Chaos Theory: Funcom can still fix Secret World Legends’ Aurum fiasco

    
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Mere days after the exciting news about Secret World Legends being made into a television show, we finally hear about the game’s long-awaited Aurum conversion. Only it wasn’t especially great news — not all of it. Instead of the Funcom Points just transferring over to Aurum (which ends September 4th by the way), there are limitations and restrictions that essentially have a number of folks feeling cheated out of money they spent with every intention to use on The Secret World.

After speaking up in dismay, players were told they could still spend the nontransferrable Funcom points in Age of Conan or TSW. No. Just, no. There are people who bought those points long ago specifically to use for new content in The Secret World. It is not the player’s fault there was no new content to spend it on for so long! Those points should absolutely be able to benefit players in SWL as it is the only real game going forward.

I think that as the writer behind this long-running Chaos Theory column (and a player since day one), I can put myself out there as one of Secret World Legend’s biggest fans. I defend the game on many fronts. I’m way, way up there on the charts of wanting this game to succeed. I talk about its awesomeness here, there, and everywhere — at work, at home, and even grocery shopping!

So I hate when things go terribly wrong. I especially hate when said things could have been avoided. And this mess totally could have been avoided. Should have been avoided. Funcom has already tarnished SWL with this fiasco, but there are ways to get this fixed. I keep hoping the studio will come back with a better, fairer answer to the problem, but as of yet that hasn’t happened. I am, however, still holding out some hope it still could because there are possible fixes and even compromises that will help buff off at least some of that tarnish. The studio is still looking into things (quote from official Discord yesterday is “We’re investigating it, but we have not announced anything regarding it”), so in the meantime, we can offer and reiterate a suggestion or two here.

Stop it before it begins

First and foremost, the Aurum exchange situation should have been resolved and live the moment Secret World Legends launched. This conversion should have been figured out long before the new game opened its doors. The studio knew about the game conversion, so the currency conversion should have been a part of the plans as well. Then it should have been implemented at the same time the game launched. Having such a long delay was frustrating enough, locking players away from being able to use funds that they bought with their own cash. But players were giving the benefit of the doubt to the studio and waited. Now look how they were repaid: There’s a cap on how many points can be converted and a one-year time limit on the purchase of your points to be eligible.

I find this very problematic because there are plenty of people who purchased points long before that (arbitrary) July 1st, 2016, deadline with the intention of using those points on TSW content. Remember, we are fans who crave story, and I can easily seeing people spending plenty to be ready to buy more content. But more content never came. Don’t tell me they could have spent all those points on cosmetics because that very well may not have been the intention behind the purchase. And definitely don’t tell me I can spend them in other games! The last new content that came out for TSW was in March 2016 when Issue #14 Call of the Nameless launched. (I’m totally not counting Issue #15 The Sleuth’s Gallery on purpose because that wasn’t new content; it was just a compilation of previous content that many got free because they already owned all the sidestories.) Before that, Issue #13 Trail of Shadows came in December 2015. Before that, Issue #12 The Manufactory launched in two parts, one in August 2015 and then the second in October. That means players had only two issues to spend money on since summer of 2015. People who loved the game could have easily spent a chunk to pad their account with Funcom points earlier than this, hoping that more content would be available each year. So why are only Funcom Points bought since July 2016 eligible to be converted?

The situation is more than insensitive; it is a big fat slap in the face to fans.
No, this is not acceptable. This was money spent on the game in support of development — development that after March 2016 never came! The suggestion that we spend those points in a game that players possibly don’t have any remote interest in owning let alone playing (AoC) or in a game that will never have any additional content — which is what those points were bought for — is totally and completely unacceptable. It is more than insensitive; it is a big fat slap in the face to fans. Why would nearly anyone would really want to spend their game cash, that was bought for updated content, on cosmetics in a game that will never receive any updated content? Anything less than making already purchased game currency available for use in the game that will receive ongoing content feels like simply thumbing your nose at your paying fans and chanting, “We’ve already got your money so neener neener.” Yeah, you don’t want to be that guy, Funcom.

Give them what they paid for

OK, I get that bad decisions can be made. Maybe some suit high up really is chanting “neener neener” while steepling his fingers and cackling maniacally. Maybe there are just difficult logistics to implementation. Difficult or not, it should have been done. Already. But now that the damage is done, lets repair some and prevent even further damage from occurring. Because trust me this is damaging the game’s and the studio’s reputation. So how can we fix it?

One, just allow the conversion of all Funcom Points. It may be late, but it is a right thing to do. What is the issue holding us back from this solution? So what if I bought thousands of points back in 2013 to pour into the game over the years? If I haven’t had cause to use all that yet, I still should be able to. Does it have to do with taxes, or looking like the numbers are deflated and less cash flow for this year and that will make investors frown? Well you know what? They are going to frown when paying fans take off for good. And said passionate fans (as you know those are the ones who have stuck around through all the hard times) will turn that same passion that used to herald that game to now to speak about their disappointments. Don’t investors think that will affect the bottom line? Negative publicity and reviews is not what this game needs.

Simply put, there should not be any limitation on purchased Funcom points. Convert them all. Make it happen.

But. Maybe there is some crazy programming/death-threats-from-investors type of reason it can’t be done. OK then. There are compromises possible.

