BB79 – Veteran Rewards?
Okay, so there’s a new blog banter out here.
Should CCP put more effort into rewards for loyal customers? The mystery code from the collector’s edition hasn’t seen much use and whilst veteran rewards have been mentioned by CCP several times at Fanfests, we have seen nothing. Wasn’t there talk of a special station only 10-year vets could dock in at one point?Is this lack of gratitude towards loyal customers alienating? Do people wish for a change here? Is it too self-righteous to expect small signs of gratitude for being a loyal customer? Is a customer purchasing half a year in advance more loyal than someone plexing every now and than probably missing out a few weeks or months a year? How do CCP place rewards in game without hurting the economy?Or is it just a case of there is no need and HTFU snowflake?
Well, first off I’ve got a Mystery Code myself, and I’ve been playing since spring ’06, so I guess there could be some bias, just so you know.
So – a station? I don’t exactly remember anything about that, but honestly it doesn’t really speak to me as being an idea that would play well in the sandbox. Or even if it was implemented, it would probably end up being lacklustre.
What about the Mystery Code though? For some people, myself included, it was part of the draw for the Collectors Edition (plus of course that sweet as hell usb rifter hub!). But so far all we’ve had is a bunch of clothing once or twice, and that really is it. This isn’t one of these freebie things either, this is a thing that purchasers of the Collectors Edition have actually paid for. So in this case, on a money for product basis, I think a little more value for money would be ideal here, given the cost of purchase vs value of items. I mean, is it too much to ask for, say, a few items of clothing, or a SKIN, or maybe one of those useless but pretty special issue ship hulls (like the Primae), once a year? Like if Mystery Code holders got a bonus Christmas gift in addition to the normal stuff or whatever. Just, y’know, something, so we’d know it hadn’t been forgotten.
Like I said, maybe I’m a little biased, but this code hasn’t really done very much for those who own it so far, so it’s a little disappointing.
But I think I’ve covered that for now. So what about this discussion of time subscribed vs time originally started, etc etc.
Well, my first knee-jerk comparison on this is Star Trek Online. In STO people who are subscribed (or Lifetime Subscribers, for that matter) get rewards for maintaining active subscription time. As the counter for that active subscription time (it doesn’t have to be continuous, you can break it up as finances require), you get additional rewards. 1000 days gets you an actually quite nifty factional ship which can do some pretty nice stuff. Not too game breaking either, so they’ve got reasonable balance on that.
Similarly, people who maintain active subscription time to The Secret World get additional bonuses as they meet the requirements of successive landmarks. So someone who has been subscribed for x amount of time will receive a fancy jacket, while someone who has been subbed for y amount of time gets a motorbike, or a bonus teleportation item (re-usable). And so on.
Key word being “active”. Which means alpacas are out of luck – although I think that even when unsubbed, any currently owned rewards will still function, so there’s that at any rate.
So if players matched X amount of time, could it be reasonable to suggest they get Y rewards? Well, I’d say yes, and also that it has totally happened before. See: all previous Christmas giveaways of special issue ships (Primae, Echelon, etc), or event giveaways (Zephyr, Apotheosis, etc). Only people who have been subbed at that time will have access to those hulls/gifts. Anyone who has been subbed after the point that these gifts were available are unable to acquire them. Similarly, certain hulls, such as certain vexor or magnate hulls – only available if you played at certain times back in the day – anyone less veteran than that will not have them.
But perhaps you’ll consider this false equivalency, even though some (apotheosis) were given as gifts for the capsuleer program (the game) being (in the case of the apotheosis) five years old. We all (who were active at the time) got a gnosis for the ten year anniversary.
But should we instead focus on actual subscription time, rather than “merely” being around at certain points in EVE’s history?
If so, then perhaps these rewards would take the place of milestones following the amount of active PLEX time (or similar) as an Omega account. Like a reward from your racial government (possibly secretly considered as a sort of bribe) for remaining Omega for x amount of time. Or maybe it’s a gift from Concord, or the SoCT? Perhaps it’s a Scope bribe with additional gifts given to those capsuleers who acquiesce to an interview (or IRL a survey that CCP can use to help get additional data on why players stick with the game).
After all, we’ve seen it happen before – players who had been subscribed for ten years during the ten year anniversary and attended fanfest were rewarded with gifts for their loyalty. Why should this not also be applied – with virtual items – for others who make such an effort or journey? The items do not necessarily have to be anything that affects the game. Again, SKINs, special ships (again, the Primae is the best example), clothing, etc.
But is this something CCP needs to do? Not necessarily. While I would argue “yes” in the case of the Mystery Code (and also argue it is a separate topic to rewarding veteran time), I would merely suggest “maybe” in the case of rewarding subscription time, as while I can see the benefits, I can also see that CCP doesn’t necessarily have to follow the same path that other, less sandbox focused MMOs do. But I do think it’s something they should totally at least consider, given we already have precedent for it, as I have described.