Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Promoting seaGE, and a rant on GVCs

A few weeks ago I decided to become a regular at this PC shop / Internet cafe near my place. It has very nice amenities, a decent crowd, and friendly counter staff. It has an almost indecently good net connection, which is STILL fast even when a lot of people are playing all sorts of online games concurrently. The connection also remained smooth when there were a lot of people logged on to Friendster [one of the culprits for lag].

So I decided to introduce Granado Espada there.

I've played seaGE there over several different time periods and the results are quite consistent: very little lag. I even played there for my first CW in Carracci - and I lagged slightly, but only when there were bunches of summons running around all over the place [at least one Tary, a Treasure Golem or a Steel Ararat, and a bunch of marionettes]. Otherwise, even with all the families concentrated around the Tetra Hill colony, I was keeping up with everyone.

Anyway, I gave them one of my extra seaGE posters to help advertise that all the PCs at that shop now had seaGE installed on them.

The last time I was there, I received several questions from the guy on duty. My answers in italics.

Is seaGE free to play?

Yes, it is. We used to be pay to play, but we switched back to F2P + premium item shop.

Ah, so there's load.

Yup. We call them GVCs.

Where do we get the load?


And then I had to explain that there were very, very few places where one could get GVCs. Granted, this shop is in Novaliches, one of the northern reaches of Quezon City, and therefore a little far from the retailers in Makati and Manila.

The one shop I know that HAS GVCs, Dataventure at SM Fairview, only stocks about 10-20 pieces at a time, and those get gobbled up almost as soon as they go on sale. And they restock their GVCs rather irregularly, sad to say - it's always a crapshoot going there, because most of the time the salespersons will tell you they're out of GVCs. Only on rare occasions can you get GVCs, and then usually only the smaller denominations.

Now, pardon me while I veer off into marketing territory, but since seaGE is free to play - shouldn't the GVCs be treated as the most important marketing tool / means of promoting the game?

There are a bunch of threads in the PH section of the seaGE forums in which players from all over the country complain about the utter lack of GVCs. Here's the most active one:

P100 load (e-pins and GVC) no more? =(
Eleven pages, and still active as of now. In this thread, forum member "paulvr173cm" is gaining a reputation for being a reliable seller of PHP100 GVCs [1,800 G-Points].

I pointed out the equivalent number of G-Points that you can get for PHP100 because PHP100 is a fairly median amount for people to spend on non-necessities such as game load; and also because of the comment pointed up in the following thread:

Load much cheaper outside..

Check out what that thread starter says:

The equivalent of PHP20 in SGD or MYR nets seaGE players in those countries 5,800 G-Points.

But here in the Philippines, you have to pay PHP300 to get that same 5,800 G-Points!

Here are, then, the main issues in this entry:

There are very few places to get GVCs reliably here in the Philippines. Sure, there's a list of retailers at pCM Veya's blog, but how often is that list being updated? How often are the retailers on that list being resupplied? What of the rumors that some of the outlets rumored to be GVC retailers refuse to sell the load? What of the rumors that some of the outlets are actually extremely UNreliable?

Why are PH players getting so few G-Points for their money? I think that example from the second thread says it all: the conversion rate for PHP to G-Points is wildly different from that of other countries - specifically, the conversion rate is too steep. This inconveniences PH players, because they must pay so much more to get the G-Points they need.

The VERY painful part is that these issues have been part of the PH community of seaGE players practically from Day One. And the fact that the first thread I linked in this entry is STILL active ought to say volumes about the treatment this dire situation has received from the people at local publisher IP e-Games: shabby, ruinous, miserable, shoddy, tatterdemalion treatment.

How the heck can IP e-Games expect the PH player base for seaGE to keep growing if it cannot even use the game load as a proper marketing and promotions tool? Those who cannot access the materials needed to play a game will NEVER play that game.

Someone DO something about this!


The Ripples Are Spreading.

Blacksword: WHY do these companies DON'T give a DAMN Find out how he feels with regard to the neglect that the general MMO-playing community suffers in the Philippines.

Stiles: Games Should be Games and Should Always Be Games (The Rant I was Hiding for a Long Time) Stiles tells his side of the story and his view on the GVC problem, and how he nearly quit over it.

The thread I started in the forums so that people can keep talking about this issue.


Mikee Stiles said...

Am sorry e-games but how far is Paranaque from Makati ?

Its just a simple bus ride away! Heck and they can't even supply g-points here ?

I got so windang twice already, now am going to buy g-points tomorrow because my friend asked me to check if there are g-points here.

Anywho, about my blog, I don't think it will be updated often because I want things to be as close to news as possible.

Alam ko masakit ito, pero Priston Tale may nabibiling load dito, bakit ang GE wala ?

Alcarcalimo said...

Jeesh! Our game's got the same problem! However, what I've discovered is that you can get GE Load from Loadcentral: http://www.loadcentral.com.ph/products.html. Locations are usually in the big name internet cafes like netopia and excel.

Howver, if it's an ordinary internet cafe, most likely it won't have Load Central.

Maybe, if you convinced the cafe owner to swith to GE, maybe you can convince him or her to install loadcentral there too!

Nine Moons said...

@ stiles

very true.

hope you're able to get your GVCs soon - and good luck in ABS ^^

@ alcarcalimo
LoadCentral has actually been complained about as unreliable, because players have reported that they paid, but got invalid GVC codes. hence the comment in the entry about reliability.

Alcarcalimo said...

That's bad for both the Loadcentral and especially the GE players then. Can't e-games help out on this one?

Nine Moons said...

@ alcarcalimo

as i say in the post: the fact that e-games has NOT helped out despite the fact that the GVC availability has been problematic practically from day one says just how much they care.

winterlake said...

Yes! That's been my ongoing headache with the GVP point system. Actually, if there was a more reliable and steady supply of top up points, chances are they'll be getting practically half of my salary because I reload almost religiously. >_>;

If what you say about the g-points costing less for other countries, I'm not going to top up until an equilibrium is reached here. They may say things about economics, but at the rate the players are selling and buying things, increasing the card's value for money would sustain the game better.

Nine Moons said...

@ winterlake

that might actually make an effective idea for a protest against e-Games, as not only are they our laggardly load distributors, but are also the same people who set that damn conversion rate!

Mikee Stiles said...

Am going to Baguio earlier than expected so I can check on the what they are whining about.

I might not blog about it because I might be very busy up there.

Nine Moons said...

@ stiles


show the community how it is there!