Are game masters picking easier tickets first?

Game masters“You have been chosen to fill out a survey”. That is the text you see after every time you open a ticket and it gets a response – whether the response is just an in-game mail or chat with them. “Chosen” in that light is rather weird anyway, but that isn’t an issue I wanted to discuss.

I’ve filed quite a few tickets these last couple of months – from speedhack users to battleground bots, from abusive players to quest and world bugs. And I think I have noticed a weird trend – I may not be right about this, though.

“Easier” tickets are picked up far quicker than harder ones. For example, battleground bot report was “Queue 6h 42 min”, but in reality GM talked with me in less than 45 minutes. A quest issue – reported queue about 2h, 4h later I log out – to find in-game mail response next afternoon. Similar queue bumps/drops have happened quite a few times.

It may be that they are handled differently – a bot in the battleground gets a higher priority than issue with a quest – but I am not sure. This has happened with too varied ticket types.

I wonder if there are two reasons, actually.

Firstly, the human dimension. Simpler issues take less time to handle – and as a result, you’ll get more tickets done per shift. This will look good to your supervisor – “Good work, Tim! 316 tickets today, while Thomas did only 167! You are in hotline for a promotion!”.

Secondly, GM can handle small issue quickly and satisfy you, the player, easily in the process. Which means you are more prone to give good marks to him/her in the survey. But a quest or dungeon bug cannot be handled by GM – he will have to do a bug report the bugtracker, it gets verified by a tester, ticket is assigned to the programmers, who will eventually do a server hotfix, or in worst case, fix will have to wait until the next patch comes out.

So the player will not get a quick fix for an issue – which means worse grades in the survey. Which will add up – and I suspect the survey is used in GM evaluations quite a lot. That is only normal, Blizzard wants us to be happy with GM’s. Why else do you think they are required to ask in the end “Can I help you with something else?”

Don’t be too hard on GM’s, though – they are doing a fairly thankless and low-paid job. Sure, they are glamorous for us players – blue clothes, special GM skills, spells, weapons, GM island, power over us and so forth. But in many ways, it is a dead-end job. Maybe one out of eight will be promoted to a supervisor, one out of sixty to a shift manager. Some will become in-house testers. But that is it. GM won’t become, say, a designer or programmer. In many ways, GM job could be compared to a job in the fast food chain…

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