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.