Tyrence wrote:Hi Lindelu,
You may not know me but I'm the current lead developer for Budabot (an AO org bot/raidbot). A little over a year ago, I was permanently banned from AO. The details of why I was banned were never made known to me by Funcom, but as far as I know I did nothing to deserve a ban.
Due to the timing of the ban, and the GM who was responsible for the ban unwilling to tell me what I was banned for, and several other circumstances surrounding the ban, I have a suspicion that someone with some pull with this particular GM had him ban me. Of course, I cannot prove this.
Anyway, I know you are busy as the new Game Director, but I would really appreciate it if you could look into this for me.
Have you tried emailing email@example.com recently and asked for a review/reason of your ban?
Please try this first, they should be able to give you a reason for your ban.
Let me know how it goes.
Apparently she has quite a bit more faith in firstname.lastname@example.org than I do. But she wasn't really willing to put any actual effort into what I was saying. So I persisted:
Tyrence wrote:Yeah, and the customer service one--they wouldn't even reply. I would really appreciate it if you could look into it. I have exhausted all other resources. Even if you don't review my ban, I hope that you would do something to improve the customer service for AO, including the GM actions. Being on that side of the player-business relationship, I think you probably don't see a lot of what goes on...
She didn't reply to that for several weeks when she finally replied with:
Lindelu wrote:Hi, did you get a reply from customer service yet?
At this point, I was a little ticked. She had put absolutely NO effort into looking into my situation and she still didn't think there was any problems with customer service in AO. So I laid it out for her:
Tyrence wrote:No, I did not, and to be straight about it, I am so done with this. I was banned over a year ago. You guys refused to explain why I was banned. You refused to justify the ban. You refused to have the ban looked at by someone else. So now almost a year and a half later you tell me that I should email "support" as if this is standard operating procedure. That is telling.
I had several people, who had access, look into my situation to verify that it was in fact a bogus ban without justifiable proof and that is the only reason I know the "reason" that I was banned. Out of respect for them and for their positions I left them out of it. But I know that the GM that banned me abused his power when he did so; there was no legitimate right to do it. More importantly, I did absolutely NOTHING to deserve a ban.
For a long time I continued to develop Budabot even after I was banned because I loved the community and players in this game. We engaged the community and brought them together, much more than FC ever has. Much more than FC ever could. I don't deny that this was an awesome experience for me and I got to meet a lot of people. However, all of this was temporary and with the hope that FC would eventually change.
But FC hasn't changed. If I wanted an email telling me why my unjustifiable ban was "justified" then I would not have bothered contacting you at all. I contacted you because I hoped that you would be different than the Game Director before you. And although I appreciate that you took time to reply, what I wanted was action. I wanted a change. Not just for me, but for all the other people who have been wronged by GM actions over the years, and there are lots. I realize that this is a problem you inherited and probably not one you created. But you have failed to act. You have failed to even move. And for that I have lost a lot of respect for you.
I have decided to stop developing Budabot because I have lost all hope that FC will ever change. Maybe, if you are lucky, another person who is more accepting of your policies will pick up where we left off...
She replies and tries to be diplomatic, but she starts off with what is probably a lie and that does not make me happy at all:
The reason I asked you to send an email to account@ is because I have no access to account details myself, and normally you should get this info from them.
I don't know you or the reason for your ban, but I will investigate your situation, and see if something in our policy/processes should be improved.
I'm sorry you have lost your respect for me.
I showed my friend the email and with my friend's help we quickly call her out on it:
My friend told me you should very much indeed have access to this information. In fact, anyone in CS can, according to him/her. He/she advises you to open the customer support panel, look up the Account Notes for character "Tyrence" and look for a note that says "Suspension". The reason is below. I will save you the trouble and just tell you that it says that my account was "hacked" (which is completely false). Apparently that was justification for banning all of my play accounts, but suspiciously none of the bot accounts.
And as I've said several times now, I emailed support many times, they only replied twice, and all they would say either time was that my account was closed due to "unauthorized activities".
Btw, I find it unlikely that you don't know how to use the customer support panel. I will give you the benefit of the doubt, but if I find out you lied to me, I cannot even express how displeased I would be. If that is the case, I would just prefer that you not message me again.
All I can do is smile as I picture her reading that. Anyway, her last message:
Lindelu wrote:Hello again,
I'm sorry to inform you that your account is not eligible for reopening due to the reason you were formerly given from customer service.
I appreciate you taking the time to discuss it with me.
And my final reply:
Tyrence wrote:You gave me misleading information. And I called you out on that. Then your tone abruptly changes and you switch to passive voice. That says a lot about your personality and your aversion to responsibility. But it was already pretty clear, even from your first message, that you were not willing to actually do anything or even look into this.
I had hoped that after the stagnation that Means left this project in that Funcom had learned not to hire players and instead hire a qualified Project Manager to lead the project but that is certainly not the case now. Maybe I am wrong about you and maybe one day you will fill the shoes of the title that you hold, but that day is not today.
Take from that what you will. But as I said in the email, she basically distanced herself and Funcom from their actions and their responsibility to fix it. This is one of my big complaints of how Funcom does things by the way. Their GMs are not held accountable for the things they do, on the forums, in game, or otherwise. There is a thread on the forums where I discuss this with Kintaii and he basically says that GMs shouldn't be held accountable and that you shouldn't even be able to know which GM you are talking to/dealing with. FC seems to think this is the best policy.
I have known for a little while now, for certain, that I was banned for reasons other than the explanation they gave or even than the reason listed in my account notes. If they unbanned me, they would have to admit that that the GM banned me wrongly. And if it happened once, it's happened more than once. But based on their constant refusal that GMs are ever biased, their policy to never discuss GM actions in the forums or elsewhere, their general view of customers as guilty until proven innocent, and these messages from Lindelu, they are not ready to do that yet.
I share this with you for two reasons. 1) I think some people don't realize there is a problem or how bad it is. And 2) I think too many people just accept things the way they are, instead standing up, having a voice, and making a difference. I think if enough people would tell Funcom that they were fed up with the current situation, they would be forced to changed. My challenge to all of you is to stand up and make a difference. Not just with Funcom, or even online, but anywhere you see a problem, be the catalyst that starts the change.