I was awfully hesitant to report about my experience with EA’s customer service, but I was so disgusted by today’s events that I felt I had to share my story. As an avid gamer, I love to check out all segments within the market, including mobile gaming. Several of my friends began playing Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes when it first launched, but I was never interested in mobile games where the focus is on microtransactions. Having worked within the industry at a game developer where its main source of revenue was microtransactions, I knew just how predatory the industry gets. Nonetheless, I succumbed one day and I found that the gaming experience was actually quite pleasant. It doesn’t have a ton of depth, but it did a great job at keeping you entertained without being overly complex. In other words, it’s a nice mobile game that offers a relaxing experience that feels like you’re doing something beyond just pushing a couple of buttons.
Now, as a huge fan of Star Wars, I naturally became a fan of the game. I found myself playing it every single day, waiting until midnight for the daily resets and looking forward to building up my roster of characters. I participated in Arena daily and loved the experience it offered trying to fight my way to the top each day, fending off last minute snipers. Most of this probably makes little sense if you have never played Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, but that doesn’t really matter when it comes to the game’s customer service.
I run and manage a 50-man guild in the game, so that we can participate in raids. I have personally spent over $1,000 supporting Capital Games and Electronic Arts, and many members of the guild have spent even more. It’s actually not uncommon, with some people spending over $10,000 to fill out their rosters. Collectively as a guild, our members have probably contributed anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 to the game. I’m not one to criticize how people choose to spend their expendable income, and I always felt like if a game offers you entertainment and you want to support the devs, give them some money. I’m realistic in knowing that free-to-play games aren’t really free-to-play, because if that was the case, then the game would never exist. Companies and developers are in the business to make money, and I have no reason to fault them for that, regardless of what practices or methods they use.
What I do have a major issue with is how EA’s customer service treated me, a paying customer that has spent over $1,000 into one of the company’s mobile games. Our guild ran a Tier 7 raid on Monday, August 1 at 11:00 AM Pacific time, as we always do. After each raid concludes, there is a one-hour timer that has to count down before raid rewards are distributed to each member that participated in the raid. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to us, our raid rewards never arrived. Some speculated it was because a client restart occurred while the countdown was active, nullifying our raid attempt. In fact, we never even received points on the guild leaderboard, so as far as the game was concerned, we never ran the raid.
We headed over to the official forums to see if this had affected any other guilds, and it had. There are numerous posts of guilds being impacted by the same issue with no help. Now, it’s really no big deal at the end of the day since games have bugs and issues, and it’s really just a part of gaming. It’s unfortunate that we have to accept it, but no developer is perfect and sometimes bugs happen. No big deal! So we made a post on the official forum, and one of Capital Games’ community managers reached out to one of our officers. He gave them the information he needed to look into the matter.
Clearly we aren’t the only guild that has run into this issue.
Meanwhile, nearly 40 other members within the guild were filing support tickets and calling on the phone to either get compensated for the raid rewards, or to get a refund on the guild bank coins that were used to initialize the raid. Many of us received generic responses ranging from “reinstalling the game” to being patient for our rewards to be delivered. I get it, I can’t even begin to imagine the volume of customer service emails and requests EA gets per day, even just for a mobile game. Those poor employees are inundated with fires to put out, so generic Canned Responses are a given. But many of us persevered and tried to explain our situation to those willing to listen. One member of the guild actually received compensation for the raid after speaking to a customer service agent that cared. That person gave us his case # to reference, so that we can all at least try to do the same.
I personally had a very different experience. My customer service agent began by telling me that there was no way he could give me raid rewards because they were distributed by the system. This was the complete opposite experience of someone in the guild that provided proof of receiving raid rewards from a customer service agent. After several emails back and forth with the same agent, he ultimately went down the route of saying that I had already received rewards, and that “Some times players can also rapidly claim Inbox messages, not noticing that one was their raid reward.” That’s completely understandable if this was my first time running a raid, but we have run dozens of raids and we’re well aware of when raid rewards show up and how to claim them. Nonetheless, I was patient as one customer service agent told another member of the guild to wait 48 hours as they “escalated the issue to a specialist.”
Of course 48 hours passed and we heard nothing. Meanwhile, another member received an email response after speaking to someone and was compensated generously for the issue. Earlier today, another person in the guild received a generous compensation of premium currency rather than raid rewards. While speaking to that customer service agent, EA told him that the guild leader can reach out to speak about compensation for the entire guild. Now at this point, three known members have received compensation and in a way, EA was acknowledging that there was an issue and that raid rewards should have been distributed and they weren’t.
So I contacted EA customer service and spoke to an agent on the phone. At first he was respectful and cordial, and said they would look into the matter. I explained to him it concerned the raid that was ran on August 1 at 11:00 AM Pacific time and that raid rewards were not distributed afterwards. I also told him how other members of the guild managed to receive compensation from their customer service agents and even supplied a case # that one agent told us to reference if we had issues receiving our raid rewards. After putting me on hold for 20 minutes, the representative came back saying that he spoke to a specialist and that there was no record of our guild running a raid on August 1. At all. I tried to explain to him exactly what happened and that this isn’t something that only happened to our guild, and that this is obviously a bug of some sorts because other guilds have been impacted. I told him to check the other case # where a guild member was compensated and he put me on hold again.
A few minutes later, he said that they have checked my account twice now and accused me of making a false claim. Completely surprised, I reiterated the fact that I am a paying customer that has supported the game and the company with a sizable amount from an individual and that he was basically calling me a liar. He replied saying that he checked the system and the system confirmed that no raid was done on August 1 and that they would not distribute rewards for false claims. At this point, I was just appalled that their customer service would have the audacity to believe someone would waste 30 minutes of their time on the phone to lie about digital loot.
I have realistic expectations on what goes on in the gaming world, especially when it comes to customer service. I never really expected compensation of any sort, although anything would have been nice. The last thing I would have expected would be getting accused of making a false claim. Look, the guilds in Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes have 50 people. Over 40 people raided on Monday, and none of us received rewards from the game as expected. A total of three members managed to get rewards through customer service agents, and yet I was being accused of submitting a false claim. The truth is, the matter now has little to do with digital loot and more on how EA’s customer service treats its paying customers. Undoubtedly you’ve heard or read stories on the Internet, but when it happens to you, it blows your mind that this is actually what a customer service representative would say.
At this point I don’t expect anything to come from this article, especially since EA’s reputation for having poor customer service is already well documented on the Internet. But sometimes when a story needs to be shared, it should be shared – so here it is.