I understand the desire for companies to entice early customers, however using time-limited exclusive items/content to do this is an unfair and anti-consumer practice.
It necessarily disadvantages later customers, including those like myself who were unaware of the game’s existence until well after release, or simply those customers who prefer to be more discerning and wait for post-release reviews/word-of-mouth. Note, I don’t mean ‘disadvantaged’ in the sense of pvp competition, but rather in that some people are forever denied access to content that others are not, through no fault of their own.
It’s worth noting the absurdity that (presumably) this content is already on my hard-drive, yet forever inaccessible to me. And although I’m willing to pay for access to it, Funcom will not let me.
Alternatively (depending upon the type of game and nature of the exclusive content), it could be acceptable if the exclusive content became available to everyone later as paid DLC. This is what I am proposing Funcom should do, given that Conan Exiles’ exclusive content was advertised as being a truly time-limited exclusive, so it wouldn’t be fair to those who pre-ordered on that basis to make these items freely available.
Since the game has been officially released now for over 9 months, I would suggest that making the exclusive items available as paid DLC is a fair compromise that would redress the present absurd injustice while also earning Funcom some additional money (hint, hint). I know I’d buy it.
It’s come to my attention that the Royal Armor is very under-powered by level 60 and has no Flawless Epic version.
So I’d also suggest adding a Flawless Epic version into the DLC, while making the same addition for those who already own the armor. This would not only make the DLC more appealing to purchase, but also sweeten the compromise for those who pre-ordered and create community goodwill.
Everyone gets access, check.
People who already own it get an upgrade for free, check.
Funcom makes more money, check.
You’re correct, neither the armor nor the sword have a flawless version as they are handcrafted. Since I’m playing on PC and only on private servers with mods or singleplayer, that’s fortunately not an issue for me (thanks to the “Fashionist” mod)
But on official servers or for console players the items are effectively worthless currently.
I appreciate that you feel this compromise would still be unfair to you, but tell me… what do you think of the argument in my op? And what exactly would you stand to lose?
I would really like that armor. I never knew Conan Exiles existed when pre-orders were available. Are you sure that if you could, you would prevent me (and anyone else) from getting access to it, even if it meant a free upgrade for you?
I am a human being, just like you. Can you see how unfair it is from my point of view?
Hm. Interesting topic, really. I’m kinda torn. On the one hand, it totally invalidates the value of pre-order bonuses. But then I feel like that might not be a bad thing, considering I rather agree that it’s an anti-consumer idea at its core.
On the other hand, it can’t help but feel like it would be “flippin’ the bird” to those who did buy into the game early, without whom there might not have been a game at all.
Then again, others having something should have no impact on said items’ value to me, and it’s not like it’s particularly rare to begin with. Nor is it stats-wise superior in any way, shape or form - in fact it’s quite the opposite.
Finally, I think this game would be infinitely more interesting if we had more built-in incentives to work together over some things. As it is, a solo player (I’m one such) can realistically do just about everything in the game without ever interacting with another player. Outside of certain “dungeons” maybe. Obviously those things would have to be adjustable via admin panel or similar, so that actual single-players would not be locked out completely. That’s all to say that there being a few items that are just not available any more outside of trading is not necessarily a bad thing.
I guess I can best sum it up to be something like “I wish pre-order bonuses didn’t exist in games at all, but when they do, they should be respected, and if promised as time-limited, never-again options that should not later be changed”. So if it had been marketed as “free with pre-orders, will later become available as paid DLC” then that would’ve been fine. But doing it now feels… wrong.
Thoughtful response @Mikey. Could you elaborate on why it ‘feels’ wrong?
Why should an unethical practice be respected? Some people were promised something… that they benefit from at the expense of others. I’m not convinced such a promise is better to keep, as it forecloses on any ability to make the situation right. Taking a ‘well, we did it this way this time’ approach is essentially neglecting to fix the mistake.
Can it not be fixed?
There’s definitely a dilemma here, in that either option entails an injustice. I do recognise the importance of truth in advertising. However, only one of the options prevents anyone from access… forever.
I always try to put myself in the other’s shoes in these sorts of situations, and I would have no problem whatsoever with Funcom making such a bonus available to all at a later point. In fact, I’d feel terrible knowing that I was complicit in depriving other people of their full enjoyment of the game’s content. I realise that not everyone is as charitable, or would see it that way.
