Something SOE does quite well in Everquest 2 (and presumably some of it’s other games) is encourage loyalty from their player base. They have a very simple mechanic called veteran rewards which allows you to claim fluff items, titles, experience potions and the like depending on how many days old your account is. It’s pretty basic and appeals to vanity but I always found it a nice little addition.
Being one of the first subscribers to EQ2 meant I had an exceptionally old player account and I used to take a small amount of glee by being one of the first to access a new title or fireworks display. It was also kinda cool to be able to show people that you were a founding member of the game and veteran player through your title even if you’d just rolled a new alt. It was also an easy way of letting people know you weren’t a complete noob.
I’m surprised these veteran rewards weren’t more heavily utilised by SOE in EQ2 (I think they decided they could make more money by selling people fluff items than by giving them away based on account age) and also that this type of loyalty scheme isn’t more heavily advertised in other MMORPGs. I doubt it would actually cause people to keep their subscriptions active even once they got bored of the game but it’s certainly nice to receive a little thank you from the developers for being such a loyal gamer. Plus, I think there’s also a certain amount of pride that a player can take by letting others know that they are a longstanding member of their MMO community.
Having taken a quick peek on the Internet, it appears that Aion has just introduced a veteran reward system of it’s own, offering a batch of goodies for players who stick it out every month up to 6 months (and beyond I’m guessing). Maybe it help people get through the dreaded grind that I keep hearing about.
Personally I find the concept of veteran rewards and player loyalty quite appealing but whether or not it’s actually effective or not is anyone’s guess. What do you think?