Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Exclusivity & Entitlement #GW2

I got into a discussion a few weeks ago about reward exclusivity in Guild Wars 2.  I'd like to say it was good natured but it wasn't.  The other party was fairly belligerent and I got quite defensive.  Towards the end of the discussion, amongst other veiled insults, this little comment was tossed in:
What I am questioning is the motive for demanding exclusivity. To my mind, the people on the forums who talk about that come off as entitled children.
OK, so let's unpack that.  It all started when...

I had just over a hundred blade shards in my bank.  I get more every day from my Sprocket Generator.  I was commenting that I was pissed off because I'd never be able to do anything with them because I missed the event itself (yes, I know, read on) while other things that I worked hard to earn through S1 events were now readily available through other means.

Possibly because of prior knowledge that I didn't have, she (I'm assuming a woman because she said husband so I'm going with probability) glossed over the first part. But apparently she has an axe to grind with regard to "entitled children" and began demanding to know why the loss of exclusivity on those items bothered me.

My counter-argument was simply the principle: the loss of exclusivity. What I couldn't seem to get across was that a large part of the value of an exclusive item lies in the exclusivity. Exclusivity is therefore a reward in itself. I mean some of those rewards were so fugly exclusivity was all they had going for them.

But really my "beef" with this is multi-faceted. Having now taken a step back, part of my argument should have been: if I had known I could have got the Sprocket node from a vendor six months later I would never have bothered grinding out the meta for The Origins of Madness. That release was actually the trigger for my second bout of Living Story Season 1 burnout.  I skipped the next three releases entirely because I felt like a hamster on a wheel chasing meaningless rewards.

But I persevered with those meta-achievements because, at the time, it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity to get those rewards.  And, at the time, I think it was.  I think Anet only backtracked later when people complained about the transitory nature of their content. In a way I guess I feel duped because I really didn't want to miss out and regret it.  Admittedly, I happily avoided doing some of S1 because the meta rewards didn't interest me at all.

My other problem with past rewards being available via a vendor was that I couldn't get the one thing I wanted when everyone else could get the things I'd got.  Turns out (again, see below) I was wrong but the fact remains that some rewards from Season 1 are still exclusive.

Take Mini First Mate Horrik from Sky Pirates of Tyria, the cause of my 1st S1 burnout.  I hated that release. The difficulty of the Aetherblade Hideout was almost unparalleled in the game at that time. People generally "cheat" to get through that fight in Fractals now. So, I never got mini Horrik but, damn, I'd use him proudly if I had.  But if I could just go buy it from a vendor it becomes just a Mini. Just as all the other Season 1 skins have become just a "cosmetic item".  The fact is I benefited from the removal of this exclusivity in that I picked up a Slickpack skin through the last Festival of the Four winds, so I can hardly complain but the principle still bothers me.

As for entitlement...well. Another guild mate piped up and said that people that missed the event should be able to get those cosmetic rewards too.  Why should they be "unnecessarily penalised"? My "opponent" readily agreed.  Well, if THAT isn't entitlement I dunno.

Personally, I can't understand the logic that having a reward for an in-game activity that is unobtainable elsewhere (hence exclusive) is somehow elitist and exclusionary, especially when those items are almost purely cosmetic.  The truth is, when you talk about exclusivity you have entitlement on both sides of the argument and which side of the argument you stand on is never going to be static.

Having read through this post you might be confused about where I stand myself. I guess that just emphasises the complexity of the feeling on the topic. I simply think it should be all or nothing.  Either make them all once-in-a-lifetimes or have them all appear on a vendor after a fixed period. Personally, I favoured the former but exclusivity for limited period is a nice compromise if it's understood that way from the start.

As it turns out

My frustration that formed the proverbial snowball was totally unwarranted.  You can still make the spinal back piece, you just buy the 4 blueprint scraps off the TP and away you go.  I was delighted to hear this because I felt I'd missed out.  I turns out I wasn't the only one, "spinal blade is the only item in [the] game I hate not getting," piped up someone else. I also found out that if you buy the watchwork mining pick you can get even more sprockets to convert into Blades.  That someone else was unaware you could even get the Sprocket Generator with laurels now. So, ultimately, the whole conversation was incredibly productive.

During the discussion most people piped up about how much they dislike the Spinal Blades back.  The truth is, I don't even really like them myself.  I only used the Slickpack skin for a few weeks in the end...but it's the principle, right?

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