Zero surprise to anyone that reads hear semi-regularly that I was headed down this path. WildStar has some potential and the business model is pushing me away further than the game itself. IF it was buy to play +expansions or free-to-play I’d be exploring Nexus. It’s neither and I don’t feel right paying for a game I am barely playing. Another time I’d be there. Just not in the cards.
I was looking forward to unsubscribing for the sole sake that perhaps because I am voting with my wallet they would take my feedback seriously. No, I’m not faking it with a “I’m quitting post” on the forums, I’m not bluffing. I actually did – look!
They didn’t even care. Not even a “hey, why are you leaving?” exit survey. Just a click, and I’m gone. I mean, I’m sure they liked my money, but I guess they really don’t need it – or don’t want to know the reasons why. I find this shocking in the digital age (and I often do) that there is no cheap and simple to implement improvement survey so the devs understand what, if anything, is driving players away. Maybe they already know, or *think* they know, but another missed opportunity!
Money is why these games are made. However, until MMOs become less transactional, and more relationship based this industry is going to continue to pump out the same thing. Kickstarter is a nice start due to niche support options but you have things such as Star Citizen (which seems more like a professional money raising company, not a gaming company), Camelot Unchained, and the like. The best of the best when it comes to businesses and brands in general build a bond of trust and a relationship with their customers who become evangelists for their brands. They take the time to build that relationship through their messaging, their support, and their connections with their customers. Want a simple and cheap example?
This company Grovemade makes iPhone cases out of reclaimed skateboards and other recycled materials. No two are alike. My wife bought one. It cost $100 and shipping to Canada. When it arrived, there was a hand written note in it – that said “This one has an extra cool design in it – enjoy! I loved packing it for you – Steve”. It made her feel individualistic (extra cool design) and personal (I loved packing it for you) and guess what happened one year later, when it started chipping? She bought another one. I suggested she spend $30 like my SURVIVOR case for my Galaxy s5 but no, it’s $100 bucks because she connected with that company.
Relationships are hard to build between a company and user in a game with millions of “customers” – I get it – but let’s put in some effort. The best thing going for MMOs is that the relationships don’t need to be that way, they can exist solely between gamers – and that will carry a lot of subscriptions a long way – but at some point the company needs to matter to the person as well. People love Blizzard and go to Blizzcon. People love SOE and go to (SOEfest? What is that called?) You need that dedication to survive. WildStar, by all accounts, does a good job of reaching out to the crowd (weekly podcasts, posts on forums, etc.) so kudos there where it is due. I just am boggled that after 8 years of development and a huge launch, with apparent Gartner Hype Cycle crashes that you wouldn’t want to ask people leaving exactly why.
For me, I could have chosen several.
I don’t get the same value out of a subscription fee payment
I can’t put in enough hours to earn CREDD instead
I didn’t find a guild or make bonds (my friends on my friends lists – guilds I were considering – outright vanished)
The game world left me behind – felt empty in the sub 20 areas I was adventuring in
The Dominion side seemed to have even larger population issues, but I enjoyed that side more
Not much they can do about that list, but if enough chose the first bullet point maybe they could use that when strategizing about a F2P strategy. The second through fourth points would point to server mergers (or transfers). Maybe they wouldn’t act on that information but at least they would have it – and with information you can make decisions with more clarity instead of guessing or hoping you know the answer.