Landmark’s Massive Discount

Okay, so this happened.

landmark-markdown

Some people are miffed. Some people are laughing. Some people wonder what the early adopters think. Hey there, I’m Keen — I’m an early adopter of EverQuest Landmark. Here’s what I think.

I got my money’s worth, and I recognize that this is simply SOE marketing their product. Do I wish I payed $34 instead of $100? Yeah. Do I regret having paid $100 8 months ago?  No more than I regret buying an iPhone knowing in 6 months there will be a new one — anything related to computers or technology for that matter.

SOE isn’t marking this down because no one is playing. They aren’t struggling for cash. Landmark isn’t failing. Think about it… this is now on the Steam top sellers list. People are blogging about it and putting it into the news site rotation. Let’s evaluate what has happened:

  • More people bought a “free” game
  • More people are talking about a game still in beta
  • The real fans are still going to play and be happy regardless; The EQ brand has not lost any value

That sounds like marketing success to me.

If this is the type of thing that bugs you then don’t be an early adopter. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this founder pack stuff is a growing trend for games. We’ll have to see how these companies balance integrity with marketing. That’ll determine how all of this plays out.

  • I’m not in the beta, so can you tell me: in your opinion, how far are they from either an open beta or a full F2P release ?

  • Games that need it go on sale (we see this all the time with a new release that goes on even a 33% sale in a month or so), games that don’t need it don’t go on sale (DayZ is still a top seller, yet remains at its original price).

    Landmark went on sale for a reason, and that reason isn’t because everything is peachy over at SOE and Landmark is awesome. And really, how much of the talk generated by this has been asking just those questions, or raising the equally valid questions about wtf is going on with the black hole that is EQN?

    They were hoping to cash in on Minecraft, and found out that cloning Minecraft isn’t as easy as it seems.

  • @Syn:

    It doesn’t necessarily mean that there are troubles at the SOE corporate behemoth.

    I imagine this was their marketing roadmap all along to squeeze as much money as possible from their fan base before going F2P.

    First harvest the most enthusiastic fans as the whales, and then tap into each decreasingly devoted demographic segment by incrementally dropping the price before launch, …corporate driven gaming.

    After all it isn’t like they are going to have the same opportunity to drop the “box” price after their F2P open beta.

  • What I find interesting is that people buy such packages and yet they do not include ingame currency.
    Most F2P games offer similar perks in founder packs + currency worth at least the amount they payed for the package.

    I seen the steam landmark deal myself. Looked through the contents of the package. Noticed the lack of ingame currency to spend in the F2P store and thought. NOPE….

  • @Tarnop

    I’m sure Keen will answer your question, but as a founder I’ll chime in too. SOE is months away from an open beta. They still have character damage and PvE combat they’ve already announced to put online. And there are graphics issues like clipping in caverns they really need to iron out as well. I do not expect Landmark to go open beta much sooner than the winter holidays, and would not be surprised if it got pushed to next year. And I disagree with Keen, I do think they need more players. Most islands I visit are cemetary empty. There servers are no where near capacity and I think they’d like a little more load data before they go much further. Just my two cents worth.

  • I think the bigger marketing problem they have is this game vs EQ next. Especially if they are adding combat to this one too. As a long time EQ fan, I just don’t get it and wish they would have focused on just one.

  • @Zyler:

    I completely agree. Effectively buying in game future currency to play in the alpha would have taken Landmark off of my ripoff report list.

  • I see people compare this kind of thing (paid early access/alpha-beta testing) to Minecraft all the time. Especially with games that are… similar in style to Minecraft. But Landmark is far and away not in the same boat.

    Minecraft was always a paid-for game. You just bought it early, and were then able to play with the current release. No matter how alpha/beta it was. Once Minecraft launched, you owned it. And people that didn’t could buy it and then own it forever. Compare that to this heap of rubbish. This “free” game allows you to spend cash in order to TEST it. But will that be the end of your buying? Gods no! There will be a cash shop and maybe expansions and ohboywhoknowswhatelseformoney.

    Bought Minecraft once. Have had endless hours (and I really do mean endless) of fun. And then I found out about their modding community and modpacks and modpack servers. All of these things freely made and maintained by their various communities/authors. Still going strong. Still only cost me a one time fee of $30 or so? Can’t rightly remember. But the point remains.

    Mojang made a game for people to have fun.

    SoE is making a game to make cash.

    And while Mojang absolutely did make cash (and deserved it), it was never the end-all objective. A vast difference. And it shows. It really shows.

    P.S. I realize this is only related to the topic in the loosest sense, but since I have not/will not ever play Landmark it is all I have to throw in the ring 🙂

  • @Gank: “I imagine this was their marketing roadmap all along to squeeze as much money as possible from their fan base before going F2P.”

    No doubt. But that doesn’t change the message the sale is sending; that they are on “whelp better squeeze the last few bucks out of this ‘box’ now” phase. If the game was awesome, and people where loving it, that level of interest would be driving others to jump in, even at the higher price. Again, that’s why good games don’t go on sale quickly or permanently drop there price to bargain-bin levels; people are willing to pay the higher price for something solid.

    This sale is telling you, right from SOE’s mouth, that the value of Landmark access is at bargain-bin levels already.

  • @Syn:

    That could be the case, who can know, but everything has to be evaluated in light of it being a F2P game with a F2P open beta, and in this case since there won’t be a wipe post open beta, it is actually Landmark’s soft release. The open beta will follow SOE Live and so could be as early as August.

    By this I mean there may be a substantial potential player base to tap into that is more than willing to wait a month or 2 for the soft release, rather than pay the exorbitant cost of a Founder’s Pack, after which that revenue base will no longer exist.

    I am not saying you are wrong about potential SOE Landmark woes, just that I have no reason to assume that is the case based upon an 11th hour attempt to harvest players who would otherwise just wait for the impending soft release.

  • TL;DR:

    I believe it makes sense to drop the price for participation in a closed beta just prior to the initiation of a soft release of a F2P game.

    The only reason I can think why they might have considered not doing so would be concern over upsetting the original Founder’s, which in this case clearly isn’t important to SOE.

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