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List of CS Processes That Can Be Automated

ImmortalmageImmortalmage Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
In this day and age, it seems prudent to focus on methodologies that scale. Human reviews of most Customer Service (CS) claims are highly valued by players, but untenably expensive. Having interactive, wholesome CS experiences is not a sustainable tactic due to costs scaling with the interactions. I'm curious how many things can be automated out of the common set of problems CS face. Despite that I personally prefer human-powered CS experiences, the technical side of me is curious about the mechanics of automated CS and if a high percentage of all interactions can be automated.
  1. Can deleted or vendored items be returned through an online or in-game portal? Does taking receipt of these deduct the amount it could have been vendored for? What if the player is broke? What if their inventory is full? What if their mailbox is full? Is there a cooldown on item recovery, and how long should it be?
  2. Can players reset their in game position from an online web portal? Where should it reset to? How long of a cooldown should be on this knowing that if a player is in a place that disconnects them they have to be able to use this function or else they're unable to play, yet teleports of any kind could be quite exploitable. Can you set up the collection of each point where players are when they activate this, and then drill down into specifics or view a summary of the most activated places, such as in a heatmap of those points?
  3. How do players report exploits or hacks? (Specifically, exploits don't require third party programs, hacks do). Is there any way to trust a volume of reports to take instant action, or is that too abusable? Can you cluster players into "more or less trustworthiness" and weight each report?
  4. Bug & Suggestion Reports - Intake is easy enough, but the question is effectiveness of searching. If you have these stores of data, how do you export this data? Do you do any transformative tasks or just export everything and use Splunk https://www.splunk.com/en_us/big-data/splunk-for-big-data-analytics.html or something similar to get insights?
  5. If you have huge amounts of players, can each server start up heavier tasks when it's compute utilization is low? Can that be done with separate compute instances, or can you haphazardly insert something like Apache Spark into each server so your NOC can have authority/master nodes and the servers can act as slaves?
  6. How do you encourage 2FA to reduce the amount of hacked accounts? Hacked accounts are the #1 way gold sellers create hassle for players and game developers. A hacked account can advertise, reduce the account setup cost of the bad guys to 0, and can turn a customer into a non-customer which from a business perspective is disastrous. Gold farmers will also sell the account, then open up a ticket after they receive the funds to get their control back over the account so they have made a profit off an operation that cost them nothing - they've constructed a regenerative position and they will infinitely play that game as long as they can, even to the destruction of the host company, which is typically parasitic. All of which can be avoided almost entirely by 2FA. (*Note*: I'd recommend mandatory 2FA because it's such a huge issue, but I've seen a trend of highly incentivized in-game rewards which are so good you'd have to be crazy to turn them down instead. It's somewhat mandatory in that sense, but without the connotation or bad feeling that may go along with forced actions).
  7. Phone-In: One method that's growing nowadays is users with an account have to generate a PIN code to get access to a human on the phone. When calling in, they have to enter that PIN correctly or else they are not put through. This eliminates spam calls and ensures only non-belligerent customers get access as you can deny the PIN code to people who call to badger or social engineer customer service.
  8. Can specializations be created in CS subteams? For example, if players have to pre-categorize issues before submitting them, each category can have specialists that have low solve-times for player issues within those categories.
  9. Currency Real-Money Trading - Do item sale / trade values occur on a bell curve? Can you trigger investigations when items trade above 2 standard deviations above the norm? If there are reports of people setting up deals on third-party platforms like Discord, can a CS expert impersonate a player and entrap the RMT player? If so, is there an automated process to retroactively map out the RMT players previous trades/auctions to determine how far their tainted path of currency has gone?
  10. On detecting item or currency dupes, if a player escalates in net worth too quickly, are there processes that can lock their account until a human investigates?
  11. Meta problems - How rigid are disaster recovery procedures? What parts of the server failing will trigger data loss? If players discover an exploit that disrupts server operations and causes rollbacks, are there ways to ensure those rollbacks don't cause item or currency dupes?




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Comments

  • MaezrielMaezriel Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    At the end of the day that comes down to what Intrepid thinks they can handle as they (hopefully) scale.
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    If I said something that you disagree w/ feel free to say so here.
  • 3. How do players report exploits or hacks? (Specifically, exploits don't require third party programs, hacks do). Is there any way to trust a volume of reports to take instant action, or is that too abusable? Can you cluster players into "more or less trustworthiness" and weight each report?

    I do not think that a ban should be given based on volume of reports (this is something that groups of toxic people can abuse). Instead, if there's a number of reports over a threshold for botting, then send an in-game captcha to the account first. If they do not complete the captcha within x minutes, then automatically ban the account.
    6. How do you encourage 2FA to reduce the amount of hacked accounts? Hacked accounts are the #1 way gold sellers create hassle for players and game developers. A hacked account can advertise, reduce the account setup cost of the bad guys to 0, and can turn a customer into a non-customer which from a business perspective is disastrous. Gold farmers will also sell the account, then open up a ticket after they receive the funds to get their control back over the account so they have made a profit off an operation that cost them nothing - they've constructed a regenerative position and they will infinitely play that game as long as they can, even to the destruction of the host company, which is typically parasitic. All of which can be avoided almost entirely by 2FA. (*Note*: I'd recommend mandatory 2FA because it's such a huge issue, but I've seen a trend of highly incentivized in-game rewards which are so good you'd have to be crazy to turn them down instead. It's somewhat mandatory in that sense, but without the connotation or bad feeling that may go along with forced actions).

