wanted. That's not AGE at work, that's the world so I expect some bad with the good. It's not surprising then that on November 27th, I was shocked by the conflicting things I heard in regards to what AGE rules were versus what people believed to be right.

I was playing Shaiya, getting ready for GRB when I got into a heated argument with another player. Not just any player, a GS. A very annoying, whiny GS that started to say things that made me question his sanity just a tiny bit. I didn't think he was a crazy. I thought I knew him well enough to think he wouldn't ever need to stoop down low and say the sleaze bag things he was saying.

I didn't choose to send a ticket right away. Given the status of the player, I asked another GS I considered to be pretty stand up what I should do. All the talking we did amounted to a few lines of chat at best and I had a plan of action set in motion. Enter ForumGame Sage georgerav with his imaginary rules that didn't exist. "You cannot use Report Behavior Section if the person you want to report is a GS." Assuming he was right (he wasn't), if two game sages have varying opinions on a topic, which is right? Neither. It's guaranteed at least one of them cannot read.

Since there's at least one GS reading this so how about a tiny quiz since you are all familiar with Terms of Service. What does the very first paragraph say? Since some of you can't read (with comprehension) Aufklarer, let's pretend that the paragraph didn't exist. If you can search a webpage in your browser search for the words/phrase "game sage" and "gs". Excluding words that end in 'gs', you are not mentioned at all. You have as many rights as any other customer, which is to say you have none. You make an account, you choose to spend any money on a free service, you have fun, repeat, until you die or move on to a new service.

So assuming you did read Terms of Service and understood what you read, how would you explain the existence of the Report Behavior forums without ever learning about how they were to be used? Two of my favorite posts by the ever so eloquent Superman0x are this and this. Nowhere does it say you can't post in those forums if you have issue with what a game sage did. And yea, while I was peeved that georgerav technically did abuse his ability as a forum GS by deleting my threads, that's not the most shocking thing to happen that day. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Things AGE Told Me

As I've moved on to other gaming services I still feel a certain type of anger, rage, dread and hostility whenever the phrase Aeria Games & Entertainment crosses my mind. I'll tell you why soon as I arm you with knowledge I had when I made an AGE account.

There is a Terms of Service found here. The very first paragraph loosely translates to "You as a customer are subject to these terms and conditions found on this page and all officially associated pages." Which is to say, in order to use the service you must acknowledge that the company has a ton of rules located on any number of pages besides the Terms of Service.

Let's skip around and cover what I find to be the important parts of their Terms of Service. Part 1 is the legal agreement that tells you you're responsible for knowing about the policies and are of sufficient age to understand the policies. Part 4 covers their privacy policy. Part 5 is a lot of legal jargon that describes their DRM policy. Part 6 goes over the kinds of things you are able to do with the services. Part 7 is a long list of offenses AGE claims to not tolerate. Part 12 tells you that at any time AGE can do anything they want with your account for any reason. Part 17 describes their procedures for dispute resolution.

Picture this: you go to a restaurant for a romantic evening, you are a customer and your waiter is an employee that serves you food. The waiter is the first line of customer service. Do you expect them to know how to prepare the food they are serving you? Not always. As a previous AGE customer did I expect customer support to know every inch of the "website" and all of its rules? Since they're the people that can enforce Part 12 of Terms of Service, yes. You can't enforce something if you don't know it. Which is my roundabout way of saying AGE's Game Masters never took a bar exam or never bothered to read the very first paragraph of Terms of Service.