Guardians of Middle Earth - Doing it wrong

I can only assume the sales meeting was a singular occasion?  Filled with lines such as "They struck gold, but their market is saturated, we know people will pay for a triple A".  Scratch that, the meeting probably ended on a melancholy note after the decision had been made upstairs, and ended up with a bunch of genuinely talented guys feeling worried for their jobs.

Let me give a little more info.  Heading over to Steam for my bi-hourly check on titles and deals I couldn't help but notice a game in the 'Coming Soon' section.  Guardians of Middle Earth.  Now, I will be the first to admit I am not a huge LOTR fan.  I did enjoy the films, but the franchise holds no great water with me and as such, neither have the games.  People were reading the books at around about the same time I was sitting at home mashing as much JRPG into my face as possible. 


However, something about this game struck me.  It was a number - 85.43 - more precisely it had a pound sign in front of it.  You see, after a quick surmise of the 7 slots this took up on the coming soon list, that number is how much I now believe it will cost me to buy the game, with the initial outlay for the game being 13.49, and all or most of the heroes available for play.  Would you pay that for a game?  Triple A title?  I didn't think so, and nor would I.

So herein lies the doing it wrong section of my piece.  Now I will be the first to admit, I have probably dropped a load of cash on LoL, as I suspect many others have, but not like this.  When first asked by my friends to download League, I asked questions, and received answers.  Answers like, 'you can play the free guys and save up points' and 'sure you can buy them, but just save up, you get points by playing so it's all good'.  So I asked - is there a demo I can try?  'It's free, just download it and go'.

And where are we now?  30 million plus active players?  Dota 2 was fully released recently, almost a million people watched their International tournament and they recently reported 6 million accounts.  If you were releasing a moba into this market place, would you show 7 slots worth of cash requirements, asking people to drop almost a ton on it just to play all the heroes? 

Come on guys, wake up.  You're riding on the coat tails of giants here.  The precedent has been set and you're deviating.  Yes, I realize that you can probably earn the heroes through in game points, and if we were to add up the prices on heroes from other games you might be good value.  But they didn't shove it under our noses with a cash value on it, nor do they display a barrier of entry.  Further reading reveals that, according to the Steam blurb, I can buy items and buffs with that which I earn in game.  So.. can heroes be purchased in this fashion.. Or not?

I always feel bad slating a game who's fate has seemingly been decided by the suits upstairs.  I don't doubt that the game would be enjoyable, and that the development team put their heart and soul into it, but this is the wrong way to go about it.  The titular name may bring it some attention, but damage has already been done. 

Other moba give new players so many angles to get in, so many reasons to play.  Your game is showing up on a competitors platform, a platform that plays host to multiple millions of users every day, millions of potential customers always looking for new experiences.  There are 10 days until release on Steam, so perhaps it is not too late.  Alas, though, all I see are 85.43 reasons to stay away.

I thought we all learned these lessons years ago?

~sal 

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