Some people would definitely perceive it as being flipped the bird, even if this wasn’t an accurate reflection of a company’s intent in redressing the situation. Personally, I’m more concerned about what the actual best and fairest course of action is, than I am about political calculus.
I would argue the truly best thing to do would be to make an announcement recognising the unfairness of their previous pre-order bonuses, and pledging to make such things more equitable in their future games. Clearly explain why they are now going to make the items available, and emphasise that those who pre-ordered still saved money (considering the cost of the DLC) and that they would be getting an upgraded Epic Flawless version for free.
Nevertheless, I don’t think that Funcom would actually do this, even if they considered it the right thing to do. I doubt they’d want to risk aggravating any customers. Besides, there’s probably a legal obligation with distributors regarding the Atlantean Sword.
I can still hope for a better world though, and dream of that sweet-looking armor, forever stained by petty exclusion.
I value your perspective. Trust is not something to take lightly. So hard to earn, so easy to destroy.
Personally, I’d trust Funcom more , if they made them available. For the simple reason that this would be an indication of integrity. Of course, this assumes that their intentions were noble and this was not some machiavellian move to both suck in customers early and then cash in later. I don’t get the impression Funcom is that bad…
Well. I’ll try. Can’t guarantee a completely coherent argument, that is after all why I resorted to “feels” (a bit of a cop-out) in the first place.
See I completely agree with you that pre-order bonuses are problematic, and maybe even borderline unethical. Much depends on the specifics. But going back on your word later is without a doubt unethical. They way I see it, it goes from “bad” to “worse” then.
I am not sure I agree with you that it’s “at the expense of others”. Or at least it’s not that one-sided. “Others” had the benefits of waiting for reviews, whether by word-of-mouth or the professional kind, and maybe waiting for a sale before jumping in. The cost of those benefits is the unavailability of the pre-order bonus.
See in my opinion this would actually be worse in a way - it would give in-game advantages (however slight) to those who pre-ordered, while the pre-order/day one items are currently underpowered to the point of near irrelevance: at least everyone starting from scratch is at a level playing field, pre-order bonus items or not.
Granted, at max level a (free) set of epic flawless armor is a fairly minor upgrade, but at low level it’s a pretty big deal. So it might actually be opening a giant can of worms and come with its own set of questionable practices to do it that way.
It’s a good-looking armor, but it’s totally gimped currently in terms of stats - it really is good for leveling only. Unless you play modded and have the capability to switch stats and looks as you please (not sure if those work with DLC armors). But hey, you can always roll on my server and I’ll be happy to gift you a set I often do that to new players, particularly because it’s a good leveling set, but not overpowered at all. Some people tend to give newbies full epic sets or legendary weapons, which is of course generous but kinda ruins the “fighting for your life” experience that you only really get below level 30ish on your first playthrough. Anyway, I digress.
For the record, I don’t think pre-order bonuses are THAT bad, it really depends on the specifics. Some marketing teams certainly take it way, WAY too far, while others (like the Civ example you linked to) are pretty benign. But IMO the most important part is to let your (potential) customers know what they’re in for.
Going back on your word isn’t always unethical. It depends upon the circumstances, as you say. Suppose you promised something and only later realised the consequences of undertaking that action would be disastrous. Obviously this pre-order situation isn’t that categorical an example, yet I don’t think this is a promise that should be respected regardless of its consequences.
Granted, ‘at the expense of others’ is more nuanced when it comes to those customers who made an active choice. However, this form of pre-order is unavoidably to the cost of those others who only became aware of the game after release, and thus miss out through no fault or agency of their own. Such as myself. There is no way around this, which is why it’s a promise made at others’ expense. At my expense. Never-mind that it penalises responsible consumer behaviour.
Good point about the in-game advantages, I hadn’t thought of that. Though I meant ‘free’ in terms of real money, not in-game crafting cost. I would assume the Epic Flawless version would still have the typical level and resource requirements, so I fail to see how this would be any different to any of the other DLC armors?
How bad do you think I think this is?
Agreed, it’s important to be honest in advertising, though I don’t see what makes you think this is more important than actually changing the practice to something fairer and redressing those disadvantaged by it.
They shouldn’t have made the promise, but since they did they should keep it.
They shouldn’t have made the promise, so they should amend it.
