Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Loyalty

Just a quickie.

So my junk drawer post for December is coming up, and it's a ridiculously busy post with a lot of little items in it.  But one of them, on reconsideration, struck me as something that deserves its own post, if only a little one.

For those of you who aren't World of Tanks players or aren't keeping up with WoT, they're running a very interesting little promotion.  Running until 10 January, Wargaming.net (the developers of WoT) are giving away a free t-shirt to everyone in North America who:
  • has a tier 10 tank in their garage at the end of the promotion period; and,
  • plays five matches during the promotion period.
As someone who dallied a bit with WoT but never became a convert, I can tell you that having a tier 10 tank is a major commitment to the game and its developers.  It's unlikely, in fact, that a player would be able to do it without spending some fairly significant money.  It's not quite the level of having an EVE super-capital ship, but it's pretty damn close.

Which is why giving the players that have hit this plateau some "free stuff" is a genius move on several levels.

At one of the past CSM summits, CCP toyed with the idea of loyalty bonuses for long-term players, and what Wargaming.net has done is a logical extension of that idea.  These t-shirts aren't free: they've been bought and paid for with a lot of micro-transaction money.  The devs are even letting the players choose the design, though they're quick to point out "the World of Tanks logo will appear on the shirt, even if you don't see it in the design below."

And come the spring and summer convention season this year, those t-shirts are going to be everywhere.  Bet you anything we'll see a not-insignificant number of them at Fanfest, for instance.  So giving them away is not only a smart player loyalty move, it's a smart marketing move.  They'll be on the backs of thousands of committed World of Tanks players and should someone ask what the story is about that t-shirt, what are these ultra-committed players going to say?  That the game is terrible?  Not likely.  They're immediately going to launch into a sales pitch, probably without realizing that they're doing it.

Meanwhile, the duration of the promotion is short enough that what do you suppose all of those people who are this close to a tier 10 tank are doing?  Hell, the t-shirts might get paid for with the micro-transaction money Wargaming.net makes during the promotion period alone.  And what do you suppose all those lapsed players that got their tier 10s a year ago are doing?  Scrambling for their WoT passwords, that's what, bringing hundreds or thousands of players back to see what's changed in the game since they logged in last.

Like I said: this is a genius move, on any number of levels.  CCP, if you want your players to sell your game, something like this is how you go about it...

5 comments:

  1. 2003 - May player myself.

    I don't understand how rewarding old timers would help the new comers feel like they had an equal shot.

    It seems like newer players already have a mountain ahead of them and old folks getting what ever would just add to that feeling.


    Maybe I'm not understanding though. I assume you aren't literally suggesting CCP give out t-shirts? Although if that is what you are suggesting I can see how it wouldn't harm newer folks in game.

    That having been said we can't even purchase eve stuffs IRL currently.


    Maybe I missed your point entirely. Could you expand on what you were suggesting CCP do?

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    Replies
    1. Be it a T-shirt or other similar out-of-game goodie, yes, I think that is literally what Jester is suggesting CCP do.

      There's a huge difference between giving veteran players a gameplay advantage and giving them something outside of the game or which has no impact on gameplay.

      Think of it this way; Wargaming.net aren't looking to give the players with tier 10 tanks free gold, or a premium tank, or anything they can use to gain an advantage over others; they're giving out t-shirts. A regular old T-shirt is hardly a big deal, but what they're offering is an exclusive article of clothing you can wear as a gesture of thanks. The exclusivity is a major part of what makes this work. In essence, it's the same idea as giving a medal to someone for coming in first place or for some other achievement; it recognizes the time and effort the players have put into the game to reach the ultimate end-game of World of Tanks, in a form they can wear and show off.

      If, on the other hand, Wargaming.net was giving out a premium tank or some other in-game item--and especially if it was something that gave them a distinct advantage, such as a high level premium tank or free gold or somesuch--then I'd wager it'd produce far more negative publicity and animosity between Wargaming and their player base.

      The theory behind it all translates just as well to CCP and Eve, aside from perhaps the particular thing being rewarded. Especially because Eve's endgame is so open. They could give out T-shirts to people with Titans but that would leave a lot of veteran players feeling left out.

      Delete
    2. Yep, this is it exactly. Whether it's a t-shirt or something else, I think CCP should follow this strategy by giving their long-term players some form of physical reward for long-term play.

      The t-shirts just appeal to me for three reasons:
      1) they're cheap;
      2) they're fun; and,
      3) they're gonna be freakin' EVERYWHERE.

      CCP could use a little semi-free advertising and a small army of long-term players wearing free clothes at the conventions they attend this year would certainly qualify.

      Delete
  2. I would love it if they made it cheaper to play EVE if you are a long term player.
    For example, if you have an account which is 3+ years old, you get 1 free month by year (with money and by PLEX), if you are 6+ then 2 free months, 9+ 3 free months...
    May need to count only active months on the total, to avoid people reactivating à account closed since 5 years for example.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Me: playing eve since 2007 on three (3) accounts simultaneously I'd say I've invested enough to get a T-shirt for free... :-)

    On a much serious note: CCP should really amp up their marketing department. To me it seams like they don't do much 'frontend' work. To the contrast I see at least one (1) ad of WoT daily _ON CABLE TV_!

    I write it again: ON THE FREAKING TELLY!

    When was the last time some EVE ad zipped across the TV?

    ReplyDelete