    It would be useful to keep track of IPs that are logged into each account. Maybe send a verification to an email address of the account if the geolocation changes substantially. Of course, the email could also be compromised, but I'm not a huge fan of using things like apps on mobile phones as 2FA, because it's a hassle to remove it if you lose your phone or forget to unlink it when you replace the phone. I think your idea of incentivized actions is good, and it can be a way to flag accounts for review.
    On detecting item or currency dupes, if a player escalates in net worth too quickly, are there processes that can lock their account until a human investigates?

    I think this should be a big focus. The things that need to be searched for will probably change based on server-wide statistics. Maybe keep metrics on the average player, and if there are outliers then manually investigate those edge cases. Net worth seems like a good metric, also the number and volume of trades to other accounts.
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Your Point 4 - Bug and Suggestion Reports - I think there's a really good opportunity to take inspiration from Subnautica's Feedback Heatmap.

    They had an easy-access feedback screen for testers that had:
    • a smiley face scale (from angry to happy)
    • a free text comment box

    It would record the in-game location of the player when they gave the feedback - and use the smiley-face scale to generate a heatmap of player experiences across the world.

    Angry face hotspots became obvious, as did happy face hotspots. It became easy to spot points of interest that were being ignored/unnoticed.
    They could also do free text search to filter the heatmap based on the comments - e.g. "Food" to see how people were handling hunger across the world.

    Would probs be really useful for the world-building team.
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • @maouw Food/drink hunger/thirst isn't a thing in AoC, but your mechanism for reporting issues is still valid.
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  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    McMackMuck wrote: »
    @maouw Food/drink hunger/thirst isn't a thing in AoC, but your mechanism for reporting issues is still valid.

    Yep - I was referring to Subnautica's food/drink/health system
    I wish I were deep and tragic
  • LeiloniLeiloni Member
    edited February 2021

    Can deleted or vendored items be returned through an online or in-game portal? Does taking receipt of these deduct the amount it could have been vendored for? What if the player is broke? What if their inventory is full? What if their mailbox is full? Is there a cooldown on item recovery, and how long should it be?

    I would imagine yes. Blizzard has an automatic system for Item Restoration on their Support page online so I'm sure Intrepid can make one.
    Can players reset their in game position from an online web portal? Where should it reset to? How long of a cooldown should be on this knowing that if a player is in a place that disconnects them they have to be able to use this function or else they're unable to play, yet teleports of any kind could be quite exploitable. Can you set up the collection of each point where players are when they activate this, and then drill down into specifics or view a summary of the most activated places, such as in a heatmap of those points?

    I don't know why you'd need a web portal for this. Most games have a button in a menu somewhere to get you unstuck, or just type /stuck. It puts you to some sort of default position in a nearby safe zone, or in games with hearthstone type items, it puts you there.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about it being exploitable. For one thing, you'd just have it send you to the nearest node. So it's not going to send you across the map. It's just also necessary to save a lot of time and money on CS folks. Not sure what the CD would be, but I can't imagine people get themselves stuck all that often.
    How do players report exploits or hacks? (Specifically, exploits don't require third party programs, hacks do). Is there any way to trust a volume of reports to take instant action, or is that too abusable? Can you cluster players into "more or less trustworthiness" and weight each report?

    This would need to be reported in a form provided both online and in game and humans would need to manually review these.
    How do you encourage 2FA to reduce the amount of hacked accounts? Hacked accounts are the #1 way gold sellers create hassle for players and game developers.

    A) Easy to use 2FA phone app. They have the Google one which is ok, but at this point Intrepid is 1 of 5 accounts I have on there so it's a mess. An Intrepid/AoC specific app would be better.

    B)Incentivize it with things like free extra Embers each month. SWTOR gives you 100 extra free Cartel Coins for having a security key app on your account and you get this every single month even when you're not playing. It adds up fast so it's a no brainer move for anyone to add it to their account at that point. Side note - it will also get people looking at and using the cash shop, which is likely going to lead many to buy more with real money, so that's a bonus as well for Intrepid.
    Can specializations be created in CS subteams? For example, if players have to pre-categorize issues before submitting them, each category can have specialists that have low solve-times for player issues within those categories.

    This is a great idea and given the amount of times I've had to pre-categorize issues in other games, I have to assume it's common practice, at least somewhat.


  • bigepeen wrote: »
    Of course, the email could also be compromised, but I'm not a huge fan of using things like apps on mobile phones as 2FA, because it's a hassle to remove it if you lose your phone or forget to unlink it when you replace the phone.

    If you still have your old phone you can still turn it on even without cell service and access your old apps to unlink them. Or if you're transferring to a newer version of the same phone (iPhone to iPhone, Android to Android) then you'll be able to directly transfer the apps and other content of your old phone to the new one and most will still be working and won't need to be relinked.
  • ImmortalmageImmortalmage Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Leiloni wrote: »
    This is a great idea and given the amount of times I've had to pre-categorize issues in other games, I have to assume it's common practice, at least somewhat.

    It's actually a system unto itself. Some games have self-harm prevention teams that put you to the front of the line if you have special things in your ticket like "suicide", "want to die", or other similar statements. Players abused this to get tickets escalated and to avoid automatic processes. There's a lot of tendrils of complexity that even seemingly simple things can generate, and they all seem to require attention to detail in implementation.

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