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Bioware Rewards Their Players…Sort of

12 Apr

[UPDATE: Follow-up post - Bioware Opens a Can...of Customer Support]

In case you haven’t seen the most recent announcement, here’s the Source.

With the launch of Patch 1.2, Bioware has decided to give out some extra rewards to their players. I’m going to assume that this has been planned because I have faith in Bioware. I’m slightly annoyed right now, so I’m going to go with that assumption rather than the one I’m hearing from other people that this is a distraction to take away from the fact that rated warzones didn’t make it into the patch which pissed a lot of people off last night resulting in scores of people cancelling their subscriptions (and for the record, I really don’t care about the rated warzones thing, I’d rather it come in working than come in buggy).

Thank You Gift: Legacy Tauntaun Ram
The first reward they’re giving out is the Tauntaun Ram pet. This cute, furry little fellow goes out to all active subscribers that meet the following criteria:

  • You must have purchased the game and redeemed an official Game Product Registration Code at the Code Redemption Center.
  • You must have signed up for a recurring subscription using a valid payment method OR redeemed a Game Time Code.
  • Your account must not be banned.

Not an active subscriber? Purchase the game and activate your account on or before April 21st at 12:00PM CDT, 5:00PM GMT and you will receive the Legacy Tauntuan Ram pet*!

Deadline: April 12 or April 21

This pet can be yours if you’re a current subscriber, and not banned, and you can still get it if you bring your account back to active status by next Saturday.

I think this is a nice little gift, and one that a lot of players will be happy to receive.

Unsubscribe Gift: 1 Week Free
The third reward (though I’m listing it second) goes out to players who have cancelled their subscriptions. For having cancelled your account, you get to come back and try out the new content and features free for one week, starting tomorrow and ending next Thursday.

Also, if you happen to resubscribe before April 21sth you’ll also receive the Tauntaun Ramp Pet that they are giving to those of us who have remained loyal.

This one doesn’t really bother me. They want to bring people back into the game and not make them feel too left out or else they might just turn right back around and quit again when they see loyal players got something they didn’t. I know it’s going to piss some of the loyal players off, but the loyal players aren’t missing out on anything, they just aren’t getting anything super special unless they also apply for this next reward as well.

Level 50 Gift: 30 days free
The next reward they’re handing out is 30 days of play time to all players who have a level 50 character.

A SPECIAL GIFT FOR OUR LEVEL 50 PLAYERS – 30 DAYS OF PLAY TIME ON US!

As a thanks for being one of our most valued players, every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT, will receive thirty (30) days of game time** in appreciation for your support and loyalty.

In order to receive your thirty (30) days of game time, you must meet the following requirements by April 12th, 2012, at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT:

  • You must have purchased the game and redeemed an official Game Product Registration Code at the Code Redemption Center.
  • You must have signed up for a recurring subscription using a valid payment method OR redeemed a Game Time Code.
  • You must have at least one level 50 character.
  • Your account must not be banned.

This is the one that’s got me a little bit annoyed. Getting 30 days free is cool, right? What’s wrong with that?

Being an altoholic is what’s wrong with that.

I’ve been playing this game since early access, and pretty much every single day since I got in save for when I’m out of town or when my wife wants to have a night away from the computers. In an average week, I log somewhere between 35 and 55 hours on this game. The big kicker there? I don’t have a single level 50 character. Why not? Because I’m an altoholic who prefers to level various toons rather than reaching the level cap because I couldn’t care less about raiding.

I’m going to assume that they’re rewarding level 50 players, not because they reached level 50, but because they’ve been dealing with bugged encounters in Operations for four months. That would make sense, right? People have put up with crappy content, so they deserve a reward? I think that’s fair.

However, they state right there in that little quote “As a thanks for being one of our most valued players, every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT, will receive thirty (30) days of game time** in appreciation for your support and loyalty.” Notice that there’s no extra time to qualify for this reward? Either you have a level 50 character as of today or you don’t get the reward. There’s no time for me to jump on that level 47 character I’ve been ignoring for weeks and make up those three levels real fast to get this reward that we knew nothing about. Nope, they just reward their loyal level 50′s and move on.

Loyalty is an interesting word for them to have chosen here. By getting a character to level 50, you are loyal, supportive, and valued. For doing something that a dedicated player can achieve in a roughly five days /played you are labeled as loyal, supportive, and valued.

What does that make someone like me who has established Legacy on four servers (counting PTS), and who puts in over 40 hours of play time each week on average? Apparently it doesn’t make me loyal, supportive, or valued. Beyond that I don’t know what it makes me other than an active subscriber.

