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Reader Comments (27)

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 8:18AM Snichy said

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Im not too bothered. I generally preorder a game if I like the look of it and the fact that Im playing it before those that want to wait for a few weeks to get a few extra pounds/dollars off the price is reward enough for me. Theres no doubt that waiting for a few weeks/months after release before committing is good advice in any MMO for a number of reasons, I just dont have the patience :)

Launch players that think they are entitled to the same rewards that deal-chasers get should remember that those deals are bringing in exta players which for an MMO is necessary for a good community.

The STO situation is a bit different as the developers were maybe a bit premature in offering such a good reward (i.e. before the first major patch!)

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 8:25AM (Unverified) said

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No

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 8:56AM (Unverified) said

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The reward for pre-orders and launch buyers should be a lower purchase price, not a higher one. BITD I used to go to Best Buy the weekend of a game's launch because they'd always have it for 10 bucks off. That was my draw to go get in the game early, and my compensation for dealing with login queues, bugs, crowded newbie zones, etc.

What we're seeing here in the industry is the result of marketing confusing the entire situation beyond anyone's comprehension (their specialty, I might add). Essentially, none of this crap is doing any good other than puffing up early orders to hit marketing targets that give bonus payouts to executives and marketers. The tail is wagging the dog here, and it's causing a boom-bust cycle to form, which Cryptic is all set to ride with it's short-cycle McMMO development platform. So I see them continuing to do the same thing just to get the bonuses for hitting short term targets.

Sadly, other game companies are going to follow along, because most everyone who "leads" companies is there for the big paycheck, and trashing quality for a short-term gain is a tried-and-true way of getting them.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 9:04AM SkyStreak said

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From a business standpoint, both make sense. You obviously want new customers, but (in MMOs in particular) you want to keep your old customers around as well.

I think similar incentives offered to attract new players should be offered to current players, particularly those that have a 'limited time only' tag, or offer financial savings.

I've never been hit with this in MMOs, but it happens a lot in the rest of the business world (cable companies, cell phone contracts, etc.).

That being said, I can't help but think some of the response to the STO offer is based on Cryptic/Atari's apparent focus on getting as much money as possible from the player base. The Lifteime Subscription was more expensive than CO's. On launch day, they offered 2 previously established canon (playable) races for a cost. Then there's all of the CO situations.

For all intents and purposes, Cryptic (under Atari's banner) has only been around for a little over 6 months. I think people might have tolerated it a bit more if their track record weren't so shaky up until this point.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 9:17AM (Unverified) said

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Overall people leave a game because they become bored with the content/grind or simply find something more fun to play. A perk isn't going to fix that.

They have to do new customer sales enticements or they can slowly (or in some cases quickly) watch a game go down the drain. That said, most MMOs don't have to do anything to keep old subscribers around aside from build a good game. Enticements beyond luring non-paying older users back simply won't work very well. I think it can't hurt to give players in game items based on veteran status since it doesn't cost much for the company to do and might keep a small handful of players around to get XYZ item. Probably a good idea to run weekend double XP, free to play weekends as well but adding fun content for everyone is probably going to earn a game more money.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 9:54AM (Unverified) said

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Of course newbie rewards shouldn't match veteran rewards. The thing that veterans have over the newbies are the rewards and "trophies" to show it. Anybody can level the character to max or beat the main storyline, but it takes time to receive the rewards that show how dedicated you have been.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:46AM (Unverified) said

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I liked CoH's veteran reward system, it was a nice little "thank you" for supporting the game. I have no problem with an MMO dropping it's price after launch, but I think STO's mistake was dropping it so soon after launch (it's only been live a month) with the extra free time when that launch had been particularly rocky.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:42AM Tizmah said

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I really wouldn't care at all if the game was good enough, ya know? (Not knocking STO..just saying in general ;) )

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 10:47AM dudemanjac said

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They should not be the same. They don't even have to be equal, but you have to do a little something for the ppl who have been supporting you. I'll give this real life example:

After I started working for a cable company A, I started to get a feel for how much I was (or wasn't) getting for the price I was paying with my own company (B). Then I heard a commercial enticing ppl to switch over B and got even more upset. So I called them up and said that I thought it was wrong that I had been with them for over a decade and was paying the same price for pactically the bare minimum when others were getting the works. They worked a deal and got me a few extras for LESS money.

Point is, if this Cryptic deal had come out for City of Heroes/Villians, I would say it's a great deal. It's a well established game that has an big update comeing and probably has a waning population. STO just came out. A price drop was definitely in order, and an extra carrot out there to entice ppl wasn't really a bad idea. But you have to do SOMETHING for the ppl who loyaly dropped cash day one because they believed in the game and got the word out.

