Assault on the Inbox: Weekly marketing e-mails

What wonders does the in box of mystery hold for us today?

Cryptic announces veteran rewards for players who keep an active subscription to Star Trek Online. Saith Cryptic: “Skill point bonuses, titles, costume pieces, character slots… Veterans will be rewarded every 100 days! Rewards will be retroactive, too!” Nice of them!

They’ve also announced a “Come back to STO” weekend and a “Recruit a Friend” program; all these kick off May 7.

*I* don’t think it’s too early for a “Come back to STO” free weekend, do you?

Funcom’s new expansion to their Age of Conan MMO, “Rise of the Godslayer“, kicks off a week from Tuesday, and if you pre-order, you’ll get an exclusive battle pet. “‘Pre-order today and receive the Loyal Kappa, a unique in-game pet that will aid you on the battlefield already from level 20.”

Clumsy language aside, Age of Conan has a history on relying upon pre-orders as an important source of income. If I remember right, AoC almost paid for the cost of its development with pre-orders and launch day box sales.

From now until a week from Tuesday, if you buy at least 5,000 of Wizard101‘s cash shop currency, Crowns, you can be the owner of a super-rare Lightning Bat pet. This pet drops from Wavebringer in Shatataki Temple, but few have ever seen one tamed. Now you can buy one!

Spacetime Studios has announced their new 1.1 patch to their mobile MMO Pocket Legends which adds new dungeons, item trading, shared banks, armor and so on. I just made level 20 in PL last night, so I’m kinda pumped about all these new toys :)

CCP has a new tease page for their upcoming Tyrannis expansion for EVE Online. Aside from the planet mining, they will be releasing a new web-based way to interact within EVE Online — EVE Gate, now available for testing. You’ll be able to chat with players in game, manage your contacts and so on. It doesn’t appear to allow you to actually buy/sell in the Marketplace or start production jobs, but it’s a start.

LotRO is having another free weekend — THIS weekend — as they kick off their 3rd anniversary celebration. Patch up the client and say hello to your old characters; I know I will!

Yesterday through tomorrow, Aeria Games is holding a 2x/3x No Death Penalty leveling bonanza to celebrate the launch of their latest expansion to Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine — Nocturne. If you think you have what it takes to be a demon hunter in a post-apocalyptic world, now’s your chance to grind some of those levels out.

And…. that’s about it for this week’s edition of Assault on the Inbox!

Assault on the In Box, Friday edition

Lots of people really do ask me what I DO in EverQuest? Truth be told, most of the time I am either working on my Epic 1.5 (the rogue epic quest is THE WORST of them all), do monster missions for gear and experience, or do the Boomerang! event in Brell’s Rest. It’s a simple arena game; everyone in the party chooses a team — red, blue or gold, like in Star Trek — and each is given boomerangs in their opponent’s two colors. You enter, are transformed into a gnoll of your color, and you run around and fling boomerangs at enemies while dodging boomerangs thrown at you, as well as explosive barrels that drop randomly from the ceiling. You get one point for hitting an enemy; lose one point for being hit twice and lose five points for being blown up by an explosive barrel. After five minutes, the top three get gold tokens (used to buy high level uber weapons), and everyone gets silver tokens appropriate to their point total, used to buy a wide variety of gear and augments.

Anyway. I get e-mails about games, and like a good little consumer, I want to share them with people who manage to get on fewer mailing lists than I do. You can’t stop the signal!

EverQuest 2: From 3PM PDT today to midnight PDT Sunday, you’ll get increased xp in EverQuest 2. That’s nice of them. What really gets me is their little extra note — “Purchase Adventure and AA Experience potions in the Marketplace with Station Cash for even more of a boost. Grind no more, level up quicker!” (Emphasis mine)

First of all, their marketing people don’t know the difference between adjectives and adverbs? I know, I know…. I’ll be damned, though, if this little blurb really makes me wonder. “Grind no more, level up quickly!” I think I have seen that on a hundred F2P games which INTENTIONALLY put in punishing grinds so that players will be driven to their cash shops. What EQ2 is essentially saying is that the stretch from level 80 to level 90 is put there purely to slow you down from getting to the ‘good stuff’ at 90, that there is no reason to take your time leveling. “Spend money and avoid this pointless grind we have put here for no other reason than to annoy you!”

