The other day I was on Guild Wars. Players as usual are standing around talking in Ascalon. One was trolling for flames. People got upset by his or her verbal abuse of others and started trying to report and get an admin to respond immediately. When they did not, players immediately began complaining about the admin staff.
Ok so, you have a favorite game that you play online. Suddenly something happens or is not working as you think it should be. So what do you do? Maybe you look for an admin. But while one shows as around, they are not responding. What DO they do all day anyway?
Well first let's start with some information. Some games have 1 admin (most likely the owner/designer whatever) while others have 20. Specific tasks differ according to the game, but here are some of the tasks that are assigned to admins on any game.
Read and respond to mail sent to admin.
Check bug reports sent to admin.
Check reports of cheating sent to admin
Prioritize both of the above for action
Ban proven cheaters
Check with other staff members as to actions they have taken
Check change log
Read complaints about game balancing
Read ideas for game balancing
test and monitor new areas and areas reported as having issues
perform copyovers or reboots as requested by builders or other staff
(and sometimes by the players)
And be visible at times so the players know that the Admin are around.
Getting the idea? Now places with multiple admins split up these tasks, but 10 to 1 they add more such as Play testing, Code review, implementation, coder/builder liaison, etc. Unless it is NC or Blizzard, you can bet that the Admin does all of this unpaid. Some places even ban the admin staff from playing the game they admin. (though this is an unwise move on so many different levels that companies that do this are far and few between.
So please remember before you throw a fit that the Admins on your favorite game are never there, that it may be true - but most likely they are just busy trying to make the game a little more fun and or enjoyable.