Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Annoyed: An SoR Rant

In case you haven't heard, Blizzard is rebooting the Scroll of Resurrection to induce old players to return to the game with new rewards. The way it works is an active player can send SoR invitations out to former players. If the inactive player accepts the invitation and pays for 30 days of game time, the active player gets a faction based spectral mount. The returning player gets several goodies as well.

  • A free upgrade to Cataclysm, regardless of the prior expansions purchased.

  • One character immediately bossed to level 80.

  • A free server and/or faction transfer to the inviting players server/faction.

  • 7 days of free game time
After seeing all this I got annoyed.

What Is My Issue?

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a grumpy old man rant about how hard I had it back and my day. I think the Scroll of Resurrection is a good idea and that the rewards provided were intelligently chosen. When evaluated entirely on its own, I can't find fault with the SoR.

I'm annoyed because it's hard not to look at these rewards and ask "what about me?"

I started playing this game in December 2006 and I have maintained my subscription without a break for over 5 years. I've paid for the original game along with all three expansions. I've also paid for 14 server transfers, two faction transfers, and a name change. And this doesn't even include the things not tied to my account like the books and WoW branded peripherals I've purchased.

Needless to say, I have been a very loyal customer, yet I have not received one free minute of game time, a single free level, or any free account level services like server transfers. So, it is a little bit of a slap in the face when a player who has quit the game can come back and get rewards I as a loyal player have never had access to. That is why I am annoyed.

What about the Annual Pass?

Some of you may be thinking "what about the Annual Pass? Graylo, don't you think a free mount, a free copy of Diablo 3, and access to the MoP beta are nice rewards for your loyalty?" All of those things a great, and I gladly signed up for the annual pass to get them, but they in no way reward me for my loyalty for a couple of reasons.

  1. You have to sign up for the Annual Pass to get the rewards. Just paying for 12 months worth of a subscription isn't enough.

  2. It was open to everyone who had an active account when it was announced.
In short, the Annual Pass is an agreement between Blizzard and the player, and completely ignores the player’s history with the game and the company. Blizzard is basically one of those TV pitchmen saying "Act now, and we'll throw in a free copy of Diablo." All Blizzard is trying to do with the Annual Pass is sell us the next 12 months.

What Should Blizzard Offer and Why It's a Good Idea?

Loyalty rewards are not a new idea, but most suggestions I've seen center around cosmetic perks like unique mounts and non-combat pets. Pets and Mounts are fun and I know there are tons of players would be happy with cosmetic rewards. However, if Blizzard went with something as simple as pets and mounts I think Blizzard would be missing a golden opportunity to not only reward their loyal customers but also improve their business as well. That is why, I think a Loyalty reward program should be structured more like the SoR and Refer-a-Friend promotions.

My suggestion is that Blizzard should offer a free server and/or faction transfers to players who have maintained an active account for a year. A no-strings-attached transfer would be ideal from a players point of view, but I could understand why it might not be that attractive to Blizzard given the impact it could have on Blizzard's fee based transfer service. However, I think Blizzard could create a system that would not only provide some quality of life improvements for the player, but wouldn't hurt Blizzards existing services much by limiting the free transfers with a few acceptable conditions. Two possible limitations would be:

  • Only allow the free transfers to be used only on toons level 80 or lower.

  • Only allow transfers to a server where the player already had a level 80 toon.
My thoughts process is that Blizzard could sell this as an account unification feature, allowing players to get reacquainted with old toons from old servers, but in their new environment.

I don't know about you guys but I have about 18 toons that have been leveled some degree across about 7 servers. In particular I have three level 80 toons and a level 85 on one server that I never play, because I haven't been active on that server in over a year. I would love to play those toons again, but it's hard since they aren't tied to my guild and don't get the perks and sense of community that comes from being in my guild. This could have multiple benefits for blizzard in that it could keep the player engaged in the game and it may encourage the player to transfer other toons using the fee service.

Of course, there are lots of other things Blizzard could offer players as a part of a loyalty program. Offering free level 80 toons could be nice as would free game time like they are offering in the SoR promotion. The point though, is that Blizzard needs to offer something. It just seems wrong that players who abandoned the game are getting offered cool perks, but players who have remained loyal are being left out in the cold.


I understand the point behind the Scroll of Resurrection, and I'm not against it on its own. However, it seems wrong to reward former players who have quit the game with perks like free level 80 toons and free transfers without offering similar perks to the loyal players. My suggestion is that Blizzard should offer a limited free transfer service that allows long term players to reconnect with some of their old toons and classes.


Diglrr said...

Sorry I wanted to add more, I totally agree with you. I think a level 80 toon would be nice or let us start new toons at level 55 like a DK. Its the exact same thing that cable companies do to lure new subscribers but the ones that are already customers get no perks.