Let's face it, I''m ending my free month and I'm almost Captain, And I've been really taking my time doing "crafting" and "exploration" missions. The only thing that could slow the story down any more is if I waited in pvp ques. And from what I'm told you lvl up like mad doing those.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 11:12AM Allegos said

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My WoW subscription was activated in October 2006. Nobody owes me anything for that.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 11:35AM Nolinquisitor said

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Revelation.

That's the name of a recent CoH veteran reward power. I just love it. It give so much insight to a veteran by removing the "fog of war" of any map. Mission are so much smoother now. And it's a great way to simulate the good old "hero's instinct" or the "right place, right time" schtick.

New Player: "I suggest we turn left Turbo-Man."
Veteran: "Alright son, but right is an elevator and probably where Dr. Simian is hiding."
New Player: "Oh... "
Veteran: "Don't worry Zappa-Boy, one day you'll be a fine hero!"

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 11:27AM (Unverified) said

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If getting to play the game isn't a reward enough in itself, you are playing MMOs for entirely the wrong reason.

-SirNiko

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 11:40AM (Unverified) said

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remember sitting in SWG
having to do every profession in the game to unlock jedi ? it took me so so long to unlock them, then they changed it and the game sucked and was only worth deleting not even worth giving to a friend to play just delete!

so no fuck them noobs they ruin the game cause's all they do is complain they dont have this or why cant i have at X like B has X ?

i work my balls off to be better then you or your friends why should you get the same stuff for little to no work ? compared to what i had to do ?

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 11:56AM LaughingTarget said

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I would say it's based on lifecycle. Early adopters don't need incentives. Most have already decided to make the purchase. As the game starts to age, incentives and rewards need to be geared toward new players. New players have a built in disadvantage by arriving later. Incentives, in game or out, have to be created to minimize this impact and grow the customer base. As the population plateaus, rewards should be shifted to keep existing players. WoW should be shifting this way, their growth has effectively stopped and keeping existing players should be the main focus.

Basically, the right answer changes depending on the situation.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:10PM Anatidae said

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I think if the game has really solid gameplay, rewards don't matter (but are always appreciated and create brand loyality).

When the game is lacking, pricing/rewards/etc... become more pronounced. And thus, this is why WoW gets away with very little rewards yet STO is likely to get slammed. Actually, it is the same reason CO had issues with charging for more content so soon. If CO was a fully baked game with oodles (yes, I used to the world oodles) of fun gameplay, then people would have likely given $5-$10 without too much fuss.

The better the game, the more you can get away with as a developer/publisher.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:26PM (Unverified) said

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The STO thing was probably not Cryptic's fault, the sale was on Atari's site, and I'm not sure how much power Crypitc (even as a part of Atari) would have over the parent corp. It was premature to offer such a sale so soon, but it doesn't bother me that much.

As for vet rewards: "If getting to play the game isn't a reward enough in itself, you are playing MMOs for entirely the wrong reason." -SirNiko

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:37PM Sam not Spam said

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The problem I see is there are a lot of veteran's rewards I'd much rather see in the core game available for everyone (in COH's case its mostly some of the costume parts like Wings).

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:39PM CCon99 said

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I can definitely see a game dropping a price or sweetening the pot with a perk or two to entice a new player to purchase their game, that's only natural of doing business. But I can definitely see why the STO community was so upset over this offer, the game was only out for 3 weeks at the time of the offer and a lot of that time wasn't the best of times with server outages, rubberbanding, and login queues on the first 2 weekends. So while I understand the need to bring in new players, they have to remember that their current players are still "new" players as well. They should have waited for the 4-6 month mark to offer that deal. In the end it likely cost them more customers than brought new ones in.

If Cryptic is so worried about retaining and bringing in new customers so soon, they should just stick to trying to fix their broken game and getting it into a semi launch condition game. Then you might get to keep some of your existing customers longer than 30 days instead of canceling and leaving out of boredom.

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 12:47PM (Unverified) said

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It is a game. Why does a "Veteran" player feel the need for a chip on their shoulder to inflate their Epeen? You know what "Veteran" players get that new players do not??? CONTENT..... in any GOOD game that is.... A vet can take advantage of everything the game has to offer while a new player has to work up to that... seems fair to me... Why should a player that's been playing a few months longer then another get an advantage over a newer, but, equal level player unless it is gear that they worked to get....

Posted: Mar 3rd 2010 5:19PM CCon99 said

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Obviously you haven't played STO, there is no content. =P
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