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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rant Time - Outsourcing Sucks Day Old Meat Patties

My rant has very little to do with RPGs, roleplaying, VTTs, e-book readers, computer games, video games and all that other shite. Nope, my rant has everything to do with the most evil of business practices: outsourcing.

I really don't care much how outsourcing affects our economy, moves jobs overseas, and all that other hooey that has to do with economics. No, my rant is much more personal.

I am fed up to HERE ^ with customer service that is outsourced to other countries. Why, as an American (or any other -ican you can think of) should I have to deal with "Faux-Americans" when I call a major bank's customer service?

My first call got me "Cheryl", who, with the ever so strong hint of an Indian accent, repeatedly asked me "What is your password? I can give hint. 'B", as in basey-ball". AArghhhh! She transferred me to "Lenard", who also asked me my password with the same inflection. I explained that 20 years ago when I opened this account there were no damn passwords. He told me all was fine in the world, and my transaction would be processed.

Two days later I'm still waiting on authorization. I call and get "Roland", who... guess what... asks me again for my ever luvin' fig eatin' password. He passes me on to "Kate", who seems annoyed with my call, but doesn't ask for my password. Kate apologizes via "The Script", tells me all is right with the world and sends me on my way. A quick call to say "give it a go" and I sit back finally relax. It is done. But no, apparently it isn't, because I'm told again, for the second time AFTER dealing with customer service, that all is STILL NOT right in the world.

So, I call back again. I can see their computer screens are telling them I'm a repeat caller, and now I'm pissin' vinegar, so "Noel" (sounding more like a "Patel", but no matter) realizes "The Script" will not solve this problem and I'm not going away. She makes the decision to contact someone "Who can help you better".

Two minutes later I'm talking with "Linda", who, with her cute Texas drawl, proceeds to update my account, verify my information and notices that 19 years ago someone keyed my mother's maiden name in with the first letter off by a neighboring key. She takes my work number and calls me back in 10 minutes after doing the voodoo that she do so well... and finally, after 3 calls and 6 contacts my ever-lovin' purchase is approved.

Remember the Alamo... it might be the last bastion of effective customer service we have left, assuming you can escape the script that the outsourced customer service is limited to work with.

Signs & Portents - Issue 75

Signs and Portents Issue 75 hit RPGNow today. Highlights are discussion of the forthcoming Runequest 2 and some more Babylon 5 stuff. Did I mention its free, and that this barely scratches the surface of what's inside?

Grab it. I'll wait...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dragon Age: Origins - Seeing Double

Alright, I bought Dragon Age for the XBox 360 initially. I figured I needed to get more use out of my 360, and it would be awesome playing a game like this on a 42" screen. And it is, or was. One a scale of 1 to 5, I give the game nearly a 4.5 after playing thru about 15% of the game. That being said, it is almost impossible to run tactical combat with the 360 interface in this game. Just doesnt lend itself to it.

So naturally I broke down and bought it for the PC. Hey, at lest it was at a 30% discount from the EA store as a download. I've barely started the PC version, but already I prefer the interface. Then again, I am primarily a PC gamer. Assuming the rest of the gameplay is like the 360, I expect a very solid 5 out of 5 on the pc version.

Course, I have Borderlands standing by to be played on the 360 next, but that is a RPG / Shooter hybrid... it may just work ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Great Free Gaming Resource

Jeff's Gameblog mentioned a site I hadn't known of yet... The UncleBear Blog

The above link takes you directly to his download page, where you can find such goodies as a cloned version of Avalon Hill's classic licensed (to kill) espionage game among others.

Go and be free.

Alpha Omega Core Rulebook (Sample)

The Alpha Omega Core Rulebook (Sample) is a beautiful sample of a gorgeous rulebook. No, I don't know how the rules play. Heck, I haven't even read the PDF that I ordered and downloaded. I peeked at the sample and I was sold (for the print/pdf combo at Indie Press Revolution). Hook, line and sinker.

Longtime readers of my Blog know I like free. The combo purchase was far from free. It's also probably the most attractive gamebook I've laid my eyes on in my 25+ years of gaming... and I'm saying that while still awaiting the print version.

Download the sample. I already lifted the painting on page 7 of the sample as my new desktop background, but there were many top notch choices. The sample is free. The worst that can happen to you is you get hooked.