Upon rolling out its “massive” 1.2 patch earlier this week, Bioware fell into a tad of a PR mess, after offering to give their “most valued players” (active players with at least one maxed-out character) free months of gametime (among other rewards). The backlash was enough to prompt Kotaku to run this story, discussing the qualifications of a valued player and summing up some of the complaints on the forums.
Now today, the man himself (no not that man), Dr. Greg Zeschuk, has released some info on the forums, widening the free month of gametime for a new definition of “most valued players”: those that have reached Legacy Level 6. Don’t ask me what that means; his explanation is as follows:
First, you need to have passed Chapter 1 to unlock your legacy. Examples of how to get to Legacy Level 6 include:
- A pair of characters Level 45 and 42
- A trio of characters of Levels 45, 32 and 32
- A bunch of characters Levels 35, 33, 31, 29 and 20
- A single 50th level character that has enjoyed the endgame for a brief time
Remember these are just examples – you’re free to choose how to earn your Legacy experience to gain Legacy Level 6.
For me, that sounds great. Some of the arguments against max-level characters being the only criteria of a valued player revolve around people who suffer from alt-itis (or altoholics), people with other responsibilities (read: other, more fun game interests), or people with two-year-olds running around, wiping their nose on everything in the house (including, but not limited to keyboards and mice).
The post goes on to explain that they are going to extend the amount of time players have to reach this tier, allowing active subscribers to cram the last little bits of legacy-gaining until April 22nd.
I think it’s a good move, PR-wise, and one that might help EA avoid the ‘Worst Company of 2013‘ title next year.
Personally, I have a problem with the fact that they caved under pressure by a bunch of whiny little bitches. Not that they weren’t doing the right thing; that’s debatable. But I’m worried about the sense of entitlement that many gamers are getting (specifically toward Bioware, ironically enough). Like the Reverend touched on in his Mass Effect 3 review, gamers are forming these unhealthy relationships with games, assuming rights in the way companies create and maintain their content.
If Sully had died at the end of Avatar, leaving behind several pregnant and confused Nav’i, and a bunch of people started asking Cameron to change the ending, he would laugh. If J.K. had killed off Harry, I doubt she would even consider changing the ending because of pissed-off readers. It’s a troubling trend in gaming, and I’m sure that there are philosophical or social reasons for this (something to do with the rise of crowd-sourced beta testing, aggregated data-sharing, or Kickstarter funding), but as someone who has some experience with working with students, I know that if you give an inch, soon you’ll be asked to give a mile.
I might be biased, as I haven’t been a fan of a lot of the SW:ToR forum-posters ever since my first beta-testing weekend. Many came across as whiny bitches, expecting a fully-functional and bug-free MMO right out of the gate. It seemed that there was this ridiculous mix of people expecting a WoW clone with Star Wars characters; a bunch of Galaxies refuges, hoping for more of the same; and a slew of MMO snobs who were so critical of everything in the game, I could only wonder what in the hell they were doing, testing a game that they hated so much.
I can’t fault Bioware for caving under the pressure (even though I do), and I’m not sure if they’re doing it because they care, because they are trying to create a friendly brand image, or if they’re worried about the game not being as successful as they had hoped (The game is consistently discounted, they have given 25 free friend invites to each player, and they keep giving out free weekends—all possible actions of a troubled game).
Yes, I understand that there is a lot of conjecture here, but what do you think? Are they caving or caring?