Here we are closing in on the biggest change in Aion's history, but players still have very little idea of what to expect. How will the change affect them? What will be different? heck, what items are going to be in the cash shop? Inquiring players want to know! And so far, NCsoft is not being very forthcoming; the offered "information" is all fluff with little to no substance. And Daeva cannot live by fluff alone! (Unless it's marshmallow, but that's another story.)
Case in point: this week's producer interview. Juicy reveal or disappointing tease?
So I was merrily trucking along through the daily grind of real life this past week (yes, I do actually partake in it at times!) when I happened upon the interview. Woo! What glorious new nuggets of information were going to be revealed before my eyes? I eagerly watched the six-and-a-half-minute flick only to come away disappointed. No offense to Adam Christensen, whose bloopers at the end lent a personal touch, but the interview was little more than a PR rehash with little to no real information -- an advertisement instead of an interview.
Don't get me wrong; it was a good advertisement; flashes of new images graced the screen, and a broad overview was offered. And I am all for hyping the game with advertising, but sometimes you just want to learn schtuffs! Too much teasing without substance wears on people; players hunger for substance, for something they can sink their teeth into. Right now, we have hype, and hype isn't really filling. A steady diet of hype alone is going to lead to starving players looking elsewhere for a bite. So start forking over some details already!
Am I alone in thinking an interview that answers more questions than it creates would go a long way towards fueling people's excitement?
Sometimes an interview is limited by the questions that are asked. You need to give the interviewee something to work with! In his role as Producer, I am sure Adam has a million things he can say about Ascension. He could have even forgotten more details than we will know, but he needs a direction to go to focus on specific information. So I am going to lay a chunk of the blame for this fluff interview/advertisement on the questions themselves. I don't know who actually decided on the questions, but I personally would have dug for more details and more specifics. The questions were weak and ill-timed in my opinion; sure, get some overview and background -- people love that stuff -- but don't forget to get to the meaty stuff, too.
Right now, people want details. Details, I say. Did I mention details? Fluff interviews are well and good as fillers in between or after concrete facts. Emphasis here is on facts! The game may very well be as free as you want it be, but honestly, what I want to be is in the know. For instance: What are some specifics on items we can find in the Black Cloud Marketplace, and what will happen if you see a population boom right after consolidating servers yet again? What about the about the European market? Adam states, "We wanted to ensure that we had a unified player base, which of course means no separate account types and no restrictions of content." Does this mean that Europe will be scrapping its current tiered free-to-play model or are European players stuck with that mess? So many questions and no answers.
What's in (the) store
With apologies to Eliot who erroneously suggested that the interview shared what players can expect in terms of the cash shop offerings, the details of that are precisely what is missing. One thing players are really itching to know is what exactly is going to be offered, and this video offers nothing. What we hear instead is double-speak that has no substance. We know you need to make money, and if all the content is going to be free, what's the catch?
"We addressed pay-to-win very carefully." OK, got that. Then Adam talks about concentrating the effort on making the game fun and fair for everyone and that selections for the store were designed to avoid play-to-win. You say that, but we can't see it! Give us a little proof on that matter. What selections? I hear the promise, but I want to see the goods. Surely NCsoft has decided some of these, so why not let us in on it too?
Although there is little real information to be had in the interview, one little bit did get out. Despite speculation that instance timers will have longer cooldown timers (understandable after learning about the Europe's F2P tiers) and that scrolls to reduce them will be a shop commodity, Adam specifically states at the 1:52-mark that there will be "no increased instance cooldowns." Now that is something worth noting. There! That wasn't so hard, was it? But sadly, this is about the only bit of useful information actually gleaned from the advertisement. And it just leaves players wondering even more about what will be available.
In all, good interviews are about getting to the heart of a matter, digging in deep to uncover real substance. Revelations. Advertisements, on the other hand, are teases meant to entice. I am sure I can speak for many a Daeva -- we want an interview! Don't abandon hype, but the best hype is mixed with many tasty detail treats.
I promise, you will be able to attract more players with honey, and those details are sweet!
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.