Sunday, July 25, 2010

A power demonstration of a GM

I've never ever had a problem with any Blizzard GM. On the contrary: I've always found them helpful, sometimes more than that - cheerful, friendly, humorous in a way that goes beyond what you could expect.

Nowadays I have very little to do with them. There are two reasons for this: 1. They've made changes to the game so we have less reason to contact them, for instance the two hour span to trade soulbound loot. 2. They seem to talk to us less and less in chat form, preferring the in-game mail system as their main channel for communication. At least that's my impression. I suspect they have good reasons to do so. It probably is quicker and more efficient than to contact us in game. And you can just do your job without risking to take a lot of crap from dicks who seem to have their default setting on aggressive. I don't blame them at all for this, although I miss our silly little confersations.

Bear this in mind when I'm writing this post. I don't complain about GM:s in general - I love them - and I think that players have no right at all to be offensive and rude in their communication with them. However the other night something happened to a guild mate of mine that made me quite upset. An exception to my previous good experiences. My guildie wasn't free from guilt - far from that. He certainly deserved some kind of consequences. But what he got was more than that. It was nothing but a demonstration of who was in charge and I think it was childish.

I can't help seeing the irony in it all. First I write a post about how we recently got our Shadowmourne completed. Then I write a post about criticism. And now those two topics knit together into this one.

Because the victim - and originally offender - in this is no one less than our grumpy paladin who got the legendary axe. He's now risking to quit the game without using the axe in a single raid, unless Blizzard changes their decision and gives him an apology. Which I'm far from convinced that they'll do. It's a tragedy - not just to him, but to our guild, losing one of our absolute core players.

Here it begins
But I'll tell you the story from the beginning. Here we go:

Earlier this week there came a plea for help from Eräjorma in our forums. It turned out that when he logged into the game, he found that all of his macros - and he had loads of them after many years of playing, macros that had cost him a lot of time and effort to create and collect - suddenly were gone. Gone without any trace, just like that. It shouldn't happen since they're saved on the server side these days - and yet it did. The only connection he could make was that he had had a game crash with an error, just as he logged out of the game for the night.

For all the good advice we usually can give to guild members with technical problems we were unable to help out this time and Eräjorma wrote a GM-ticket. Three days went without any answer. And when he finally got one, it was an in-game-mail, which according to Eräjorma (I haven't seen it myself) was unsatisfactory, not answering his questions or helping out, just telling him to check out the support forums. Not useful at all. So he wrote a new ticket, was contacted by a GM and a heated conversation took place.

I'm afraid the resolution is to crappy for you to read it here, but I hope that this link might work if you want to follow it line by line.



Behaving like a dick
As you can see from it if you bother to read it, Eräjorma behaved like a dick as the conversation started. He was very angry, to say the least, and I can absolutely understand why the GM got pissed. I definitely would have too and I feel genuinely sorry for the Blizzard representative about this part.

Eräjorma is, as I said earlier, a bit grumpy in his nature. Sometimes he says more than he should and speaks before he thinks, which actually rendered him a guild kick once in our guild. He was let in again though, and he had learned his lesson after that and has a way better behavior nowadays. He bore his punishment with dignity, he learned his lesson. He's definitely not one of my closest friends, he barely would say hi to me, but all in all he is an OK person, a person I can live with, even if he'll never be good at sugarcoating anything. If he's pissed about something after a raid he'll let you know. He's the salt in our flesh and I think guilds need a bit of that too, although in very small dosis.

But how was the GM supposed to know that? All he saw was an overly angry customer, threatening him to call his superiors and being generally rude. Of course he got mad at him. However I don't think this justifies the measures he took against Eräjorma. He could have given him a warning (which he also did). And if he did want to do something more he could have given him a temporary ban for a few days as a marker, giving him time to cool down and think over his attitudes. Or maybe they could put Eräjorma in some sort of special category, heavily limiting his future GM service. Anything. But he did something else, and that's what upsets me.

Banning the name
From the middle part of the conversation and forward you can follow how Eräjorma's name suddenly, out of the blue, after 5,5 years of playing, is considered inappropriate and he's forbidden to use it anymore. The GM claims that according to another Finnish speaking GM, "Eräjorma" a body organ that shouldn't be mentioned. It doesn't matter how Eräjorma pleads that it really doesn't, that it means "Jorma (a Finnish name) from the wilderness" and nothing else. The GM won't listen and with a robot like manner he enforces his decision, wiping away Eräjorma's name forever, suggesting that he should call himself "Pirath" instead.

To Eräjorma this would mean the end of the game. He has called himself Eräjorma not only in this game but in others. Eräjorma is who he is. I can understand why he got so upset about it. So would I if someone suddenly banned Larísa.

Before deciding to write this post I asked Eräjorma: are you sure there isn't anything offensive about your name? Because it seemed strange if this idea came right out of the blue.

And Eräjorma replied:

"From wikipedia (Sorry in finnish, just stating it's a person's name)

Translated small section in middle:

"In some slang, jorma can mean also penis. Other place you can find 'jorma' other than as finnish male birth name is the word 'eräjorma' which refers to camping, wilderness, hunting, fishing."

Or like I've said it myself a few times "man of the woods" . In a sense a ranger.

The only way it can be remotely offensive would be that Jorma is also childish nickname for cock. Just like in America they say "johnsson". You know? That man had one huge 'johnsson'. But do we go banning everyone with the name johnsson? 99.999% of any decent adult will first and foremost think always it's a first name.

And my name isn't even Jorma, its Eräjorma, other is first name, other is a CONCEPT! As you said, basicly a man of the wilderness, hence why many Eräjormas in armory are either druids or hunters.

Should we start breaking up everyone's name, looking if there in somewhere middle of the word is another word and then ban them because of that. F.ex. micunten, innocent name, but hey lets ban it, there's CUNT, it's offensive! .."
Renaming 49 Eräjormas?
It will be interesting to see what happens. Eräjorma isn't the only one who wears this name on the EU servers. There are 49 of them, and even though I think that a few of them might be alts to our paladin, he's not the father of everyone of them. There are more Eräjormas out there. Will they too be asked to rename their "in-the-wilderness-name" to something less offensive?

It's not an easy case, I know that. Eräjorma was aggressive, behaving like a dick, and really asked for some sort of harsh response from Blizzard. But in my opinion this reaction was not appropriate. It wasn't related to the issue at all. It was nothing but a demonstration of power and that's why I think it was wrong.

We've advised Eräjorma to write to the e-mail address where you can complaint about GMs. I hope it won't be in vane, but I'm afraid that the night when we saw Shadowmourne forged in front of our eyes was the last time we saw the weapon as well as its wearer.

I just checked in the armory. Eräjorma as we know him doesn't exist anymore. He's already appearing as "Pirath". At the whims of an angry GM.

The whole story makes me very sad.

Edit: The story didn't end there. Finally a senior GM stepped in, admitted that the angry GM had been wrong in changing Eräjorma's name and acted against Blizzard's policy. Eräjorma got his name back and an apology. Here's a post about how it ended.

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

what a cock your (soon to be ex?) guildy is!
constantly and consistently aggressive and rude.
quite honestly i'd be thankful if he left the game

Larísa said...

I don't disagree with that he's very rude and aggressive and I hope my standpoint in this is clear in the post. I think he asked for some sort of action. A temporary ban would have been understandable. But I don't think this kind of action makes sense. And it definitely will be a loss if he quits.

nepeta said...

Idk - I've always been *extremely* polite to GMs - it's not just a healthy respect, it's reinforced by the knowledge of how much power they have.... rather like being rude to the IRS or police - it rarely helps your personal situation.

So I can see how your guildy's attitude sucks, and how the GM was (initially) struggling to deal with him in a civil manner.

It seems that the GM lost the struggle with his self-control and imposed this punishment of change of name because he felt provoked. Because he could. Because he was fed up with your guildy's attitude.

So - both wrong, I guess - but GMs are human? And your guildy might need some (more) help in anger management?

Anonymous said...

Your guildie was rude, yes, but seriously, this is supposed to be customer service. What other company would get away with treating their customers this way? GMs acting like they're something special, it's absolutely ridiculous. The customer is always right, even when they're not, and that's how they should be treated. Even if there's nothing you can do to help with the problem you don't go preaching about manners and then punishing the customer for being angry about poor customer service :o I don't care if GMs are normally fun and cute and whatever else, somewhere along the line something went wrong if they think it's ok to abuse their position this way! To top it all off, people seem to be scared or embarrassed to say if they've had a bad experience with a GM because they have this odd idol status, you're supposed to think they're cool. We need to seriously wake up, the service they provide is anything but first class and has been declining for a long time. Eräjorma was right to be appalled.

Larísa said...

@Nepeta: yeah, i can't help wondering what had happened if Eräjorma had controlled his anger better. Once the GM started this stuff about name change, what had happened if he had said: "wait, wait. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. I went too far in my anger and I was rude to you. I apologize and I'll change my attitude. But please, please let me keep my name. It means a lot to me." Would that have made a difference? Maybe. we'll never know now. There are definitely errors on both sides here.

scrusi said...

I think we're looking at 2 different things here. One is your guildie being an absolute umm... Richard to a GM who warned him an absolute professional manner multiple times to moderate his tone. The warning for that is absolutely deserved and the GM handled that quit well.

The other is Blizzard's annoying (but, alas, understandable) policy of changing names that seem inappropriate to a single GM on sight. A friend of mine used the name Onyxia for about 4 years on his main and submitted endless amounts of tickets (raid leader and all) and never had any issues. Then one day he stepped on a GM that remembered that you are not supposed to use Blizzard IP names (a policy which was, afaik, created after the creation of Onyxia the rogue) and the name had to change.

Your guildie was simply so rude to the GM that he showed it to his cubicle neighbour who happened to be Finnish, which in turn revealed your guildie's name. The other influence of his behaviour here might have been that the GM was less inclined to start a deep inquiry into the meaning of the name for someone with so little manners. His manners probably caused the name change, but the name change wasn't done as a punishment for those manners.

I'm fully on the side of the GM here. While calling for the name to be changed in the first place might be wrong (If everything we are told is true. My finnish is limited.) it was according to policy and believing your fellow GM instead of the very rude WoW gamer is very understandable.

Murasaki said...

Indeed, the name change seems like a stretch, a power play.

But, taking Enjorma's horrible behavior (He's an adult? "Corporate communications expert"?? Does he treat his coworkers like this?) and _just_ enough basis in fact for the name change, and I bet Starcraft III will come out before he gets "Enjorma" back.

Sorry you lost your Shadowmourne. Not sorry if "Pirath" cancels his account, though. Hopefully he learns a lesson about treating people with respect.

Keeva said...

The customer is not always right. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I was disgusted at the "be silent" line. Absolutely disgusted. You don't talk to people like that, even if you have been paying fees for 5 years.

I don't think the GM abused any power. If he isn't Finnish and a Finnish GM says to him "by the way, he's using an offensive slang name" then he's going to take his colleague's word for it. There's no abuse of power there, it's just policy.

What people need to understand is that GMs are very quick to crack down on offensive names, even if the offensive nature of the name seems like quite a stretch. I've seen names banned that don't seem offensive at all, but unfortunately, if someone reports them as being offensive, if there's any shred of evidence that this is the case, then they'll probably make you change it.

As for "I've had this name for 5.5 years, why is it a problem now?" (and the existence of other people with the same name) - it doesn't really matter how long you have it, it may just be that you slipped under the radar. I know some people with blatantly sexual names, but (amazingly) they've never been "caught" because nobody has taken the time to report them. Blizzard employees don't sit and scan the game for bad names, they rely on people to put in a ticket and say "I find this name offensive." Then they act.

I don't believe he chose his name for the slang meaning, but unfortunately, if it does have an alternative slang translation, then it would be very smart not to draw attention to yourself in any way, because some malicious player is bound to report you - or, in this case, a GM has seen him acting like a dick, and decided that he also chose the name to be a dick (not a big leap, to be honest).

I feel sorry for him that he has lost his name, I would be very upset if it had been me, but I'm afraid he brought it on himself. There's pretty much zero chance that Blizzard will reverse the name change - they never do - and they definitely won't apologise. The GM tried again and again and again to get him to be civil, and he wouldn't shake his condescending, rude manner. I'm fairly certain that the GM's superiors would be content with how it was handled.

