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by Sam Machkovech While opinions have been mixed on Destiny, Bungie’s first post-Halo video game, most impressions and reviews of the game thus far—including our own—have at least praised its online stability. That’s no small feat for an always-online game, especially in its first week, but error reports are beginning to accumulate from Destiny players across all four of the […]
While opinions have been mixed on Destiny, Bungie’s first post-Halo video game, most impressions and reviews of the game thus far—including our own—have at least praised its online stability. That’s no small feat for an always-online game, especially in its first week, but error reports are beginning to accumulate from Destiny players across all four of the game’s consoles.
There’s a reason for that: Bungie launched its “shared world shooter” without much of a customer support structure in place. Eight days after launch, users who haven’t been able to connect—including one of Ars Technica’s own contributors, who still can’t get online with an Xbox 360 copy of the game—have exhausted all of the suggestions listed at help.bungie.net. At that point, those users are directed to visit Bungie’s forums, “staffed by community mentors who are here to help you.”
The end result is a funneling of complaints to a forum whose topics are broken down not by official categories but by hashtags. With nothing in the way of a trackable “ticket” system or a customer service hotline, users are stuck with a “#help” page that is currently dominated by topic titles like “I’ve Given Up on Destiny and Got My Refund; Here’s Why Maybe You Should Too” and “Bungie Please Give Us Info.”
Worse, our hunt for official Bungie posts resulted in only one major response thus far. A thread titled “Help us help you” starts with a post from an official Bungie account, which essentially asks users to figure answers out on their own:
We are working diligently to provide information that helps players resolve their Destiny issues. We are finding that many guardians are quite adept at coming up with new and interesting solutions to a number of the error codes they receive. If you received an error code and were successfully able to fix the issue, post your steps here.
Trouble in the zoo
Complaining users seem to be doing their due diligence before posting to Bungie’s forums, particularly a user who complained about Bungie’s animal-themed error-code system: “I have seen bee, fly, caterpillar, centipede, lion, flatworm, heron, etc,” PS3 user Lone Ronin wrote. “Really, enough to make my own zoo, and each as insulting as the rest since if the problem was my PS3 then GTA, BF, MOH, and COD would not hold a connection as well.”
Reported issues range from frequent disconnects within minutes of a mission’s start to the utter inability to log into the game at all, and none of Destiny’s four consoles is safe from reports. It’s hard to gauge how widespread the connectivity issues actually are, or which console has taken the worst drubbing.
Ars correspondent Robert Lemos confirmed issues connecting with the Xbox 360 version of the game; after following Bungie’s client-side recommendations, he additionally deleted every Destiny-related file and the system cache with hopes of success. “Two support chats with Microsoft later, and nothing is solved,” Lemos said. “They concluded that the Xbox is fine and my connection to Xbox Live is good.”
Comparatively, Bungie has given its players no phone number or even Twitter handle to contact with any complaints or concerns—which stands in stark contrast to Blizzard, another game developer in the Activision family, whose Battle.net support page offers a ridiculous glut of contact options. “I can’t even CALL you guys,” one Bungie forum poster wrote after talking about his help getting a digital download refund directly from Microsoft. “And if I did, the analogous scenario would be that I would just reach an automated voice that would say ‘PLEASE HOLD’ with no further information… and no one would ever actually pick up the phone.”
We have questions out to Activision and Bungie about current Destiny connectivity issues and whether the companies plan to institute a more robust support-reporting system for the always-online game. We’ll update this post if we receive a response.
Update: Bungie issued a statement to Ars Technica that blamed “a small number of issues” on “largely the result of Internet filtering from institutions like universities. Bungie’s networking team has been working actively with those institutions and hardware providers to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep people playing.” Bungie did not respond to our questions about the company’s current customer service methods.
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