The Daily Grind: Is early access to content a good thing in MMOs?

    
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Sometimes we're all on the same side... sort of.

Because I was subscribed at the right time, I had access to Star Wars: The Old Republic‘s next major story chapter two days early. That’s good… insofar as it let me clear it two days early. The same content existed whether or not I could log in and start playing that. There was nothing additional. I got to see it sooner, but it also meant I got to be finished with it sooner.

Pre-ordering Heavensward last year meant that I got to download and play the expansion earlier than those who did not pre-order it. Which mostly meant that I was in the same crush of everyone else playing it, with one of my friends even looking distraught because she knew she wouldn’t be able to afford the expansion early enough for the pre-order benefit. It was “early access” only insofar as it made the de facto launch date for most of the game’s players several days earlier than the “official” launch.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand why companies give early access to content as a reward, especially since it doesn’t involve much additional work for the developers. Heck, I’m usually first out of the gate to take advantage of that early access, and not just because it’s my job. But I also see it as a way to ensure that a game’s biggest fans get finished and bored with new content faster than anyone else. What do you think? Is early access to content a good thing in MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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ausj3w3l
Guest
ausj3w3l

it depends – short test periods seem good as it does let people have a quick look and allows them to stress test the many features. If it’s prolonged though I have to say ni as that tends to fracture the playerbase. Once you’ve already played the game for a month or two you’re often burnt out on release

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

Only reason to buy early access is if they are offering exclusive content, otherwise you’re just paying extra for what amounts to a head start in a game with no real start and finish line.

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

I don’t care either way, though I’m extremely unlikely to pay more for the benefit.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Brilliant!

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Lol I’m fairly certain those games shutting down had nothing to do with early access and cash shops.
Cmon the video game industry is exploding but mmos are on the decline. Hmm…..

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Speaking as a crafter, there is a huge, huge incentive for head start.

Items that sell for 100,000 in the first hour can be 200 at the end of the expansion.  On the first day, crafting mats can sell for several times their price in a week or two.  You probably make as much in the first month of WoW as the subsequent 17 months. 

tl;dr: When the epeen kids are rushing, it can be lucrative to sell Viagra.

SallyBowls1
Guest
SallyBowls1

Bannex19  “It’s pretty clear all of the shortcut practices devs have done to make more money on less content has not made for better content” If you think these new, and unloved on MOP some for good reason, practices are what kept them in business, then they have made for better content since the alternative is the COH/SWG/… lack of past and future content.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Snagging names is another problem that has a solution already implemented but not widely used.
Early access isn’t a solution it’s an old trick that keeps on working. If developers made better games and utilized better systems they wouldn’t need to lure people in with 5 days earlier so you can get your name and be father than other people crap.
“Pre order or sub today so you can get in a few days before the buggy truth comes out on YouTube and review sites! We have all the bug fixes coming in 3-6 weeks ;)”

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

No I get it. It’s still pointless and not conducive to multiplayer play.
If they do it to relive server load they’re ignoring the larger issue which is server tech.
If they’re doing to add in a false sense of exclusivity all they’re doing is perpetuating the content locusts.
If everybody that plays the game bought in for early access wouldn’t it just be launching the content 5 days sooner?
Stupid concept, the pros are fabricated and subjective.
Make content, launch when ready. This is the only industry that gets away with this crap because gamers are so impulsive.

CastagereShaikura
Guest
CastagereShaikura

When it comes to mmo’s for me never. I always wait for release of game or content. I don’t get the big hurry to be first for a video games.And most times it turns comical with the bugs and angry players posting about it.