I think it was handled as politely and professionally as the GM was able, and I don't think he did the wrong thing. There was no abuse of power.

Hopefully your guildmate learns a small lesson in humility and respect. Treating people like crap isn't any way to get things done.

And that if your name has an alternative slang meaning that might offend, regardless of what it "normally" means, you'd do well to keep your head down.

Shintar said...

I don't know, I find it hard to see this as abuse of powers. The enforcement of Blizzard's naming rules policy has always been a bit arbitrary, but it's not like the GM lied or made something up. (Oh, and btw, I'm pretty sure the name Micunten would so be banned. In fact, it probably wouldn't make it through the language filter in the first place.) It's one of those rules where it really kind of comes down to the discrection of the individual GM, and I honestly can't blame him for not leaning in favour of the rude customer there.

Larísa said...

@All - I suppose I'm a bit biased in this issue. A guildie is a guildie even if you're not a huge fan of him. If you've raided together for two years you develop a certain... loyalty that probably colors the way I see it.

But I still find the sudden name-enforcement arbitrary. Like a revenge that hadn't got to do with the offense in the first place.

Then again: I might have thought differently if it wasn't a guildie.

But it really leaves me sad. The entire story.

Krytus said...

I'm sorry, but this time I don't agree with you Larísa. The ban of the name doesn't sound as an abuse of power imo, it feels more as a misunderstanding. As far as I can tell Finish is not the first language of the GM, so once he asks for advice of how to treat a rude customer to a fellow GM (who apparently speaks a little bit of Finish), hes "informed" of the meaning of the name. Alas a change of name is requiered. I don't think the GM would be very concerned in doing a deep investigation for someone's whos been so aggresive with him.

Keeva said...

"We've advised Eräjorma to write to the e-mail address where you can complaint about GMs."

My suggestion would be to get someone else to read over his email before he sends it. I get the feeling it will be vitriolic, or at best, passive aggressive, which won't help his situation.

Anonymous said...

I squinted to read from the link. It seems to me that while Eräjorma pretty rude, his question was genuine and the response from blizzard is insufficient, assuming that I am getting the full story here.

I would say that it is an abuse of GM powers

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I guess its just me, but I didn't see Erajorma be rude at all.

He was upset yes, but no where did I see rude.

You guys have a very strange definition of rude. If I were to visit you, you would kick me out of your house by days end, and curse all Americans for years to come. And I would be confused, especially after trying so hard to be polite.

Even if anything he said at first was rude, by middle of conversation he was civil, and the GM was being an ASS.

Keeva said...

You don't think that ordering someone to "be silent" is rude?

Anonymous said...

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/01/10/

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/7/22/

Enuff said

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

He was upset yeah and in the beginning he came across a bit aggressive - but the point for me is that this GM acted like a total dickhead because of it and basically 'got back to him' instead of knowing what his job is and acting like a professional.

I can't believe the way some people here talk about GMs - as if the entire blizzard staff around the globe was your 'buddy' (fanboyism going overboard?) or they were some godly creatures of the light we should worship or some other nonsense - they're normal employees paid to offer SUPPORT to paying customers and to remain professional and civil even in the most uncomfortable situations! this is the job of anyone in customer care business and you haven't got much clue about it if you think dealing with angry customers isn't a big part of this job. yeah its not always nice and by all means if a customer is outright rude towards you (which I am not so sure of in this example either - if anything it seems to me the patronizing way the GM started the convo led to Erajorma reacting even more aggressively than he would have intended to first), you have every right to tell him that and maybe even put him aside to cool off. but there's NO way you start patronizing and talking down to a customer like that, making him look foolish by treating him like a schoolkid and then by some childish notion of power totally change the subject of the entire conversation.

this was a ticket about lost macros and ends in the GM changing the customers name? then its nothing but a dickish power show and retaliation because this gentle flower of a GM felt offended.
he also simply refused to answer Erajormas repeated questions, for ex. about the name's meaning or about his superior. whether you like it or not: if a CUSTOMER is unsatisfied with your work and asks for a superior or way to contact him, it's your duty to provide that info.

so no, angry customer or not, the GM should've handled this much much differently.

Ardol said...

I'm sorry, but Eräjorma immediately lost my sympathy when he told the GM to "be silent". You don't talk to anyone like that, especially someone who is trying to help you. He started out that conversation by being condescending to the GM, so the GM was completely justified in being condescending towards him. What goes around comes around.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

Umm, "be silent" is not rude.

"Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut up you retarded piece of shit."

Those things are rude. Be silent, is a very polite, yet strong statement from someone who is tired of dealing with rude people.

Double check that thought, the GM starts right away talking about how Erajorma was rude in the ticket, and that he'll be getting banned if he does it again.

Erajorma states further down, that Blizzard's responses have been rude to him.

Even then, he simply stated, be silent, to a statement that is worthless for what the trouble ticket is about. Such a thing could be sent via e-mail or ingame mail communications, and should not even be brought up during the conversation about where macros and keybindings are stored.

So no, "be silent" to me is not rude.

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

"What goes around comes around."

I have to disagree there - this is exactly the difference between acting from a professional role or not, as customer support you CANNOT act the same way towards a customer he acts towards you. this is the first thing you learn in any public service -related workplace.

just to add something to my prior post here: I do absolutely sympathize with the somewhat ungrateful job situation of supporters - it's not always pleasant and often you get yelled at for things that aren't really your fault (after all this particular GM just happened to be there, it wasn't really his doing that upset Erajorma so). but again, this is your everyday life in this business branch and you get special training to handle situations like this professionally which he simply didnt.

it's the same in many jobs, you get nice people or at least polite people to come to you and then sometimes, you get the more aggressive ones. and your job is to treat them all equally and try provide a service.
thats why this job is tough and obviously many arent fit to do it.

Shintar said...

I'm not sure what those who think the GM was abusing his power would have wanted him to do instead. Imagine you're in his shoes, dealing with a customer (of any kind) when a fellow GM looks over your shoulder and says "oh btw, his name has a Finnish word for dick in it". Would you accuse your fellow GM of lying? Would you not consider it your job to change the name? Would you be afraid of doing anything in case the customer takes it personally since he's already angry? None of those options strike me as making a lot of sense.

Ardol said...

"Umm, "be silent" is not rude.

'Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Shut up you retarded piece of shit.'

Those things are rude. Be silent, is a very polite, yet strong statement from someone who is tired of dealing with rude people."

I'm not sure what culture and/or household you come from where telling someone to "be silent" is any different from telling them to "shut up", but I'll take your word for it; where I come from, "be silent" means, "I'm telling you to shut up and doing so in a condescending way," so I guess we'll just agree to disagree.

The main issue in my mind is that saying "be silent" implies, "I just want you to listen while I rant and yell at you about my bad experiences." Telling the GM to "be silent" means cutting off the only way the GM can help him: by talking to him. Now, I'm sure what Eräjorma meant was, "That has nothing to do with my issue," but had he chosen to say it that way, he could have avoided this. His commanding the GM to "be silent" was uncalled for an counterproductive to resolving the issue.

Larísa said...

@Shintar: as I said he could have chosen to let go of it since it's not the entire name, just a part of it if you insist on interprating it that way. He could have chosen not to act on this. But to give him a temporary ban or something else to make him understand that you should discuss with GMs in a civil way. Just as we made it clear to him within our guild.

The guy has a bad temper that show sometimes. Yes. But as others have pointed out - customer services should also be trained to handle this kind of situations. I think it went out of hands this time.
This does NOT mean that I justify saying things like "Be silent" (although it definitely is quite far from "shut up", isn't it?

Tessy said...

Jorma is an old Finnish male name, derived from the hebrew Jeremiah.

According to Wikipedia there are more than 35 000 people called Jorma in Finland today. The former chancellor of justice in Finland was called Jorma, so are a range of other Finnish people, opera singers, bishops, ambassadors, skiers, singers, architects, writers, etc.

Homing in on that it might be used as a synonym for penis is rather petty and in my opinion not according to the naming policy, especially since his name is not Jorma, it's Eräjorma which as stated is an expression for trekker, ranger, man of the wild.

Anonymous said...

'This does NOT mean that I justify saying things like "Be silent" (although it definitely is quite far from "shut up", isn't it? '

Where I'm from, England, its exactly the same. Both in meaning and tone. You are ordering someone to stop talking, which is immensely rude. If it was the other way around, I'm pretty sure the GM would have got a serious warning not to talk to people like that.

To be honest, I was surprised about how patient the GM was. I lost count of how many times he warned him about his attitude.

Oh, and its a little late for your guildy, but this is why you should always back up your WTF folder. Especially if you have a lot of complicated macros or addons with a lot of settings that take quite a bit of setting up.

Barrista said...

If his name is offensive, then I would be looking for a name change if I was this chick:
http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Erajorma/1071106277

As for the GM's, in the U.S., customer service personnel (that is what a GM is) are trained to handle difficult customers and making threats usually isn't one of those ways. They are typically taught to end all conversation. But the GM was the one who brought up that his ticket was rude and offensive and, to me, started the conversation off on a sour note. He/she/it should have ignored your friend's tone, understood that he was annoyed and frustrated, and tried to start the conversation on a positive note. In many cases you can actually manipulate the angry customer into a more compliant state if started this way.

I would be filing a complaint... or cancelling my account and getting back any paid time I haven't used. The GM's name and a paste of the conversation would be my reason.

Larísa said...

@Barrista: "As for the GM's, in the U.S., customer service personnel (that is what a GM is) are trained to handle difficult customers and making threats usually isn't one of those ways. They are typically taught to end all conversation."

Yeah, actually I think that's what I would have done in this situation. I sometimes get really weird phonecalls at my work. And it happens - very rarely but still - that I simply state that this conversation isn't leading anywhere and hung up. I wouldn't dream of going for some sort of revenge.

He could have ended it, possibly with a statement where he said that he had one warning already and that if he kept sending tickets and talking to GMs in this manner it would rend him more warnings and in the end a permanent ban from the game. Something like. But this was not a very professional way to handle it.

But then again as someone said in the comments: GM:s are humans too. There's a limit of how much abuse you can take. Again: it's not an easy case.

Shy said...

No. It is not far from Shut Up. It implies exactly the same.

That said. These two things had nothing to do with eachother, and if next time I open a ticket to discuss or report anything I have to be scared of my character name being pulled through 24 language filters to make sure that my name means nothing bad...yah, not good.

Larísa said...

... And yet another comment on how offensive the name is, from a guildie of mine:

"... what the hell is this? I have atleast 4 IRl friends named Jorma and during my 43 old life I´ve never heard of that the name could refer to anything offensive (you who didn t know it - I´m finnish too). The closest translation of your name "Eräjorma" I can think of is something like "WildernessJorma" or maybe "JormaTheHermit". "

Pangoria Fallstar said...

For me, for the phrase "be silent" to convey "I'm telling you to shut up and doing so in a condescending way," requires tone.

In type, without tone, the phrase itself is extremely polite and not rude.

Since he did not say "be silent" in all caps, I would normally take it in a non-rude way by default.

Now, I'm not saying that anyone acted correctly in, this, I'm just saying that as read, I don't see Erajorma being rude. He may have been rude in the ticket he wrote, and what he wrote in chat may be construed as rude depending on the person receiving it (I'm quite often told I'm rude, especially when I'm trying to be polite to people).

By being rude in his ticket, (which the GM obviously read before the interaction), he essentially set up the GM to feel that ANYTHING he says is rude.

Now for some of the people here, the "be silent" was too much.

Try reading it without it then. Does the rest of what is said come off as rude as all that, or as simply upset?

As to the GM patiently and repeatedly telling Erajorma to stop being rude... umm, at that point he wasn't! He just wanted Erajorma to apologize and stop talking.

Instead of just solving the problem, the GM made everything worse, and had absolutely no skill in handling upset customers.

Now as for Erajorma, he is an idiot to get so upset over something he could have GOOGLED the answer to. I found several solutions, that could explain why this happened to him. If none of those are satisfactory, and even the possibility that one of his add-ons may be messing up with it (which he dismissed as even being a possibility), makes his actions equally as ridiculous as the GMs.

But here's the bottom line, Erajorma is the customer, and the GM is there to make life easier for him.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a Finn, the slang use of Jorma as "penis" is negligible. The proper name use far outweighs it - the namechange is random and silly.