Well of course I agree with that, no question. Exceptions to the (my) rule that “stand by your word even if you later change your mind” of course exist, but not when there’s nothing more important than this at stake - it’s hardly a life or death situation
Well, as you say - there’s no way around that. It’s certainly not your fault you didn’t learn about the game before it launched, but neither is it Funcom’s. There was tons of hype going on at the time, but there’s always tons of hype for a thousand things in this day and age, so it’s little wonder it “drowned”. So it’s more a case of a general opposition to the concept of Early Access, Pre-orders and the like. Which I certainly sympathize with.
I’m not sure I understand - would the epic flawless version be available only to those who preordered? I doubt that’s what you mean - so in that sense, your argument is more along the lines of “your pre-order bonus is now available to everyone, but at least now you can actually use it”. That still comes with the problem of having told people their taking a risk and pre-ordering “reward” is no longer special. I see your point: it’s objectively an upgrade, it’ll still feel like a kick in the teeth to those who assign value to having something rare(ish).
Hardly the end of the world! But I still feel that, on balance, Funcom would come out looking worse for changing their minds at this stage. What I feel they could maybe do was add the Royal Armor and/or Atlantean Sword to the loot drops that they teased will be coming in a future patch. That would be an acceptable compromise (to me). Particularly if crafting the Epic Flawless versions become possible.
I suppose my hangup is retroactively changing their minds. Changing it “going forward” would (of course) be a-okay, because no-one has made the decision to purchase based on that (yet).
For me, it’s more along the lines of
I wish they hadn’t made the promise, but now that they did they should keep it
I wish they hadn’t made the promise, so now it’s ok to break it.
And of those two, I’ll generally pick the former.
Aye, I suppose so. With the caveat that truly bad consequences should trump principle. Which IMO doesn’t apply in this case.
Oh aye, and it’s also entirely possible that me having the armor (though I never use it any more) makes it easier for me to dismiss the desire to have it.
With the reasoning many give as it was “my” ( which lends to alot fo the problems i could go into on officials…mine mine mine mine mine) reward for early access/day one physical copy, then when they price dropped to bring in players, they screwed me out of money. And hypothetically, if they were to give out a new bonus, lets say Red Sonja Outfit, for anyone who bought game over the next month, would all be okay with that.
Many a game have had timed paid DLC releases for “Free” items others got as perks when they brought the game. I still got it free, so it doesn’t bother me.
WHAT? How could you possibly trust them more if they betrayed exclusivity??
I don’t have them and I wish I did but I missed the opportunity to gain them. Womp womp. I do not want them to be made available to me because that undermines the foresight of the people who were smart enough to get in early.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised but I am disappointed that there is any opposition to keeping them exclusive. What’s the point of exclusive things if they become non-exclusive? Keeping these items exclusive is protecting their value. Have some integrity, people.
I’l try to explain myself further if you can’t see my point of view. As I said, I’d trust them more because I would consider it a strong indication of integrity. That is, they would have done the difficult thing and incurred some backlash in order to right a wrong. In this thread I have argued that time-limited exclusive pre-order items are an immoral, anti-consumer practice. Therefore, removing the exclusivity in as fair a way as possible is the right thing to do and would publicly show that Funcom’s marketing department had ethically matured.
What you consider a betrayal, I consider justice. Or rather, the more just option in the dilemma of injured parties. If you want to argue that time-limited pre-orders are a fair and reasonable commercial practice, I’m all ears.
As I already stated in this thread, some people (such as myself), were unaware of the game’s existence prior to release. So this point is irrelevant.
The point of exclusive preorder things is to entice customers to buy products against their better judgement, before they have a chance to assess the quality & desirability of the product and thus be able to make a more responsible consumer decision in the market. The point is to appeal to people’s desires and selfishness in attaining things that other’s do not or (as in my case) cannot have.
Funny how differently people see things sometimes, when integrity itself can be so polarised like this.
Ask yourself, if there were no pre-order inducements of any kind, would you still buy product x? If the answer is yes, you probably have good reasons for pre-ordering (supporting a valued company, getting a discount etc). If the answer is no and yet you still bought it, you have been manipulated into an unethical position by a cynical marketing department.
And thus people feel the need to defend the prevention of equitable access to a game’s content. I personally, would be ashamed to do so.