The thing I find funny about the MMO industry is the more it tries to change the more it stays the same. Triple A titles that came out 7 years ago are much like the Triple A titles that are soon to come out. They are hyped to death by the media and its fans, they charge a monthly fee, and their Collector's Editions are still a money sucking swindle that offer nothing of value to the very player they market to. I tend to be idealistic when I think of the gaming industry. I assume that all those who work in the industry also play the games. I relaize this is a rediculous thought as I'm sure there are people who don't drink pop who work for Pepsi and maybe even people who work for Burger King that don't eat fast food. The proof to me that all of the gaming industry do not play the games in which they make is none more evident to me than in the advent of the Collector's Edition. Let's break down the collectors edition to further illustrate my point.
The first gripe I have is the inevitable book of concept art or the such that seem to be a mainstay of the CE. Now we all love to look at artwork for the games we love but seriously I've been looking at concept art on your website since it went live if I'm a follower of this game and excited about it . So why would I want to look at that all over again. I bought the game to see the final product not relive the last three years of development. Or maybe these books are considered something cool to put on my coffee table for all to see? Or maybe there just trying to give me something to do on those longer bio breaks and I appreciate the thought but I have a lap top. Even if you don't I have to assume you have more interesting reading in your bathroom.
The second gripe I have are with the damn little trinkets that always seem to find thier way into the box much like those silly little toys one would find in a Happy Meal at McDonald's. Why in the world does every publisher think we all want a cheap toy to intertain us? Is this to pass the time while the servers crash and are reset. Damn the server is down oooh but look at this shiny thing wooooow. Is there anyone here who actually keeps these things all together in a collection. If you do well my hats off to ya I guess you are a true Collector.
Third is the exclusive in-game items. They always suck. I don't get any significant edge for buying the CE all I get is some furiniture or some freaking costume peice that does nothing more than identify me as the fool who spent thrity more dollars than you to play the same game. Even if the item is useful it offers nothing more substantial than maybe an XP boost or some other silly stats effect that really has no bearing on my survivablity. I find it funny as well that publishers seem to refer to these items in ambiguous ways like exclusive in-game item rather than tell me what the damn item does.
Last but not least I hate the freaking name. Collecotr's Edition. To me Collector refers to some wierd form of sentimentality for the object. Publishers can't think we consumers would buy one of these things and leave it sealed for thirty years in hopes that it would increase in value. Would they? And then of course the freaking map. Why do publishers think we need a freking map. I have one I just pres the damn "M" button when I'm playing the game.
Stop the Madness
I say it time to fix this trend and demand they start making an edition that we actually want. They want our extra thirty bucks why not have them earn it. Here's what my $79.99 version of an mmo box would look like.
I would chnage the name to something like the Premium Edition. I have no intentions of giving the allusion to antiquity it is merely the more expensive version of the game and for good reason. You get cool stuff.
First off I'm going to give you an extra 30 days of game play for free. You deserve it you bought the Premium Edition.
Next I'm going to give you some kick ass in game items. First Premium Game pre-orders get the opportunity to reserve their name and start playing earlier than regular edition buyers. Second I will give you a mount right off rather than make you wait until level whatever and make you spend a bunch of your in game currency from level uno you will ride in style. Third I'm going to give you an extra 20 inventory slots. Deep pockets get deep pockets in my Premium Edition. Lastly I'm going to give you some class specific epic item that you will be able to earn in the end game that will be better than what regular edition buyers will be able to find in the game. So not only will you be rewarded in the beginning of your game experience but also in the end of it as well. Oh and I'd probably throw in a map and t-shirt just for good measure.
Now what will this do. Most likely it will make regular edition buyers jealous, and I say good. If your willing to spend the extra jack you get the benefits. I don't seem to understand why publishers want you to buy a more expensive edition and not give you something for others to really want of wish they had. Do we as consumers really want some fodder in a box to get lost or forgotten with some extra cosutme peices and useless items, or do we want things of real value to us which would be good in game items that you only get from spending the extra money for the big edition of the game.
Recently I've seen a little bit of a turn in the system with Warhammer allwoing CE buyers ealrier access to the game as well as giving buyers exclusive Tome of Knowledge quests. AoC is trying to bribe players with a wolley mammoth the last time I checked. While these overtures are a start we're still a ways away from the solution. In the end I'm not a big fan abviously of the Colletor's Edition and rarely justofy the expense since I bought the SWG CE and felt like a fool. I just think it would be nice to see something for the extra money that really makes the idea more tempting. Until then the publishers can keep their big boxes, maps, and art books for themselves.
Until Next Time,