Thursday, 31 March 2011

Another day in the life of a Game Master

leprachaun2A continuation of this post the second in the series of my friendly chat with one of those shadowy figures who occasionally appear and solve all of your problems, if only real life had a submit ticket button….

Mystic: We’ve talked a little about your interaction with players, do you, or your colleagues, ever receive much feedback from WOW players?

GM: Well I can't really comment on others but I know I have popped up on a few sites for either what I have said, what I have done, and in some cases just someone wanting to shoot me some praise to the bosses. You can never tell when someone will take a screenie and then you are [in]famous on WOWbash or the forums.

Mystic: What’s the strangest, funniest, and most bizarre things you’ve had to deal with?

GM: Jees, where to start! I've seen it all from bosses who would not die, players stuck in things which boggles the mind as to how they got there, but the one that would stand out most from my time would be a Gnome who had a strange thing happen every time he logged in: I picked up a ticket which instantly made me go “ya right, no way, this could be going on!”  
The player was online so I popped in-game and asked him to show me what was going on...sure enough the player logged out and came back in quite fast; and there it was plain as day for even me to see! What was it you might ask...well the player would log out with brown hair and some facial hair....come back in with a pink mullet and his face would be totally new! EVERY time he did this he would have a new face / hair. We all laughed our asses off at that one, thankfully the player saw the funny side too. Anything can happen in this game and sometimes when it goes wrong it brings out a laugh or two.

Mystic: Enough about us mere mortals, lets talk about you; what are the best and worst points of being a GM?

GM: The best part would be getting to help someone who really needs it at the time. It's great to know you that someone who has come to you for help has gone away smiling and their issue sold.
Worst parts come in as the opposite of above; when you have done all you can and things just don't pan out the way you wanted. Such things can ruin the customers day and also yours when you know there is just not enough there to help. [doesn’t it just make you sick – Mystic]

Mystic Are there any perks to the roll?

GM: There are a few yup! Some nice pets, early access to beta releases of games, Previews and the chance to meet some really cool figures who are high up like DEVs etc.

Mystic: Has being a GM had any impact on how you play the game, has it affected your enjoyment at all?

GM: Yes it has in a few ways. The main one is an inability to switch your brain off while in game [as a player]. Every chat line, every moan, sick joke or flippant remark is scanned and you are mentally taking action and planning what you will do. Coming home from a long shift and then logging in to relax and play is very hard.
Now don't get me wrong, I still love the game and enjoy it but sometimes you just look at the screen, see some crap kicking off and you just say 'meh' and log right back out.

Mystic: Do you generally tell friends in game that you're a GM, and why do you / don't you?

GM: I do tell people what I do who are in the guild or close friends, but these are people I have played with for years and I know I can trust. The whole thing is it is a very touchy subject.
I'll put it to your readers [reader, I still don’t think it’s plural – Mystic] this way. Guild 'Awesome Sauce' is kicking ass in raids and is one of the best raiding guilds on the 'EU-WOWnub’ server. Now, people get wind that there is a GM in that guild. People come up with the idea that the GM is giving them extra items and using his powers to kill the bosses fast for them. The guild begins to get a crappy name and then someone decides to name the GM. The GM then gets whisper upon whisper and is forced to leave the server and Blizz are forced to disband 'Awesome Sauce' due to the GM being named.
Telling people can be dangerous not only for the GM but also his guild. It only takes one spanner to ruin it for a large amount of people. This is why I only tell people I trust, as I know they will not screw me, or the guild over. And just in case people are I am not in a guild called Awesome Sauce, I’ve made it up for the example, so don't bother looking. [I’ve just checked, there are loads of Awesome Sauce guilds out there, but not on the WOWnub server… I’m not even convinced it’s a real server…. Mystic]

Mystic, so we’ve talked about the players, we’ve talked about you, lets switch tack again and talk about me….  From personal experience, and it’s one of my little gripes, there seems to have been a big influx of gold sellers in game spamming trade and general channels recently. Why do Blizz see Gold sellers as a problem (I know the answer but I want you to tell me ) What is Blizz doing to stop this? Is there anything the community can do to help?