As an altoholic I’m going around experiencing all of the content that they have put into this game, listening to all of the voice acting, exploring every map, playing all of the classes more than once to see the stories told from both Light/Dark and Male/Female points of view, and I’m being shown less appreciation than someone who can reach level 50 by pressing the spacebar to skip through all of the voice acting, does only enough quests to move on to the next planet, and rushing through content while ignoring all of the things that Bioware has spent all of this time developing.

Maybe as an altoholic I’m supposed to accept the Legacy system as my thanks for playing the game. I seem to recall writing another article (or was it two articles?) about how the legacy system doesn’t actually meet the needs of a hardcore altoholic, but it’s a step in the right direction at least. Maybe the problem isn’t so much that they don’t appreciate us as it is they have no fucking idea what an altoholic actually is?

On the one hand, this is sort of a slap in the face as Bioware hands out rewards to certain people while ignoring others. I don’t really take it as an insult despite all that I’ve just said and how I said it. I don’t think it’s them actively saying, “we don’t care about altoholics” so much as they just completely missed the point of alting.

This paints a pretty clear picture of what Bioware thinks an altoholic is.

And they’re wrong.

Update: My Calculations
My wife wanted to see how much time we’ve put into SWTOR since neither of us have earned the free month of play time without having a level 50 character.

Total Levels: 430 (not including characters below level 11)
Non-PTS Levels: 391
Total /Played: 29 days, 9 hours, 9 minutes (696.5 hours)
Average Hours per Week: 42.24 (a full time job, plus a little overtime)

The numbers don’t lie, folks.

Now, I don’t have anything at all wrong with Bioware rewarding people who have level 50 characters. What I have a problem with is that they rewarded them for being their valued, loyal, and supportive players with no regard for the rest of us.

I completely agree with Liore’s comments concerning this type of reward being a good business move for retaining the end game players. I pretty much said that exact same thing in the article when I posted it. I never said Bioware hates altoholics, I said they don’t understand us. And I stand by that.

Liore is also right in that altoholics don’t usually need much in the way of rewards to keep us interested. We like the leveling game so we keep right on playing. We don’t need all those sparkly, purple gear drops to keep us going because we just have fun in our own little world of progressing via character levels rather than boss kills. What they fail to understand is that while we don’t need all of those shiny carrots to lure us forward, it’s not very fun to see all the people around you getting other rewards (like 30 days of play time) when we frequently get nothing.

A good move would have been to give all of the level 50 characters something in game like a title. “Crash Site Survivor” signifying that you lasted through all the buggy encounters and crashes, or something like that, would have been both fun and rewarding to those players. Instead, they gave everyone who had reached level 50 $15 for doing so even if they had never stepped foot in any of the buggy content that the level 50′s are potentially getting this reward for. Let me state for perfect clarity right now that I have no problem at all with Bioware rewarding people for reaching level 50.

In essence, we’re paying the $15 Altoholic Tax for not playing the game the same way other players are. Would I have paid that money anyway? Of course, but that’s not the point. Why don’t I deserve to be rewarded in a similar way when I’m experiencing the content that they spent the majority of their budget on when someone who skipped it all potentially is? Does 42 hours a week not prove that I’m loyal? Does offering people seven day passes frequently via twitter not show that I’m supportive? I think I’ve done my part to show that, I’m just disappointed that I’m seeing rewards handed out to one type of player to show their value while my type is ignored (sending the message, “we don’t value you” or “we don’t value you as much”).

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13 Comments

Posted by on April 12, 2012 in SWTOR

 

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13 responses to “Bioware Rewards Their Players…Sort of

  1. lillilli

    April 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Agree on the free month completly. I also have a charcter that has been sitting in mid forties for a while. While I leveled alts and what not.

     
  2. Liore

    April 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    In my opinion you are looking at this the wrong way, although I can understand why folks without a 50 are disappointed. You’re taking this way too personally, though.

    SWTOR has an excellent levelling game, while the end-game has been flawed almost from the beginning. Of all the people I know who started playing in December, I can think of MAYBE 3 that wandered away during the levelling process. 90% of the people who stopped logging on so much did so after hitting 50.

    This is not some kind of “we hate altoholics” move, it’s a “holy crap we need to improve the retention of level 50s” move. People who have been taking their time and rolling lots of alts are, generally, dedicated customers and don’t need a lure to stay subscribed for the next 30 days.

