Thanks for all the thoughtful posts here so far.
In the future, don't take time off from work because you "might" get to play early access of a GAME!
That's exactly what the Bioware Customer Service Rep said.
Or maybe it was
anyone who takes time off work to play a game they don't own yet is an idiot.
So hard to remember. All those calls blend together.
I didn't take a day off (or call Bioware, for that matter. I expect they're, well, busy). But I was suggesting that waiting is easier when you know how long you'll wait. Advance notice worked out well in last beta weekend, even for those (like me) who didn't start on the first day.
And though this has been a very constructive thread, I want to reassure the dissenters that I'm not whining about access. I know whining. I have twin toddlers, I taught junior-high for seven years and coached high school for five. You, dear gamer, are but a tadpole in the cycle of whining-recognition, and I wish you many more heady, carefree years ahead.
What I am doing is suggesting three things to ease current troubles. Not troubles like gastric cancer or the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852, but gaming troubles which, yes, will pass. Here again are ways to make it easier:
- Release the hold on game distribution so all of us are ready at launch.
- Announce the days of Early Access for each date range of pre-order entry.
- Failing #1, reinstate a ten-day grace period for Product Registration.
It's getting late on #1, but not too late. Amazon is making some progress on the issue (see this thread
), and I hope EA opens up with others, too.
No need to play '[My enlightened retailing choice] beats the snot out of your [philistine retailing choice].'
EA picked their retailers and should supply them all to deliver by launch.
#2 can still be done for remaining access and it fits perfectly with their stated goals:
First, Early Game Access and launch is not supposed to be a stress test. In our previous Beta Testing Weekends we got up to very large concurrent number of players and brought invites into the game at a very high rate...
Our aim with this launch was to ramp things up gradually, to spread our player population out amongst a variety of servers, to maintain all server types, and to keep queuing to a minimum.
#3 affects primarily CE buyers - a few hundred thousand of them, yes? - many expecting to be locked out from launch until a delivery date of Dec 29.
No, I'm not asking for special treatment of CE purchasers, on the contrary. EA has finally allowed release of other editions of the game but is still withholding CE copies until launch.
Exactly why is a point to be debated by scholars for decades, but even so, there is an easy solution: reinstate a ten-day grace period.
The functionality is already
built into the launcher. Just change the date by which anyone with a pre-order must enter a Product Code.
"Lesson" 3- While I can't say why the grace period was pulled, the only logical assumption is that there was a reason for it. They certainly didn't do it to piss off their customers and get some laughs.
Of course, you could use that reasoning to justify any
corporate choice, and they aren't all good. Netflix's pricing plan, New Coke, and Facebook's Beacon feature all come to mind.
Companies make mistakes. They're run by people.
While this post is very well-written and respectful, it is still woefully full of ignorance. You're basically telling Bioware what they should do while having absolutely no knowledge of how their company is run.
I claim no special insight into Bioware. But I do know that in companies, sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, and that likelihood increases with size.
The CE problem results from three decisions: not to ship the games before launch, to withhold the CE edition longer, and to rescind the grace period. It's the combination that's a problem, not any one policy.
Because I'm fond of Bioware, I tell myself that the weak link must be some bean-counter at EA whose calculator tells him how much money is lost from 10 days of free play. That real cost is lower, of course, and there's a higher cost in customer satisfaction, unless they change course this week. Amazon offers a hint of hope.
Great post brother, but by next year this will be a thing of the past.
And a good thing, too!
I just find my access/launch enthusiasm ebbing, trying as am to keep it high. I don't think I'm alone, and I know there are reasonable ways to set things right, even now.