PSA: Give Rockstar Support A Break

While the most recent ban wave in GTA Online might have made the public lobbies somewhat safe for a few days, the hacker issue itself hasn’t quite been corrected yet. Even after ban waves, some stragglers survive and the hacker population regenerates swiftly. The players are understandably bothered by the situation.


The hackers have become so prominent that sessions without them are unfortunately rare. These hackers can crash games, make jobs impossible by insta-killing everyone else in the lobby, or spawning infinite airplanes which plummet from the sky.

All in all, the hackers are just a nuisance – but like any pest, if there is too many of them, it becomes unbearable. Unfortunately early on in development, Rockstar had grossly underestimated the popularity of GTA Online. Never daring to hope that their game would have over 8 million unique players every week and bring in half a billion in profits from microtransactions, the team appeared to go with a design choice suited for something more back-stage.


GTA Online has a peer-to-peer server structure. Similar in theory to torrenting, instead of downloading data from a single centralized Rockstar server, your instance of the game downloads data from the instances of other players and vice versa. While this saves Rockstar the trouble and expense of building and maintaining the second largest server park in the gaming industry for a single game, it also limits their control.

Without centralized servers, effective anti-hacking measures are extremely difficult to implement, if at all possible. In its current state, GTA Online might never be hacker-proof unless Rockstar migrates to an internal server (which it would seem they can more than afford, seeing as GTA 5 made over $3 Billion in profits).


So yes, hackers are an unfortunate part of GTA Online. Yes, many of them get banned, but not all of them. Sadly, some of them can even implicate other players, causing innocents to get banned.

But here’s the thing. The support staff have absolutely nothing to do with with that. It’s not their fault.

Yes, it’s their duty to help you, but Rockstar, even with Take-Two’s backing, is just one company – and not a big one at that. Let’s say the whole Rockstar support division numbers at 800 people (it is almost definitely a lot less). If only 10% of those 8 million weekly players have some sort of issue with hackers, that means that there will be 800,000 support tickets. That means 1 support rep has 1000 tickets to answer.

FILE - This Sept. 10, 2013 file photo shows the "Grand Theft Auto V " billboard at Figueroa Hotel in Los Angeles. Target Australia said Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, it is removing “Grand Theft Auto V” from store shelves after an online petition signed by more than 40,000 individuals asked the retailer to stop selling the video game because they said it encourages players to murder women for entertainment. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)


That alone would make it entirely justified if they don’t get around to yours within a few days. Thing is, in reality a lot more than 10% of players submit tickets and there are probably fewer than 800 employees working in support.

So no, you don’t get to throw a tantrum if you only get an automated response to your ticket in the first week or so. Face it, nine out of ten people who post rants on forums about support didn’t wait more than 3-4 days.

Now, since Rockstar isn’t in the possession of experimental military-grade AI supercomputers, chances are that the auto-responses won’t exactly be sufficient in the case of an unfair hacking-implication.


So what do you do if you’ve been accidentally banned (which doesn’t actually happen half as often as people claim) or if hackers stole your cash? Well, you have two options. You either accept the fact that the support staff at Rockstar are also human beings with basic needs such as food and rest, therefore you wait patiently; or you call live support via the phone number.

If you choose the second option, please don’t flood the poor schmuck picking up the phone with your entirely unjustified rage directed at the support process. It’s not even a question of them not deserving it (well, actually, it is), but simply put, when a support employee has to deal with hundreds of angry customers a day, if you’re impolite, they just won’t give a shit about your problems because they’re human too.


Anyone who has worked in support in any capacity will know what it’s like on the other end of the line. Dealing with asshole customers is a pain – but having just one polite person will lighten up your day. So if you’re going to contact support, help a fellow and be kind about it.

Believe it or not, Rockstar actually wants players to enjoy the game and to solve the hacker issue. Now, before you start writing a cynical comment about how they only care about money, don’t. It’s a business, so obviously money is an important factor. Plus, seeing as hackers result in less money because of turning away customers, even if that were true, they’d still want to get rid of GTA Online hackers.

In what manner do you typically communicate with any support service, not just Rockstar’s?

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