Meta’s Verse: Freebie Friday
By Meticulous Meta, OnRPG Paragon Reporter
Two weeks ago we learned about a new pilot program being started in City of Heroes that would give every player a free item from the Paragon Market. Since then we have had two Freebie Fridays and time to find out more about this interesting new offer. Now it hasn’t been without its share of issues, and of course there are always those people who aren’t satisfied with what they’re given. Any new program has its ups and downs; Freebie Friday is no exception.
So you might be asking yourself, what is Freebie Friday? How does it work? Well the “what” is fairly straight forward. Every Friday, one item on the Paragon Market will be given away to every player. I think the initial announcement of the program explains the “how” the best.
Step 1: Play City of Heroes Freedom!
Step 2: Log in and claim your Freebie Friday item from the Paragon Market!
Step 3: ????
Step 4: PROFIT!*
(*Please note that there is technically no profit since the item is free.)
This announcement stayed with the usual lightheartedness we have come to expect in announcements from Paragon Studios. It also created a lot of conversation on the forums about the details of how it would work. It wasn’t until Thursday, May 10th that we found out everything. That was the first run of Freebie Friday. Though it seems fairly straight forward, there have been several cases of people not being able to find their free item. Much to I think everyone’s disappointment (including the devs) the item isn’t selected randomly for each person. Instead it is picked at random by someone in Paragon Studios. That item then for a 24 hour time period is set to cost 0 points on the Paragon Market. Restrictions are put in place so the item can only be claimed once. And they make sure to put it on the first page the market loads when starting up so it is easy to find.
Why have they started this program? Basically it comes down the fact that a large portion of the population doesn’t use the Paragon Market at all. The hope is that while people are getting the free item they will browse and spend money! Has it worked? Who knows. Well, I imagine the marketing department in Paragon Studios does. But that’s not the point. It is also giving players a chance to try out items that can only be obtained in the market, things that are new since Freedom and we wouldn’t otherwise have experience with.
A fine example of that is last week’s free item. A dual inspiration. Now, I have a bunch of these from when I bought super packs. And I admit I almost never use inspirations to begin with. So even though I picked up the free item (I’m a sucker for free) I doubt I’ll use it. But if I were a better player I imagine I would love it and save it for a task force or something equally awesome. The first week we got an xp booster. It may not be flashy but it certainly is useful. Yet neither of these items seem to have satisfied some people. I suspect these people were expecting something big, like a costume set or maybe even a powerset. Many of these people are also the ones who complain that there is nothing good being released in the market during the regular Tuesday releases. Think of them what you will.
I mentioned previously that there have been cases of people not being able to find the free item in the market. Many times this has been put down to an error with time and the complication that time zones represent. The most confusing part of the entire program is figuring out when you’re supposed to log in to get it. The answer should be pretty simple right? Freebie Friday…so log in on Friday. But it isn’t always Friday for the whole world at the same time. Paragon Studios is based in California. So….Friday California time must be right! Wrong. Despite the fact that Europeans have had a few bad things happen to them with regards to City of Heroes recently the program runs the length of Friday for those in Greenwich (GMT) time. This has caused all sorts of confusion for the North American crowd though. Midnight in England when Freebie Friday starts is 4pm in California…on Thursday. That means that Freebie Friday ends at 4pm in California on Friday. So people have been logging in after coming home from work/school on Fridays and wondering where it is. Answer is, its over. Why is this so complicated? Aliens. Or if you don’t believe that answer then maybe it has to do with office hours. See, someone has to actually be there to flip the switch. Turn it on and off. This is also the case on Tuesdays when new items are released. Having someone in the office at midnight is more than just a little unreasonable. So they’re starting and stopping the program while there is someone there to do the switch flipping. Thieving Thursday might be a more appropriate name and create a little less confusion, but time zones are a big complication and not easy to get around.
Time complications, complaints, oh and of course free stuff. It’s all here with City of Heroes’ latest promotional program. Personally I’m looking forward to adding it to my weekly City of Heroes routine. I would love to hear what you think of Freebie Friday, so head on over to the OnRPG forums and look for this article under the Only @ OnRPG section.