They then go on to ask you to “explore ten more adventure levels with Sentinel’s Fate!” The very same levels they advertised in the previous paragraph as a pointless grind you could spend money to skip.

Granted, players could be leveling through the lower content and not just the final ten levels, but isn’t the POINT of an MMO — a subscription one, anyway — that the journey should be just as fun and rewarding as the end?

Aion: All these extra experience weekends are making me think that something special must be happening. Well, I guess it IS “spring break” in the US, and most of the schools and colleges are giving students the week off. So you can get drunk and party with your closest friends in Florida, or get drunk and party with random abusive strangers in an MMO. Your choice!

Today through Sunday, Aion is having a XXP weekend. “Extra Experience Points”, I guess is what that stands for, but “EEP” doesn’t sound as cool. Maybe it’s “EXTREME EXPERIENCE POINTS!!!!1!!!”, but that’s so 90s. And when did the 90s get so far away? ANYWAY. At least they didn’t say in their e-mail that players could take this opportunity to escape the punishing grind to the good levels.

This is all leads up to their v1.9 patch, which “… adds solo and daily quest content, fine-tunes the leveling experience, and balances class abilities while integrating interface and ease-of-play improvements-and its release is just around the corner!”

Aion is also adding $25 $24.99 character transfers between servers. They fired their old character moving intern and hired a new one at a lower rate, so they were able to knock off that extra cent for you. Free from the tyranny of $25 character transfers, players can now save that extra cent, perhaps buy something nice for the missus! Mother’s Day is coming, you know!

Lord of the Rings Online: Bucking the trend, LotRO doesn’t start their birthday celebrations until Monday. They’re bringing the Spring Festival back for a week. It’s like second breakfast, except this is Second Spring. All the old festival games will be back, the new festival horses which might actually be working this time, etc. Through the month of June, you can also earn tokens for defeating monsters that can be redeemed for extra stuff, and subscribe at the “founders rate” of $9.99/month. It was going to be $10/month, but they dramatically lowered their cost and are passing the savings on to you. Take that extra cent and buy something nice for the kids, they’ll love you for it.

Earth Eternal: The furry anthropomorphic MMO celebrates Earth Day yesterday (sorry) and today with special events. The trees are running wild, and adventurers of every size and shape need to run, slither, fly or teleport to battle to defeat the Rotted Treekin before they turn the future Earth into an arboreal paradise free of intelligent life with axes. It’s a huge GM event! I remember when EQ used to run those….

EE is also adding a new zone, and an option to download the game client so that you won’t need to run it from a browser any more. Are you listening, Free Realms?

Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine: The demon hunter/trainer MMO adds a new cinematic plot to their already heavily story-based game. I’m just gonna paste the blurb here, because really, there’s nothing I can say:

Saburo, a would-be famous treasure hunter, is attempting to break free from Snakeman. For some time, Snakeman has been attempting to persuade Saburo into using his finely honed skills in service to Tokyo as a Demon Buster. All of Snakeman’s attempts have been in vain, however; Saburo has been earnestly plotting his escape. In order for Saburo to escape Snakeman’s clutches, he will be asking for your assistance while he tries to escape through the hidden routes under Home III.

Confused? You’ll just have to play to figure out what it all means.

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Tired of calling up your family and writing your friends whenever you level in D&D Online? Well, save the stamps and put your cell away, because DDO is offering a new Facebook app that can automatically spread word of your amazing in-game accomplishments to everyone you know. Don’t be surprised if your mom has a cake waiting for you when your epic 32-point drow monk dings 6! It’s important to get the word out!

You can also go skating for fun and profit (theirs) with the return of the Risa Ice Games. You can find the Risa Ice rising (like sunken Ry’leh) from Stormreach Harbor. Compete in games of skill and feats of strength, and don’t forget to let your Facebook friends in on the fun!