Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Chores and Rewards

Syp has a post up about logging into a bunch of games to get login rewards and do basic "chores" before logging out again. Scooter and I were just talking last night—early this morning, actually—about daily logins and monthly patron/subscription rewards. (On a side note, how is "login" not in the default Firefox spelling dictionary?) Discussing GW2, Scooter didn’t like the idea of logging in and basically leveling a character to max without ever actually playing GW2. Rift has a similar daily login reward system—at least for patrons—but without the leveling boosts, if I recall correctly.

While I am perfectly willing to pickup a reward just for logging into a game, I am generally disinclined to log in solely for the reward. I have on occasion logged in regularly simply to do "chores" like repeatable quests for a larger reward, like during seasonal events. But that's only when I don't have time for more. And I become less inclined to chase such rewards the older I get.

The Hype Train Derails

Meanwhile, and I am late to the party here, the folks at BioWare announced, during the recent livestream, a monthly subscriber reward program.

Thanks to Vulkk for posting that, since BioWare apparently didn't. And GRATZ to my old guild leader Maric (@PaganRites) for getting his tweet featured, among others (top right, starting about 7:02).

I kinda see monthly reward programs as bonuses for playing the game; I would not subscribe to any game only for the rewards. So I have no issue with the program as announced. But as Syp pointed out in his rehash of the December Livestream: "BioWare is the most begrudging studio I’ve ever seen when it comes to its free-to-play model. It has it. It offers it. And it clearly loathes that it’s had to include it." For some people—including me for the longest time—SWTOR's atrocious F2P program keeps them from playing at all, much less subscribing. And if I decide to stop subscribing I lose all sorts of quality-of-life perqs, not just an XP bonus and such. And non-subscribers are limited in how much of the MMO aspects of the game they can participate in, from PvP battlegrounds to group instances. More on that later.

Contrast that with, say, Trion Worlds and Rift, which has just about the most generous loyalty program out there. You can play whatever aspect of the game you like as much as you like completely for free, and most of the patron perqs simply add to that. And the more you spend, the more loyalty points you get. And the loyalty rewards NEVER go away.

Let's Role

A lot of people were disappointed in the subscriber rewards leading up to the release of Knights of the Fallen Empire, and were again disappointed by the already announced subscriber/loyalty rewards relating to the companion character HK-55. I see reactions like, "We already have an HK droid. We already have enough companions." I don't have much of an opinion either way, to be honest. I don't have an HK-51; I don't have a Treek companion either. I saw no need—even before the new, more versatile, companion system—to get another companion when I was likely to only use a couple of the companions I had already anyway.

Seriously, of the stories I've played through, Scourge is the only final companion I've used while questing, and only because I got him after the new system launched, and it's funny to make him my healer. The final companion usually comes so late in the game that I've already established a playstyle with one of the others, and I don't need a new one. If this were more like Dragon Age, where I was forming parties with my companions, I could understand having more than one. As it is, only the new system allowing me to pick my companion's combat role has induced me to switch companions as they join my crew (which means basically, only my smuggler Heliantha).

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

Getting back to HK-55 (and HK-related stuff, I assume) as a subscriber reward: meh. While I agree that the eightish-month sustained subscription during a specific time frame seems a little much for that extra story (no a la carte option?), monthly gifts are not why I subscribe to SWTOR any more than TSW's monthly gifts were the reason I subscribed there. I subscribe to SWTOR to play the game freely, without restrictions.

Meanwhile, many players are disappointed by the lack of new MMO content in SWTOR. While BioWare has obviously been focusing on the essentially single player Story experience, they have neglected creating new operations (raids) and PvP battlegrounds. These people don't have enough to do, and the subscriber rewards that have been announced are not much inducement to stick around. I do sympathize with them. But since my appreciation of "group content" at this stage is limited to the Story stuff Scooter and I do together, I am not a strong advocate for more raids and PvP. We haven't even done much by way of Alliance building, since those conversations are totally solo. I can't even watch Scooter's confabs, and vice versa. (I assume any missions can be done together.) We're busy bringing up our newer characters to get legendary status. I kinda hope that doesn't bite us in the butt when Ep X comes out in February.
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  1. I just figured they had thrown in the towel on multiplayer. My brother and I tried another run through when 12x was active, but its just frustrating and slow even when you can "tag along" on someone else's mission.

    And I completely agree about their grudging and stingy model. Something I haven't seen anyone pick up on yet is that they also don't offer full year subs, with the usual discount that goes along with that. Its $156 a year to sub to SWTOR (in six month chunks), whereas most other games have deep year discounts/sales/buy-in-game-options that put the total yearly cost at somewhere between $100-120.

    1. I don't know if may be they figured not enough people would do that. Scooter and I have been buying game-time cards every two months since April. No real discount, but we count as subscribers but don't have to go through a cancellation process.

      I'm not sure what the disconnect is about the multiplayer stuff. But one clue into their thought process may be that some people complained bitterly and vocally when "forced" to do PvP in connection with gaining Influence with M1-4X (formerly the Trooper droid companion) in the post-ChIX Alliance building game.