Friday, December 16, 2011

Answer to an EQ(2)-uestion

On Tuesday, I questioned whether SOE could afford to offer double or triple Station Cash sales now that these deals also slash the subscription price. A mere three days later, I have an answer, with a one-day triple station cash sale.  Not only is the studio apparently unconcerned about the reduced subscription rate, they're also unconcerned that players who paid $40 less than two weeks ago for an expansion that will now be on sale for under $15 will take that personally.

(If this move surprises you in any way, you haven't been paying attention for the last year.  To quote what I wrote in April when they did something similar after the Velious launch: "There's a line between smart price discrimination and making your existing customers feel that you value potential customers over current ones, and repeated incidents like this over the past year have left many current players feeling that the line has been crossed.")

If there's one thing I've learned about being a consumer of non-subscription games, it's that the size of the discount matters not if you buy something on sale that you don't end up using.  My level of interest in the Age of Discovery expansion is so low that I'm willing to take the chance that I will eventually pay more for it later.  The increased AA cap is the only thing I see as must-have in the package, but I'm still 40+ AA's shy of the Velious cap, so I'm not likely to need this increase for a while.  Besides, double and triple SC weekends have come around several times per year, and now that I know they're not gone, there's no reason to think that I can't wait for the next one. 

I will definitely put some money into this promotion - the new Electricity powerset, paired with a permanent upgrade to Premium account status and incidentally some additional content was already on my shopping list for DCUO at the $10 price, so it's a slam dunk at $5 with 500 SC left over.  I'm tempted to go a bit higher than that - $10 would give me the SC to purchase the Green Lantern DLC as well (while I'm less interested in playing a Lantern, the actual content comes before the Flash stuff in progression).  The only way I'd go to $15 would probably be if I found myself near a Walmart and was able to pick up one of their extra bonus SC cards - 2000 SC for $15, which would then be tripled, would leave me set for a long while... but might also be the trap of paying now for points I'm unlikely to use until later.  Guess we'll see how my mood is running tomorrow.


  1. Oh I've been wanting to buy the expansion, looks like the perfect time to! Glad I waited, lol.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Couldn't disagree more. Mrs Bhagpuss and I bought four copies of AoD at full price on pre-order. I just logged in this morning and saw the Triple Station Cash announcement.

    Was I dismayed? Did I feel cheated? Did I even feel annoyed with myself for not waiting? Like hell I did!

    My immediate reaction was a rush of excitement, followed by a turmoil of confusion as I tried to work out which accounts to buy SC on and whether or not to redeem the SC Card (finally available in the UK) that I've bought to go in Mrs Bahgpuss's Christmas Stocking.

    I simply don't understand the idea that because something gets reduced in price after you buy it it in any way devalues the purchase you made. I didn't buy AoD today, I bought it a couple of weeks ago. If I thought it was worth paying £120 for four copies then, then it was. Period.

    Things are simply worth what they are worth to you when you decide to purchase them, end of story. If AoD wasn't worth the box price to me when I paid the box price then I wouldn't have paid the box price. It was, so I did, and I am delighted with the purchase.

    The DoV expansion, however, was on the very cusp of what I considered worth paying for. We did buy it for two of our accounts, six months after release, and I would say it has *just about* been worth it. Probably only for the flying mount and the Public Quest armor. Since I got those I have barely been back to Velious at all. We haven't bought DoV for the other two accounts (the Station Access accounts) and even at Triple SC rates I am still not sure I will bother.

    I've been playing SoE games since 1999. I play more of their games than I do anyone else's. They have games planned that I will certainly play. They are clearly moving to a business model based around payment through the SC shop. If I have the money to spare then it seems incontestable that I should invest some of it in Station Cash at 3-for-1 rates.

    It doesn't really matter whether I spend that SC now or three years form now in EQNext. At current interest rates, how long would it take me to treble the value of that money by keeping it in my Building Society account?

    And on the topic of the AoD expansion, honestly it is brilliant! There's so much in there for everyone. I really think it is the best expansion ever done for EQ2. I've been driving Mrs Bhagpuss nuts ever since AoD arrived, complaining "There's so much to do, I don't know what to do first!" The Tradeskill Assistant alone has given me more pleasure than the whole of Sundered Frontier! It's an Othmir! In your house!

    The concomitant use I've made of old content as a result of AoD has been incredible. I've visited my MajDul house more times in a week than I usually do in six months. I played through the whole of Darklight Woods for the first time in several years. I did Court of Innovation last night and Condemned Catacombs the night before, zones I haven't visited for as long as I can remember. Yes, I *could* have done those at any time, but it's because I bought AoD that I *did* visit them. It has brought the whole game alive again i na way that feels like I didn't just buy an expansion, I bought brand new MMO.

  3. @Bhagpuss: The question is not whether you feel than getting AOD 11 days early was worth 80 pounds to you - only you can decide that. The question is whether the next time you're on the fence - perhaps if there is a future expansion that looks more like DOV than AOD - you'll wait for the next Station Cash sale and use the 80 pounds to take Mrs. Bhagpuss out to a nice dinner somewhere.

    Everything comes down in price eventually, and I can't claim to know what the "right" amount of time is. What I can say is that in March, SOE gave away 2000 SC to players who canceled their subscriptions and waited six weeks to buy DOV, and now SOE has gutted the price of AOD less than two weeks after its launch. I'm not aware of any other company that consistently discounts so aggressively so early. This sets a consistent trend that loyalty to the company and its products costs you more for the same amount of entertainment. I maintain that this is not a healthy place for a company to take its relationship with its customers.

  4. Frankly...I don't care because I bought the SC I used for the AOD purchase during the previous triple Sc Promotion.

  5. Besides the question of buying the expansions at less than half price there's also the point that the triple SC giveaway drastically cut the cost of a subscription.

    I paid $20 for 6,000 SC. Those SC are good for four months subscription. Making the cost of a subscription just $5 per month. One third the cost of a full cost subscription.


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