Alex’s Analysis – The Loyalty Programme

posted by on 11th December 2011, at 6:50pm

When the idea first came out, I thought it was just another sort of monthly bonus for me like the Troll Invasion mini game. Just a point where I thought that once a month, I get a little added bonus to the game. A little extra boost that I don’t have to spend days trying to do; just a weekend with some time set aside.

In this case, I get points just for being a member. Doesn’t get simpler than that. Unfortunately, I wish it wasn’t that simple.

For a start, I figured that since I’ve been a member since… what, 2005, it says? Yeah, that sounds about right. I did remain free-to-play after members came out for a while, and was a bit of a late joiner to the RSC brigade. Anyways, I figured that since I’ve been a member for that long, I should at least be entitled to a considerable bonus of loyalty points. You know, because I’m a loyal member. And I had a question answered in God Letter #21 and a picture temporarily put in the Players Gallery.

Ah, but everybody’s the same. Only now will they start to reward us. It was as though they didn’t really need the money back then and it was simply the benefit of being a member by itself that made it worthwhile. And trust me; there once was a point in Runescape where being a member meant you could do about 25% more than F2P.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the concept. I like the idea that with consecutive membership, you get more and more points towards a benefit. Mostly cosmetic; letting you get new types of clothes or item recolours, as well as emotes and titles. And they’re cool. I got the Divine emote where I pray and an angel comes down to me, and I got the Storm emote where I call forth lightning. I got my Staff of Light recolour, and thou mayst call me Sir Alex 43.

The only thing I don’t really like are the auras.

Whole extra inventory space to wear them; I like. A benefit that lasts a while before wearing out and recharging; I like. Once bought, you technically cannot lose it; I like. An aura for just about everything important; I like.

Everything else, I don’t.

For a start, the bonuses are really considerably minor. +3% chance to catch a fish? A 2% boost to prayer points when a potion’s drunk? +1% bonus prayer experience? A 12-second stun that takes 15 minutes to recharge?! If you ask me, those are the kind of passive bonuses one should get with a special item, not an aura that lasts a bit and takes hours to recharge. Especially at the prices they start at (nobody in Runescape can get the Tier 4 one until several months later).

Secondly, you can’t take them into dungeoneering. But why can’t you? Just activate it and march right in; I thought it wasn’t a physical object. Reverence would’ve been a great help to me down there, where each prayer point matters most. Same with Knock-Out. Ah, but not only did it NOT let me bring the aura, but only upon buying and trying did I realize how relatively minor the prayer bonus was (about the same as switching a prayer book for a Falador Shield 3 – insignificant).

Thirdly, you can’t get a refund. OK, don’t look at me like that. I actually personally think that all auras should get, say, either a one-time trial or a one-time swap-out so nobody loses out on a bad buy. Make sure that players can actually incorporate these auras into their training routine and get a feel for the timing (an hour at the mighty banshees passes by awful quickly). Because I would much MUCH rather spend all my points on emotes rather than an aura that I’ll end up completely forgetting about. At least emotes can be used at any time, anywhere, without taking inventory space or recharge time, and look awesome. If I want a good prayer boost, I get the appropriate armor.

I understand the Members Loyalty Programme items are basically thank-you gifts from Jagex to the community. They’re not supposed to give you an edge in battle, nor are they supposed to double your rate of training; they’re simply minor conveniences or opportunities to show off (or new props to machinima makers out there). I can accept the auras being hardly a difference; but if their recharge time was lesser (or in most cases, omitted altogether), then they could actually become the minor conveniences they are supposed to be rather than a hassle. And darn it, dungeoneering really could use some of them.

And in my personal opinion, “Knock-Out” is the only aura really worth its salt. Good for slayer assignments; kind of like giving all the enemies the rock-hammer option. I like the idea.

Otherwise, all I ask to make the benefits a little better is perhaps more color choices in the recolouring menu (who wouldn’t want a black staff of light; really, who wouldn’t?), maybe reward the “member veterans” with a little something more than a cape, make the new costumes something I can get as my actual character’s clothes (from the clothes shop that I have on during dungeoneering) rather than something I wear on top…

…and darn it, I wanna see what the emotes/colors/outfits actually LOOK like before I buy one. Gotta take it at face value. See, I thought the Divinity Emote was me becoming this divine icon, but instead it’s me calling forth a divine icon that simply “helps me to my feet” before it leaves. …I dunno, I could specify about 12 different ways it could be better.

But that’s just my opinion. It’s the thought that counts, after all. They’re spending their time to create these extra bonuses that we as players simply have to continue being members to get. Some may argue that members’ loyalty is what really pays them the big bucks and that they should make these rewards several times better. I’ll take what you’ve got and continue my support, looking towards saving up those 15 000/month bonuses for some real goodies.

Until next time; Cheers, cannoneers!

P.S.: Batch 4; customizable title for 75 000? Huh? Huh??

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