While reading through my RSS feeds this evening a title caught my eye from Massively:

Star Trek Online dev unconcerned with losing global playability for the sake of lock boxes

Uh, what? That sounded incredibly out of character for any of the developers from the STO team, so of course I clicked through to read the whole thing, and then I covered my face with my hand and sighed.

Basically, Jeremy Randall (Borticus) was chatting with some players on the Jupiter Force fleet forums (of which he’s a member as well, or was before he joined Cryptic, I assume he still is) about the lock boxes and what might happen if some countries decided they’re illegal. Jeremy’s opinion was that STO would become unplayable in those countries rather than lose the boxes, because the revenue from them is apparently that good.

It was immediately apparent to me that this is just Jeremy’s opinion being expressed in a discussion among friends. It’s not news. Were this in a press release or on the official forums, then it would be news. Had someone at Massively wanted to use this as fodder for an editorial that would’ve been valid. But it wasn’t posted in an editorial, it was posted as a news item, and that is crap in my opinion. Plus, the wording of the title and the flippant tone of the article (as well as the appended update) make the whole thing feel like link bait to me (and I really considered removing the link above at this point).

What really irritates me is now either the Jupiter Force forums will go closed for fleet members only, or Jeremy will no longer be able to take off his developer hat when chatting with friends. Both of those outcomes suck. The Star Trek Online team is among the most communicative of any MMO live team that I’ve seen, and I really hate to see events that make that seem like bad policy.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should, or that you have to.

This is why we can’t have nice things.
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5 thoughts on “This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • May 16, 2012 at 5:03 am

    This kind of “quality reporting” doesn’t surprise me from massively, I’ve removed them from my feedreader some time ago.
    I used to love massively but I think they’ve been going downhill ever since it became massively.joystiq.
    But the article probably did quite good as link bait..

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      I’ve started skimming 80% of the articles in my RSS from Massively, there’s certain authors and topics that I generally always read though.

  • May 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I agree that it was obviously a personal opinion, and that Massively’s coverage was somewhat misleading. That said, the actual exchange is not entirely without cause for concern. Blind drop rate lock boxes – which are certainly not unique to Perfect World – are somewhat ethically troubling. It is very possible that this practice is actually against the law in one or more countries. And the personal opinion of this particular developer – from the clarification on the Cryptic forums – is as follows:

    “my original response to Suricata’s concerns over gambling were intended to point out that the results of his actions could end up not being to his liking. Because I care that super-fans like him continue to have access to this game.”

    He may not speak for Cryptic, but he presumably has somewhat of a pulse of the importance of these transactions to the company overall. Apparently, this number is higher than their revenue from the nation of Denmark. “If you think what we are doing is wrong, better not alert the authorities or we’ll cut you off” is not exactly what I like to hear from a company that I do business with.

    • May 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      I agree with you about it being cause for concern. To me it’s basically gambling, which is not something I’m fond of, but a lot of people really seem to get into it. I got an email survey from Cryptic recently addressing lock boxes and made a point of saying that I’d rather just have cosmetics available in the store not stuffed inside a slot machine.

      It’s a bit ironic that it’s Jeremy whose involved in this, since according to interviews with Geko (Al Rivera) Jeremy’s been one of the devs whose been a voice for players.

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