I was impressed this year with the number of games that gave tangible, and fun, benefits to its players. There was, I think, an overall sense of generosity. I think every year I have seen things like XP boosts or XP potions, or the fun “throwaway” items that are common to the season. But a few games stepped up and offered more. I have a feeling some people may feel differently than me, because these items, while not directly “pay to win” were certainly at least “subscribe to win” or even in some cases “login to win.”
World of Tanks, of course, gave us a tank. Well, will give us a tank when they finally get update .7.1 up and running here in North America. Even cooler is that its a tank that I had wanted to buy anyway: the British Mark VII Tetrarch!
Eve Online, perhaps reflecting the nature of commercial Christmas here in America (ie, EARLY) , was giving presents to active accounts or resubs, so long as you claimed your gift by the 21st of December. You know, before anyone could buy you a Time Code or something. The gifts were so good, I almost took them up on the 60-day resub option just to stock my hanger. Choices included actual real, functional, in game ships (unlike years past), cleverly named groupings of high quality ammunition/fuel/items, or even Aurum, their version of in game money. All in all, a huge step up for them from previous gifts.
But perhaps the most generous one that I encountered was from Iron Grip: Marauders. In true seasonal fashion, unlike CCP, IG:M gave out Advent gifts every day of Advent. Technically you had to have Gems, their real world currency buy in, to open the gift packs, but since they also give you a couple of gems at each level up, I was actually able to open most of them without actually having spent money on the game. And the gifts in the packs were very generous and in every case worth far more than what you paid to open them. I have now four licensed premium units that I would otherwise not have access to, as well as heaping mounds of gold and iron (their in game currency). Then they also dropped a New Years gift pack. And on top of that, they were giving a 20% discount on their Gem buying options. They said this would end on January 2nd, but as of this morning, the deal still exists, and I suspect it will continue through Epiphany (Jan. 6th) given how they have celebrated the season thus far.
Also, in an unintentional effort to make this blog more sexy, I have to point out that IG:M also gifted its players with Christmas Elves of a more adult fashion. I’ll post the most appropriately attired here, which should serve as an indicator of how the rest of the elves were clothed (or not clothed).
Astute readers will not this indicates a change in stance from previous posts…and I don’t mean regarding sexiness – get your head out of the gutter.
So, all in all, I was impressed with what I saw out there. My real question for next year is if we will see companies step up their generosity again, giving similar tangible gifts next year, or if this was a one time deal, a rare year where everyone was feeling generous…or perhaps just feeling some market pressure. Either way, we, the players, came out the winners.