The GM's initial response makes me curious about exactly how horriffic your guildy's ticket was, though. Being confrontational (and the GM is confrontational from the get-go) is practically always the wrong thing to do with an already angry customer - they *want* a fight, they *will* fight with you if you let them, and a professional response would aim at deflecting the fight before it happens, not inviting one with direct confrontation. The GM's response here is bare-minimum lipservice to professionalism at best. It's the response of someone reading from the service script because they are too inexperienced to know better, too overworked to care, or too screaming angry at whatever your friend said in his ticket to trust their judgment outside a stock response.

But given what Blizzard's GM's are paid, I can't really blame the GM for not making more than the minimum effort for a customer who apparently was already making a special effort to be an asshat. Looks like your mate is getting an overdue lesson in the emotionally satisfying response not always being the useful one.

Jesse said...

The name change was a nit much, but he definitely deserved a time out.

Murasaki said...

Alright, I read it again and I see why some people don't like the GM's responses. I also don't think he handled it well.

As for the GM's warning at the very start, maybe that's company policy and out of his hands. Ideally he would have slid it in the conversation somewhere after assessing the mood. Whatever was in the ticket, it was over the line and needed to be addressed sometime. But now Eräjorma is on the defensive right from the start.

@Pangoria Fallstar
Now for some of the people here, the "be silent" was too much.

Indeed, I think it's extremely rude.

Try reading it without it then. Does the rest of what is said come off as rude as all that, or as simply upset?

Rude. The very next sentence "i pay u money and u insult me further?" He's not ranting about Blizzard or support; he's calling out this GM in particular for the "insult" of chastising him about the ticket contents.

Now it's the GM on the defensive, and Eräjorma continues by calling him "rude" and "offensive"!

Instead of just solving the problem, the GM made everything worse, and had absolutely no skill in handling upset customers.

Part of that problem is whatever the TOS violation was in that ticket. So just answering the question like Eräjorma wanted wasn't good enough; he needed a warning about what he wrote. Like I said above, the GM should have done better.

But here's the bottom line, Erajorma is the customer, and the GM is there to make life easier for him.

I agree with you, and it's the customer's responsibility to behave civilly. Customer service isn't a dumping grounds for whatever crap flows from their customers' mouths.

kaozz said...

Honestly even if he was rude he was just another irate customer, if customer service can't handle it they need to find something 'easier' heh. That's part of the job.

Blizzard's customer service is pretty much at an all time low for the most part. I dread asking for any help. I get generic emails stating this or that is a one time thing or it's on my end, taking weeks to fix.

That's really sad how his name was pulled into it.

Larísa said...

@Murasaki: I've never worked with customer service myself. But my ex GM has and this is how he commented on the issue. I take the liberty to quote him without asking, sorry, but I thought it made sense.

"The problem from this comes partially from the original attitude, but primarily because the GM had absolutely no idea how to handle it. The way the GM responded to the aggression was inflamatory and the GM is supposed to be the professional in these circumstances.

I've worked in some extremely difficult situations as both a barman and a customer service rep - I can guarantee you that treating anyone like a child will only serve to enflame an already tense situation. You don't do it and this is directly related to the fact that this guy wasn't sufficiently trained to deal with people in stressful situations. If I'd responded like this as a CS rep, I'd have been fired - no questions. You simply cannot condescend like that. If you feel the person is being aggressive or rude you have 2 options - either deal with it and try to turn the conversation around or give one warning and then terminate the conversation. Keeping someone hanging while constantly repeating yourself does nothing. It doesn't diffuse the tension and simply antagonises the person on the other end."

He's spot on. It's not the GM who is the biggest problem here. It's his lack of proper training to deal with stressful situations.

Barrista said...

Murasaki:
sorry, but i disagree that it is solely the customer's responsibility. I also agree with the idea that if you pay for something, you are also paying for the customer service. I'm not saying you should be rude to customer service, but they don't have any more right to be rude in return. What you are basically saying is that one person has more of an obligation to be kind to another human being than does another, and that is just not so. It also promotes the idea that retaliation is not a bad thing and is deserved.

Also, as I said in my post, good customer service employees would not start their conversation with an accusation. Regardless of what he said following that, the employee is the one who started in with the accusations.

As people have reiterated, the GM is a human. He is just as responsible or moreso for the handling of this. Why? Because when he is doing the job of a GM, he is doing the job he is employed to do by Blizzard. People with such thin skins should stay out of these lines of work.

scrusi said...

I don't know what threats you guys are talking about. The GM did exactly what you are saying he should - refusing to continue the conversation until the customer calmed down. I find this to be far nicer towards the person on the other end of the line than, say, hanging up. ("I will not talk to you like this. Here's your warning, shut up.")

As I said, the whole name change has nothing at all to do with retaliation or threats. It is simply Blizzard policy to do this and the player brought himself to the attention of a GM who considered the name offensive. (Notably not the one he was quarreling with.)

Also to those who say the GM started it: While we don't know what the ticket said, I am sure that it was indeed rude or the GM wouldn't have started the conversation like this in the first place. We get only half the picture here.

Oh and from my point of view "be silent" is pretty much worse than "shut up" because it is even more condescending. "shut up" can happen in a heated argument, "be silent" is deliberate condescension.

Anonymous said...

I work in the gaming industry and before that I had a heavy background in customer service. It is the most thankless field one can hope to work in, being entry-level customer support.

There is no call whatsoever to shower some hapless peon with verbal abuse or such patronizing rudeness. "Be silent", and of course, whipping out the ever-cliched "I've been a customer paying your company for five years blah blah." I'm not sure what people who say that line think it's supposed to inspire. Fear? Awe? To be honest, 5 years' worth of one customer is still a microbe in the vast sea of 12 million subscribers, so there isn't any weight for your guildie to throw around (although he obviously thinks there is).

But back to the subject. The GM could be said to be wrong, but his actions will be backed up by their rules if he really can prove that the name is objectionable. I've read that they won't take action on any objectionable name/ guild name until it is reported. Since your guildie chose to make a dick of himself and draw such negative attention, the GM then chose to look more carefully. (Perhaps he says to his seatmate, "Hey, check out this rude guy," and seatmate says, "Hmm, that name is kind of obscene.."?)

(If someone were to report the other 49 people with that name and basis, I'm sure their names would be changed, too.)

I am admittedly unsympathetic as I have been on both ends of such interactions in the past (both as customer with something wrong with the product, and as the support for such a customer); and I do believe that as adults, we should be able to control ourselves instead of frothing at the mouth at people who had nothing to do with your problem. As a very good piece of advice I read somewhere says, "Do not be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners."

latusthegoat said...

A better question is why your guild had decided to give this guy the legendary weapon based on his explosive behaviour. You state yourself he'd been kicked out of the guild before and worked his way in...

Rem said...

Well, being rude is nothing but a "demonstration of power" either - "I'm going to be a dick to you and there's fuck all you can do about it".

I understand how it came as a total surprise to Eräjorma that there actually is a way to hurt his feelings in a way he is powerless against. I understand that he was being a dickhead under the firm assumption that no consequence can reach him. I understand how he fails to actually realise that this has nothing to do with his name being appropriate (of course it is) and everything with him being a dickhead. I understand how when he suddenly turns up on the receiving side, the pity sets in.

Regardless of whether it gets retracted or not, I applaud the GM who figured out a way to strike where it hurts. And I have zero sympathy for people who use being rude ("grumpy") as an excuse for being rude. Was the GM right? No. Did Eräjorma deserve it? Big YES.

Larísa said...

@Latusthegoat: he was put on trial for months before becoming a full member again. It took a very long time to gain back the trust. He had to apologize deeply. He was really devastated about what he had done. And he started to behave way better, becoming a "different Erä". Sure, he still was a bit grumpy, but never crossed any line again and he also put a lot of effort into the guild, for instance moderating some of our forums and making some very good, in-depth post-raid analysis/evaluation, giving a helping hand to our officers. He got the Shadowmourne after dkp bidding. The only condition for getting it, apart from winning the auction, was that you were a solid member with a good attendance who planned to stay around for the entire thing. And he definitely was. As I said: he and I aren't really any close friends or so - but I really can't see any problem with awarding the weapon to him. He worked his ass off for it.

Anonymous said...

He acted like a angry 8 year old. Maybe he learned a life lesson here if you are nice and calm people will tend to treat you well. When you are a dick to someone they will shut down and won't put any extra effort in helping you.


As far as the name change goes he is in line if the other gm says it's offensive.

Shintar said...

@Larísa: But why should he had let it go? I'd think that if someone reports a name as offensive and the GM can see why (in this case because another GM told him it meant something rude), shouldn't the GM act on it and change it? Just ignoring offensive names, now that's what I'd consider bad customer service.

(And yes, I get that the name in question isn't actually offensive, but the GM had no reason to think that it wasn't. That doesn't need to have anything to do with the rest of the conversation.)

Rades said...

I think that you (understandably) have some rose-colored glasses on here. I think there's multiple issues here that your guildie is at fault with. He is rude, demanding and abrasive with the GM, which I think we all agree on.

As for his name, it can be interpreted as rude/offensive and deserves to be changed. There are many, many offensive names ingame and we see them on a daily basis. The GMs can't catch them all. How thoughtful of your guildie to bring his offensive name to their attention.

If my name was PetWussy (a name I have seen numerous times), it doesn't matter if that's "my" name, it doesn't matter if that's the name I've gone by for years and is my WoW identity, and it doesn't matter if there are other, worse names out there. (Why are you giving me a speeding ticket! Those people were speeding too!)

Was the behavior of the GM retaliatory? Sure, you could interpret it that way. But it doesn't matter, at all. Look at the speeding ticket example. It doesn't matter if that cop hates you, hates the car you drive, or even hates your race. If you were speeding, and he ticketed you for speeding...you're guilty. In your guildie's case, yes it sounds like the GM got aggravated and provoked, and responded in kind. But is his name offensive? I bet it is to some people. Thus, the enforced name change is perfectly valid, regardless of what came before.

It is natural that you will be sad and will feel a loss if he quits or never plays again. But that is only because you know him. If this were any other case of a rude, offensive player being banned because of his behavior AND possessing a sexist or offensive name, everyone would be rolling their eyes and saying "thank god such an idiot has been banned".

Larisa you are a great person but having you as an acquaintance doesn't make this guy any less of an idiot.

zetter said...

Its not the worse thing that has probably ever been said to a GM I would guess. However its difficult to gain a full picture as an in game mail is mentioned and we dont know how bad that was which primed the GM straight away.

I have never bought into the "customer is always right" line. Yes the customer must be treated with respect but it doesnt give the customer the right to act like a total A-hole to people. If you treat people with respect you will get better reults than with major attitude and yes I have worked/run in customer services departments.

We have had staff reduced to tears by people on the phone. did these people get what they want? Nope they basically got told we dont need their business by the management at the time.

You guildy didnt get a good result with regards to his name but he started with major attitude. So if a GMs colleage says its bad whos he going to believe someone who has cut loose with a major mouthful both in mail and in chat or someone he works with?

Zetter

azerothapple said...

Okay, I have to admit that Erajorma was brusk and short and more than a little upset... but the wording of things, honestly, made me think "this guy is not a native English speaker". Not in a bad way, just... that he was clearly upset and it was making his English not as clear as it could've been. Which, in turn, could make him sound even more dickish than he's actually trying to be.

I had MUCH worse customer service issues than his honest upsetness almost DAILY in my previous job, working at a photo lab. He was rude, but ANYONE working in customer service should be able to handle that with ease - and if you're having a bad day, you fucking FAKE it, or you get someone else to handle it. Not only that, but the GM didn't even give him a chance to say anything beyond "finally", which can be said in complete polite relief, before basically saying "You're rude and I don't want to deal with you". Which, of course, gives an already upset, naturally grumpy person absolutely NO INCENTIVE to NOT be at least short and snappish.

In short, yes, your guildie was rude. But the GM not only provided HORRIBLE customer service, but he clearly INTENTIONALLY abused his powers. If the use of "jorma" as a euphemism is one of those "only sometimes" things and it's much more often just a name, and "erajorma" is a completely different term, basically, then what I think probably happened is this:

GM: AUGH, this dick is getting on my last nerve, but he's not doing quite enough to suspend him.
GM's Finnish Neighbor: Really? *looks* Well, 'jorma' is sometimes used as a slang term for 'dick'. You could make him change his name!
GM: Yeah! Great idea, thanks!


....so, yeah. Not cool on the GM's part, basically.

