Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Raptr and it's Rift Promo

I recently took part in Trion's cross promotion with Raptr to snag a free copy of last fall's Rift expansion.  I'm not playing Rift at the moment, but the rumor is that you will have to buy the new soul for each calling individually post F2P.  Getting all the souls now for free seemed appealing, but this created a minor question of how to log the hours /played to qualify for the promotion. 

The marketing campaign requires players to create a Raptr account and log roughly 13 hours of time "playing" Rift - the unlimited free (re-) trial version will do - with the Raptr client open.  This would be difficult if you were legitimately trying to play the game, as the trial caps at level 20 and you'd run out of stuff to do before you logged the requisite hours.   

Fortunately, to make a long story short, Raptr's client does nothing to deny you credit if you want to AFK to pad your playtime.  The clock starts when you open the Rift client and the clock stops when you close the Rift client.  If you choose to leave your the client on the "you have been disconnected, push okay to close client" screen for ten hours, that's your business. You can even play a different game simultaneously, if your computer can handle the load, and Raptr will log and credit your time /played in the second game as well.

Gaming and social media
Besides getting something I guess I sort of wanted to have without spending real money, this was an interesting visit to the social experiment that is Raptr.  I have misgivings about mixing social networking with online gaming, and the experience did little to assuage them.

My Raptr profile - which I immediately changed to self-only - proudly proclaims that I played a "crazy session" of 10+ hours of Rift during working hours on a weekday.  Publicizing this information - Raptr will spam your twitter feed for you if you provide your credentials - is what makes Raptr valuable to advertisers, as it can go back to Trion and say that every play session I logged is a advertisement for Rift spammed out to all my friends for free. This is also why they have zero incentive to prevent me from AFK'ing - Raptr knows perfectly well that I was idle (and will even mark me AFK in the chat system if I want), but it's just as happy to add my AFK hours to the total it includes in its marketing materials.

It's less clear to me why it's to my benefit to have my gaming activities broadcast so publicly.  I suppose the sheer length of time involved makes it relatively obvious that I opened the client, went to work, and stopped for groceries on the way home before checking to see if I'd made the required hours yet, but I can imagine questions being asked by current and potential employers if this type of activity log was public and a frequent pattern.

The client also helped itself to scanning my hard drive for all the games it could find (which was NOT most of them, because it didn't think to look on my data drive) without any warning that it was going to do so, and posting those to my profile as well.  You can delete them manually - and I assume re-delete them every time you let it rescan - but if you don't want the world to know that you have Hello Kitty Online Adventures on your computer, you're probably going to have to work at it. 

At the end of the day, it's your choice whether to opt into these sort of things - so long as you read the fine print closely enough to realize what you've agreed to, and think ahead to the reality that information that you placed on the internet voluntarily is probably never coming down if you change your mind later.  If I had any aspirations of making money either covering or making games, I suppose I could see some benefit to having this kind of record as a public resume of my achievements.  Perhaps if I was looking to catalog time /played for myself or someday my kid (i.e. if I see you on the computer playing and you're not in Raptr chat, I assume you've closed the client to cheat the logs and you lose your computer privileges) , having a log handy would be helpful. 

As an every day user, though, I think I'll pass, even if that does mean that I won't be getting credit for hours that might someday qualify me for some future reward. 

No comments: