Game Codes, Editions, and Grace – Oh My!
Photo-Receptor Focus: Early Access, Grace Periods, and Game Editions
Welcome to a Special Edition of My Two Credits. In light of recent events, I want to discuss several topics that are closely related. In my mind, at least. The shock waves from community reaction to Bioware’s announcement of no grace period is easing somewhat.
There will be a period after launch day in which those who have pre-ordered will be able to continue playing before entering their Game Code. More information on this will be made available closer to launch.
More after the jump…
After months of being told we had time to enter our game codes, we discovered that we would not have that time after all. Nope, no grace period, as we fondly call it. That news was received with scathing responses from many gamers in the community.
For me, there are several issues closely related. I usually order digital. In fact, my first order was (and still is) a Digital Deluxe version of the game. However, I later decided I wanted the music, authenticator, pet and CE vendor. In short, I wanted all of the digital upgrades contained in the CE. I couldn’t care less about the statue and the discs, but I wanted the rest of it.
OK, you may say, the authenticator is not digital. And you’re correct. It’s a physical item. However, it would have been great to offer an app for those who prefer that method. Download to my smart phone and I’m good to go.
So one problem would have been solved if the DDE had contained ALL of the digital items that the CE did. If it had and the price was raised, I would have paid it and gladly. Instead my “Deluxe” version fell a bit short. So, on to the CE version I went.
Now, I had to look at things like who to buy from and in-store pickup or shipping? Since it was August when I decided to switch, I really didn’t have much choice but to go with a shipped box. I went with Amazon for reasons not important here. I also went with next day shipping, even though I knew I had a grace period. (Trusting nooblet that I am.)
So all is well in Maer’s world. My CE is ordered. I’m all ready to go. My DDE sits patiently place-holding my spot in the pre-order queue. Months drag by and I get to the week before Early Access. I’ve made plans to play on the 15th, patiently waiting for my emailed time, so I can reschedule a doctor’s appointment if I need to.
Oh, did I mention I actually received my verification of pre-order code at 2:28 AM PST on July 21st? Yep, I happened to wake up and saw the email and slammed that pre-order through as fast as my little fingers could type.
Anyway, I’ve researched, read and followed news as diligently as I can. I’m as excited as a little kid in a candy store. And all that patient waiting is rewarded with a lovely surprise from Bioware! The news breaks: TWO DAYS EARLIER FOR EARLY ACCESS! I almost missed the second part – oh yeah, and there is no grace period.
Now, normally, this wouldn’t be much cause for concern. I can most likely survive until I get my box. Unfortunately, this is not a normal time of year. It’s the freaking Christmas holidays! That lovely time of year when things get delayed and we expect them to be delayed. (Remember, I had gone with one day shipping and this is partly why. I was later upgraded by Amazon to release date delivery.)
My other cause for concern is that I’m an officer in a very large guild. If my game doesn’t get here with that magical game code, then I won’t be able to log in for launch day. That means I won’t be able to do the things I’m supposed to do and that is going to be frustrating. It will put unnecessary stress on the others to take up the slack. More cause for frustration. I can only hope that almost everyone will have pre-ordered, gotten in during Early Access and only a few will log in for the first time on the 20th.
I can also hope my “release date delivery” is real and I’ll only be unavailable to my guild for a few hours. Unfortunately, I’m not good at that luck thing (well actually I’m awesome at the bad luck part). Anyway, I’m not counting on my game arriving. Of course, I’ll be thrilled if it works out and I’m hoping for the best.
Now, we get into the drama portion of this story. The no-grace-period news is not something those who bought boxed versions want to hear. Many have delivery issues and some may not get their games until after Christmas! Bioware employees are put in the position of retracting their original statements. Flames erupt everywhere from the SWTOR Forums to Twitter to Fansites demanding the grace period be put back. Others cancel their CEs and switch to digital versions to avoid losing game time. Those who hadn’t planned to pick up their editions until later, now make plans to go out in the cold to join those freezing in line at midnight releases.
Well, we’ve had some time to absorb this news. I patiently wait for any updates. I’m prepared to be out of the game for some unspecified amount of time, although I’m not happy about it and fervently hoping I’m due for some good luck. I’m also hoping my super early pre-order time will get me access on the 13th, but even that has been called into doubt.
Let me be clear. I think Bioware has done an awesome job in so many ways. However, some of these recent decisions are not their best. In fact, some of the “reasons” sound more like justifications, rather than sound logic.
Their decision to not give people advance notice is also questionable. I mean, come on. There are a lot of adults who will be playing this game. Adults with jobs and families and responsibilities. Those folks would love to be able to plan their Early Access game time. People who had tried to take days off were forced to rethink, reschedule or simply decide to forego their Early Access.
Change can be good. I’m a fan of change. But when it causes more grief than good, it’s not as welcome. I’m appreciative of the two extra days. The no grace period thing? Not so much. The not telling us ahead of time so we can actually plan our play time? Nope, definitely not.
So to recap: making the DDE match the CE with all of the digital items (and raising the price) could have alleviated a lot of the current problems. Not retracting the grace period would also have been appreciated and less stressful. Allowing people the information they need to plan their game time would be good customer care.
Anyway, I’m waiting to see how it all ends up and my fingers and toes are crossed for resolutions that make the people who will pay for this game happy.
That’s my two credits. What’s yours?