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Age of Conan: Q&A With Jorgen Tharaldsen

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

Recently, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to send eight questions over to Jorgen Tharaldsen at Funcom. In those questions, Tharaldsen addresses instances, CS and more.

Some members are complaining that dealing with customer support has been frustrating, and help comes late and sometimes not at all. Can you speak to this?

Jorgen Tharaldsen

We have been known to give some of the best customer services in the MMO industry for years, and while we are striving to meet the same standards for Age of Conan as soon as possible we are not there yet. The reason for this is naturally the sheer amount of people who is playing the game right now, and while we staffed up significantly for the Conan launch it wasn't enough for what we are now facing. We are actively staffing up as fast as we can in order to reduce the waiting times, and get back to our standard of being among the best, which is always our goal.

Check out the whole Q&A here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • Falc410Falc410 ZornedingPosts: 17Member

    Well it's like always. This interview isn't about any of the serious issues the players face right now. I mean compare the official board to this interview.

    The only interesting thing is the talk about the customer support, but we all know that of course they are going to up their staff.

    All in all this interview doesn't convince me at all.

  • LeucentLeucent Penticton, BCPosts: 2,371Member

    If you read between the lines it sounds more like a pr event. Nothing really new and informative, just another way to spread his word, IMO.

  • TorvacTorvac KarlsruhePosts: 124Member Uncommon

     

    Originally posted by Stradden


    Recently, MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to send eight questions over to Jorgen Tharaldsen at Funcom. In those questions, Tharaldsen addresses instances, CS and more.

    Some members are complaining that dealing with customer support has been frustrating, and help comes late and sometimes not at all. Can you speak to this?
    Jorgen Tharaldsen
    We have been known to give some of the best customer services in the MMO industry for years, and while we are striving to meet the same standards for Age of Conan as soon as possible we are not there yet. The reason for this is naturally the sheer amount of people who is playing the game right now, and while we staffed up significantly for the Conan launch it wasn't enough for what we are now facing. We are actively staffing up as fast as we can in order to reduce the waiting times, and get back to our standard of being among the best, which is always our goal.

    Check out the whole Q&A here.

     

    hmm more lies , "known to give best customer service" ? funcon is known to give the worst customer service in and out of its games for a long time. the only thing they are quick with is censoring their forum.

     

  • JK-KanosiJK-Kanosi Seaside, CAPosts: 1,357Member

    I noticed Funcom didn't answer the question about how many people can be in a particular instance. We wanted concrete numbers, not some artificial statement. Okay, so obviously some zones will be able to handle more than others, so why not give us an "as low as..." and an "as high as..." figure for instance loads. I personally don't care if they use instances, but it does matter how many are allowed in an instance. If it is as much as 1,500-3000 per instance, than we aren't experiencing any negatives for them using instances. However, if the figure is around 100-500 per instance, than we are suffering as a community. Companies need to be pushing the envelope with the amount of people per server in one area, without performance problems, not going backwards with the amount of population allowed in one area.

    If MMORPGs aren't ready for thousands of people to play in one server without performance issues, then the developers need to use lower graphics.

    The fact that they dodged the concrete numbers question and a couple other questions doesn't look well for Funcom in my book.

    MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

    Currently Playing: WAR
    Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  • LeucentLeucent Penticton, BCPosts: 2,371Member
    Originally posted by JK-Kanosi


    I noticed Funcom didn't answer the question about how many people can be in a particular instance. We wanted concrete numbers, not some artificial statement. Okay, so obviously some zones will be able to handle more than others, so why not give us an "as low as..." and an "as high as..." figure for instance loads. I personally don't care if they use instances, but it does matter how many are allowed in an instance. If it is as much as 1,500-3000 per instance, than we aren't experiencing any negatives for them using instances. However, if the figure is around 100-500 per instance, than we are suffering as a community. Companies need to be pushing the envelope with the amount of people per server in one area, without performance problems, not going backwards with the amount of population allowed in one area.
    If MMORPGs aren't ready for thousands of people to play in one server without performance issues, then the developers need to use lower graphics.
    The fact that they dodged the concrete numbers question and a couple other questions doesn't look well for Funcom in my book.