Murasaki said...

@Larisa:
I see your point. After re-reading the dialogue I see the GM's tone was condescending. He should have cut off the conversation rather than let it spiral out of control.

As for training, I wonder if Blizzard would even consider this response a problem that needs training, or is it the culture at the CS desk that it's ok to deal with these situations in this way? I have no idea.

I say that because I've experienced some terrible customer service from the same companies over many years. It's obvious that it's just their way; put up with it or leave. So maybe to Blizzard it's the same, and this GM's response was acceptable.

@Barrista:
I disagree that it's all the customer's responsibility, too! Like I said way back above, things went downhill because the GM put Eräjorma on the defensive right away with a TOS warning.

Actually, it's not that I think that customer service has the right to be rude. I didn't address that because I just didn't think the GM's response was rude. However, I see now how it sounded like he was talking down to a five-year old, so yeah, the GM's inappropriate tone escalated the situation.

---

I still pin most of the blame on Eräjorma for letting his emotions get away from him. Whatever he wrote in that ticket that started this whole mess must have been goooood.

Chris (Game by Night) said...

This is a prime example of not biting the hand that feeds you. I worked in a call center for several years and, the fact is, those representatives deal with people like this all day long. By the end of their first year, they probably lose some of the empathy they started with. So, the golden rule of "treat people as you would like to be treated" is more important here than ever.

The people who service your accounts have a lot of power of you, as Jorma found out. I feel bad for the guy that this happened, but he pushed it and the GM was within his rights to force a name change. It's a thiny veiled retaliation, to be sure, but I'd be willing to bet that he gets away with it. That little piece about sland in Wikipedia probably covers him. The fact that Jorma got to keep his name for 5.5 years only means no one reported him, not that Blizzard thought it was appropriate (they're reactive with name changes, usually).

Again, I feel bad for the guy that this happened. But, just like him getting kicked out of your guild, this will be a lesson for him. Be nice to the people there to help you.

And a little plea to everyone out there who gets frustrated with customer service people: if you're upset, remember that whoever did the thing to upset you is probably not who you're talking to now. Every GM is their own person and most of them are genuinely helpful. Don't crap on them because some other rep. did a poor job. Being mean only ensure that the next person won't go out of their way to help you.

Leah said...

you cannot type that you just had a glass of grape juice on the official forums, becasue it contains the word rape. if you try to name your character grapelover, which in itself is completely Innocent, you still can have your name reported and changed, becasue there's rape in it.

what GM did was unquestioningly a demonstration of power, and generally uncalled for. what I'm saying is that they can do it to any one of us if they so chose, if we annoy them enough. it is almost a guaranteed that most words or parts of those words you would consider normal mean something potentially obscene in some language somewhere.

I'm also sorry to say, but losing one customer is not enough of a motivation to revoke a GM decision made within the rules of game, regardless of the motivation for those actions. so your guildie would have to get used to new name, find a language in which his new name or part of it is an obscenity, or proceed with his decision to quit the game :(

Azryu said...

If that Blizzard employee doesn't loose their job, that makes me want to quit this game.

That GM is way out of line. I have worked in customer service for multiple years and never once would any employee behaving like that to a customer see another paycheck their way. The GM completely lost their self control and went on a power trip. The player in question can be rude, they are not the ones with a job in CUSTOMER SERVICE or the ones who represent a multi-million dollar company.

That is absolutely ridiculous and I hope to see an update on your site reading that the GM has either been fired or reassigned to a different job.

Rhii said...

That was horrendous customer service, from the beginning. You just don't answer an upset customer by telling them that they're rude before they've even spoken to you. It's like saying, "Hi, I'm the customer service guy, and I'd like this call to be as difficult as possible please."

I also worked in call centers for several years... and dealt with MUCH WORSE than that on a daily basis. If this guy is retaliating for what (with my background) looks like just honest frustration and a bit of a big mouth... there's something wrong with that GM and their ability to do their job. I bet he talks to at least 10 people daily who are that rude/frustrating. Does he take petty revenge on all of them?

If he had waited until Erajorma made some *borderline* civil response... and there were plenty of them that were not outright rude... and then just continued the conversation on the actual topic of the ticket, the whole thing would have been much easier and probably Erajorma would be a happy customer, not a probably ex-customer.

I've had days in customer service jobs where I acted like that, and it was NEVER the right way to defuse the situation. I caught some well deserved criticism for it, too.

Yes, Erajorma was rude and snippy, but no ruder and no snippier than many upset customers. Especially with Blizzard's long wait for service, and it seems that this was his second ticket. I think his frustration was justified, and I also think he deserves his apology
Sadly, I also think he's not going to get it.

Finally, on the subject of character names: If my character lost their name, I would have to reroll. To me, the character is in the name. Rhii wouldn't be Rhii if she was called anything else. She went from Draenei to Blood Elf and is still the same character, but if she was suddenly, I might even quit over it. And with the number of horrifying names I've reported that don't get changed ("balznweiner" and "brorapelol" are both still at large on Kel'Thuzad) changing one that's so borderline as this seems petty. I knew a friend whose character was named Mandrick (I think it was a combination of Amanda and Patrick) and she had to change it because it was too similar to Man-dick. That was silly and this is too.

Rhii said...

er, my apologies on the double post. I got an error and thought the first didn't go through.

And on double checking, it seems that someone finally did notice "brorapelol" was offensive. Balznwiener is still out there though. Seriously? And they're changing Erajorma?

Keeva said...

"That was horrendous customer service, from the beginning. You just don't answer an upset customer by telling them that they're rude before they've even spoken to you."

I don't think it's fair to make this call when we don't know the contents of the ticket itself. He may have said something extremely rude and way out of line, in which case the policy may be to state up front to the player that they can't put that sort of thing into tickets - they can't just let that kind of thing slide.

The other option would be to close the ticket, and considering that he had waited "days" for a response, it's quite possible the GM wanted to help him (and didn't want to make him wait again) so he was willing to go ahead with the ticket, with a warning first to stay civil.

So I think it is wrong for people to judge the GM here and think he is trying to pick a fight or use some kind of power play. I think he is actually trying to help.

Tam said...

God, I genuinely don't know what to think about this one. The only position I can come to that I feel even remotely comfortable to is: they were both in the wrong.

Although your guildie was horrendously rude I don't think "well other people are ruder sometimes" stands as a defence of his conduct. On the other hand, I also think that there was some brusque-ness of phrasing that was largely due to the fact English is perhaps not his first language (apologies if this sounds patronising) and I've noticed some habits of phrasing when speaking to Europeans that might instinctively offend someone used to the to-ing-and-fro-ing of English politeness.

And although it is not okay to abuse people who work in customer service I equally think that if you do have such a role pacifying people who are angry/frustrated/disappointed with a product or service is part of your job (not a pleasant one, and obviously I'm not saying you have to take shit from anybody who wants to give it to you but not winding them up further is more assuredly not productive for example).

Again, this is difficult to contextualise this without knowing the contents ofthe original ticket - which sounds like a doozy.

On the other hand, it very much comes across that the GM was pissed off by him and wanted to exert some kind of power over him to punish him for being an arse.

And there's no denying he *was* an arse of the worst sort - but should GMs be able to arbitrarily punish people who don't cowtow sufficiently?

In a word: no.

Imoh said...

I'm honestly quite shocked that anyone here is defending the player, if someone spoke to me that way in real life when I was trying to help them there would definitely be consequences, depending on the setting it could be something petty like telling them to fuck off and sort out their own problems to something as substantial as them losing their job.

And for those the don't think "be silent" is insulting, you are wrong, there is nothing more insulting than completely dismissing anything a person has to say.

Xanthippe said...

So, let me get this straight. Your guildie, who apparently didn't learn his lesson the first time, has to eat some consequences for treating people like crap. Rather than learn from his mistake, he punishes you, his guild, after working to get him a legendary weapon. Over a name.

I have no sympathy for him. I have sympathy for you, because you gave him a second chance and now he's repaying you with self-absorbed bull. You say it will be loss if he quits, but as a player I don't think the game is made less by the absence of such a person.

Was the Gm acting unprofessionally? Perhaps; I don't know blizzard's policies. Was what the GM did wrong? Nope.

Some people need to learn that you don't cede your human dignity just because your job involves customer service.

Rhii said...

@Keeva

It's one of the basic tenets of customer service that you try to appease an angry customer. You don't give in to them, necessarily, especially if they're in the wrong. But you don't start off with an in-your-face accusation either. It just makes your own job harder.

If Blizzard has a policy stating that someone needs to be notified right off if the contents of their ticket are inappropriate, at least there are pleasant and conciliatory ways to do it. That wasn't the route taken here. And if that is Blizzard's policy, it's a pretty counterproductive one.

And regarding "be silent," I read that as a non-native speaker's response to being cut off before he could even state his issue - sort of a lost for words way of saying "could you just let me get a word in edgewise here?"

Like it or not, a customer service interatction needs to be about the customer's concern, regardless of the customer's presentation of that concern. This guy started right out by implying "you are rude and I don't want to deal with you."

The guy *was* rude. That's never an excuse to be inflammatory back to him.

Rhii said...

@Tam

"Although your guildie was horrendously rude I don't think "well other people are ruder sometimes" stands as a defence of his conduct."

I'm not defending his rudeness, I'm wondering how this particular GM reacts to other rude people. Like it or not, that degree of rudeness is hardly extraordinary in his position. If he gets that fired up about a guy who is rude but at least honestly upset, what does he do with the guy who makes obscene suggestions about his mum for no reason except that he's a jerk?

True, they're both wrong, but one of them is trained to handle such situations appropriately and the other isn't. One of them is getting a paycheck to keep his cool and be polite and the other isn't. I hardly think it's unreasonable to hold the trained and paid individual to a higher standard than the other.

I *hated* customer service. I'm amazed that I'm getting so fired up in defense of the rude customer, because I was usually the one who would break down crying after the really bad interactions. But you can't let other people's rudeness lower your own standard of conduct, ever.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

@Azryu: then just quit, because this is only just the one you've heard about. Imagine how many players out there don't have a blog or a co-guildie with a blog?

This has been happening not only at Blizzard, but several other companies you like, and it doesn't always result in happy customers.

Instead, view this as an individual attitude in a company versus a culture attitude. If the higher level people in the company acted this way, then I'd support what you are saying, but at the grunt level, they are more likely to be UNMOVING in working around policy.

Its just the nature of how this sort of thing works.

Xanthippe said...

@Rhii

I don't think that you should hold the GM to a 'higher' standard. Let's say that you're right and that the GM did violate his company's customer service policy. (I'd like to point out that I, at least, do not know that he did so. Blizzard's policy for CMs on the forums is very liberal; I don't know how far or if this extends to GMs as well.) The victim here would not be Larisa's guildie, who I believe just suffered meet consequences for his behavior. The victim in that case would be Blizzard, who would be paying the GM to give their customers better than they deserve.

While you may disagree, the customer in this situation already got better than he deserved. The GM told him his tone was unacceptable, but the GM was still willing to help so long as the customer was able to control himself. The GM then proceeded to wait around with the ticket open, giving the customer a chance to calm down.

You can accuse the GM of being bad at his job. Or, if he did follow company policy, accuse Blizzard of having bad policies. But I am not prepared to say that he did anything wrong to Larisa's guildie. Particularly since he's leaving his guild in the lurch over a name.

Larísa said...

@Rades: It really does appear to me that the case about the offensiveness is very weak. I've googled his name and found nothing that supports that kind of interpretation. It's very farfetched.

Eräjorma can ideed be very annoying. But again, I am biased and can't help it. Being in the same guild, raiding together, makes you grow together, almost like a family. Some of our family members can be very annoying, but we tend to overlook it because after all they're... family.

I understand absolutely though that to an outsider he probably appears even more rude than he does to me, since I'm so used to his ways of expressing himself.

Some commenters (no I can't reply to everyone this time, I'm on my way to vacation, sorry!) have mentioned the language barrier as a possible source of the problem. Or at least that it added to it. And yes, I think that too. Eräjorma isn't the man of the nuances, but writing in English definitely doesn't help.

Larísa said...

@All: even if I can't answer every comment indiviudally this time I wanted to add that I appreciate all comments, that you've kept them intelligent, well mannered and civilized. This is NOT a black-and-white issue and I believe that's clear from my post. I'm glad to see both sides of the argument being highlightened so well. There are different ways to see it and valid reasons for them.

