13/03/2013

A Contentious Patch

Patch 1.7.2 hit the live servers today, and with it came the return of the Gree event. To say that this left me slightly baffled would be an understatement. When the devs said that this would be a recurring event, I thought that it was going to return after about a month or two at the very earliest. Instead we had two weeks of the event, then two weeks of it being turned off, and now apparently another two weeks of it being turned on again.

For me personally this is honestly a bit too fast a cycle (assuming that it is indeed going to be a regular cycle, and that the next break won't be longer). I really threw myself into the event last time around, unsure of when I would get a chance to have another crack at it, but if it's basically going to be available half the time anyway, it's not really going to feel like anything special. I do expect to occasionally do the dailies again, do the one-off quests on a few more alts, maybe kill the world bosses a couple more times... but I have to admit that it's not going to be nearly as exciting now.

Still, I kind of raise my eyebrows at people who are already moaning about "recycled content". I mean, come on. I've actually had several people comment to me that they were happy to see the event return already because they had somehow managed to miss out on it last time, a whole two weeks ago in a galaxy far, far away... I guess it's all good. Plus, Bioware did make a point of fixing several of the things that were problematic about the quests last time around, such as the data chip drop rate from the bloody animals (guaranteed drop from each kill now, hooray).

The truly contentious thing about this patch have been the latest Cartel Market shenanigans. Basically, in addition to releasing a new set of gambling boxes, Bioware added a special faction for which you can only gain reputation by opening those very same boxes. Like the other reputations, it grants some titles and access to a vendor that sells more cosmetic gear. TORWars has a good summary of it here. Strictly speaking you don't have to personally pay any real money to work on that reputation, because you can buy unopened Cartel packs on the GTN for in-game credits, but someone has to be willing to pay up with real money for sure, because there is no other way of getting those reputation trophies.

Unsurprisingly I guess, the response has been much wailing, gnashing of teeth and cries of "pay to win". The thing is, I can kind of understand some of it. There's definitely a sense of the Cartel Market encroaching on more parts of the game in there, which is not appealing to those of us who don't really use it much, if at all. And if you're the kind of person who loves to collect titles, pets or mounts, I can see how you'd be feeling more and more pressured into spending real money.

However, on the other hand... cosmetic fluff is about as innocent as this kind of stuff can get. Yes, I can understand why it sucks if that's your favourite thing in the game, but what kind of things do you expect them to sell then? There are few things that would have less of an effect on you than some other player owning a pet or a mount that you don't have yourself. (For comparison, try playing with someone who has significantly more or fewer "convenience" unlocks than you do, and observe the difference.)

Even though I don't exactly like this change as I never really use the Cartel Market myself except to spend the occasional couple of coins from my subscriber stipend, I find it very hard to get truly worked up about this. It simply has zero effect on me. I may have completionist tendencies in some aspects of the game, but I collect neither speeders nor pets... and so what if I have a reputation bar that's completely empty? (I've never done a heroic space mission in my life either.)

I don't mind if the devs throw the big spenders a bone or two. After all, I actively benefit from other people spending real money on Cartel Market items and putting them up on the GTN. From what I've seen, the new packs in particular contain some very nice new models that aren't just reskins of existing stuff, so if other people spend more and end up with spares that they want to sell for credits, it's nothing but a win for me.

6 comments:

  1. "Pay to win" for..... Fluff? Really?

    It doesn't help you down a boss faster or anything like that, it just allows you to look cool.

    Considering the little I've used of my cartel stash, I fail to see the big deal.

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    1. Amen to that. The Cartel rep thing is all cosmetic only ... there are level 43 chests you can buy that used to be on the Cartel Market at one point, but you can get those for pure credits. I fail to see the problem here ... seems much adieu about nothing, really.

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    2. For the first time since F2P launch I have spent real money for coins to buy some packs. But it was only for a chance to win the new speeder. The one where you get to lounge on a pillow in the back with a driver to cart your around. I really like this speeder lol.

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  2. I think they should have avoided using the reputation system. It just confuses the issue.

    They could have got much the same effect with a new currency or similar idea.

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    Replies
    1. Heh. As I saw someone comment on the forums: "It makes perfect sense to use existing technology for their rewards program, people just want it to have it's own menu tab and be called something else so their corn doesn't touch their mashed potatoes."

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  3. I've kinda calmed down about it and instead of the raging thunder that was my rant on release, I'm more getting used to the fact that I just won't have that faction rep maxed, I do kind of feel like I've been spat upon from a great height as the kinda of player who goes after everything in games and knowing that I'll have codex's missing because I personally cannot afford to spend the irl cash on the packs annoys me greatly still, but I can understand why they've done it.

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