Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Thoughts on this whole Harbinger Issue

Something ridiculous just happened in PoxNora, shattering the trust many had in the company, and basically ruining the concept that this game is "collectible". In a nutshell, they're re-releasing a "Limited Edition" rune. To many, that's tantamount to a reselling of a Black Lotus, to put it into card-terms. Many forum posts have been stated for and against this issue, so much so that I thought it redundant for me to post myself. Instead, I sent a message directly to the company. This is what I said:

I was thinking about making a post in a forum thread, but the arguments for and against have pretty much been exhausted, and there's no point in restating everything again. Instead, I thought I would state my feelings on this whole issue directly.

The bottom line, for me, is that this game is no longer "collectible".

I was incredibly hesitant purchasing my first runes, but because I believed that what I would be purchasing is "collectible" I thought I could at least recoup some of what I spend should I so desire. I've ended up spending hundreds on this game as a result of this perceived reduction of risk. Now, this reduced risk has disappeared to me, and I will be incredibly more hesitant to spend money on this game, and I'm sure many new players would think the same way. I mean, I'm trying to recruit my friends to this game, and a big, BIG sell is that I tell them "if you don't like the game anymore, then you could just sell 'em!" Now I don't know how Octopi feels about reselling, or if you believe runes to be more like an internet CCG, or more like MMORPG equipment and such.... but I digress.

The main issue here is a lack of trust.

A number of things had me started to distrust Octopi, everything from the lack of balancing, to the broken promises (i.e. recipe releases, see Qwerty's thread). Now, I see that you're trying to change this, i.e. all the recent ST focus, but what really takes the cake is this whole Harbinger issue. And it's not even about "Harbingers", per se, but rather about "Limited".

When I hear something is "Limited Edition", it is Limited to a certain number. A cap, so to speak. Now, you say that there IS a cap, but wasn't there one before? How am I to believe that this cap won't increase again in the future? What does "Limited" mean to Octopi, anyways?? I mean, if the rumors are true that it's merely a switching of hands, selling only the same number of harbingers as harbingers from inactive accounts, then what happens if these inactive accounts become active? Does this Limited cap not become raised again? Or, even worse, did you CLOSE these inactive accounts?! That's okay if those beta testers didn't actually spend any money on the game, but what if they did??? That is an incredibly scary thought, how hundreds of dollars can just disappear like that. I need to trust that Octopi will go to great lengths to protect my "investment", but this trust has waned incredibly.

Again, to me, this isn't even about Harbingers, it's more about "Limited". I mean, I'm much more peeved about the Diplomats and TCs becoming PEs than this whole Harbinger uproar. If something is Limited, then there should be a certain hard numbered cap to its production. You can't just change it to Premium just like that. It feels like Octopi deceived everyone into thinking these could someday be worth as much as a harbinger. I mean, I went to great lengths to secure as many diplomats as I could, partly to play them should I decide to play other factions (since I wouldn't want to spend hundreds in the future trying to secure one), and partly for the collectibility aspect (and yes I mean resell value). Now, game-wise, this is a great move with the diplomats. GREAT move. No playable rune should be "Limited", unless there is a non-limited version of it, a la the Angel. Basically, it's a tradeoff between collectibility and playability. But again, I digress... I need to know that if a rune is "Limited Edition", that it will truly be Limited!

The best thing to do now is to rebuild trust with the community. The forums have many ideas for this, the most obvious one being to differentiate the original Harbingers from the new ones. But that to me won't solve the real heart-of-the-matter problem of trust, really. The best way to rebuild and gain trust is to be more TRANSPARENT.

We must have firm statements from Octopi stating what it means for a rune to be "Limited Edition", as compared to other rarities. That just has to happen. Statements should be upheld, such as stating a release of recipes but waiting months before doing so, the release of which being incredibly unspectacular. I held off repurchasing a premium account because of this, and now I'm much more hesitant to do so. But really, it's incredibly disappointing when a big silence comes after a statement. This cannot keep happening. All this being said, however, it must, MUST be clear to the customer what they are actually buying.

If the purchased runes are still property of Octopi, is has to be clearly stated, and not buried within an "I accept/decline" statement. I don't want some cheeky rich guy to challenge this in court, because I'm not sure your company can handle an expensive and prolonged lawsuit, and I really don't want to see PoxNora fold because of this. I am actually quite afraid that this could happen now!

From your statements, it sounds like Octopi realizes now the importance of informing the community, and I appreciate that. I just hope, for everyone's sake, that the core community (as a whole) forgives this perceived blunder. I really do want PoxNora to thrive. It's too good not to.

Thanks for listening to this lengthy, semi-redundant rant of mine, and I hope you do understand how I feel about what transpired lately HawkFain. Thank you.

Justin G. Beaudry


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