I'm a bit at the fence myself, but then... after all he's a guildie. Which isn't really a good argument, I know. But it also tells something about how teambuilding over a long time affects us.

Anyway: thanks all. If you'll insist on keep talking about this post in my absense, go ahead. Just remain calm and civilized and I'm totally happy.

Cheers!

Magma said...

I find it particularly hilarious, all the people here saying, "I worked in so-and-so call center and that GM was extremely rude!" or some variation thereof.

When I work customer service (and still do), my boss told me if anyone tries to treat me like trash I'm free to tell them to fuck off, he doesn't care about their business.

So all of you saying, "It's the Customer Rep's job to not have to deal with it!" Yeah maybe where you work, but not where I work.

Hyacintha said...

I don't want to restate what has already been said (it seems like every possible interpretation has been covered!), but I do have a bit of information to add. Whenever I forward a phishing email to hacks @ blizzard I get a basic auto response acknowledging receipt. What's notable is that it contains this paragraph at the end:

"Please Note:
If your message contains obscenities, abusive, or threatening language directed at our staff, it will be discarded without further action.
Please remember that the people who read emails at this address are working to address and/or resolve the issues submitted to us."

If this policy applies to in-game support also, it seems that GMs might not even be required to answer a ticket that is rude and offensive. This is speculation, of course, but if that's the case then the GM was already going out of his way to try to help Eräjorma. The warning at the beginning of the conversation, whether required by policy or not, seems more cautionary than inflammatory to me.

In any case, it's an unfortunate situation, especially for your guild. My condolences on losing your guildmate as well as all the work the guild put into his Shadowmourne.

Stumps said...

@Magma Hilarious? really? I suggest it might make more sense to consider different situational aspects of Customer Service before branding all forms hilarious that don't tell the customer to "Fuck Off" when they dislike tone or language. Having worked for a high street bank in their fraud dept, you reckon I should be telling victims of £60k fraud where to go simply because they are a little irate? I think not!

Customer service is exactly that...you are there providing a service to the customer and each one is an individual with different ways of reacting under stress. Whether you agree or not, this situation stressed Erajorma out and he didn't react well....the difference is that one person in this duologue was a supposedly paid and trained professional. He didn't act like it. He also paid no heed to the fact that the person he was conversing with wasn't a native English speaker and maybe, just maybe, some cultural and generally correct ways of discussing things in English may not be second nature to non-native speakers. For a company with players all over the world, you'd think this would be at the forefront of their CS reps minds when engaging with someone....especially when they indicate that they are not natively English in their conversation.

The ridiculous thing is "Good Customer Care" doesn't involve a lot of training. Most of it is common sense stuff although we all know how rare a comodity common sense is. It shouldn't need training to tell you that if you are in CS that you'll have to deal with irate customers. It shouldn't need training to tell you that if you condescend to an already irate person, you're going to piss them off - it's akin to hitting a wasps nest with a stick to see what happens and then somehow being surprised and emotionally hurt when you end up in a hospital bed or a coffin!!

Some people don't have the pre-disposition to be good at customer care....it takes a thick skin and an ability to have some self-restraint. Unfortunately jobs in those fields pay peanuts, and you know what you usually get when you pay peanuts!!

Anonymous said...

Reading the chat logs, I thought your guildy was extremely rude. Nobody would be happy if the person you are talking to starts off the conversation with "Be silent".

The more of the chat log I read, the more annoyed I got at Erajorma. The way he spoke to the GM was so rude and condescending that I fully approve of the GM's reaction to him. Hope he learns a lesson from this.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

Seriously... approving of further degradation of a conversation?

I don't approve of either one's actions, but I understand Erajorma and the GM were both upset by the conversation.

Erajorma should have been more civil in his trouble ticket, and the GM should have found a different way of approaching the conversation.

Neither of their actions is excusable, but it is understandable. Neither one deserved ANY of it.

Despite all this, I still see no rudeness in either of them, simply upset people talking.

I've been thinking about it, and for me, unless someone is an ass while NOT being upset, I don't see them as being rude. Rude to me would be the same conversation, except with both parties not being upset. But to be fair, they would not have said any of what they did, without being upset.

Therefore, to me they were not rude. I'm supposing that to everyone else here, rude is any action, despite a person's state of mind.

I don't know if anyone else would agree with me, but that is how I feel. I understand the viewpoint of what others have been saying, and I understand that perception as well.

This is a very interesting situation, that I think, we all agree must happen often, considering the number of players and issues that must crop up.

Anonymous said...

Magma - how many customers do you tell to fuck off daily then? I worked for both a mobile phone company and a health insurance company, and if I'd been free to tell every person who was as rude as Erajorma to fuck off, I'd have alienated at least 20% of my callers every day. People who are happy generally are not the ones calling customer service, after all.

Frankly, I hope I am not a customer of your employer's.

Anonymous said...

Without the first message to the GM that prompted him to start his GM chat with a warning to be less rude, we don't have the full story. Given the player's tone, though, I wouldn't be surprised if it was equally inflammatory and offensive. Just because I go to McDonald's every day and order a big mac doesn't mean that I am entitled to treat the staff like lesser people than I when, one day after 5.5 years of continuous patronage, my big mac tasted terrible one time. If I started yelling at the staff and not calm down they would call the police probably.

Its also so strange he seems to be a "Corporate "Communications Expert". I would never hire him for his expert communication services.

Copra said...

As my real name is Jorma, I'm very offended by Blizzard's decision to include this name into the banned names list. I'd like to see all Dicks, Johns, Johnssons and other real names which have dual meaning in slang banned as well.

Will I ever see that day? Not likely. As well as the total banning of really offensive names and abbreviations in the game.

One more reason for me to ban Blizzard in our household.

One more reason for me to really start looking for another game to play.

Holycrepe said...

Well this post did make me laugh. I'm sorry but it did.
So in English we should be very careful about the name WOODman I guess.

As regards the GM, obviously Blizzard do not train their people very well in customer service.
In my country there is a saying...
'the customer is always right!'

People in customer service postions have to deal with 'difficult' customers all the time. I don't think that the approach shown by this Blizzard representative was particularly diplomatic. What would it have cost the GM to say ..."sorry that you weren't happy with the previous response. I will try to sort this out for you."

As customers we don't want to be friends with GMs we just want them to sort out our in-game issues if possible or help us towards a solution if they can't fix it.

Blizzard seem to becoming increasingly arrogant towards their established customer base, this is a shame and something that will not make some people want to continue subscribing.

And if they think the establish playerbase is rude wait until the non-WoW playing facebookers start raising tickets!

Perdissa said...

I didn't read through what your guildy said to the GM. As far as I'm concerned, the point here is that the GM did not behave professionally.

It is inconcievable that he suddenly stumbled across the fact that your friend's name is mildly offensive in Finnish. It is exactly what it seems like: petty revenge.

If your friend is offensive, there are many ways of dealing with it, such as informing the customer that the conversation can only resume if he calms down and refrain from being abusive. Or even temporarily/ permanently banning the account if it is indeed that terrible. Customer service staff are often given some leeway to ignore or stop responding to abusive customers.

Dealing with it in such a petty manner is a terrible show of inadequate customer service, not to mention a glaring lack of professionalism. Blizzard should be ashamed.

SpiritusRex said...

Long story, short:

Eräjorma was a total dick and should be happy the GM didn't take the full ban-hammer to him.

Customer Service does not mean an employee should be the recipient of a person's petty tirades and abuse. There's a reason it's called the Customer Service department and not the Complaint Department - you call them for service, not to vent your anger. The GM warns your asshat guildy in the first sentences, "Look, I know you're pissed, but what you said in your email was rude and offensive and, if continued in this dialog, will result in trouble for you - clear? Now, what's the problem" Your guildie's response, "be silent."
Now, I'm not familiar with Europe's use of language, but if somebody tells me to "be silent," especially in the opening stages of dialogue, my immediate response, unless it is the Higher Power himself, is to tell them to "Go fuck themselves!"

The moral of the story: When asking for assistance, it is best not to insult and degrade the person from whom you are seeking assistance.

Eräjorma is being a further douchebag by taking out his childishness and pettiness at the only group, it seems, to support him - his guild, insomuch as he is threatening to leave you because he didn't get his way.

Larisa, you know I love and respect you and your blog, so I'll give it to you straight: To me, your guildie presented himself as an immature asshole looking to pick a fight rather than get a solution. Further, if I was the GM to whom he spoke like that, a name change would have been the least of his worries.

Holly said...

I think I'm 50/50. I think....it's more of a middle area.

Your guildie was rude, we also don't know what the ticket said, but I somehow just sense it was filled with swear words and yelling at blizzard in general.

To some people that said 'customer service should go with the 'customer is always right.' I'm not sure I agree here. #1 It would be no giant leap to assume that this guy acts this way to any player that makes him angry, which certainly is negative for them. #2 I'm sure the name change -happened- because of his attitude, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was -wrong.- When it says that it's a nickname for penis, I don't think it's like johnson, but probably more like 'cock.' I think I could almost see how this went. The GM leaned over to a friend/co-worker that spoke finnish and went 'can I get this guy for anything else?' and the finish guy goes 'well his name has the word penis in it.' 'awesome! So name change time.'

Having a name a long time doesn't mean it may not violate the rules. I don't think you're allowed swears in your name, and it -may- be a swear if it means more like 'cock' even if overall it doesn't. A technicality that the GM pushed. Petty? perhaps, but I can't say that I see any outright bullying, just the GM having a bit of cake. Is that necessarily right? No, but it is human. Kind of how when you upset a cop they're likely to press every misdeamenor (sp?) they see on you that they normally would have let slide.

Both sides were wrong to a point, but I can't say that I see -clear- abuse of power, just loophole abuse.

Kattiara said...

Hm. After reading Larísa's post, and squinting through the images of the convo, I was firmly in the camp of, "Wow, your guildie is a TOTAL ass (though yes, that sucks that he lost his name)." After making my way through 70+ comments, I have a bit more sympathy for him (but.. not a lot). I agree that the GM appeared to be somewhat confrontational himself, and that the name change does seem to be a direct consequence to how completely unpleasant Eräjorma was. Not cool at all.

I do think that "be silent" is very rude (though, to Tam's point -- if English is not his native language, perhaps there is a disconnect due to not fully realizing how offensive that can be). I'm also curious what he put in his initial tickets that was so seemingly obnoxious that the GM felt the need to start the convo by attempting to rein him in.

I'm always mildly amazed at the people, like Eräjorma, who think that the best way to approach customer service is to be as rude as possible. While I suppose it can be viewed as a 'squeaky wheel gets the oil' mentality, I can say that from my own experiences working entry level support that, gosh, I loathed those people. And you know what? Even if I never took action in the form of consequences against those that pissed me off, I most certainly didn't feel inclined to go out of my way to help them. The people that were understanding, and patient, and appreciative of my efforts (far and few between as they were) -- those were the ones that I genuinely wanted to help, and felt satisfied after solving their problems. As someone mentioned above, 'don't bite the hand that feeds you.' ..No, really. Really, really.

Lastly, I agree that the name change policy seems to be enforced sporadically and somewhat whimsically at best. I knew someone back in vanilla whose main's name was Peyote for over two years; one day seemingly without any reason, he was contacted and told he needed to change it. He changed it to Blizzislame. To the best of my knowledge, the character is still Blizzislame to this day.

Copra said...

Just a note here: everyone is commenting on the customer service issue and how rude Eräjorma was towards the GM. I can't open the discussion to see what kind of dick he was, how he hung or how he presented his schlong, but I can say this:

If I was told, ingame, that my real name is banned for having a dual meaning in the game, I wouldn't be even that nice towards the GM. Really. And knowing how direct, blunt and inconsiderate we Finns are when we're been wronged, I would most probably been less civilized than I am in my blog posts. Quite a lot, in fact.

However, this decision from Blizzards side informs me that the GM's make their decisions based on very, very slim knowledge and based on feeling. This doesn't sound like professional way of dealing with problems.

Also, no-one has commented on the real issue presented by Larísa:

How would you react if you found out that your real name was banned in the game?

I'm very crossed at the moment, to be honest.

Copra said...

Oh, and just checked. There are 3 Dicks in WoW Armory EU, and 109 Willies. How about them?

Slandyr said...

I'm fully on the side of the GM.

