Managing Staff Expectations

  • Hey everyone,

    With this huge surge of new players joining/old players returning, I just wanted to make a post here to manage your expectations of our staff, and this project in general. I'll give you guys some examples with hard numbers so you get an idea of what we're looking at here. I need you all to understand that we are not a gaming company, we are just regular people like you maintaining and improving this game. All our staff are just player volunteers. We don't have a budget, we don't have offices, we don't have steady income, we are literally just players like you using our free time to support the game. DBOG does not make us tens of thousands, or even thousands of dollars. It generates enough income to cover server costs and sometimes enough to pay the artists, and if we're really lucky a little extra that I store away to help players in need.

    We all have jobs, families, school, and lives to attend to outside of DBOG. Please take that into consideration when you are a little frustrated that we haven't taken care of your ticket within 4 hours of it being posted. Every ticket is different, and some tickets are prioritized higher than others. That's just how the system works. I'll give an example of a high priority ticket, a medium priority ticket, and a low priority ticket, just so you can get some idea of what I'm talking about here.

    • High Priority Tickets: Server is down, website is down, duplication bug, infinite resource bug, etc. Anything that threatens the health of the entire server or community. Things that prevent everyone from playing or endanger everyone's experience.
    • Medium Priority Tickets: Finding player accounts, password resets, hacked accounts, bugged/stuck players that need a DC or a server reset, unusual recipe or inventory bugs, bots, general bug reports, etc. Things that prevent one player from playing or endanger one player's experience.
    • Low Priority Tickets: Missing budokai auras, claims of missing items, player reports, scams, account sharing or farming disputes, accidental salvages, too many items in the cash shop, UI bugs, etc. Things that inconvenience the experience of one player.

    The reason these tickets are rated the way they are is based on the time they would take to fix, and the ratio of staff resources spent to overall server benefit. For example, if there's a duplication bug, it has an extremely high benefit ratio, because no matter how much staff time I spend on it, the value of fixing that bug and preserving the integrity of the server is limitless. It also requires very little discussion to be had, so I can get straight to work on it, and work until it is fixed. Conversely, something like an account sharing dispute will consume a lot of staff time, for very little overall benefit for players who are not the ones having the dispute. Staff are all in different timezones, which means I have to ping everyone, lay out the situation, investigate the claims as best I can using log data, give staff possible options for fixes, and we then wait and when everyone is informed, we vote. The amount of staff resources required is taken into account when I decide which tickets need to be worked first.

    There is also the matter of GM/Mod power vs my power. In order to protect your privacy and the integrity of the server, there are things that only I can do. I'm the only one that can do thorough bot investigations for example, because I'm the only one that can see IP logs and other sensitive data like that. I'm the only one that can give out titles or spawn items, to prevent possible staff abuse. I can't give out titles or spawn items without a full staff vote approving it, to prevent me from abusing those powers, as well. I'm telling you these things because I want you to understand that as we've grown, we had to grow these policies and systems to maintain order and organization. Things aren't like they were 2 years ago when there were 15 players online and you guys could directly message me and I could immediately take care of your issue, no matter how much I may want to.

    The scale and scope of the things we're working on has become more complex over time, so we need these systems to keep everything from descending into chaos. Speaking of chaos, I want to now give you guys some numbers so you can know what we're looking at. I get over a thousand discord messages a day from players, and answer them all. There are questions, memes, rage, reports, suggestions, everything. It's great that you guys can get to me, but a significant portion of these are turning into direct reports that need to be tickets. At least 50 of my unread messages this morning were reports that should have been ticket submissions, and questions about existing tickets. Here are a few reasons why we try to funnel you guys to the ticket system:

    • It's organized. It gives us a list of who needs what when, and how long they've been waiting. We can look through it faster than discord messages.
    • It protects your privacy. The ticket system isn't accessible by all staff, so it's a bit more secure than just messaging a random staff member.
    • We can see how many have been solved, and how many are pending, to judge if we need more GM's/need to be spending more time on tickets each day.

    Any significant amount of time I spend doing something other than just handling tickets, the pending ticket count is going to go up, because of the tickets only I can solve. We currently have around 200 pending tickets, and for the past month the GM's and I have been whittling it down to that number from something much, much higher. The reason it got so high is because I was working on those huge updates earlier this year, and didn't have the time to stay on top of anything but the most critical tickets. Try to keep these things in mind when you are asking us about your ticket. We are working as fast as we can, believe me, there's a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into maintaining this level of quality for you guys, for free.

    We understand that it can be frustrating to have to wait for your ticket. I'm looking into solutions to safely ease some of the restrictions on staff power we put in place at the end of the Daneos era when staff were just generating items and titles 24/7 for themselves and players. We've also created new systems like the PvP and Trade ban systems to help more easily sort through some of these tickets that may not have quite a clear answer. Please just try to keep in mind that we're humans, we eat and sleep and get cranky just like you. Try to keep in mind that even though a ticket might seem fast or obvious, behind the scenes it could be the 100th ticket in line, and I might be running around with my hair on fire fixing a critical bug. Try to keep in mind that even though there's a solution that could work quickly for you, to keep ourselves accountable we have staff discussions and votes, and we have to consider things like setting an unhealthy precedent for the game going forward.

    As always, we love you guys and we're working on great things, and excited to be here. Thank you so much for playing and supporting us, it's a great privilege and opportunity to make and play games with all of you.


    Edit: Also, don't stress too much about the "average response time" counter at the top of the ticket system. It's high right now because we've been responding to/clearing out tickets that are 2 years old that players never responded to us on, so it's higher than normal. Average ticket response is usually less than a day.

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