Tobold's Blog
Monday, October 12, 2009
How to get your players to reactivate

Graphical MMORPGs with monthly subscription fees have been around for a decade already, and many a player has started and stopped playing multiple of them. So it isn't surprising that veteran players frequently get all sorts of offers sent by e-mail from game companies that want ex-players to reactivate their accounts. Usually you are being offered just some free playtime, but with the competition heating up, game companies are even willing to offer you other in-game goodies if you just would resubscribe. World of Warcraft even offers you free playtime if you can persuade a friend to reactivate his account, if he subscribes for 3 months you get one month for free. But the most interesting and effective way to get your players to resubscribe has been found by CCP, makers of EVE: Just plain lying!

Potshot received an offer, that if he were to resubscribe, he would find his account credited with 3.4 trillion ISK. Now that is an extremely high amount of ingame currency. So he resubscribed, looked at his character, and what he found was 340 million ISK. Still enough to buy a one-month subscription via PLEX, but only one thousandth of the promised amount. Response by CCP: "This was actually a typo on the mail sent out". The inofficial version is "ha, ha, we fooled you into resubscribing", but they couldn't possibly admit that publicly. Somehow I don't think this method is going to result in many lasting resubscriptions.
City of Heroes are doing or just done a mad recruitment drive. I beleive there offering a free month of subscription if you re-active an existing account- aswell as Double XP.

It may or may not of been a weekend deal, but none-the-less you're right all MMORPGs everywhere are doing it.

The WoW thing is even called "Scroll of Resurrection"- cleverly named, but the same thing as City of Heroes really, Except City of Heroes actually emailed ex-players directly about this, I don't think WoW does with the scroll thing.

I won't be renewing my Champions Online account- and I don't think I ever will. Although I never say never- one thing I can admit is if I quit WoW or any other MMORPG, these reactivate schemes would convince me more so to re-join, so I'm sure these schemes actaully work, too.
Yet another reason to show how RMT is going to undermine -gaming- at its core.

From banking scams, player scams and outright misrepresentations for financial gains, how can we as gamers continue to allow our beloved past time to be prostituted for the almightly dollar?

I'm placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the players who continue to equate time with money in a virtual setting. Even if it was a misprint, the ethics involved with the industry where RMT is concerned, is being driven by nothing more than greed in most cases.

Good luck in seperating the victims from the bystanders.

Who is more worthy of moral and ethical protections? Us, as humans living in meat space? Or our vicarious relationships with our avatars?

I shudder to think how some would answer those questions.
Interesting that you think it was more likely deception than accidental. I received the same email (written as though it was from your character), and it was clear they were saying to come back and spend the ISK you left behind. Having been a former player, it was also quite clear that the amount was incorrect. Also as a former player, I know the complications and confusions that can arise when the world can't agree on whether to use commas or decimal points to separate decimals from whole amounts. It seemed obvious that it was a mail merge error, if a somewhat unfortunate one.

Did someone REALLY think they were going to get trillions of ISK for resubscribing? Do these same people survive for more than 5 minutes in the harsh, scam-ridden world of EVE?
@Tobold: "So he resubscribed"

Erm, I don't think he did. He reactivated his account in a free 1-day trial mode. GM's do this frequently to enable out-of-subscription players to begin playing again by purchasing a PLEX off the in-game market.

"Somehow I don't think this method isn't going to result in many lasting resubscriptions."

Nice deliberate typo! Though of course you couldn't possibly admit that publicly. ;)
Not only do I admit typos publicly, I also fix them. Which I just did.
Echoing anonymous a bit, but yeah, the e-mail makes pretty clear they want you to come back and spend your money on a FLEX plan, not 'come back and we'll give you money!' And the difference between the e-mail and the in-game number were clearly due to the e-mail not recognizing decimals... so the number was multiplied by 100.

Maybe it was a typo made deliberately for deniability, but it sure doesn't seem shady to me... especially given that the full cost of Potshot verifying this was... nothing.
I think it was just an honest mistake.

It would suit Eve if it were a scam but I think the CCP manage to more or less keep one foot in the real world.

I also think Potshot is being somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
Potshot here, tongue in cheek indeed. I found the whole thing quite amusing from a corporate communications embarrassing snafu perspective.

As pointed out, the cost to verify was nothing since it was a free one day activation. The cynical part of me says it might have been a convenient typo as implausible though it may have been. And of course despite it being a widespread problem, CCP didn't bother with a mea culpa except buried in the forums. And yes, whatever they would have decided to do would fail to please some group.
You have the details of the program wrong as well Tobold, which makes your post very misleading. He was not given ANY ISK, the email (with the number error) just informed him of his current in-game balance, and that we COULD trade some of that ISK in for a PLEX. Plus as already mentioned the offer gives you a free day to log in and buy a PLEX with your ISK if you so choose, so again it cost him nothing.

I don't see how CCP is going to cost themselves subscribers by offering past players a free day to trade their in-game ISK for play time by buying a PLEX. Misleading and inaccurate blog posts might though.
To be fair, I'm sure it was just a legitimate error :)
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