    Oh crap fanbois inc. I agree though. Pixels over gameplay to me anyways isn t a great idea. Going with the higher graphic detail looks good, but means this sorta thing happens. I prefer seeing alot of people and i mean ALOT in an area. I also like a challenge of fighting over mobs especially in a FFA pvp situation, gives more meaning to the pvp if anything else. Must be my time in FFXI fighting over NMs and SB fighting for spawns for runes etc, I actually liked it :)

  • joeyfinejoeyfine Akron, OHPosts: 8Member

    they need to fix some proformence issues.. im running a system that chews up and spits out Call of duty 4 on high and i cant get past 30 fps on high in this game... come on funcom fix it!

  • TerranahTerranah Stockton, CAPosts: 3,605Member

    First, I thought mmorpg.com asked some good questions.  Some of the answers, while nice to hear something from Funcom, were not what I was hoping for.

     

    Because something is really, really borked when the game runs same or better at fully max settings, 3.0 shading, shadows everything and AA x 16 than low settings.  Yeah...right now in the post Tortage areas I am getting 5 to 15 fps.  But if I turn everything down from max to low settings I still get 5 to 15 fps.  Wierd....just wierd....

     

    I would rather play the game on medium settings and get 20 to 30 fps.  And while I can turn down those settings and see the result graphically ingame, performance remains unchanged or worsens.

     

    I was hoping for a miracle patch today.  I guess I keep on praying as time runs out on my free thirty days because I see nothing in the patch notes today for addressing this.  And if they think fixing this in any other timeline other than before my free 30 days is up, I have two words for them: subscription canceled.

  • impulsebooksimpulsebooks CorringhamPosts: 561Member

     




    ....we estimate that load will go down in the future...
     

     

    I think this might be prophetic.

    ______________

    Mark E. Cooper
    AKA Tohrment
    Proud member of Damned Souls since 2007.
    http://www.damnedsouls.eu

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger La Quinta, CAPosts: 2,596Member

    Funcom is unwilling to address the real problem here, which is that they released a feature and content incomplete game.  This incomplete game also came filled with bugs and issues that should have never made it past any sort of real beta program.  Let me be clear.  I am not talking about the normal MMO launch bugs we are used to seeing at launch.  I'm talking stupid, game breaking bugs that had to be looked over in the interest of meeting the launch date.  No one who is pissed off about the game is unrealistic about a "normal" number of launch bugs, but what's going on with AoC is much worse.

    I'm one of those people who followed this game for the last two of it's five plus years of development.  I had every interest in seeing it succeed, and I thought I would be playing it for *at least* two years.  Of course, I have seen enough hyped MMO's to know that most of them turn out to be garbage when they go gold, but still I was deeply disappointed when I finally bought the game and played it. I won't reiterate all of the issues the game has right now, because I know there are enough posts about this online already to sink a large ship (and probably an MMO). Needless to say, I have canceled my subscription and uninstalled the game.

    The bugs, incomplete game client elements and missing content aside, the game turned out to be something other than an MMO in my opinion.  No matter what Funcom's official reason is for all the instancing and small zones is, it fails.  Anyone here who has played a few MMO's know that Funcom should have ever tried to use instancing as an excuse for having only one starting area in the game, and for keeping most of the questing areas so small that even sharing them with ONE other person can cause your quest to take too long and become mind numbingly boring.   They should have know better than to build a game world that makes you feel like you are on rails, rather than a free roaming explorer.  While I did enjoy the combat, the game feels lifeless and devoid of activity to me.