GM: Well the main issue with this is that it can destroy a servers economy. If everyone has 1000000g, you start to see hyper-inflation [ok I reworded the bit about hyperinflation – mystic] the simplest items begin to cost stupid amounts, which forces new or honest players out as they simply can not buy anything. Blizz are very active on putting the smack down on these guys. If they are in game, just right click the name and hit report spam. Once this happens it lets the GM team know and then they go bye bye via the ban hammer!
As for what the community can do they can do the report spam action above and of course do not buy gold. Read this line carefully folks then read it again, WE SEE ALL. When we catch people doing this there is no mercy. You can have your account banned and the gold will be removed which means you can not buy that item you wanted, plus you are out of pocket on your real cash which you spent to buy the gold. Be smart and work for your money, it's better to work for your items and earn them fairly

Mystic: on a similar vein, as someone who’s suffered in the past from key loggers, account security seems to have been a big issue at points over the history of WOW, what tips can you give to people to avoid having their account compromised?

GM: Yes it is! Now I know a lot of people already know this but I’d like to stress account security is the players responsibility! It is up to you to secure your account, just as you can’t really blame the police when you get burgled if you’ve left the front door open with a big neon sign saying “out to lunch”, you can’t expect Blizzard pick up the pieces if you go posting your account password on Facebook.  No one is going to hold your hand on this one! here are a few tips:
1) DO NOT SHARE YOUR ACCOUNT! I can’t stress this highly enough, giving your personal login details to anyone is a security risk, even if you trust them, they are unlikely to hold your private data in as high esteem as you do.
2) Get an authenticator – this makes the account 99.99% un-hackable. [ahem possibly ahem – Mystic]
3) Be smart and do not go to stupid sites such as – this links to gold sellers, they often obtain gold through these means, and will have no qualms about taking your money from you and then stealing your account details to take gold off you 5 minutes later
4) Same as number one
5) Scan anything you download to avoid Key loggers...AVG free FTW!! [other virus guards are also available – Mystic] 
I've had my account for 5 years now and followed those steps. To date I've never any troubles.

Mystic: well that’s about it, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions on behalf of me and my reader, is there anything else you’d like to mention? [hoping he doesn’t go off on another Blizz corporate-gush  – Mystic]

GM:I guess what I would like anyone who maybe reading this to take away is GMs are here to help, are human, and are generally gamers too just like you. People think we are here to just thank for reports etc. but that is not the case. Every one of us on the other end of those in game whispers are players at heart, it's how we got the job! If we can help you in anyway we will, but if we can't it's not because we don't want to, it's more of case we are missing something vital. Treat us in the way you would want to be treated if the shoe were on the other foot [or hoof – Mystic] and we will all get along just fine!
As a closing note I'd like to thank you for the questions and I hope this shines a bit of light on the subject.  Have fun guys and I hope you all enjoy WOW for now and in years to come!

And that’s it for the moment, if you’ve any more questions for our friendly leprechaun then please let me know and I’ll pump him for information next time there’s a rainbow.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Mystic. (You've got more readers than you might suspect.) :D

  2. Thanks Ama, how do you know you aren't my one and only regular reader? :)

  3. :-D GMs are human after all....who would of thought!! Thanks for the post.

  4. I think it's really neat that you seemed to give a voice to a part of the game that not many of us get to see. It is hard to remember that the GMs are people to and that they may find some rules to be kind of silly or have other opinions other than the ones they are required to have, as Blizzard employees.

    This was a great read and I really haven't seen anything like this done before. Very cool!

  5. Cheers O, coming from the author of one of the blogs which inspired me to start my own that means a lot to me

  6. That's insanely kind of you! Thank you very much.

    I'll definitely have to start Following you on Twitter to keep up with what you have going on here.

    Take care and have a great weekend!