If you get pulled over for any reason by a police officer, you certainly don't give them any attitude.
If you were pulled over for speeding...the officer may have been planning to tell you to be more careful and let you off easy because he wasn't in the mood to write the ticket/do the paperwork. Your bad attitude will most likely change his mind.

It's stupid to disrespect anyone that you're depending on to do something for you. What's worse, all of the communication was text-based. No inflection, no body language. It's possible that Mr. Angry Woodsman took the original GM communication out of context.

One way or another, he got what he deserved.

Any fool with a self-entitlement complex when it comes to their view of what "Customer Service" is absolutely NEEDS to have lessons like these.

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

@Copra

I agree with you. I think not only did the GM act unprofessionally and emo - the same is echoed in half the replies I have read on this page. pretty much everyone in favour of the GM's reaction is reacting very emotionally, there's a lot of sentences like "he got what he deserves" or "if it had been me, he would've got much worse" or "I would hate /hated customers like that" - and thats why all these views to me are very flawed.

it is NOT about you and reacting in such an emo way is exactly what the GM wasn't either: it's not professional. it's being dragged to a personal level as if it had anything to do with you or what you like. this is not the way to judge things objectively, and certainly not the right types of people to work in anything customer care-related.
and I can actually think of more professional branches where the ability to differentiate between yourself and what's being said to you is crucial. no idea how you would work as a policeman or teacher for instance - I guess it's not for you then.

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

small addendum as I cannot edit -

to me it seems a lot of these issues are pride related. in some jobs you are expected to have a higher level of understanding for the distress of the people you are dealing with (guess you could call it longanimity). especially because they are usually already in the inferior position (also applies to GM vs customer and in this case the GM actually lives off the customer too, just like the entire company does). you are specifically schooled for this and you learn techniques to cool a person or situation down - usually the way to do this is to offer them a lot of understanding and to be patient through it.

it's a pretty interesting field imo, a lot of subtle psychology involved. however, if you're the type of person that takes things personal really fast, you won't last. and this was a person sat behind a computer somewhere conversing through the internet...I wonder how he'd do face to face.

Iapetes said...

I'm not someone who has a problem with being a jerk to, you know, idiots or whatever. But the GM was nothing but civil for a long time, and all your guildie did was make it worse. He shouldn't have acted that way, and barring that he should have apologized instead of making it worse. Frankly, I think it's hilarious that the GM 'got him' and technically he didn't really do anything wrong, because technically the name can be considered offensive.

The fact that your guildie can't see he only has himself to blame for being renamed and is going to quit over a problem he created just tells me you should have probably given your shadowmourne to someone who actually deserves it.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year or two now, though I never left a comment.

Until now.

Like many other commenters before me have mentioned, you are a very sweet person, but the fact is this...

Your guildie was one of the most rude people I have ever seen - not in the sense of his language, but how he's treating you guys - his guild.

Now, the GM may be in the wrong here - my opinion is that he is not - but your guildmate could had used the opportunity to be the better man.

And what is he doing? Taking his anger out on you guys; making you guys suffer for his tantrum. It doesn't matter one bit whether he wholly deserved it or not; what mattered is how he's reacting to it.

I strongly suggest that he take some anger management classes, and learn how to be the better man - regardless of who was wrong or right.

--Tali

Anonymous said...

Haven't read the comments yet, so you might already know this, or they might have changed it...

A few years ago, the husband and I levelled to 46 or 47 (a good few months back then, as we toured around) and then, out of the blue, he was told he had to change his name as it counted as a "Real World Reference" on an RP realm.

No discussion, no argument, that was that. Less than impressed, but able to see a little bit where the GM was coming from, we lived with it, and changed it.

Until I got curious. Turns out that that disallowed name was happily available for me to name a shiny new alt. I left that unplayed alt sitting there for months with the disallowed name.

And that was what bothered me. Not so much that he had to change, but that they didn't care enough to block any further use of what they deemed an inappropriate name.

So inappropriate, it was still available to others after we weren't allowed it. What's the point?

If it really bothers your guildmate, I suggest that he (?) tries to name an alt his old name on a regular basis, and once either he can, or he's told that that name is taken, he can make the choice as to if he wants to pay for a name change to get it back.

What a waste of time.

Cozy

Keeva said...

@Copra:

Exhibit A: some guy acting like a complete and utter dick.
Exhibit B: a nearby Finn comments that Erajorma can mean penis.

Not a huge leap for the GMs: "Hmm. This guy is an immature asshole and it wouldn't surprise me if he chose a name with a vague bodypart slang because he thought it was cute or clever."

They have policies against offensive names. If a player or colleague says a name can be offensive, then they investigate and act. It has nothing to do with professionalism, it's just policy.

If you feel offended by the dicks and willies, I would report them. You'll see them disappear soon enough.



@Vigorless Fragmentary:

My response wasn't emotional. I believe the GM acted within his rights, was calm and civil the entire time, and quite possibly went outside his training to try to help Erajorma - when perhaps he should have just closed the ticket entirely (which would have upset Erajorma even further). Despite being calm and civil and trying to help, he was constantly met with abuse.

I believe the opposite of your comment - that the people commenting against the GM are being emotional: outraged at how unprofessional the GM has acted and that he should be sacked, that he acted childishly and out of revenge, and that Blizzard's customer service is so incredibly awful, I might quit the game because it's so atrocious etc. So their arguments can be seen as equally emotional (perhaps even more) and therefore flawed.

A lot of people here think the GM changed his name to be petty and to exact revenge. I see a different story. I see a GM who took advice from another GM - which he would be inclined to listen to, being a colleague - and he then acted within the bounds of Blizzard policy to change the name.

Without the full story, we can't know for sure who was right. I don't think he deserved to lose his name, but to me, that is a separate issue. I don't see it as a "punishment", I see it as a side issue that, unfortunately, he did bring on himself by making himself look like a dick. If the ticket had been short and sweet, the GM probably wouldn't have mentioned it to his colleague, and so he would have been blissfully ignorant of any extremely vague slang meanings (not being Finnish).

Did he choose the name to be immature? No, I believe his meaning. Did he bring the name change on himself? Yep. If he was aware of a vague slang reference, he should have kept his head low if he wanted to keep the name.







@Cozy:

They can't block every single real world reference. All they can do is act on people reporting bad names. Your husband's name must have come up somehow, and had to be changed according to policy.

Unless the name is obscene or fits a massively popular business name (for example), there are no filters to stop you from creating a new character with that name. Some things are blocked, like Starbucks, I know for certain - but they can't block every single real world reference, that would be nuts.

The fact that you left it as an unplayed alt for months doesn't prove anything either - nobody would have noticed it sitting unplayed. It's not until someone reports it that the GMs are made aware, so an unplayed alt will probably never be reported, unless someone stumbles across it in the armory and is feeling malicious.

It's the same with the people leaving comments to say "what about the 500 people named XYZ in the armory?" Simply put, nobody has reported them (yet).

Keeva said...

Seems this isn't an isolated incident of him being rude and disrespectful to Blizzard.

http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13593420288&pageNo=1#0

"You retards decided to put ppls FULL NAMES visible when they're added as friends.

ARE YOU A MENTALLY CHALLENGED?!?!?!

Not only is it huge personal risk (perhaps not for me as im ugly 100kg huge guy, but definetly for kids), but it also violates the agreement by blizzard never to pass on private information given on logins.

Fix it asap or you're looking at multiple lawsuits u !%*%ing idiots! "


Nice!

I am a paying customer so I can be abusive and make threats! The customer is always right!


We still don't know what he original ticket said - but if the above is anything to go by, I'm going to take a stab and say "probably abusive", in which case I think the GM was extremely generous to open it and tell him to simmer down, instead of just putting him on a little holiday from the game.

I think he should look at it this way: his character lost its name, but judging by his pattern of shocking behaviour, he's lucky his entire account didn't get banned.

Copra said...

Just got to read the whole transcript and I'm completely appalled by the unprofessionality of the GM in question. Sure Eräjorma was a bit rude and off the line in the beginning, but I would say that the GM was outright lying by stating that there were two Finnish GM's who stated that Jorma was inappropriate: it's not as it is a normal Finnish name.

@Keeva: if you think that this show of GM powers is appropriate, I have to disagree completely with you. If there really is a policy about abusive names (and against names with real world connection as the anonymous commenter told there), they should ban the names from the character creation straight away, and not submit them to these arbitrary rulings!

The main abuse of GM powers in here was the threat -and act- of putting one name on ban because of the abusive language and obvious misunderstanding in the original ticket issue. Professional attitude was lacking at this point completely.

I'm not saying Eräjorma was acting properly either, but customer service should be able to handle bad customer response in a non-affectedly way despite the initial outburst (a couple of days to respond to a ticket in Blizzard? Not acceptable IMO).

I shouldn't be forced to inform the offensive names: that's the way of communist tyranny. Everyone should follow and inform others misdoings. Which is completely wrong, if there really are policies and lists of abusive names and terms.

Really.

Keeva said...

There *are* blocked names.

But the fact remains that they can't block every single variant of offensive names, especially slang terms.

Try to name your character Penislol and you won't be able to. Call him Peenisslol and you probably will - because the filters can't possibly be programmed with every variant.

And in this case, it was a lesser known slang term - a bit of a stretch - but if it has the potential to be seen as offensive, it will be changed.

Just as someone who is named Willie or Dick in real life might like to use their real name in-game, it doesn't matter how legit it is, if Blizzard wants to stamp out the names that could be seen as offensive, then that's just their policy.

And, unfortunately, they can't put a block on every single leet speak variant or local slang - it's not practical or even possible.

"The main abuse of GM powers in here was the threat -and act- of putting one name on ban because of the abusive language and obvious misunderstanding in the original ticket issue."

There was no threat. The GM didn't say "if you keep acting this way, I'm going to ban your name."

I don't see a power play. I see someone acting like a dick, and a GM making a pretty short leap in thinking that he chose his name to *be* a dick. Unfortunately that is untrue, the name is legit, but I can't say I blame the GM for thinking that way.

Keeva said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the email he wrote to get his name back!

nowiamtree said...

"but hey lets ban it, there's CUNT, it's offensive! .."

Actually, that DOES happen. There's a place in the UK called Scunthorpe. I know for a fact anything with the genuine Scunthorpe has a hard time getting past spam filters...

I don't want to judge this. I've not seen the initial mail, and I therefore don't know how offensive Eräjorma had been in the first place. The GM was obviously going in fully armed, so I'm thinking it wasn't the most polite email, and had deserved them being defensive in the first place. I can also say, having worked in customer services in the past (energy company)that the more offensive an initial mail is, then the more delay people will make in answering it. Not just because they don't want to speak to Nasty Guy, but because they need to have the facts, and possibly someone else sat behind them, in case it gets nastier.

Having said that I don't want to judge it, I have to add people in Customer Services are Real People too. I once sat on a call, taken one minute before I was due to log out and go home, for 45 minutes because the guy I was talking to wouldn't let me go. We had a policy of not being able to hang up unless they were too offensive or a supervisor had to intercede. I was stuck there for 45 minutes with my husband waiting for me all that time, no idea of what was happening, because I was unable to contact him, while this conversation went around in circles no matter HOW hard I tried. The man simply did not want to be helped, he just wanted to moan about something that would have taken 5 minutes to deal with and was the fault of another company. My husband had a minor bump in the car on the way to meet me, and was shakey as hell when I finally got to see him.

I did my best not to be rude, but you can imagine the frustration I was experiencing. How I didn't blow up at the man, I do not know. He was doing nothing but waste both my time and his.

As for the name change, I can only say, it's sad, but had he not behaved that way, chances are they'd not have worried. Also, it's sad to say, but it had the appropriate effect on him. His behaviour changed immediately this was enforced. I saw pretty much the same behaviour in him as I did the man I spoke to in the past. Had I had the ability to break the cycle in the way they did? Well, with my husband waiting outside, I might well have done....

I'm no angel.

Lesson? You catch more flies with honey.

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

@Keeva

one could possibly discuss this to no end and like you said, we do lack some info to fully judge the entire situation.
however, I do not think calling the GM unprofessional is an emotional reaction - not nearly on the level of the reactions I already quoted, like "I would've tell him to f*** off" or "I hate such people" etc. what gives these reactions away is a lot of "I"s and "Me"s and imo thats what makes them flawed.

