World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor Issues Prove Customer Service's Value

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

World of Warcraft's Warlords of Draenor Issues Prove Customer Service's Value

While there has been much speculation of the World of Warcraft of late, with some believing that it's only a matter of time before this long-lived game finally goes the way of the dodo and others believing that those people are quite literally full of it (here carefully not defining just what “it” is, noting only that there is plenty involved), it's clear that this game will be carrying on for some time. Recent issues hit the franchise with the rise of its newest expansion, Warlords of Draenor, and that lent some ammo to the “franchise is doomed” side of the equation. However, Blizzard's response is one that illustrates the value of customer service very nicely, and how a little expense today can prevent a lot of headache later.

Not surprisingly, when Warlords of Draenor hit, there was a rush to get in on the action. Equally not surprisingly, this rush led to a lot of traffic and slowdowns and queues and the like. Reports suggested that those who even managed to get in found the game almost unplayable. But Blizzard's producer, J. Allen Brack, hit the message boards early and often to not only apologize for the server issues, but also explain what Blizzard was doing to fix the issues. That's a pretty good response, but it's actually overmastered by one even better response: five free days for players in the Americas, the Oceania area—Australia and the Pacific islands—and Europe.

Brack hit the World of Warcraft forum with a message of unfettered apology, saying “I also hope you’ll accept my apology and keep your faith in us. The support voiced by many of you as we worked through the challenges was immensely appreciated. We’re extremely grateful to be part of such a passionate community. We love World of Warcraft, and we’re very proud of this expansion, so stumbling out of the gate like this was very disappointing for all of us.” Blizzard also filled the community in on plans to add servers, and continue doing that which had already been shown to step up availability.

This is a perfect—actually, I think it may well be perfect—example of how to address a customer service issue. Yes, there's an apology in here, and that's just necessary any more, but apologies are used so often that they often fall flat. It's easy to hear “We're sorry” and think of that scene from South Park's “Coon 2: Hindsight” episode where the head of the oil company is posing in various situations and just repeating “We're sorry” in a voice that's actually just this side of creepy. But add on to that a clear plan to fix the problem, and suddenly, that apology looks a lot better. Add in the free game time to make up for the lack and it's hard to see how anyone could have an issue with Blizzard after this.

Granted, there will always be some who remain offended even after such gestures, but here, it looks like this is why Blizzard's long-running game is staying on top. They're acknowledging problems, they're working to clear up problems, they're offering compensation, and they're being about as transparent about it all as is possible. This is the kind of thing that keeps gamers around for some time, and will likely go a long way in terms of keeping those gamers around.

Featured Events