Cert-Gate

SOE dropped the bomb on Planetside 2 a few hours ago. In the latest 38mb patch, these seemingly innocuous patch notes appeared:

  • A certification grant has been done for players who purchased duplicate weapons on multiple characters.
  • Please note that if this causes a player’s certifications to go over 10,000 they will not accumulate any more certification points until some have been spent to bring it below the cap.

When Ps2 first launched, all the weapon unlocks were on a per-character basis. Fairly recently, SOE decided that one of the perks of purchasing faction-agnostic weapons with Station Cash was that it would unlock the weapon on all of your characters. Usually, the choice is 700 SC (~$7) or 1000 Certs for a weapon, with 1000 Certs representing a pretty significant investment both in time (I accumulated around 9,000 Certs after 150+ hours) and opportunity cost (spending Certs on class upgrades, like more fuel for your jetpack). Still, using Certs to unlock weapons means you can play for free; so being able to unlock one weapon and use it on every faction makes the Station Cash option that much more competitive. “But wait,” players reasonably asked, “what about all that Station Cash I spent on weapons I now have a useless duplicate of?”

Well, today we have SOE’s response: Certification reimbursement. But something has gone horribly, horribly wrong:

Spot the differences.

Spot the differences.

Yes, you are seeing that correctly. SOE has reimbursed me twenty-six thousand (26,000) Certs.

Holy mother of god.

Holy mother of god.

The official version of things is exactly what I wrote above: SOE decided to reimburse the people who bought two of the same gun on two same-faction characters at a 1 SC for 2 Cert ratio. Did I spend $130 on, frankly, poorly-planned purchases on redundant toons? Of course not. As it turns out, the database query also captured all transactions in which you bought an item that was later a part of a bundle that you purchased anyway. For example, I bought the rocket pods for the jet only to find out they were included in the “Vehicle Starter Bundle” along with a lot of other juicy weapons; while I did not get a discount for already owning the rocket pods, the rest of the bundle was still a good enough deal to purchase.

The result is 26,000 Certs. On each of my three toons. And SOE has said they aren’t going to roll them back.

This is a literal case of the common WoW “log on, collect epix” hyperbole. The only thing I cannot buy with these Certs are helmets, camo, and other such visual extras. Oh, and XP boosts, but I don’t think I will ever be interested in such things again.

So I bought things. Lots of things. And upgraded everything else. A new pump shotgun came out today, this time with 11 pellets to the standard 10 at the expense of a slower rate of fire. Just last week I bought each faction’s pump shotgun for SC as they were 50% off. But who cares? I need to chew through these Certs because there is actually a 10,000 Cert cap beyond which you can’t earn any more.

Pretty much everything useful.

Pretty much everything useful.

I stopped spending Certs after going down to around 4,700 as I found myself starting to purchase ridiculous shit. Did you know the Medic can carry around two sticks of C4? I would never have unlocked such nonsense for 700 total Certs, but now I have it. Forever. I can also give out Empire-wide orders and listen in on Commander chat now. Just ’cause. I was actually starting to worry about squandering my giant pile of unearned Certs – it is small enough to only purchase four new weapons – but it occurred to me that I still have a bit over 50% of the total amount of Certs I have ever had.

Let that last sentence wash over you for a second.

The big question mark, at least on a personal level, is where things go from here. After the 1.5 hour spending spree, I still participated in one of the newfangled Alerts. Let me tell you, it was great fun zipping around in a kitted-out Scythe with a 5-minute timer instead of a 9-minute one. Prior to today, I had been conflicted as to whether my next big purchase was going to unlock a second stick of C4 for the Light Assault (finally allowing me to potentially take out a Sunderer solo) or if I was going to unlock Rank 3 of my Scythe’s hover frame. I had previously waffled so much over the decision that I ended up hitting 1200 Certs a few days ago and purchased a submachine gun for my Infiltrator instead, practically unlocking a brand new play-style for the class.

But… now? Will I feel the same way about Planetside 2 without the progression angle? After all, I lost complete interest in WoW PvP once I had full Honor gear last time around. For now, I think SOE is safe; the core mechanics of shooting people in a wide-open world is great fun.

It is an open question though, how SOE will weather the building rage on the forums and Reddit. Not everyone got 26,000 Certs, and I can imagine what all those Battle Rank 90s are feeling to have my BR 38 ass flying/driving/shooting circles around their more generalist loadouts.

Hyperinflation has come to Auraxis in a major way, and the future is looking quite a bit grimmer than it was just yesterday.

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Posted on April 10, 2013, in PlanetSide 2 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Call me a sap if you will, but just as with keeping EQ Mac afloat, I think reimbursing players was a very, very generous thing to do and something Sony didn’t really have to do imo, nerfings are common in MMORPG’s and in a broader sense you don’t have to re-imburse customers that bought something before (in effect) a sale.

    Disheartening to see such generosity is in a sense blowing up in their face – but I will quip that it shows why Accountwide features and MMORPG’s/games built around long-term character investments in my opinion don’t make for the best mixes.

    And I think it will be less likely other games will see such reimbursement programs in the future.

    • The reimbursement itself is not bad, nor is it what people are complaining about (well, except the people who can’t think beyond kneejerk reactions).

      The cause of the contention is a) there was some admittedly faulty logic used in determining how much people should get, b) the 1 SC = 2 certs ratio is out of whack with the rest of the game, and c) a smattering of jealousy just for fun.

      To be fair, I can understand all the points and I admit that I was slightly annoyed that I didn’t get much at all just because I was always careful to NOT buy bundles that contained things I already had. But I’ll get over it. My ability to enjoy the game is not tied to comparing other people’s achievements to my own (if it were I’d never be able to play at all cause I suck too much).

      I’m also kinda glad I’m not in Az’s shoes. 26k is more certs than I’ll ever need and I don’t think the game would be quite as fun without something to chase. Plus it would make the 6 month 50% boost I bought a few weeks back really useless.

      • Yeah, reeeeeeaaally glad I didn’t drop 3000 SC on the boost a month ago or so; the only reason I didn’t buy it was because I told myself I wasn’t buying anymore SC until the next double-SC weekend.

        I agree that the 1:2 ratio is too high, but a 1:1 ratio would have been too low, IMO. The standard should be 1:1.42, which is what the weapon ratio of 700 SC = 1000 Cert comes out to. Would have turned my 26k Cert bonus into ~18k, which is still pretty ridiculous but less so. Certainly would have left me with more unicorns to chase.

  2. I think it was a mistake to refund via certs. Those of the players who benefit from that (including you) will have fun for a couple of days, but may not be as motivated to play as before. Those who didn’t benefit (including me) see themselves less motivated right away. You know the game and you know that it is not easy to catch up to 20k certs ;)
    After all, its all about which one of those icons on the desktop to double click.

    I was completely fascinated by this game, and it offers a lot. I was there when Counter Strike was in beta, and we played it night after night. And when we saw servers that could hold 32 players – that was amazing! And we dreamed about what it would be like to have one massively big server, where everyone would join. Thousands of players. A large map, large battle. And this is basicly what PS2 is like. Plus another fraction, vehicles, in-game-voice-chat and more goodies. And amazing graphics.

    Every player wants to have certs, no matter how much time and money invested. And there is another thing players want to have: players. Full servers.
    I know that granting certs was the cheapest solution. Didn’t cost anyone anything. If it leads to a smaller player base, it might have been more expensive than expected.

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