Tj said...

Why? It's all about the $$$$, until people absolutely stop wasting money on frivolous shit at the "Blizzard Store". Why maintain subscriptions when they can just sell a quick 30 million worth of these useless pets/mounts. Blame the Oligarchy that is Activision/EA. /endrant

SoR is near the tipping point for me as Graylo said, I have 2 active accounts that together have about 12 years of payments on them, Diablo 2 (2 copies), Diablo 2 Exp (2 copies), WC3 and TFT (2 copies), SC2, and SC. Don't get me wrong I don't expect Beta invites, or free transfers etc, but it would be nice when I have 2 people IRL I know that played didn't ever pay for a Blizzard game, took free trials once, but got cata beta's.

A loyalty system, especially for a company such as Blizzard, would be nice.

Jokkl said...

Dont see any problem... you get some shitty... äh shiny mount! Did they take the free month away?

Gevlon said...

The loyal player is loyal, therefore by definition needs no reward to remain a customer. So why bother?

Herr Drache said...

[Herr Drache]
I agree with you - it's the same thing that cell phone / cable / etc companies do, and I always get that nagging "what about me" feeling, too. Same goes for the RAF mount - my wife and I were already playing, where's our mount?

(I'll use "I", feel free to re-read it with a "we all" :) )
That being said, why do I think I'm entitled to something - or that I "deserve" something, too? By playing, I have access to in-game perks that new(er) players don't have. I've been able to get most or all the annual pets, I may already have , I may even have "removed rep X exalted".

Am I that shallow that I'm now jealous of a marketing perk? With an over-used mount model? A free "boost my 17 banker to 80!"?

I guess I am that shallow :( I try to get into the positive "Good for them, good for all of us if it brings more players in" mindset. But I still want something.

Perhaps a 10% off the golden dragon mount per year played? I think that'd be 60% off for me ;)

Why are "we" as people like that...

Graylo said...


I don't entirely disagree with you, but it's a mistake to think that a Loyal customer will aways be loyal as well, especially when customers are being rewarded for their disloyalty.

I may not have done a good job of it, but I was trying to argue that there is probably a way that to reward players for loyalty as well as enhance Blizzards business.

For example, a Loyalty reward could keep a player engaged in the game, preventing them from cancelling their account. The reward could also encourage a player to purchase other services that they would not have other wise.

Tj said...

Aye, I'm sure they lost just as many people as they gained from SoR. People are getting tired of their money grubbing. Then GM's try to justify it, it is really pathetic.

Foofy said...

Don't worry Graylo, you are not the only one annoyed. I made a picture just to make a point instead of posting like everyone else. Afterall, they say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Faunus said...

I have to disagree. I have had a lot of friends leave the game, and enticing them to come back would be a far greater reward than any in-game perk.

When you think about it, who does the server transfer really benefit? It benefits you - the person who recruited them, so they can come join YOU on your server. People who left the game for a while likely don't care what server there on, with the exceptions of dead servers etc.

To a large extent, the level 80 boost benefits you as well, so that you don't have to wait 2 months and hope your friend doesn't get burnt out levelling to where everyone else is. Especially since TBC and WotLK levelling content is unchanged and tends to be a bummer to drudge through all over again.

My best WoW memories have little to do with the content and everything to do with the friends I made. I'll never forget my 10 man Ulduar team in Summer '09 - we'd stay up after 25s and laugh all night while we raided. I'd give up everything in-game to have that back again.

Convertible said...

I agree. I've been playing this game since almost release, have maintained 1 account for almost the entire time and maintained a second for BC content (girlfriends acct). It would be nice to receive something for doing so. If my local cafe can give me a free coffee every 8 coffees, then i'm sure a multibillion dollar company can reward us with free pixels.

Right now our server is lacking raiders, people cant afford to do server transfers for all their characters if we do find a applicant, so each server is slowly dieing. EA/Blizz short sighted thinking on expensive server transfers means people quit the game.

This is fine. I will move to Guild Wars 2 when it comes out.

Convertible said...

Faunus, i agree with you regarding the friends>content, howver most of my friends who have played WoW, no longer wish to due to family or work commitments, so the SoR has no use for me.

Right now i'm trying to level another character to potentially play during MoP, if I had quit wow , i get a automatic lvl 80, but since i've maintained my account, I have to drudge through 85 levels again.....

Anonymous said...

So in other words you think the loyalty reward should be what you'd need the most?

I don't think there needs to be any "Loyalty" rewards for long term subscribers or people who drop tons of cash on pets/mounts/transfers.

In fact, I think the worst part of the WoW community these days is the "haves vs have nots" mentality that Blizzard seems to have inadvertently created.

I still like you though, Graylo.