MMO gamers love it when they get surprise emails from a game they used to play giving them a bunch of goodies to get them to come back and play. What gamers don’t like is when they actively play a game and players that have left the game receive gifts that could contain items they’ve shelled out sometimes hundreds of dollars to try and obtain.
And thus, “Dolphingate” was born.
In an effort to gain some players back to the ArcheAge fold, Trion Worlds sent out emails that awarded lapsed players with “Return to ArcheAge” gifts. For the most part, the gifts were the usual items you’d expect in this type of offer, a few potions, scrolls, etc. However, some of the gift packages contained the newly released $100 Secrets Pack and the Cynafin Dolphin, an in game mount that players have been spending cold hard cash on random boxes to try and obtain.
Needless to say, the forums are already alight with existing players that are not happy about this gift horse (mount joke, a bad one I know) and the flood of “I’m cancelling my patron status” posts have been pouring in.
Trion Worlds, via Khrolan, has issued a statement about the offer and their rationale for what the offer included.
The important part is to make sure the giveaway is compelling enough to give recipients a reason to come back without it being perceived as too generous to the point that it offends existing, active players. Plain and simple, we missed the mark and overestimated. Instead of moving through the right approval paths the folks involved in this promotion drew assumptions about what would and wouldn’t be acceptable to include. Some of our reasoning for including items like the dolphin or glider skins are that they’re largely cosmetic with limited actual game functionality. The bottom line is we ran forward at full speed with the best intentions and the packages were just plain too generous. We’ve corrected this process internally and have measures in place now to identify and review appropriate rewards.
Would you be upset by this type of offer?