I judge the GM by what I know about customer care generally and as profession - at least the way it is taught and expected where I live. if you're in the superior position please act like it - this GM didnt. you say he was always civil, yet he begins the entire conversation with a reprimand. maybe not outright uncivil but not very wise either. now maybe this is Blizzard's procedure but there ARE ways to establish a better connection to a heated customer then starting off like this. as I also already mentioned there's techniques how you can de-escalate a situation right away and a professional should imo know how. he failed to do this completely in my eyes.

in the middle of the conversation he even retreats with a comment like "I won't talk anymore unless you better yourself" - lol this is where stark images of kindergarten came to my mind. if anything, like you said yourself, he should've just ended the conversation there, postpone it, whatever. what he did instead is just appaling.

the last point: the name change. unfortunately none of us will really ever know what motivated it. you're certain that out of the blue / by some coincidence there was a finnish colleague right beside him informing him about the name. or even two....
now I would give this at least some credence if we hadn't heard multiple times by now by finnish gamers that this really doesnt apply - that its ridiculous and some of them even got friends named Jorma (or are a Jorma themselves). Larisa has also pointed out that there's almost no evidence for this. I've had 2 finnish guildmates also telling me they'd never think of this name as offensive.
so do you really believe these two work mates of the GM are just total exceptions of the finnish populace? really? this has a very very hard stand.
add to it how abruptly the conversation's topic switched to this issue after the GM was really annoyed.

incomplete evidence as we may have, it is not in the GM's favour.

Zakesh said...

As a former guildmember I can definitly say that even though language might be a slight barrier, Erä was being rude as he always is. And as someone expressed it much better than me, just because he dont think that the person can do anything to him. Its very easy to be rude over the internet and I think this is actually a completly right. A temp ban wouldnt have bothered him the least, atleast the name change actually made him notice that he wasnt untouchable. Though I seriously doubt it will be enough for him to learn how to behave.

Customer Service might have to handle people like this often but that doesnt mean its right. The GM did the right thing and was completly within the rules of his job to do this.

Ron said...

"Be Silent" is in fact very rude. While some may think that "shut up" is more rude, I would consider them about even when it comes to intent.

He was ordering someone that was trying to help him, or at the very least address his ticket as if they were a subordinate. A GM is far from a subordinate in that situation. At best, He and the GM are business colleagues trying their best to resolve a situation. At worst, he was an unhappy customer thats trying to escalate an issue that Blizzard consider's resolved. There are very few situations where treating someone as a subordinate produces good results.

The GM was under no obligation to reopen the previous ticket, at best Era's only hope was that the GM would go out of his/her way to investigate on his behalf.

I understand that Era was angry and felt that he'd been wronged, but going about it in such a childish manner didn't help anything. Then threatening to quit, especially after your entire guild helped you create a legendary? Thats shows his true colors.

My Personal opinion? He went nerd-rage on a GM that didn't deserve it. The GM was informed of the name change, and did what he/she had every right to do. Era then went even more off the deep end and is now trying to take his ball and go home.

Boleuge said...

Since our barkeep is on holiday I'll post the response our guildie got back from the senior gm.

Hello *****,

Thank you for your mail. I am sorry that we took so long to get back to you. Starcraft 2 launch had an effect on all of our response times :(

Firstly; allow me to apologise in the matter your issue was handled. It is with deep regret that we see this type of issue.
We aim to be at the forefront of customer support for online gaming and strive to provide a level of support to match the strength of our products. This occasion highlights that we are, at times, far from this.
We will certainly be investigating the manner in which this was handled further.

Regarding your name; I cornered a Finnish colleague who assured me that your name was perfectly acceptable. so we reverted the name earlier today and removed the warning from your account.
We never change names unless they have been reported by other players and we have verified, so this was an unreasonable and needless name change for which I am again sorry for :/

Hopefully this incident has not tarnished your image of our support and you will feel comfortable coming to us in future with other concerns.

If you require any further help or have any other issues, please feel more than free to get back in touch with us and we will respond as swiftly as possible.


Regards,

Huw
Senior Game Master
Blizzard Entertainment Europe

Ardol said...

How about that! Glad to see that your guild-mate got him name back, though hopefully he'll learn something from this.

Boleuge said...

@Ardol
So do I, I've been on the receiving end of his ire a few times so know to take it with a pinch of salt but anyone not knowing how he is will see it as been extremely rude.

What the senior GM says is also interesting, an offensive name has to be reported by a player for the GMs to take any action, so the whole thing of been told by a fellow GM the name was offensive is really turned on it's head and seems more like petty revenge but also is a great insight for other players incase something similar happens to them, ie they raise a ticket and speak to a GM who then states they find their name offensive, a very good precedent.

Xanthippe said...

There really is no justice in the world.

Vigorless Fragmentary said...

I applaud the senior GM's professional handling of this matter. the reply is exactly what I expect good customer care to sound like. good to see that blizzard is interested in feedback and willing to admit faults of their own staff.
it is also quite interesting to know that the the first GM obviously totally abused his rights to change the player's name. which many here suspected all along.

Keeva said...

"it is also quite interesting to know that the the first GM obviously totally abused his rights to change the player's name. which many here suspected all along."

It doesn't say that at all. It says it will be investigated, and that the name change was needless and unnecessary. There's a difference between doing something wrong, and doing something wrong to be deliberately malicious - and the fact stands that we don't have enough of the story to know which it was.

You can't make the call that the GM "abused" anything. He may simply not have understood that name changes are only supposed to come from player tickets - as I said earlier, if a colleague leans over and says "that guys name means penis" then I don't think it's unreasonable to take his word for it.

People have said that he made it up or whatever.. how on earth could you make up, out of the blue, the fact that it means penis in Finnish if you didn't have a native speaker tell you? A stab in the dark?

I don't think he made it up, I think someone told him. It was unreasonable perhaps, but I don't see how he could possibly have just made it up by himself. Someone has to have told him that vague slang meaning.

Anyway, regardless of where he got that, as others have said, it may be a training issue, and he needs further training in policy - that only players can make these kinds of reports.

Whatever the case, you can't categorically state that he "obviously" abused his power, because we don't have all the facts. Even a senior GM saying that the rename was "unreasonable" does not make it a cut and dried case of abuse of power.

I know that you will continue to claim that it was malice, and I will continue to claim that it was (perhaps through some ignorance) a reasonable call. But the simple fact is, we will never know. Nothing here is "obvious".

It's a shame that Blizzard never tell you the outcomes of tickets, I would have liked to have known the entire story from their side, and what happened in the investigation.

Keeva said...

The reason that I always give people the benefit of the doubt, is because of something that happened to me back when I was 21, working in a jewellery store that had multiple branches.

A gentleman had ordered a watch at one of our other stores, but came into my store to ask whether it had arrived yet. It was about 2 weeks past the date they had told him.

So I called up the store, and spoke to one of the ladies there. I think English wasn't her first language, she was European, but it was a while ago so I'm not sure where from exactly.

Now, it's a bit hard in text, but imagine that I have a very lovely phone manner, which I do, and I said something along the lines of:

"I have Mr So-and-so here, he ordered a watch from your branch about a month ago but it still hasn't arrived - could you please find out what the problem is?"

(said very politely, not accusatory or short or anything)

About 10 minutes later, her manager calls up, and BLASTS me over the phone, saying "NEVER speak to one of my staff members like that again". I actually laughed out loud, because I thought he was trying to stir me up (I'd met him before, nice guy). Then I got confused, because he seemed serious.

The woman had misinterpreted what I said to be aggressive - like "What's the problem?????" and had told her manager that I had been nasty to her. Without getting my side of the story, he just blasted me for it - it was pretty horrible.

I have no doubt that he reassured her that I was totally in the wrong and he would sort everything out.. which helped her feel better, obviously.. a manager isn't going to let something like that slide, if another staffmember barks at you for something. Reasonable for him to apologise to her and calm her like that.

But he didn't have my side of the story. My behaviour was 100% reasonable and (bizarrely) the opposite of what she had told him.

I still can't believe I got screamed at for something so stupid! I was furious at him. But that's a side issue.

Basically my point is: a manager will placate the customer or the wronged party, then go investigate. Or in my case, don't investigate, just fly off the handle..

So regardless of how damning the evidence is against someone, I will always ALWAYS give the other party the benefit of the doubt, because I've been on the receiving end of someone who took sides and blamed someone who was 100% innocent and had only the nicest of intentions.

(I still don't get it, my phone manner is really sweet and polite.. I don't understand how anyone can think I'm being nasty - my only guess is a language breakdown, and she couldn't discern between "could you find out what the problem is" and "what's the bloody problem?!!?!?")

Live and learn.

Still hate that manager though - in hindsight I should have taken it further and reported him for abusing me. Which is kinda the same kind of thing here - he may have thought he was doing the right thing, but obviously needs some more training so that he doesn't treat people badly.

And that's the story of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

What I see here are 2 people who both believe they should hold the position of power in the conversation. Neither person was willing to offer a middle ground, and things got out of hand.

Critism for the GM: it looks like he decided he would push the buttons of the customer before it began. His warnings about being polite (after an initially agressive greeting) were veiled passive agressive attempts to force your guildy to give him all the power in the conversation. From my perspective it sounded like "bow to your GM...peon"

Critisism for the guildy: dude I know you're upset, but you don't have to make a simple CS session into a pissing match. Catch more flies with honey, yada yada

for both: you don't need to 'win' an argument here. Nothing wrong with treating an asshole nicely if your goal is accomplished and that asshole is removed from your life toute suite.

Anonymous said...

I just read your later post, and then this one. I just wanted to say, that many finns (me being one) are very used to the concept "customer is always right". Now, we all know, they always ARE NOT. Without knowing what he wrote in his tickets to the GM, I'm thinking (just based on the chat here) the GM also overreacted.

He felt Eräjorma offended him personally, which I didn't see him do there. He responded in quite an immature manner, and then jumped to a completely different issue altogether with the character's name. That sounds more like a personal vengeance than a real issue with his name.

To be honest, if he did not feel he was appropriately answered by the in-game mail (I rarely feel so myself), and reopened the ticket, that was fine. But to remember there's a person reading the ticket, possibly a different person than previously is very important too.

I don't think either one, Eräjorma or the GM handled that thing too well.

Anonymous said...

his name on armory is back to eräjorma

Anonymous said...

Don't know if it was said already, but you should always be polite to a gm, or someone with a position of power. Also, if you read the eula they point out that you literally own NOTHING in the game, not your name, not your characters, not your items, etc. Frankly, I'm amazed that the gm took it that long from him I'd have slapped a 3-day ban on him at "Be silent" and as the reason in the email it would say "no, you be silent" the name change went a bit far, maybe just a temporary change as a show of force but it would go back after a day or two, accompanied by a strongly worded letter explaining not to screw with someone who can permaban you on the spot and make up an excuse later.

Raj said...

I guess I am the only one based on the comments but I cannot see anything in the linked picture. Well it's not a link i guess but opening it in a new tab did nothing and neither did ctrl+scroll wheel.

Anonymous said...

Click on the words "this link" just above the graphic. And zoom in if you can :)

Anonymous said...

I read a few lines of your loladin. I would not tolerate this asshole for more than two sentences, so serves him right.

Anonymous said...

I'ts interesting reading what people have written about this - it seems that the "be silent" comment can be interpreted very differently depending on where people are from.

For me (I'm from the UK) I find "be silent" to be ruder than "shut up" because in the UK it would always be said in an insulting and condescending way.

Maybe there was a language barrier confusing an already tense conversation.

jaw on floor said...

I see an incredibly rude and foul person being insufferable and terrible to a service person, who told them repeatedly that they were being rude and to stop.

I openly admit that I relished reading his repeated moans of horror when his name was changed. I cannot fathom the depths of the mind that would make someone so appalling in manner and tone to anyone, under any conditions.

I hope you gave him no sympathy and instead only stark words of reprimand when he admitted how disgusting he had behaved and been punished for it. If you've become used to that sort of behavior, maybe he's not the only one who needs a breather from the guild/game.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand how some ppl could possibly try to excuse the usage of the phrase "be silent".
It has NOTHING to do with the "tone" that you of course dont have in a chat. "Be silent" is a rude thing to say, even if you say it to your children, and shushing someone in a conversation doesnt really support your point.
Would you be like "he he, sure man", if the person in front of you says "be silent"? I really really dont think so.

