Other complaints stem from the prices of the pre-orders, and it's easy to see why. When we sat down with him recently, Bullock explained the costs in a few ways. First, the highest-priced items are simply collector's items. They look cool and do not have extras that go along with them that give them an advantage during combat. Second, all of the 'Mechs on the list can be paid for with in-game funds once released, minus some of the non-combat bonuses attached, meaning that any player who wants to can continue to pay nothing at all.
Bullock wanted to emphasize that despite all of this, he knows that what the playerbase is really asking for is community-based features.
During our conversation, Bullock talked about the difficulty of balancing a game for hardcore players while outsider or newer players make their way into the game. There are players who have literally played between 4,000 and 10,000 matches in less than 14 months. That's roughly 500 to 1,000 hours of play! Players like those are happy to see new 'Mechs come up for purchase, but Bullock pointed out again that what they really want are more community options.
Moving on to the new Clan Collection, we talked about why some members of the community responded the way they did. Bullock admits that he was not 100 percent happy with the packages and arrangements of pricing. The team is making adjustments to them right now, adding options that will give the plans more pricing levels and flexibility.
Many players complained about having to spend $210.00 to gain access to the infamous Mad Cat, so one possibility is that they could move the 'Mech around to fit into a lower tier so players could pay less and get it for pre-order. We asked about purchasing the 'Mechs later, and as with other 'Mechs, a player could simply avoid the pre-order and buy the Mech individually from the shop upon release, although it will lack the special bonuses and other items that come with the pre-orders. The timing of the announcement of the new DLC had many players gnashing teeth, but "it's fairly normal in the industry to release one DLC after another," Bullock told us. It's also important to note that the announcement was for the pre-order, not for items that were being immediately.
In a surprising announcement, Bullock mentioned that the team will be giving the $240.00 Masakari package for free to players who buy the $500.00 gold packages. That will essentially cut the $500.00 package in half and will be retroactive to those who have already bought a gold package. In fact, some players have already bought a gold package and a Masakari package as well!
While Bullock was clear that times can flex and that not everything on the timeline can be completed by the June 17th, 2014 Clan invasion, the team was confident enough to release the possible dates for release of two more pillars from Community warfare: Association, which is more connections in factions and loyalty points, and Planetary Conquest, which is fighting over territories.
With such a passionate community at its back, you better believe that the team will get an ear-full if these promises aren't met!
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!