Dungeons And Dragons Players Revolt, Storm Super Rewards Castle

from the spam-survey-broadsword-of-doom dept

We’ve been covering how Turbine recently changed the business model of their online role-playing game Dungeons And Dragons Online from the fairly typical MMORPG pricing system ($50 for the game and then $15/month to play) to a business model where users can play for free — but pony up some cash for some additional perks. The decision has been a significant success for a game that was headed downhill in the shadow of larger MMORPG’s, like Blizzard’s World Of Warcraft, and Turbine saw milions of new players the first few months after the change. However, Nick writes in to direct our attention to the fact that some additional Turbine efforts wound up pushing our free-loving Elven and Dwarven friends a bit too hard.

The company recently implemented a Super Rewards "offer wall." Like in popular Facebook games like Farmville, the offer wall allowed users to fill out surveys and participate in other marketing efforts in exchange for Turbine points, which could be used in game for goods and services. Except judging from posts to the Turbine forums, users weren’t pleased to learn that their account name and email were being sent to Super Rewards just for visiting the page — and some of the early offers wound up being "questionable," even according to a Turbine forum statement. Despite a few changes, customers continued to complain and Turbine wound up tearing down the wall — "for now":

"Based on your feedback, we’re stepping away from the ‘Offer’ category for now. We’ll keep exploring alternate ways for players who want points to get them. We’ll also continue to innovate in pricing and accessibility because that’s who we are. As of today, the Offer Wall is coming down. We’ll collect all the feedback we’ve received over the last few days and will use it to guide future decisions."

It’s great that Turbine was willing to listen to customer feedback and pull back from (or revise) an offer that was annoying, though it seemed easy enough for users to avoid these kinds of offers if they wanted. The company still seems to be doing quite well by selling a revolving array of specialized in-game loot and additional adventures, though there’s also a fine balancing act at play between offering users worthy, compelling content — and pushing microtransactions to the point where they frustrate and annoy the userbase. That said, many gamers seem perfectly eager to pay a lot of money for relatively little; Blizzard Entertainment recently earned millions in fairly short order by selling users a $25 horse — which offered players’ in-game characters no additional in-game character bonus.

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Comments on “Dungeons And Dragons Players Revolt, Storm Super Rewards Castle”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: not horse armor! :)

Yeah, and that mount can be used in flying and in mounted situations. This apparently saves players a bag slot. Of course, players have a lot of bag slots by that point in the game, but an extra slot is worth something.

There’s a WoW-clone called Runes of Magic that’s free to play, and has an in game economy working between gold (in game) and diamonds (bought with real-world money). My guess is the producers were doing pretty well. Several of my guildies had bought hundreds of dollars worth of diamonds before I quit.

It’s a decent example of giving stuff away to build a fan base, and sell a few scarce things (artificially in this case) to make money. They also implemented an advertisement option.

Anonymous Coward says:

karl how many companies get information off of every page view on techdirt? how many set cookies, track ip addresses, and other information to create unique user profiles or to aggregate data? how many of them use that information later? i you would say you need to ask the masnick about it. it would make a good story on techdirt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What sites buy and track and what information they get is irrelevant. The question is: Why is this not explicitly disclosed upon arriving at Techdirt? Witholding information causes market inefficiencies. Give full disclosure and let the market decide if selling the information is viable.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Now, I like FUD just as much as the next guy, but when I think of concerns about data mining and aggregation, Techdirt falls *way* below, oh, I dunno, Google.

If you don’t like the stories on Techdirt, just go away. Really. If you’re not here to actually *discuss* the topics, why are you here? I mean, the only way you could get me to go to a site that I didn’t like– that I refused to even discuss topics with– would be if I were… paid to.


Hulser (profile) says:

There’s just something that I don’t like about games which are based on paying cash for in-game items. I feel like it would mean that a kid with his parents’ credit card could just buy all of the items that another player would have to earn by in-game activities. Yeah, I know that Turbine are trying out new business models and on one level, I admire them for that, but it just seeme unfair. I suppose there is a way to strike a balance, but in my mind, buying in-game items just seems to much like buying gold from a gold farmer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Super Rewards is essentially an entire platform devoted to scamming players/users into giving up their personal information or entering into “opt out in 30 days or we’ll charge your credit card every month!”

Any company who uses Super Rewards and then feigns ignorance and shock and surprise about the “questionable offers” is just playing dumb.

Joseph says:


** Blizzard Entertainment recently earned millions in fairly short order by selling users a $25 horse — which offered players’ in-game characters no additional in-game character bonus.**

This would be incorrect. The mount in question is given to all current and future characters on the account regardless of the server they are on. Also this mount can take the place of four separate mounts that have to be obtained ‘normally’ in the game. This would be a considerable bonus.

Eo Nomine says:

RE: Privacy Policy?

The issue of what TechDirt may or may not do with “personal information” raises something I’ve always wondered about: why does TechDirt have no privacy policy? Or terms of use for that matter? Given the amount of space this blog devotes to copyright and privacy (usually railing against them), I’ve always found it odd that the blog itself sets no rules about these issues.

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