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Harry Potter, Helm's Deep, and Early Game Access

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Harry Potter, Helm's Deep, and Early Game Access

Gogh's Avatar


Gogh
12.13.2011 , 09:56 PM | #31
Thanks, OP.

11.11.11: "Never Forget."

Airwren's Avatar


Airwren
12.13.2011 , 09:57 PM | #32
Quote: Originally Posted by CBGB View Post
Early Game Access at Barnes & Noble

Two hours before release of the last Harry Potter book, I looked through the locked doors of Barnes & Noble at the crowd outside. There were three or four hundred people already. We expected 150.

One of them bumped against the door, pressed by the mob behind him. A fellow employee looked at me and asked, 'Did you see Lord of the Rings?'

'Yeah,' I said.

'Remember when the orcs arrive at Helm's Deep?'

'Yeah,' I sighed.

He went back to his register. We had five. Management decided to open two.

The doors opened a few minutes later and the orcs massed around the registers to purchase red raffle-style tickets to be used to get their books at midnight. The lines were slow and people streamed into the store, past our one manager on duty, who stood on a chair.

I brought out the first box of books. People stared. Our manager called out numbers, which no one could hear, and the crowd moved in. Miraculously, they did not grab or push, but I handed out books to any outstretched hand without regard to purchase order. Other employees did the same at two other stations, but we had to pause to get each new box. By the time we locked up, it was after 3am.


The next day, I talked with an employee at another Barnes & Noble, 40 minutes away. They had six registers open - they converted the cafe into a distribution point - and had organized their lines before the doors opened, so everyone knew which of the six places to go for their books They hired a magician for entertainment and had black plastic glasses for kids. They had more customers than we did, and they were done in an hour.


Lessons
  • 1) The experience of getting a product matters as much as the product itself.
Big events are a chance to gain a lot of customer goodwill. Or lose it.
  • 2) Communication goes a long way.
Waiting is easier when you know what to expect.
  • 3) Invest in your best customers.
The other store had more employees for the shift, but they finished faster and processed fewer complaints (they did have one, from a guy who wanted the cafe to be open). They even got a nice spot on the local news - good PR, lots of satisfied customers

Launch and Early Game Access at Bioware
It's a little late to worry about lesson 1). My heart goes out the product managers for SWTOR (my wife was a product manager for Sierra/Vivendi), but there's nothing so inherently challenging about launch that can't be a time to gain goodwill from players. Rely on lessons 2 and 3.

Lesson 2: communicate, even about delays. That doesn't mean Tweeting/Posting that you just sent more invites, since that doesn't help anyone know when to take off time from work or arrange to meet a friend in-game.
Announce the days for the next blocks of early game access. We'll wait, without wondering how much more we have to wait.

And how about Lesson 3, treating your customers well? That one is as simple as ever: reinstate the grace period.
While it's no grand tragedy to wait out a week, those waiting for physical delivery of the game, including all Collector's Edition players, naturally want to play with others they know who can.
The problem is so easy to avoid. Don't require game codes until Dec 30th.


Show your customers you respect not only their purchases but their time. We're not orcs - tell us exactly when we can play, and we'll be there.
The thread title drew me in and I must say the content did not disappoint. Great post. Also, I wish I had known your wife back then, I could have used a few copies of space quest back in the day.

Appletaz's Avatar


Appletaz
12.13.2011 , 09:57 PM | #33
Customer Service is the most important thing. The most important thing.
Respect your customers. Communicate in a meaningful way.

Don't "handle" them. We all know when we are being "handled" and NO one likes it.

I watched 2 NCSoft games go down the tubes simply because of the way they treated their customers: like necessary evils. I have watched other businesses disintegrate for the same thing.

Please do not go that way with this BW.

Learn a lesson. Don't play like you are Santa on Christmas. We are your peers.

Ganiccus's Avatar


Ganiccus
12.13.2011 , 09:59 PM | #34
Great post. I agree whole-heartedly.

TL;DR version: This launch is being poorly handled.
"It's a curse...being blessed with so much to offer."

http://www.youtube.com/binkacus

Mlande's Avatar


Mlande
12.13.2011 , 09:59 PM | #35
Too bad no one in charge of this operation thinks this out logically.

Dunnik's Avatar


Dunnik
12.13.2011 , 10:01 PM | #36
Good post!
Beta Squadron 367
Staff Writer, www.republictrooper.com

djcruelint's Avatar


djcruelint
12.13.2011 , 10:02 PM | #37
Great post

Fungi's Avatar


Fungi
12.13.2011 , 10:06 PM | #38
Bioware should hire the OP as a consultant.
pew-pew.

HalcyonSunset's Avatar


HalcyonSunset
12.13.2011 , 10:14 PM | #39
Communication and Bioware in the same sentence is a falsity.

People should know by now that Bioware communicates like a mute CIA Agent. They remind me of every politician ever. Valid question arises, dodge it, next take a pre-selected question that flatters them, answer it as if it's valid, rinse and repeat. Or just pull the ole silent treatment.

Good post nonetheless

APhantasm's Avatar


APhantasm
12.13.2011 , 10:22 PM | #40
Quote: Originally Posted by CBGB View Post
Launch and Early Game Access at Bioware
It's a little late to worry about lesson 1). My heart goes out the product managers for SWTOR (my wife was a product manager for Sierra/Vivendi), but there's nothing so inherently challenging about launch that can't be a time to gain goodwill from players. Rely on lessons 2 and 3.
Now there is a name I haven't heard in awhile. I used to be fan of Sierra back when Ken and Roberta Williams owned the company. Though I gave Vivendi some of my money after they bought Sierra, I found I didn't like their games as much as the original Sierra games I grew up with.