A compromise to conversion

To anyone arguing that Bonus Points should have transferred, tough beans. They didn’t need to: Players were given plenty of time to spend them down on items that would transfer over to SWL. I did this myself with the max of 7,200 points. (Sadly I bought some pets that are now mission rewards, but I couldn’t have known.) The point is that those points could have been spent on items that would be a part of Secret World Legends, so there was no reason to transfer them over and entangle them with an even more complicated coin system. True, it couldn’t be used for SWL future content, but this was fine.

Now this scenario brings up a very interesting point. Knowing that bonus points were going to disappear allowed players to use them up and get full value of them in the game going forward — which is SWL. So this whole fiasco could have been avoided had players been given a warning that their Funcom points wouldn’t actually transfer. Then they could have spent those down on transferrable items as well. Obviously, that isn’t possible now, unless someone has a time machine Funcom can borrow.

However, sans the time machine, some players have been discussing a compromise, and I think Funcom needs to listen very closely. Players can go ahead and spend all their Funcom Points on cosmetics in The Secret World, but why not allow another cosmetic transfer so this value can be in the game they play? This would definitely fix things! I know one friend who has been championing for a second cosmetic transfer since the beginning, so he is definitely on board. After all, there are still so many cosmetic items that seem to have disappeared in the transfer that devs even made a special chat room #Missing-Cosmetics in Discord for it! Would this possibly be difficult to do? Well, maybe; I am not into programming, so I can’t say anything about logistics. But Funcom, you saved the backup once, so save it again. Even if this takes some tweaking, it should be done. The studio really needs to right this blunder as much — and as quickly — as possible. Every day that ticks by erodes reputation more. And the more people get set in their (in my opinion) rightful anger about being unfairly cheated out of their money, the harder it will be to soothe that. The longer this goes on, the more irreparable damage that occurs.

I want this game to succeed. I so want to see the second season of story. Devs, I know you care about the game, so I am aiming this at any suits it needs to be directed at: Please Funcom, do right by your customers. Fix this up.

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darthchewee
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darthchewee

The second transfer would solve other issues as well. I jumped on the bandwagon the day Kotaku posted about it on re-release Monday and I found the FAQ about legacy transfers but since I haven’t played much since I pre-ordered TSW, I their language didn’t spell out that I needed to go into the store and claim all available items, click to activate everything, just in case, and do this for both genders. So I’m missing a bunch of stuff because I was over eager to try the new version of the game…

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Malcolm Swoboda

I don’t even have points and they’ve ensured I’m not spending money from this.

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Paul Hurtado

FunCom, when you piss off MJ enough that she writes a negative article about Secret World, you know you’ve messed up.

I agree with this article completely… I have about 2k FunCom points and I saved about 2400 Bonus Points before I knew for sure they weren’t going to make them convertible. By that time of course it was too late to spend them on cosmetics to get transferred. I can’t remember when I bought the FunCom points, but I was sitting on them for the exact reason you stated; New actual content. I used my bonus points pretty consistently to buy content and cosmetics both, but I stopped so I could save them and perhaps get them transferred. I can sort of understand why bonus points aren’t transferable, but I’d still like a compromise at least since they have no use to me otherwise. If all of this stuff was done at the same time, character item transfer, aurum exchange, etc, at least we could have spent our bonus points on SOMETHING to get transferred.

They need to do something to get back customer good will though, the last thing they need right now is more negative press when things were starting to look up.

And here’s my pessimism coming through; Also, SWL isn’t a “new game”. As others have stated, it’s an update packaged as a “new game” so they could legally ditch the old payment system, and change the TOS without getting into trouble and try to make things look profitable for investors.

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Pedge Jameson

Will people stop calling it a new game? It’s an update they disguised as a reboot. Nothing more.

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Jeffery Witman

I’ve had Patron since early access began. I’ve logged in every day to play at least a little since then. I never had Funcom points or bonus points to transfer with my account.

However, seeing how Funcom is handling this and other SWL issues convinced me to cancel my Patron status this week. Today I didn’t log in.

Why grind out IP levels in the same dungeons and scenarios over and over again while waiting for old content to be released, and hoping that new content might come along eventually, maybe, if they’re just going to screw you over the first chance they get.

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Bryan Correll

even grocery shopping!

Clerk #1: Geez, here comes that lady who’s always ranting about the Illuminati, Viking zombies, and sleeping dark gods.
Clerk #2: Um, I think it’s time for my break.

regretfullydistractd
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regretfullydistractd

I want the Funcom points I purchased to be converted into Aurum, period. I do want to play SWL, but I won’t if I continue to feel disavowed by inequitable financial policies–no more purchases, no more endorsements.

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Mike Minier

I for one would love if they had a second cosmetic transfer. I have like 10k worth of bonus points in TSW that I never spent before the transfer. My own fault but I wasn’t sure if they would allow them to transfer over at a later time so like a dumbass I held on to them.

xpsync
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xpsync

Don’t feel too bad… same boat different reason, i was meh about the transfer as i figured SWL would fizzle out me just like TSW always did, now… yea i know how you feel.
I couldn’t even bother logging into TSW figured no point wasting any time on that, did the transfer then logged into SWL, turns out I’m in the game (the only game, i’m home) I’ll be playing for the foreseeable future, again my own fault, i could have bought a bunch of stuff too :(

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Paragon Lost

Everytime I see an article about Funcom, the TSW aka now the unplayable by me SWL, I just sigh.

shadanwolf
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shadanwolf

People it’s F U N C O M. How many time do people need to get screwed to understand what happens…or doesn’t happen ,when you buy one of their products.