    Lastly, I have to laugh at this article, because my single greatest gripe about this whole fiasco was how easily it would be for ONE person at Funcom to post some information to the official forums about what the hell is going on.  I'm talking about *detailed* information explaining what issues they are aware of and what  is being worked on currently.  There is no excuse for this SOE style ignoring of the player base.   Had they had the sack to come out and admit some faults and give us some details, I might even have kept the game installed.  Instead they have been ignoring us, and giving us nonspecific fluff information just like this useless article.

    Good luck to all of you who end up sticking it out with the game.  Even if this game is pulled out of the current nose dive, I cannot consider it an MMO because of the design choices.  I have no plans to return to the game unless some massive redesign of the game world is done.  I can only hope to find a new MMO to enjoy in the near future.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • augustgraceaugustgrace Cottonwood, CAPosts: 624Member Uncommon

    Best customer service?!  Best mmo launch in history?!  What is this guy smoking?

  • UgottawantitUgottawantit Houston, TXPosts: 146Member

    This game runs fine as long as you turn off all of the settings. Then of course, it looks like crap, so whats the point of all of the graphics, if you can't turn them on while you play?

    This game was pushed back how many times?  I can only imagine how bad it must have been at it's orignal scheduled release date.

  • StevonStevon Rancho Cucamonga, CAPosts: 190Member

    The reason their support can't meet demand is the sheer number of problems, not users.

  • ThomasN7ThomasN7 87.18.7.148 1, NJPosts: 6,690Member

    Sounds like a typical mmo launch to me, especially when hundreds of thousands of people are playing the game at the moment. I think Funcom is doing the best they can at the moment. They only have 2 hands so to speak to address some issues that individuals are having. Just because someone is having an issue with the game they aren't going to drop everything and cater to you personally. I'm sure many have legitimate issues but with so many playing you just have to be patient. It's only 12 days into release and already some have unrealistic expectations on when they think issues should be handled.

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  • VortigonVortigon PerthPosts: 723Member

    Originally posted by Stradden Jorgen Tharaldsen
    We have been known to give some of the best customer services in the MMO industry for years, and while we are striving to meet the same standards for Age of Conan as soon as possible we are not there yet. The reason for this is naturally the sheer amount of people who is playing the game right now, and while we staffed up significantly for the Conan launch it wasn't enough for what we are now facing. We are actively staffing up as fast as we can in order to reduce the waiting times, and get back to our standard of being among the best, which is always our goal.

    Check out the whole Q&A here.

    No! its not the "sheer amount of people" that are cause customer service issues, (other games have high populations and deliver fine), its the sheer amount of friggin problems and bugs THAT is why their customer service is being overwhelmed. 

  • godpuppetgodpuppet NottinghamPosts: 1,416Member

    Once again MMORPG.com has typically asked the questions in the wrong way, and conveniantly missed others out.

    Heres how it should go:

    1. There are claims that European players have been recieving extremely long waiting times of up to 24 hours, in the cases that petitions are answered they are done so by junior GM's and the player is forced to wait a further 24 hours to speak to an actual GM. The petition must also be updated on an hourly basis to stop it from timing out, this forces players to be online 24/7 in order to get a GM response, and in most cases, will not recieve one at all. What does Funcom have to say about this?

    2. Looking at the US forums, it is clearly evident that player-dev communication is on a minimalist level. This gets worse where on the EU forums where it is devoid of forum management (stickys) and replys from Funcom on pressing issues are scarce. Does Funcom have any plans to remedy this?

    3. Many players both casual and hardcore are complaining about the lack of middle game content. More specifically at levels 50+ many players are complaining at being forced to revert to 'mob grinding' due to a lack of quests. How urgent does Funcom view this issue?

    4. While Guild Citys are present in the game, the lack of NPC's makes them useless. Presenting them only as an expensive disapointment to players. Does Funcom have any word when NPC's will be added to Guild Citys?

