DDO: Invasion of Privacy

Dungeons and Dragons for DummiesOne thing that got me curious last night, after reading the big DDO Unlimited (DDOU?  DDOEU?  When do acronyms just get silly-stupid?) announcement, was the reaction of current subscribers to the news.  Imagine if the MMO you’re currently subscribing to suddenly announced this shift.  After all, this is their game, their turf, and it’s just been turned upside-down.  Perhaps for the better, perhaps not — I went to their forums to take their temperature.

The general reactions to this announcement tended to land in one of five responses:

  1. Upset because this also represents a delay of a promised content patch (module 9), which the community was eagerly awaiting.
  2. Excited for the huge marketing push, potential influx of lots of new players, cheaper cost and (hopefully) more content than had been rolling out recently.  As a dev said, “It’s kind of dumb to have a store if you’re not selling new content all the time.”
  3. Worried that the community will split into the VIP subscribers and the “others” (freeloading moochers, in other words).
  4. Concern about what happens to their characters and accounts if they downshift from subscriber to free player (which prompted Turbine to release a special FAQ that dealt with those questions).
  5. Unease because of a number of unknown factors — such as how their past accomplishments might be cheapened by rich folks with credit cards who pay for the same benefits.

Four out of five of those reactions are negative, mostly because it boils down to “nobody likes change”.  This is a very radical move on the part of Turbine, perhaps akin to Sony’s disasterous expedition into NGE in terms of changing the face of the game.  But if these fears are addressed and soothed, and if DDO grows in both player numbers and revenue, then it’ll be a gamble well worth taking.  I guess, in Turbine’s eyes, they don’t really have a lot to lose here.

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5 thoughts on “DDO: Invasion of Privacy

  1. I can’t help but think this will be less disastrous than the NGE. While the NGE drove off players in, well, droves, the DDOU system should bring in more than it drives away. There will be players upset by their subscriber status being tarnished by the “others” who are basically tourists in the world, but the influx of new people who experiment with F2P games to find a new home will certainly revitalize the game to a point where it doesn’t have to be cancelled.

  2. While I think DDO is the right game for a pay-as-you-go system, it didn’t launch as such. Major changes to the subscription system are rather unfair to the existing playerbase that have carried it this far.

    I still don’t understand why this particular game couldn’t have been a one-time purchase in the first place, playable on LAN / player servers, etc.. I would certainly have purchased it that way and I’ve got a handful of friends that likely would have too.

  3. I believe that the comparing this change to NGE isn’t as accurate as say, comparing it to a major re-branding/restructuring of a service-orientated company. And yes, Turbine indeed has not much to lose, but much to gain in this move!

    Yes, it’s been proven again and again that people hate change. I personally like change, and thought NGE was a nice breath of fresh air (though poorly planned and ending disastrously). What I’m driving at is that change is actually okay, just small incremental changes as opposed to huge “What the…” changes.

    In response to the general reactions:

    1) Yes, the content patch would be delayed. But, for those who have been playing DDO religiously for the past couple of years, I don’t see the problem. So the patch has been delayed for a few weeks more. I would be miffed, but nothing more.

    Look at it this way. They would have been paying every month regardless, and if Turbine didn’t mention about the content patch, they might have looked at DDOU with a whole different light.

    2) Good news all around here I guess, other then the “more frequent content updates” which might be a little too optimistic.

    3) If that happens, then wouldn’t DDO be the same as it would before to the current subscribers? Other then the cities, or the starting city looking a lot more populated, hey, life goes on as usual.

    4) A very valid concern it is. I myself was planning to resubscribe DDO after well, a year or two, and I would like to see how that affects my account. Off to the forums!

    5) I find this point totally non-valid. Especially in a world which is so driven by money. So you worked hard to unlock your Drow when someone else just bought it. Was it really hard work though, or would you have done so anyway?

    Your defining factor, your trophy over the “rich kids” will be your experience, and in-game wise, probably your level and equipment that they cannot buy. The time you get to lord it over that naive innocent drow monk is when she (because we all know that female drow monks are as cool as they are out of place) rushes through a flame trap into the middle of a firing squad of goblins. True story, by the way.

    Of course, they could hire Chinese farmers and read the forums religiously during their day-long meeting about a $100m project which they would get 10%… Oh, wait, we are not talking about buying that private jet and refitting it to look like that posh club’s lounge and filled with girls that would make joining the Mile High Club elite a piece of cake?

    People, people, it’s a few bucks. Anyone can afford that, as much as they afford buying a new game, that extra meal, or whatever. If you don’t want to buy that slice of cheesecake, don’t bitch and moan to the counter that it should be free, since you have been buying coffee from them for the past 2 years, and why that new guy with an extra 5 bucks could get it.

    Game Economy shift (E.G. demand at the auctions for equipment that non-VIP accounts are eligible to use)

  4. Whoops, accidental tab+space…

    Anyways, that would be something I would have a concern about, the Game economy shift that the new players will definitely create!

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