A layman might make the mistake of thinking that the ArcheAge Head Start was a disaster, but my readers are far too intellectually gifted to not recognize it for exactly what it was: a genius, groundbreaking and unprecedented marketing maneuver.
So before we move on, let me spell it out for all the plebs so they can (hopefully) keep up: the Head Start launch went exactly as planned.
Yep, Trion was behind the scenes the whole time, pulling the strings of this expertly crafted and brilliantly executed launch, and they nailed it.
Over the years, the MMO gaming community has grown complacent, with legions of game developers and publishers selling out and jockeying for position on the MMO Iron Throne (A.K.A. our collective dicks and wallets).
However, the team of mavericks at Trion chose to gamble on a completely different marketing and customer service strategy with ArcheAge, one that will not only pay off HUGE for them in the long run, but may also revolutionize how MMO companies interact with their customers.
Prior to the ArcheAge Head Start “Game Changer” on September 12th, 2014, the gaming community was like the city of Gotham. It was our own little utopia. We were gaming fatcats, born with silver spoons in our mouth, chips on our shoulders, and a sense-of-entitlement pole planted firmly up our asses. Sideways.
We took everything for granted. We wanted everything NOW! NOW! NOW!
…and it better be perfect. Or I’m going to tell my friends. Or I’m going to demand a refund. Or I’m going to write a forum post. Or I’m going to lawyer up. Or I’m going to write my congressman.
I’ll wipe my God damned ass with your ToS, Trion.
So along comes Trion, serving as the League of Shadows, with Evan “Scapes” Berman playing the part of Ra’s Al Ghul, armed with Popchips, Snyder’s Pretzels and Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, bound by his duty to keep us in check by purging, healing, and “resetting” the community through his very own #swag brand of rogue draconian justice.
…and play the part, he did.
What separates ArcheAge from other MMO’s on the market is the ever present threat of danger in the world which leads to anger and frustration borne of:
- Investing time and money into a trade pack and losing it to asshats
- Being betrayed by your own people (same faction ganking)
- Getting ganked and having your ships and vehicles destroyed
- Rampant scamming
- Account hacking, gold selling and spamming
- Not being able to find land for a house or farm
…and Trion has blurred the lines between the real and virtual worlds by forcing that anger and frustration to bleed into our real lives in order to engage and move the human spirit in a way that no quest, story, cut scene, or plot line ever could, no matter how masterfully written.
We aren’t simply playing ArcheAge, we are feeling it.
Unfortunately, most of you will be too blinded by your sheer ignorance, rage and selfishness to be able to appreciate the elegant and beautiful gift they’ve gone through great lengths to bestow upon you.
It was “performance art” of the highest caliber and level of sophistication. Theater of the heart, mind, and soul, if you will.
The “botched” Head Start also served as a litmus test, designed to separate the wheat from the chaff. If a smattering of crashes and queues forced you into a pants-shitting, foaming-at-the-mouth rage on the forums, wait until you spend 30 minutes sailing to Freedich Isle just to have the Hot Pecker Fairy show up and relieve of your Trade Pack just 10ft away from the Gilda Trader (for the 20th time).
It’s a genius move by Trion to play “hard to get” by treating its customers with a cold, calculated indifference that leaves us begging them to take our money (when their website allows it). Leaves us begging them not to leave us. Leaves us begging them to love us.
But that’s the very root of the problem: we don’t want a nice guy that loves us, dotes on us, and treats us like the princesses we are (read: Blizzard); that’s no fun.
Deep down in fiery bowels of our loins, in places we don’t talk about, we all know we want a “bad boy” that comes home from the bar late at night reeking of booze, sweat and cigarettes, that gives us a sharp backhand, and then rides us hard and puts us up wet (and sometimes into a coma).
Enter Trion: Stage Left.
The ArcheAge Head Start launch COULD have been the smoothest in gaming history (if only they didn’t have such a short alpha and beta cycle), but it would have flown under the radar, unnoticed and under appreciated.
But now Trion has what they want. Now they have news. They have exposure. The forums, Twitter and reddit are afire. Blogs are blowing up. Gaming review websites are talking about nothing but Trion’s “failed” Head Start.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the community, ears are perking up. Players who are tired of being coddled, fondled, and handed everything on a silver platter are taking notice. Players who want a more challenging gaming environment will begin to flock to ArcheAge like the salmon of Capistrano.
“You mean I have to work harder to get INTO the game than I actually do to be good at the game?” They ask.
“Yes,” Trion Replies. “Now give me your money, get me another beer, and get that tight little ass over here before you find the back of my hand most displeasing. Again.”
Deep down he really loves me, this is just how he shows it.