The Entitlement Philosophy

Star Trek Online entered closed beta yesterday.  And the good feelings of knowing that it’s hit that stage was tempered by some of the reactions I’ve read.  You would think that I would have learned to start ignoring their forums, after my last post a couple weeks back on the subject, but like a masochist, I still paid attention.

The heart of the issue is this.  Cryptic, the developers of STO, previously launched Champions Online.  One of the preorder specials involved six-month membership or a lifetime membership, which would include access to the Star Trek Online Beta “beginning later this year”.  I disagreed with that big-time back then-I could see even then what was going to happen.  Imagine my lack of surprise when I turned out to be right.

Seems that most of the people who took advantage of that offer-a chunk of which apparently would never have bought CO if not for that little perk-are up in arms because they weren’t in the first round of closed beta invites.  Many of them are demanding priority access over anyone who didn’t “pay for the right”.

I wish I could say this was a surprise to me.  But I’ve seen this kind of thing before.  The Entitlement Philosophy was big with the “jedi” of SWG, particularly the “elder jedi”.  When the NGE hit, they didn’t give a damn about the changes in the combat system, the elimination of many professions…oh, no.  Their concern was the fact that anyone could just roll up a jedi now!  They demanded that it remain unlockable!

But it didn’t end there.  To help placate the “elder jedi”, SOE made sure to give them all special robes and lightsaber crystals to set them apart.  Gave them an ability to turn into a “blue glowie”.  They even got to keep the extra character slot, which meant they could have three slots per server and not the two everyone else got.  But the “elder jedi” seemed to believe that their robe and crystals should be the best in perpetuity-and whenever news of a new robe or crystal came along, they shouted that it had better not be better than THEIR stuff!  And when the time finally came that just such a crystal and robe hit the game, they howled!

It gets worse.  Jedi created AFTER the NGE howled because they could never GET those special robes, that special crystal, to make themselves glow blue, to get that third slot.  “We deserve it!” they said.  After all, they were the ones who stayed or came in after the NGE hit.  They deserved something!

Don’t get me started on the Veteran Rewards issue, where new players complain that they have to wait to get stuff, or the “new subscriber” bonuses, where the vets complain they can’t get stuff.

SWG is the example I point to most on this, but I’ll see it in other games, too.  PvPers in CoH went on a riot when changes were made to the PvP system to encourage more people to go in.  Instead of trying to work with the developers in improving it, they went on a bashing spree and just quit.  (Full disclosure:  the system didn’t work; PvP is still considered broken)  I still read threads complaining about the vet rewards in that game, too; you have folks saying vet rewards should be cosmetic only, and folks who say the rewards should give meaningful abilities.  And the simple fact is, the moment one of those options becomes the reality, they will immediately start saying, “well, why do I have to wait for this?!”

Is this what we’ve really come to?  What ever happened to patience, or working towards a goal?  Are we really a group of people who just shout out “GIMME!” and expect things to go exactly our way, the way we think it should?  When I read the posts on the STO forums, I’m seeing the echoes of the “jedi”.

Closed beta is going to go on for several months.  Nobody promised these guys immediate access.  They don’t have a case until STO goes to open beta.  If they didn’t get a key prior to that, THEN they’ve got a case.  But at the same time, I’m willing to say that Cryptic blew it by even offering STO beta access to CO purchasers like they did-because it was obvious that this was going to be the result.

(Full disclosure:  I did not preorder CO, I did not get into STO beta, and I’m sure this post will hack off some readers.  It is what it is.)

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