First thing is first. @Dallas. You need to re-think how you do your marketing updates. Keep your marketing updates under 102KB so that popular hosted E-Mail services like Google don’t cut them off. I’ve been missing some news from time to time and I am guessing many others are also. Everyone should look for the following advice at the end of SotA updates so that you don’t miss them. On the other hand, Portalarium you do seem to have a nasty little habbit of hiding the bad news at the end of the messages… #tinfoil
Click: View entire message to read the full marketing flyer for SotA.
Now on with the show; Portalarium have just recently taken easily their best and arguably one of their only customer facing services left and have completely buried it. If you haven’t noticed, Shroud of the Avatar is suffering from an exodus of current community members, even highly noticed and productive members like Blake Blackstone and The Mad Hermit are on their way out. Thanks Envy.
Here is the text from the update:
Account Services Vouchers
For a very long time now, since before our Kickstarter ended, we have endeavored to satisfy, at no charge, each and every one of our backers’ Account Services requests. As time has gone by, the number of requests for Account Services has grown. Most of these requests have not been related to account or purchasing issues, but pledge transfers and converting add-ons into store credits.
To accommodate these requests, we have been spending an ever growing amount of backer money to devote more resources to support these efforts. We do not consider this the best use of backer’s funds, so we will no longer be performing these types of requests without some way to fund these elective account services.
Effective immediately, Account Service requests may require at least one Service Voucher, including, but not limited to, the transfer between accounts, or conversion to Store Credits, of pledges, Add-on items, or Player Owned Towns. The voucher will be considered redeemed and removed from your account upon completion of the Account Services request.
Service Vouchers can be purchased in the Game Services Store with new funds only (not Store Credit). You will be notified if your service request requires more than one Service Voucher.
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about whether a Service Voucher is needed for your service request.
I am all for saving “backer dollars,” however this is also a mess they have created all by themselves. This mess has been created through the ineffective customer engagement, the inability for devs to live up to their pledge tier rewards, lack of updates in Dev+, their stranglehold on the information presented on the forum, the RF/F/B account split/melt/merge fiasco, the– I’ll stop, I can go on for a week on all the things they have done to either directly and indirectly cause these issues.
Customer service at Portalarium no longer really exists in my opinion. Standard things you should have done for you, no matter where the money comes from, are the cost of business. If you are spending too much money servicing the sale of your member’s accounts, thanks Blake Blackstone, then you are doing something wrong for your members! Simple as that and pretty easy to grasp I would have thought.
There is one exception to this rule, high-level and Whale backers as illustrated on the image above. Not only do they get one on one personal time with the Shroud of the Avatar Developers via E-Mail, Phone, and Forum messaging, they get it in person. To get good customer service at Portalarium you will be spending around $5,000 at a minimum, and then even so is no guarantee. Just look at Blake’s case where 40-60k got him nothing but a sign on a door that said Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You. Hmm, wonder why they are all too busy to deal with us plebs huh?
So what will these account service vouchers cost you? $25! Most mobs like Riot, Nexon, and even the Devil itself, Electronic Arts, allow you to do these things with earned account credit from within the game. But not Shroud of the Avatar ladies and gentleman, they are blazing a trail, right through your wallet. You don’t agree, you think I’m over reacting? I’m not done yet! Click the vouchers, dare you, they tell you that they will get in touch with you if your request will take MORE THAN ONE VOUCHER! What a joke.
Cash must be pretty low indeed for them to be doing this to us all. We know they already have dedicated people working on this, for free, so why the change? Again, a complete lack of foresight as most of this stuff should have been automated anyway. Why can’t their store figure out that you just liquidated a $50 dollar yule tree and turn it into store credit? They have someone at a keyboard doing that? Come on!
It probably isn’t even that really, the reports on the forum and reports relayed to me from people who have sold their accounts have indicated an excellent turn around. There seems to be no lag involved in processing these requests. So with that information on hand and my Transparent Aluminium hat I mandate that it is just another dirty fundraising scheme.
Welcome to Shop of the Avatar.
Austin; We have a problem. Themo Lock. You may not know this, but just as enderandrew is chatty, so too is Themo Lock. Themo Lock has been hand picked by Portalarium to assist in “top secret” Developer combat testing. So top secret, the development build isn’t even running the stuff Themo and company are testing and the results are kept very closely to Chris, Dev+ gets no access to this.
Again the same questions persist with this, why Themo Lock? What qualifies him, how was he selected, why wasn’t the community at large given an opportunity to ante up their skills? Well I think we’re playing onto the Whale Card now.
Themo Lock is beyond question a Whale. Themo Lock is a multiple Player Town buy in Whale, and he is running a guild with at least one other multiple Player Town buy in Whale; “Duchess” Wyldemane. So, that is one guild, two people, four Player Towns at the very minimum so you can now see what we’re dealing with is Whaling at its finest.
So, with the full backing of Portalarium behind himself, Themo Lock is growing quite a big ego. He is the man of the hour, he has Chris’ ear, he knows a lot more due to that about the combat system than any other backer. I can understand it, but I cannot agree with it. Have a look at some of the recent quotes from Themo Lock on the Shroud of the Avatar forum where he taunts his insider combat system knowledge:
“Wow… you seriously have never tested anything.”
“What he have to understand is that Drocis does not play and has no idea what is going on.”
“It’s not an insult it is a fact followed by an opinion. Go back to spamming your backseat play testing or actually log in and do something yourself.”
“I actually don’t care, i am so disgusted with you at the moment that it is worth a ban to tell you to go fuck yourself.”
– Themo Lock
There you have it folks. At least four personal attacks on a single forum user, Baron Drocis Fondorlatos, in the span of just a few hours and including language far in excess of what that forum rules allow for. I don’t think I will bother linking the treads, they are sure to be cleaned up or deleted(EDIT: Yes it was moderated download the un-moderated version in the Shroud Unlimited Vault). I’ll upload the PDFs when they are. Here are a few pics:
Themo Lock is not alone in his Whaling, he and other high level backer Whales are constantly trolling and chasing others out of the forum still. How will Portalarium deal with this problem? How will they deal with their hand picked combat tester now that he has gone off the reservation? Do you think they will treat someone like him with the same offhanded disrespect they show the rest of us?
History says, no, they will not. Some of my alternates were banned for less than that. Reports on the Shroud Unlimited Forum from others have said the F word got them banned instantly. We are not all equal on the Shroud of the Avatar forum in the eyes of Portalarium and other backers a like, we are the sum of only what we have donated.
If Portalarium wish to succeed they WILL have to deal with this Whale problem, they are chasing away the smaller fish and they are going to lose money if they don’t. The only question is, does that actually bother them and is that a roadblock to their goals?