SOE betide

Well it’s safe to say that the news that SOE has been sold, further cements my belief that the companies strategy hasn’t been great over the last few years.
For me personally the cash shop focus has been awful and abused to the point that many players stopped buying into the OP/Nerf cycle.

  • Release CashShop Overpowered Item
  • Pimp said item in and out of game
  • Wait the standard 2 to 3 weeks for it to become flavour of the month
  • Nerf item to standard levels
  • Count your profit Scrooge McDuck style
  • Repeat

I suppose the lining is that the new Daybreak Company aims to also focus on Xbox and mobile platforms freeing the development studio from the Sony bias.

As it stands the offering SOE still feels a little lacklustre and I wonder if we will see some cutting loose of the non-profitable games that are hanging around (not that SOE didn’t already do that recently) such as PS (original).

But at least Smedley will be around to buy crap loads of donuts.

SOE: Wrap up

SOE Operation “Do what we like! No? Maybe this will make you happy? No luck!OK, now we are listening, how about this?”

The biggest problem that I have seen with the recent SOE Membership adventure has been the complete lack of details that then had to be drip fed to players over a number of days. Combine that with a complete lack of understanding of how the changes would be taken by players we find ourselves in familiar territory.

Thanks to Wilhelm for pointing out that Turbine require you to logon to claim points when you’re a lifetime member. And considering that other MMO games do this already it’s funny that it wasn’t the first choice.

Maybe it was all just a cleaver “bait and switch” in reverse, a “Scare and switch” if you will.

There have been some posts on this topic: Some great comments on this post. who also mentions the ProSiebenSat 1 hurdles that SOE kindly burdened EU players with. go look at the All Access elements. Syp proposes that Smedley comes off as a loose cannon, which is very easy to agree with.

Edit: I find that Rowans post over at IHTTS does a far better job of explaining the legal side of things that SOE managed to do, for me at least.

SOE back down

Well it would seem that the voice of players has spoken and SOE have listened, more information can be found in this post from Smedley.

The key parts for me are points :

3) We’re keeping the 500 SC included with the subscription instead of going to the "pick an item" system. We heard you. You didn’t like the change. The only change we are making is that we’re now going to make you claim it monthly. You can still hoard it though :) I realize this is a bit of a pain but honestly it’s the best compromise we could come up with that solves the problems I mentioned in the other thread.

This sounds like a good compromise that will hopefully ensure that silent players aren’t just hoarding station cash (not that see why this is a problem to be honest and Turbine have been issuing Points to lifetime members for years).

This of course ties in nicely with point 4 so members may pick up more items with increased frequency.

4) we are going to be giving our members a 10% discount in our marketplaces.

This will reduce more of the items into the range of the monthly Station Cash amount I suspect.

SOE backlash reponse

Well it looks like the negative reactions to the SOE announcements for Premium members has spurred Smed into a new post.
To be fair it would have been nice to have alot of this information beforehand during the initial briefing, however it doesn’t do much to get me on board with the new thinking.

The goals of our plan are very simple. Let players buy anything they want up to 2000 SC. It’s fair to say that there aren’t a lot of high priced items in the Planetside 2 shop, but that’s kind of a good thing too. It’s just when you look at it from the perspective of someone who’s plan is changing they are right to ask “why is this good for me?”.
We are discussing the feedback we’ve been getting and we are making some decisions regarding this today. Particularly around Player Studio items (yeah that was a bad idea) and we’re talking about bundles as well. I promise that we are listening.

Why did we make this change? There were a few reasons really.
First and foremost we wanted to let players get some of the larger items on the marketplace. People complain the other way on this all the time – they complain that the 500SC isn’t enough for them to buy enough stuff. So we thought this would be a positive change.

Currently players save up, I fail to see how SOE could be so blind to think that players wouldn’t save Station Cash, if you price nearly everything out of their price range!
Was it to encourage them to purchase more Station Cash then, well given that globally people are looking for what they can get “best value for money” and to tighten their belts, players just saved that monthly cash to pick up the items they wanted, when they wanted or when on sale.

Second – it helps us deal with some internal issues regarding accrual of balances of SC for people who aren’t playing or spending. There are a lot of people who play and have SC in their wallets and don’t spend it ever.. this accrues over time and it’s a problem. Before the jaded among you cry out that this is really the most important reason – please don’t judge just yet. It’s actually not but I don’t want to hide the fact that it’s a part of it.

So firstly you make the monthly station cash reward too small to be able to purchase many of the items, then in the next breath you say that people are accruing balances of Station Cash. This appears to be a self inflicted problem.

Third – we have a problem with a disparity between our console titles (which can’t use Station Cash) and our PC Games. We can’t do the same kind of promotions as easily on the PS3 and PS4. We’re a lot more limited because we can’t use Station Cash on there. So when we have a 3x sale on SC we have to do something different for our console titles. It’s a pain in the neck to deal with this.

Woohoo, so is a big real reason for migrating to a nerfed system, to cater for the Console version of the games. Glad to see that we the PC players are first to be thrown under the wheels. Nevermind the hours of play or the recruiting of new blood for the game.

We are considering (and are likely going to move forward with) a plan that means if you subscribe to one of our games you are a subscriber to all our games (this applies to PC titles only btw).. all for the current $14.99 a month. That’s a benefit most companies simply can’t offer because they don’t have our portfolio of games. The goal would be to let you pick an item in each game you play. Some of you might say “well who cares..I only play Planetside 2. How is that a benefit to me?” My answer is simple – we’ve got a great lineup of games, some of which aren’t announced yet that cater to a lot of players. We have EQN and EQNL coming along with other….. games… that PS2 players might just like :)

But what if don’t want to play Everquest.
I’ll hold my breath for the other games that are coming along, but given the EQ heavy portfolio I can’t see this being an option I ever want to take.

Source : PS Forums

So it looks like I will be cancelling my subscription this month after all.

Bleeding the Freemium players

ccowSo this far into the Free-2-Play adventures it’s plain to all that there are frequently some tactics used to help customers part with their recently purchased coins/cash/tokens/crowns/points. However most companies seem to have some morals and don’t kick the arse out of it too much with the occasional item once every 3 to 6 months.
Additionally it is frequently some cosmetic item/armour or a new/unique horse.

However so far SOEs plan seems to be different, by making weapons unlockable with station cash many people see it as a “Win Button” approach and I have to say to a degree it sometimes feels like it. At this point I’d much rather a subscription game than the half and half model, which to be honest feels greedy.

However what appears to be happening at the moment is that SOE announce and release a new weapon, which once players have their hands on it turns out to be highly overpowered.
Once word of this gets into the mainstream player base there is a rush as everyone spends their Station Cash on the new Flavour of the week/month weapon, normally trying to get in on the action before SOE take a nerf-bat to it.

Of course the outcome is that SOE announce that it will be de-buffed in some way in the next patch, but not the worry as here is a brand new overpowered weapon to make up for it, just spend another 700 station cash and you can be a kill-whore like your friends.

As you can see the problem is due to two man factors:

  • No testing server has been given but I hear it’s coming soon, lets hope they listen to feedback rather than ignoring it as they mostly did with Beta.
  • The internal playtest/balancing is being done by SOE isn’t picking up any problems with these weapons. Now concerning that may of the devs claim to be life-long Planetside players, why aren’t they flagging these overpowered items before they hit the live servers?

All of this ultimately makes me believe this continual delivery of game wrecking functionality is being purely driven by SOE as part of their strategy to milk the players for as much as possible.Bit of a shame really.

Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps I’m that tied up with this game more than other F2P titles that I have most likely missed it happening to this extent elsewhere.

What are your experiences?