Also, why do people always point out for how many years they have paid for their subscription. It entitles them to NOTHING at all, nothing. The EULA says so, and so does common sense. What is the GM supposed to say? "Oh, youve paid us for 5 years, so I am gonna treat you better!"?
Every customer, whether they paid for 5 years or started 5 hours ago, should be treated equally, and IMO its pointless to mention how long you have been paying for it.

I deal with customer service, and even worked as CS as well, and I would never ever talk to CS like that.
Yeah, his macros got lost, that is really bad, but going "be silent", whining how he has been INSULTED, being rude and offensive? What I learned is that CS usually enforces company agendas. They get told what they CAN do, and what they CANT do, and how to handle the customers (pre-written responses, typical phrases)
Going crazy at a GM/CS doesnt work at all, it will make them even less patient, and I totally understand why they end a conversation if the customer stays rude.
Youre a customer, you get a game, and you get service according to the policies and agenda of Blizzard.
It does not entitle you to go nuts over lost macro codes in a video game, and 5 years of paying entitles you to nothing. If you're rude and impatient like that, I am sure the company will be happer WITHOUT you as a customer. Yes, a company lives from its customers, but other than paying your subscription, you might wanna consider acting as calmly and patient as the GMs/CS do.
Just my opinion though

Anonymous said...

You guys who are sticking up for this GM are patently insane. The customer in this case has spent WELL over $1000 USD with Blizzard, and, rude or not, deserves to have his issue handled in a professional manner.

Trust me, as a customer service rep... I have heard a hell of a lot worse than "Shut the fuck up", much less "be silent". This has NEVER given me any kind of "out" as far as doing my job. You are still required to treat the customer with due respect no matter HOW mad he is, or rude. The most I have ever been allowed to do is inform the customer that he is not allowed to cuss at me (which I never really cared about, anyway).

With some GMs sticking to cut and paste replies that often have nothing at all to do with the issue at hand, it is no wonder at all that it upset the customer further. The fact that the GM came right out and acted as if he was the offended party and wasn't very worried about resolving the issue says it all. We aren't here to kiss their asses. THEY are the customer service reps. WE pay THEM.

Don't get me wrong... I'm not saying that I allow my customers to beat me down, but I damned sure allow for a lot of frustration from my customers. They're not pissed at me. They're mad at the situation. Your JOB, and your ENTIRE REASON FOR EXISTING IN THE JOB, is to turn that frustration into fulfillment. Any good rep knows how to calm a customer down and make them understand that you're there to help them.

This GM from the start acted like it was a personal insult against him that any customer might be unsatisfied or upset. He clearly needs more training.

His customer service level was abysmal.

On top of that, the GM quite obviously expected to be treated as royalty, instead of a representative of a company that requires customers to survive. Many people within Blizzard have been conditioned to believe that individual customers do not matter. He was clearly abusing his position in a retaliatory manner, and he needs to be removed from it until he can be trained to perform it in a more professional manner.

Anonymous said...

After reading this I rather think both sides needed a timeout but I did find the use of dick throughout as slang term for penis quite ironic.

Perfect example of a name having a double meaning. The four Dicks on EU Armory better hope they never run foul of a GM :)

Thorn

Anonymous said...

Mmm, gotta love it when people in a position of authority act so abysmally rude. Yes, Erajorma may have been rude, but it was justified. I have never known any company that has allowed its representatives to have such abysmal customer service relations, aside from Blizzard. On the plus side, it's actually quite easy to take care of, and I have done so 4 times in my three years of play. I seem to have this horrible luck of always encountering the guy who has something wrong going on in his personal life that spreads into his work job (customer service representatives.) At one point, in BC, it actually went so far as that the GM got thoroughly irate at me, which, I was being rude, he had a small right to be slightly more than mildly upset. However, his next action, according to a GM mail 2 weeks later, got him fired. I was having a simple issue in which some item or another wasn't equipping on my character (it was a while ago, i don't remember which, only that it was cloth), and the GM responded that perhaps I should realize that it is not in my armor proficiency. Keep in mind, this is cloth, let alone that I (was) a druid on this character, so, Cloth, which is an armor proficiency AVALIABLE to ALL, was definitely able to be equipped in normal circumstances. Well, as you can imagine, I got a bit outraged, and threw him an insult, mind you, in a language he didn't know. This completely pissed him off, claimed he knew what it meant, which he didn't from the reaction, it's basically another language's version of FFS, and informed me that if he did not receive an apology within 10 minutes, my character would be deleted. Now, I never knew they could actually delete a character that was actively logged in, but it was apparently the case, because I, foolishly, challenged him on it. I took a quick print-screen just beforehand, thankfully. Once I logged back into WoW (client crash), my character was GONE, just gone. I immediately logged into another character, started calling the telephone customer service, and at the same time filed a new ticket. that ticket got tossed to 3 different people, because, amazingly enough, there's no "poor service" ticked-reasoning, and I had to be transferred to someone who could do something. Only problem is, and here's the kicker, somehow this douche managed to not only clear my toon off the live server, but off the backups. After three days, I got a call from Blizz, yes, they do actually call you in extreme circumstances, stating that I had been dealt with "unjustifiably harshly" and that, as a formal apology from Blizz, I had been credited with a new druid, max level (70 at the time), with a full set of t7 in all three specs, since they couldn't find any record of what gear I had had, or what spec I had been using. Just another example of horrible service, this time, thankfully, rectified and followed up with glowing customer service. To bad that my guild thought I was a stark raving lunatic when I told them about it, they had thought I had nerd-raged and quit, as all of this happened during a Gruul's Lair raid, and the deletion actually happened pretty close to the time my OT died.

Milja said...

The ongoing debate about just how rude his "be silent" comment was got me thinking.

It's completely dependant on how good his english is, but in finnish saying "ole hiljaa", that is, "be silent" would be a lot less rude than going "turpa kiinni" tai "shut up".
Just my two cents on the language barrier here.

Anonymous said...

A few things:

1 - your guildie is a self-important arrogant jerk
2 - he is also a moron, since the original mail from Blizzard was correct. the solution to restore macros is easy to find with a simple support forum search.
3 - the GM tired to be civil while the self-important arrogant jerk was having his bout of entitlement
4 - the TOU clearly sets out the vendor's right to decide at any time that a name is inappropriate or offensive and remove it.
5 - i have no sympathy at all for the arrogant jerk. my only regret from reading this is that such a complete dick got to be the one to forge shadowmourne. such a waste.
6 - how could you possibly stand running with a fenderhead like this???

Darren said...

Your guildie is an amazing asshole; rude, condescending, stupid and commanding, constantly demanding to jump over the GM's authority whenever his demands aren't immediately met. I would strongly recommend removing him from the guild before his entitled, selfish and immature behavior pulls it down from within.

The reason why the name was changed is because the guy brought attention to himself with his actions; the GM likely called for backup from another GM, who then noticed that he had a name that might have been obscene.

Honestly, some of the responses in this thread are utterly amazing. I entirely agree that a three-day ban would have been my first response to "be silent".

-Darren MacLennan

Dragonrose said...

Everyone else here already showed my own opinion about the guild-mate's behavior. But as for the GM, I think he acted the only way he could, repeatedly asking a very rude costumer to be civil, even after it was very and absolutey clear that the costumer wasn't going to cooperate.

The name change I felt was a little petty, but if, like some others have said, the GM asked a fellow GM for help and was notified of the "hidden" meaning of the guildie's name, then he had all right to enforce the naming policies and give your guildie a name change.

If it had been me on the GM shoes, I'd have given him a three day chat ban to the "be silent" comment right off. Then I'd have sent him all I knew that could be done about the macros and terminated the ticket.

Also, people that act like your guildie don't DESERVE good costumer support.

Larísa said...

I've had to delete a couple of comments that have come after the WoW.com linkage. Please people. You're welcome to have an opinion. But I don't accept plain rudeness here. If this doesn't stop I'll lock the thread.

Anonymous said...

all you care bears need to grow the fuck up.

try working in a shop and you will see Era was mild compared to some people. you lot need a fucking backbone.

era wasn't rude he as upset.
the gm was not good a customer service.

end of.

oh and the senior Gm even said that he was sorry the way gm acted and gave his full name back so. get off your high horses and fuck off.

<3 era!!

Jarhon said...

Argh, cant believe i lower myself to arguing with these kind of people, but I'll try to keep it simple.

People keep going on and on about who was right and how rude i was in the ticket ect ect. Do little things like FACTS ever bother you people??

I asked the GM to give me contacts where I can report his behavior, he didn't.

I reported his actions with the same screenshotted convo, as here to wowconcerns.

It is a place solely created so ppl can report ABUSIVE GMs. There the matter will be looked over by SENIOR GM a person who is actually a professional customer service representative and knows the rules, regulations, contracts and the business.

This professional concluded that quote "Having viewed all the tickets made in this matter, your frustration was very understandable" and "this was an unreasonable and needless name change for which I am again sorry for :/"

He then continues "We aim to be at the forefront of customer support for online gaming and strive to provide a level of support to match the strength of our products. This occasion highlights that we are, at times, far from this."

And finishes it with "We will certainly be investigating the manner in which this was handled further."

Now lets recap so even the dimmest douche can keep up.

-My frustration was understandable

-The gm abused his powers out of his own whim.

-Blizzard customer service ingame is seriously lacking

-I recieved my name back and a deep apology from senior gm

Now you can you people finally get one thing in your heads.

These aren't my OPINIONS, they are blizzard's professional customer service and senior GM's FACTS.

Anonymous said...

If you are too weak to make the correct destinction between a 'grumpy' attitude and that of a self absorbed, pigheaded jackass then more fool you. He deserved what he got and I believe Blizz's later apology was wrong.

I'll not read this blog again thanks to showing your opinion is worth nothing more than putting up with a moron and making excuses for him. You deserve to keep his horrid attitute towards you and your guildies.

Jessica said...

You know, I think I'm gonna take the unpopular opinion on this one and side with your guildie. He wasn't being THAT use. The GM started the coversation with him with a bias based on his ticket (which, it could have been hours or days since it was submitted, in which case maybe he cooled off by then). Bottom line - he'd come to blizzard with a problem. They did not provide a viable solution the dirt go-around. If I were in his shoes, I would be frustrated as well. I think his frustrations were 100% understandable in regards to the situation.

Not to mention, he wasn't THAT rude to the GM. If the GM hadn't started the conversation off with a threat, he wouldn't have felt attacked or provoked. In my opinion, the gm felt it was his dutyto reprimand his behavior, not solve his issue at hand.

So yeah, everyone saying how rude he was to the GM, in my opinion the GM laid down the atmosphere for the conversation, and the customer is not always right I know all too well, but NO customer needs to be treated like he was. Whe you said your guildie had a temper or could be rude, I was expecting all caps and cursing left and right and I see none of that.

I am personally very glad and happy to see the bame change revoked!

Jessica said...

Please forgive typos, I'm posting from an iPhone -_-

Anonymous said...

hej

as a customer service professional you can never ever show attitude towards a paying customer.
never!

the gm abused a power position in trying to lecture. it's not his job to lecture and neither is it to judge about a customers attitude or anything else but helping the customer with the "game related" problem he has.

all the haters here show that they don't know anything about how you treat a customer, they are just as emotional as the gm and they are even less involved than the gm was.

yeah, eräjorma is a pissy dude sometimes and he's not gonna hide it from you, just that it got nothing to do with this case. hard to get for some obviously

the B

jaw on floor said...

You received an apology because your name was changed. I do not take this as blanket approval of your outrageous behavior, and even if it is, you should consider why people react so poorly to the way you address them. It's not actually because they're all out to get you, it's because you're a lout.

Keith said...

Stumbled on this from google looking for something else but actually read the whole thing for some reason. This is a clear demonstration of the downfall of blizzard, they have gradually shifted from the great and amazing company beloved by every gamer no matter what to a company who no longer needs to care about their fans because they make more money than a third world country's GDP every month. Yes your friend is a dick, but that isn't the point back during vanilla a GM would've just ignored him or made a joke out of his insulting manner and general grumpyness. They don't care about a 5.5 year veteran of their game because 1) they already have your money/soul 2) they dont have to 3) no one will stop playing WoW because it is bad now and blizzard sucks in the same way that no one will stop smoking crack because it takes more for them to get high now.

Cap'n John said...

I cannot imagine the teasing that all of these guys and all of these guys must have got while growing up.