Object 155 fiasco in Armored Warfare
The object 155 was announced as an exclusive reward tank for early access players. But when My.com decided to give it out as a reward to stress testers too, quite a brouhaha formed in the forums.
From the Object 155 – An Exclusive Reward announcement:
Obsidian Entertainment and My.com are proud to announce a special reward for all Early Access owners – a tier 3 main battle tank: Object 155. This vehicle will be awarded to both Founder’s Pack owners and to players who gained the access by other means (such as being randomly selected or winning a forum competition) in the Open Beta phase of Armored Warfare testing.
Yet, today, My.com announced the Object 155 would also be given out as a reward for stress testers. Anyone who wants to be a stress tester can download the client and play during this test. They don’t need to be a Founder’s Pack buyer, nor do they need to have been randomly selected or win a competition to get a key. They simply download the game and help test over the two-day testing period.
Today, the 24th of September 2015, marks the start of public Armored Warfare testing – during the Stress Test that takes place between 24th and 26th of September, players will, for the last time, have the chance to obtain an exclusive reward – the Object 155 tier 3 premium main battle tank as well as 7 days of premium account time!
What is the uproar all about? Well, how can the Object 155 be an exclusive reward for the people who met the requirements for the closed early access test, yet also be exclusive for anyone taking part in the open stress test?
I was going to steer clear of weighing in on this. My viewpoint likely doesn’t make either camp happy. I really don’t have a reason to stick my neck out with an opinion that will surely make some in both camps mad, but I have been getting emails and PMs. Instead of addressing them all individually I decided to do a quick post.
What is this exclusivity and who is upset?
ex·clu·sive definitions from trusted references on the web:
- restricted or limited to the person, group, or area concerned.
- excluding others from participation
- restricted in distribution, use, or appeal
- snobbishly aloof
- selfish, snobbish
Had the stress test been called early access 6, or the word exclusive not been used, the blow-up over this issue may not have happened. But many players are upset. I’ll admit, I haven’t read the entire forum thread yet. There are A LOT of posts in there. It is safe to assume that a portion of the community is down-rite rabies foaming-at-the-mouth mad over this issue with calls of My.com being liars and not so flattering of comparisons to Wargaming’s less appreciated practices.
Motivations for giving away the Object 155
Let’s take a look at what the possible motivations were behind My.com’s giving the Object 155 away to stress testers. I keep referring to My.com because it was their decision. Don’t blame Obsidian Entertainment:
Thank you for your additional comments, we will keep all of this in mind when making announcements in the future.
In addition, I want to make it VERY clear that this was a my.com decision (in good faith) and not something from Obsidian. I want to make sure there is no ill will towards Obsidian in this instance as they are very busy in making last minute adjustments before the game goes to OBT.
Thank you again,
Josh [Senior Producer of Armored Warfare and My.com employee, and emphasis added above by Spooky]
Off the top of my head it seems like there are a few reasons why My.com would have done this:
- They felt stress testers were providing a valuable service and wanted to reward them
- They saw the stress test as an extension of early access
- More testers were needed to push the servers harder, so they sweetened the pot to entice more players into testing
- Are they greedy? <– This comes from my impression of what some in the forums must think. Otherwise, what ill will would My.com have for giving this tank out…to spite their (so far) best customers, the early access testers?
Is this still early access, and My.com’s mistake
I am not going to take the time to find the quotes to cast a shadow on the second option. Maybe some believe early access is still going on or that may even be the official stance of My.com. I don’t know. However, if my memory serves correctly, there are staff quotes out there indicating early access was over. I am not interested in arguing semantics on if EA is or is not over because it is just a term. A term that doesn’t really have a very good definition. There is no real way of definitively saying if EA is or is not over, but it doesn’t matter. Either way, My.com made a mistake.
If EA is still going on and the Object 155 goes to stress testers too, this was still a mistake on My.com’s part. They have some very unhappy customers. An occasional upset client is going to happen in any business. But when pitchforks are raised this high, your company messed up. There is no denying that. And if EA is not still going on, My.com messed up giving away two “exclusive” tanks that were the same tank. But to argue the point whether the stress test is part of the EA isn’t worthwhile.
The more interesting question? What was the motive behind the Object 155 giveaway to stress testers?
The last option I mentioned in the bullet points above just seems so implausible to me. Maybe I am dense this late at night when I’d rather be playing than writing an article, but I can’t see why My.com would want to do something like this to harm the player base. No business intentionally alienates their players. They don’t just go and poke them in the ribs for the fun of it. So why did they do it? Money? I can’t see any greed in giving away a free reward tank to players as a thank you for stress testing. And like it or not, some of those stress testers are fighting through issues and providing more feedback than some of the early access testers that just played a couple of games and decided to wait for OBT to play for real. To be sure, a lot of early access testers likely contributed so much to the game that no simple reward tank is ever going to be thank you enough. That doesn’t mean some new stress testers may not be deserving as well. There is no real method of determining a testers worth that is fair in every scenario.
I keep asking myself what was My.com’s motive? Certainly not malice or just to be evil, and I can’t see anything that points to greed.
So that leaves more testers were needed to put a stress on the servers and make the game better. Or maybe they felt obliged to also reward stress testers with something more. I suppose in some respects My.com may have wanted to reward the fans who have been chomping at the bit to play Armored Warfare for over a year but couldn’t get into early access for some reason. Many fans may not have had the discretionary funds to buy a founder’s pack or been lucky enough to win an early access lottery ticket.
No matter how I look at it, I see nothing more than a bad public relation move on My.com’s part. They thought they were doing something good, but didn’t consider all the angles. Now they are stuck. They can’t take back the promise of the Object 155 to the stress testers or there will be more pitchforks storming the castle. They also can’t really offer anything to pre-stress test testers to compensate their loss of a rare and exclusive tank. Players who have the feeling of being cheated can’t be given anything to make them feel less so.
What was really lost by the early access players?
I have to wonder, in the grand scheme of things, how less rare or less of a reward is the free Object 155 going to be? I’d think it is safe to say there will be a lot more players during OBT than testers in either the early access tests or the early access + new stress test. And even more players when the game is released.
Not to mention a year or two from now, after all the players in OBT and after the game’s release….the Object 155 is going to be the rarest of the rare. Even with adding in the stress testers to the exclusive club. A proverbial unicorn on tracks.
tl;dr on the Object 155 fiasco in Armored Warfare
My.com with good intentions messed up and angered a part of the community they want to please. A community that I hope will be tight-knit and a blast to be a part of for a long time to come. Players had a right to be disappointed, but maybe on the whole the community overreacted a bit. Let’s just get back to blowing stuff up.