MMO Rant: Vote of No Confidence In Trion Worlds

ARCHEAGE 2014-10-10 12-02-23-78

I’ve been sitting at my computer trying to come up with a word to describe Trion Worlds, and so far the best that I’ve come up with is “impressed.” Not impressed in a good way, if you’ve noticed that this is a rant, but more impressed in the sense that you’ve walked into your home to find a man with a flashlight and your finest jewelry, and he impressively tries to convince you that he’s actually a jewelry cleaner who does house calls. Actually, the word would probably be audacity. As in, I can’t believe the audacity that Trion Worlds would, once again, lie and assume that nobody would notice or care.

So what am I sitting here fuming about, you’re probably asking. This week saw the release of ArcheAge’s new continent Auroria, and the launch went about as well as you’d expect. Hackers, gold farmers, and big guilds scooped up most of the new land, server problems meant that many players couldn’t even log in until after the land was already taken, and the response from both the developer and publisher on land hoarding has been nothing. Really, there’s too much to talk about with the expansion, dealing with things I don’t fully understand like item consolidation and the usual Trion tactic of nerfing drops and expanding the cash shop, so I will forward you instead to Massively’s “It’s Getting Harder To Like ArcheAge” article to better explain those aspects.

Instead, I am going to focus on the bold faced lie that has been the ever-delayed 10% discount on marketplace purchases for founders and patrons. During its alpha/beta stage, Trion Worlds listed a 10% marketplace (cash shop) discount as a bonus to purchasing patron status. When it was obvious that the feature wouldn’t be ready for launch, due to relying on XL Games to code it in, Trion Worlds quietly slipped an “after launch” into the advertising and, in the first wrong move of this ballad, played it off as the post-launch implementation having been the plan all along. I didn’t cover this discrepancy because, while questionable, the discount was still on its way and we were assured that it would be applied retroactively.

At this point, Trion starting talking about an “equitable” alternative, one that was never mentioned in the game’s advertising. With this week’s update, the company revealed that the 10% discount has been replaced with a 10% bonus to credits purchased in credit packs. And oh, it gets better. Just read the forum post by Scapes:

A few months ago when we first discussed the ArcheAge Patron Program, a 10% discount on Marketplace purchases was mentioned as a perk of being a Patron. While an “after launch” caveat was included in this perk, both XLGAMES and Trion Worlds have determined that the time to develop this perk would be significant, delaying the benefit to our Patrons longer than we’re comfortable with. Instead, we will be implementing an equitable solution that Trion Worlds can execute on its own.

Today, all Patrons who purchased Credit Packs after Head Start began (September 12) will get a 10% bonus of those sums granted to their accounts. This bonus will only apply to accounts that purchased Credit Packs after their Patron Time was purchased, are in good standing (not banned, no chargebacks), and have not had their Patron Time or Credit Pack purchase refunded. It does not apply to the Credits from the Founder’s Pack and Starter Pack packages. The 10% bonus Credits will apply on future Credit Pack purchases by Patrons.

Just so we are crystal clear, let’s go over just who has been stranded out in the wilderness. The 10% bonus applies retroactively to credit packs made after patron time was purchased, after the head start. Those of you who purchased founders to use the 10% discount in conjunction with your credit stipend get nothing. If you spent money on credit packs during alpha and beta, you also get nothing. APEX buyers also receive absolutely nothing. The only way to receive the altered terms of the deal is to have purchased credits, after head start began (September 12th), with active patron.

It’s also hard not to laugh at how this is being spun as pro-consumer, when the new deal just so happens to benefit Trion Worlds most of all while giving founders and those who bought their credits early the middle finger. It also doesn’t acknowledge the fact that if you buy credits from Trion Worlds, you already get at least a 10% bonus regardless of your patron status.

I’ll wrap up by saying this: In one of my previous jobs, a co worker was fired after their cash register came up $150 short for the second time. In his infinite wisdom, the manager declared that this worker was either stealing or dangerously incompetent, but either way he couldn’t be trusted with money and had to be let go. I feel the same can be said about Trion. Whether they meticulously lie and justify it with the idea that by the time customers figure out that they’ve been duped, Trion already has their money, or whether the team is honestly this out of touch that they don’t see the problems with their decisions, it is evident that Trion Worlds cannot be trusted to stick to their word.

Just remember that the next time Trion Worlds is advertising a new game, anything mentioned in the perks is subject to unannounced caveats. Otherwise I have no opinion on the matter.


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