     

    If your playing on the US forums, dont bloody try telling us your support is worse, becuase it aint. EU support is simply atrocious. Ive put in several petitions and ive NEVER had a response. It takes 3 hours to move down one place in the queue and if you dont get a response during the day it times out at night and your back to square one. This is made worse by the complete non-existance of a Funcom presence on the forum. Europeans are hollaring at the top of their voices but nobodys listening and people will only shout for so long, before they vote with their feet.

    The level 50+ grind is horrendous. Anyone replying saying "im lvl 48 and theres no grind!!!" STFU! Gameplay 1-50 is FINE. But with the exception of a few, players are reaching level 50-55 and finding themselves without any quests left to do. What alternative do they have? GRIND MOBS! The power gamers are already at level 80, so this isnt a "stop power gaming!" issue, casual gamers with too much time on their hands have hit 50 and are "WTFing" on the forums, but getting no response. Its only a matter of time before casual gamers get to 50 (I predict within 2 weeks) and Funcom have a mass exodus on their hands as everyone see's the mob grind it is 50+ and buggers off back to warcraft.

    Funcom NEEDS to add quests and FAST! This should be number one on their "TO BE PATCHED ASAP" list and if it isnt, then they're the next Sigil. Remember how they ignored all those performance issues in favor of new content.

    As for Guild Citys, most people arent fussed, personally, I think its retarded. You spend days with your guild gathering materials at level 40. The resources, the 2g for each building. You get everyone to your guild city (which takes a fork load of traveling), you raise this magnificent structure, only to realise its little more then an ornament. Add a asura point, add a trader, add some vendors, GIVE CITYS A MEANING. In the grand scheme of things, this isnt difficult to add, and it will add a time sink for players while they wait for more quests 50+.

    FFS Funcom, SORT IT OUT. I realise this game has only been out a few weeks, but my patience would be at a greater capacity if I got the feeling Funcom were evening LISTENING!

    And MMORPG.com, your interviews fail, yet again.

    edited for typos

    ---
    image

  • zeenzeen OsloPosts: 1Member

    Funcom Ministry of Information ( flashbacks to the Iraqi Ministry of Information):

    I guess many of you remember the Comedian Saddam had to give out information during the War - if not you can check the youtube links below.

    "Jorgen The Comedian of Funcom":

    "We have been known to give some of the best customer services in the MMO industry for years.."



    Truth:



    Anarchy Online, which is the previous MMO game Funcom had, was an example of terrible and incompetent customer service with almost no GMs ever present, and the use of volunteers(ARKs) who had no real power to solve petitions. The reply time on the ARKs was around the same time or longer that other games have real paid GM who had full powers to fix the problem.



    "Jorgen The Comedian of Funcom":

    "The reason for this is naturally the sheer amount of people who is playing the game right now, and while we staffed up significantly for the Conan launch it wasn't enough for what we are now facing. "



    Truth:



    Everyone with the slighest knowledge of business know that in cases like this you outsource services and hire external customer support/GM services until you are able to solve the staffing yourself. Truth = incompetent or out of league managerial skills in Funcom related to such a big launch.



    "Jorgen The Comedian of Funcom":

    "...if anything, people will be surprised about how well the game performs», and this has definitively come true. Many have mumbled about «coding magic» in regards to how our launch client performed compared to beta."



    Truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgCS_iohyZQ&feature=related as mentor.





    "Jorgen The Comedian of Funcom"

    "..I am not sure how relevant it is to speak about the water under the bridge? We have one of the best coder teams in the MMO world, and they are working as hard as they can to optimize further. We want solid framerates and performance as much as anybody. In some cases it's things we see ourselves, in other cases due to player reports, but for those remaining issues we are improving things rapidly."



    Truth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgCS_iohyZQ&feature=relatedas mentor again.





    A good laugh

     

    Sadly the game is in what I would call an alpha-test. Just graphics and gameplay up to level 19-20 is somewhat working smooth. All major aspects that make it a MMO is missing - ie no solid developments with regard to social aspects, teamplay and raiding.