    I’m not saying it’s awesome, but it’s business logic, not some declaration that Bioware hates you.

     
  3. Wob Monster

    April 13, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    Really? Scores of people cancelled their subscriptions? I don’t doubt what you write Psynister, but I haven’t heard a single person on my server complain about ranked WZs not making it into the patch. I agree with you though, rather have it working than not!

     
    • Psynister

      April 13, 2012 at 8:07 AM

      The people who are cancelling over ranked warzones are, from those I know, primarily found on PvP and RP-PvP servers. The majority of the ones that I know for sure have said that they are cancelling over ranked warzones in particularly come from The Fatman and Ajunta Pall servers. The Fatman is the most populated server in the game right now, and I believe AP is the most populated RP-PvP server as well.

       
  4. DraconianOne

    April 13, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    Liore, I can’t agree more with your conclusion about it being a move to retain 50s – but in the way they’ve worded the press release, they seem to me to be doing so while alienating the players who are the ones likely to be subscribing for far, far longer. I for one have been left with a bad taste in my mouth about a game I’ve been constantly enthusing about and playing – even if I don’t have quite the same amout of /played time Psynister has.

     
  5. Rosie

    April 13, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I must admit i love my alts. I also traditionally do not reach level cap on a game till it is about to be raised. But I have managed to create 2 lvl 50, on 2 servers. Of course If i could move one of them to my current server I would. It took me a while to level that high, doing all the quests, and always doing it with my BF. But wow, the story kept me on the character till we caped.

    As much as I like the free 30 days, Honestly I do wish they had looked at it a bit differant. Loyal members = early players that have stayed. I would love to see anyone that has a 50, and or has maybe 6 characters all at least 20 or something. well that is one thought.

    well written and I hope to see you and your wife in the pixles

     
  6. DoubleRods

    April 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    I’m the guy you are talking about. I have 3 level 50 alts, none of them have been in an operation. Odds are they never will be. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to accept my month and move along. But, I agree with you there are a lot of very loyal, and I’d bet much lower maintenance, players who aren’t concerned with the end game issues.

    I do see their point in offering this to players with a 50. But, how difficult would it be to include players with over 200 hours played? They have the stats handy.

    The level capped groups are the most obvious, and most vocal of the bunch in any game. But, from the view of Bioware, I wonder if they are the most profitable, or most loyal. There are those who will shoot to level cap, smoke through end game, and proceed to very loudly and with great fanfare drop their accounts for the next shiny object.

    Then there are the true believers, they love your world. They were in early. They will defend almost anything that happens. They will be around to turn out the lights when the game ends.

    The group that needs to be taken care of is the Altoholics. They are going to spend the time in game, pay subs, tell their friends, bind your communities together and in general keep your game afloat and growing.

    There is nothing wrong with rewarding any or all of these groups. There is a big problem in not recognizing one of them.

     
  7. Iyeri

    April 14, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Psynister, did you see that the page now says accounts that have a level 50 OR Legacy Level 6+?

    I think they’re trying to address your concern. I don’t know if it catches you specifically, where you’ve been spreading your time not only between characters but also between legacies… but I do think that’s a move to address people with a similar playstyle to yours!

     
  8. Bristal

    April 14, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Have not played SWTOR, but, I have to wonder. You love the game and the stories so much and clearly play a lot, but have never FINISHED a single character’s storyline?

    It’s like you’re telling me about your favorite author, have read all her books, but never finished one.

    Focus.

     
    • Psynister

      April 14, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Nope. Comparing it to a book doesn’t work in this instance because the stories aren’t the reason why I play. Rather than relating it to a book, relate it to a buffet restaurant. I eat one dish until I’ve had my fill or want to try something new, and then I go back to the line and grab something else. I might find something I like a lot and stick with it for a while, or I might decide after just a small taste that this plate is all things I don’t like the taste of, so I’ll go back and either try something new or get a bit more of what I liked off of that first plate.

      I’m not here to eat the entire platter of one type of food to say that I finished it, I’m here to try all the things that look good and enjoy the entire journey as a whole.

      Focus isn’t how I roll.

       
  9. buntalan lucu

    April 17, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    if i recall, the offer for 30 days free time are expanded to people with legacy level 6 .. so if you dont have lv50 but you got multiple alts , your legacy level will reach more than 6.. i play 8 republic char in 1 server (45,42,31,29,27,26,25,20) and i reached legacy 12.. i played casually and also dabble in imperial alts (8 alts all below 15)

    so i guess the free 30 days offer is valid for alt o holics too

     

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