Forum Fallout: M50, 350R & Politics of "Limited"

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(Citizen Star News/Citizen Ed) - 2014-09-17 - On Friday Sept 9th, Arena Commander v0.9, aka Star Citizen Patch 13, at long last was released. To mark the debut of the new racing gameplay maps and mode, the M50 and 350R racing ships were put back on sale. 350R Package was resurrected, minus LTI (Life-Time Insurance) of course, but including the Origin Flightsuit offered in the past. Prices were increased.

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By the end of the day, the flight suit was gone and the ships had gone from permanent additions to the store to a ten day sale (ending Monday, September 22nd).

What happened?

Previous buyers of the 350R "Lightspeed" package pointed out that the suit was supposed to be exclusive, and that the ship had been sold as "limited". M50 was likewise a "limited" ship sale. Both ships were sold for a limited time, but it's been explicitly said that they would become available again in the future.

Upon review, Ben Lesnick ruled that these indeed were promises made and that they should be kept. [source-flightsuit] [source-relimiting-M50-350R]

So is that a good thing?

On one hand, it really is refreshing to see a developer care about the promises it has made. To listen to its community and actually change it's mind on a course of action. It speaks volumes to the commitment CIG has to it's backers. We've seen spectacular failures of this elsewhere, and very glad to be part of Star Citizen's community. This is part of the reason I pledged, after watching for a while.

On the other hand, is this decision good for the game? Ben assures us there will be other racing ships, notably variants of the mustang tuned and liveried for racing. But that's a starter ship? Can it really be competitive with the high end "limited" ships like the Origin racers? Well, if CIG decides it can be, it will be. Is that good for the game? Cheap starter ships as good as the high end ones?

Although was it really a promise? Was it implied in the sales? Or was it something people inferred and insisted on? Is this "promise creep"? To Ed-itorialize a little, I think this is the key piece, keeping the promises made but not letting lobby groups expand commitments by flogging the forums.

The Star Citizen community is certainly within its rights to point out prior promises and hold CIG to them, but there are costs. Tying the developers hands can be detrimental to the game in the long run.

We need to be very careful when taking to the forums with [concerns]. Avoid insisting on inferred promises, meaning lets not hold them to promises they didn't actually make but we simply assumed. Maybe sometimes we early backers should let one go every once in a while for the good of the game.

CIG also needs to be careful not to give the impression that an organized forum lobby can sway their development process. They've held fast on several controversial points before, let us hope they are not getting into the habit of bending to any loud enough concern thread. It was clear that Ben took the feedback and deliberated on it, which is good.

How should the good of the game be balanced against the understandable desire of earlier players to have their purchases hold value and retain their distinctiveness? Let us know in the comments.

See Also

Star Citizen AA 045 - Arena Commander v0.9!

Reddit Discussion - [PSA] 350R and M50 now time limited ships once again 

RSI Forums - M50 and 350R Sale now Limited (22nd Sept)

RSI Forums - Lightspeed Package Changed - Exclusive Racing Suit to Origin Racing Suit...

Disclaimers

Author of this article (Citizen Ed), purchased both the M50 and 350R in the v0.9 Arena Commander sale, and is a backer of the Star Citizen project.