  • todeswulftodeswulf Dallas, TXPosts: 715Member

    Way to toss a bunch of slow balls there MMORPG.com, That is the only reason most  devlopers even bother granting them interveiws..they know the tough questions will never be asked.

    For example:

    Why have you given the euros a RP-PVE server but have told the Americans to kiss your ass?

    Same old boy network, same easy questions.

  • DeciKabaDeciKaba FarnhamPosts: 7Member
    I'm getting a strong AO launch vibe from all of this. I thought they'd have learnt their lesson by now.
  • XasapisXasapis VolosPosts: 5,561Member Uncommon

    AO launch vibe? The game runs perfectly for the majority and servers are rock stable. Not sure what you mean with that.

  • BelsamethBelsameth MaarssenPosts: 193Member

    Originally posted by SaintViktor


    Sounds like a typical mmo launch to me, especially when hundreds of thousands of people are playing the game at the moment. I think Funcom is doing the best they can at the moment. They only have 2 hands so to speak to address some issues that individuals are having. Just because someone is having an issue with the game they aren't going to drop everything and cater to you personally. I'm sure many have legitimate issues but with so many playing you just have to be patient. It's only 12 days into release and already some have unrealistic expectations on when they think issues should be handled.

    QFT.

     

    Oh, also runs rock solid here, good FPS (yes, on max detail @1680x1050), and is an absolute blast.

    I am sure there's loads of problems as well but I think you can safely call this heavy over reaction by people part of every launch, no matter how smooth. Hire somebody to get some realism beat into you. It really helps your enjoyment and is better for your blood presure as well ;)

  • keluvenkeluven kelowna, BCPosts: 3Member

    This launch went a lot smoother than a lot of other MMOs have, including WoW. People like to quote WoW is the best thing but it has its share of problems in the beginnning too. I really was impressed by the smooth registration system as well. Sure theres a lot of people but the servers handled the load decently. I was pretty impressed overall!

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,482Member Uncommon

    Well, I'm still having fun with my guardian, but I'm still working towards 50 while the first level 80s on our server appeared a week ago. It's actually pretty easy to level, thanks to an abundance of quests that provide satisfatory if not decent XP.

    Since I didn't follow the game before launch and I didn't do beta, I'm still curious how exactly the whole Sieging aspect of the game is going to work. Our guild put our Keep up the other day and were still working diligently at getting other buildings and structures up, but how exactly is Sieging going to work?

    Is it a separate map instance for siege wars?

    Anyhow, the game does run pretty smoothly on maximum settings thanks to a new system. However, before that new system, the game was running horribly on lowest settings, so its definately a high system requirement game.

    I personally don't see a great deal of class balance in the game, but because any one and any guild can play any combination of classes ( no restrictions on FFA servers ), its not really a problem. However, there are servers that are "faction" based so to speak and I seriously doubt those servers are enjoying their current situation of class imbalances.

    Funcom is fixing stuff, important stuff finally, but atleast its getting done. I'll wait till I'm 80 to see how the end game goes and make more in-depth discussions then about the game. Until then, AoC is a pretty good game for the most part, but there are a few possible.... detrimental game flaws inherent in the system.

    image

  • neuronomadneuronomad Symsonia, KYPosts: 1,276Member

    Originally posted by impulsebooks


     



    ....we estimate that load will go down in the future...
     

     

    I think this might be prophetic.

    I love that!!!

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  • SagaBoySagaBoy Atlanta, GAPosts: 83Member

    That guy should really look into politics or at least apply for the position that writes political speeches.  When I read that interview I got the image of an agility based assassin in Rag Online, just dodging everything left and right.  No question could touch the guy.  Once the question was appropriately dodged he'd pull out his katar of mis-direction and make an ever so lovely blow!

  • alkemistalkemist SJ, NJPosts: 10Member

    Honestly Could he not throw some numbers out there for amount of people in a instance or copy of a zone even if it varies between zone....  Many people wanted to know this.

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