My Advice for Bungie

Let me preface this by saying that I am not about to dump all over Bungie in this thread. I couldn't love Bungie more. I have been a huge fan of theirs for years, and I want to keep it that way for more years to come. That's what this post is all about. This is just my own opinion, and is not to be taken for more than it actually is. The words of an upset fan. 

Bungie have been giving us premium content for longer than I can even remember. Their stories are filled with so much content and lore that it can (and has) filled books upon books. For those who think Destiny's story is too short, I have personally have spent endless hours just watching videos on YouTube and parsing Bungie.net and the Reddit thread for all sorts of lore about what weapons I have, the classes I play and so on. You don't want to do extra research for a game? That's cool, don't. Then this story is not for you. It is a community story. We learn and work together, that's the point. 

Some of you may know this, and if you're already tired of it, please feel free to skip these next two paragraphs. Last week Luke Smith (Content Editor and Community Manager at Bungie) did a shocking interview with Eurogamer. I won't go too much in to this, but basically it seems like Bungie as a whole were spitting in the faces of their fans. 

Smith is notoriously getting himself in to these situations. He is abrasive, harsh, rude and to the point. In one sense, there is nothing wrong with that, but when you're a community manager you should base your career on the community more than anything. Especially in the hyper-sensitive world we live in today. 

When it came down to it, Luke stated that there would be a new Collector's Edition released for fans. It would cost far less than what the fans already payed and would contain more content that could only be obtained by purchasing this bundle, meaning that people who already spent €120 on the core game and the DLC to go with it would now have to spend €80 to get some in-game content. 

Since this happened Smith has apologised for his interview, and they have announced that you can now purchase this extra content for €20, alongside the next DLC (The Taken King) for €40. This is great, an upgrade to the Collector's Edition that costs €20 instead of having to buy a package for €80. Perfect, right? Wrong. 

Here is what your €20 will get you, should you deem it worthy. Three class items that offer bonus experience, three armor shaders and three class-specific emotes. According to Smith and Deej (Community Manager at Bungie), this is the market value of these specific items. You can read the full thing here, but this is the piece I am focusing on:

We’re actively working to make the digital content from the Collector’s Edition available in a $20 upgrade bundle (suggested retail price), available on 9/15/2015.
— Bungie Weekly Update 06/24/15

"Suggested retail price" irks me a little bit. Where did they get this information from? It's a micro-transaction without the "micro". Let's look at this as it is. It's 3 colours for your class, 3 emotes and 3 class items. That's all. Let's look at other games for a moment and see what the going rate actually is for this limited amount of content. I will be dealing with console games, just so it is fair. PC games are notoriously cheaper.

  • Minecraft - Skin Pack (20 skins) - €0.99
  • Minecraft - Texture Pack - €1.99
  • Tomb Raider: Adventer Pack - €6.99 including two weapon upgrades, three skill upgrades, and three outfits.
  • Tomb Raider: Online Survival Pack - €6.99 including six weapons from Hitman: Absolution and four unique multiplayer characters.
  • GTA V: Heists Update - €Free
  • Sunset Overdrive: Weapon Pack - €4.99 - Four new weapons for your arsenal
  • Forza Horizon 2 Mazda MX-5 Car Pack - €Free - Four new cars
  • Forza Horizon 2 Infiniti Car Pack - €Free - Two new cars
  • Forza Horizon 2 Porsche Expansion - €10.99 - Ten new cars
  • Shadow of Mordor: Captain of the Watch Skin - €0.99 1 new Skin

These are just some examples from some of the biggest games at the moment that actually include add-on packs. The going market rate seems to be on average around €5.99

I'm not saying that Bungie should give out their DLC for free, under any circumstance. This is how they make a living. If I owned a supermarket, I wouldn't be giving out free groceries just because I have a lot of them and some people shop there all the time. That's not how the real world works. I would just like to be treated right, as a fan. I wouldn't expect people to buy overpriced things from me, either. Bungie had never let me down until that interview. It honestly is so disappointing, because it makes the company seem like they're just money grabbing. It reflects poorly on the company, and the fans who stood by them for all these years. It's hard to see anything they're doing at the moment as anything less than an attempt to crack open my wallet. 

As Luke Smith rightly stated in his Eurogamer interview, "It's about value. The player's assessment of the value of the content." However, Bungie have clearly not assessed the value of their content correctly. The fans deserve better treatment than an insanely high price on some colours and equipment. Exclusivity is one thing, but listen to the fans. They're the ones inevitably buying the content. Don't turn them against you.

The Taken King is €40, and the season pass only covered the first two DLC's, which is becoming more and more of a trend lately. However, TTK might include an incredible amount of content. I can't really say much about the pricing. Is it high for DLC? Yes, absolutely. Is the price too high for what it is? I honestly couldn't tell you without first playing it myself. 

Every day I see so much Bungie hate on Reddit, and so many angry fans in the Bungie forums. This genuinely hurts as a fan of both the Destiny franchise, and the company. If Bungie ever plan on making another game, especially a sequel to Destiny, then they really need to stop this now before the hatred towards the game becomes permanent association to the title. 

On one last note. Luke Smith also mentioned in his apology letter the following: 

Anyone who knows me knows I can be sarcastic, anyone who remembers podcasts I’ve done knows that I can be pretty blunt, and anyone who’s watched me in a ViDoc knows I’m pretty unpolished.

However, most of you don’t know me.

Reading my interview with Eurogamer and imagining it came from some random developer of a game I love - that random developer looks like an Asshat.

But that Asshat was me - and those words rightfully anger you.
— Luke Smith

My final piece of advice is that if somebody feels that they are sarcastic and blunt, and that they look like an "Asshat", perhaps don't let them be the face of your company in interviews. Maybe he can stick to the forums where people have more tolerance for it because they know him better. However, anything he says for the next few months will be watched and combed through by those people just waiting for the next big thing he does. It seems a shame to spend so long building such a strong community just to throw it away in an interview. 

To sum up the post: Bungie should lower the price of their upgrade DLC, treat their fans with a LOT more respect and keep Luke away from the press and media. Again, this is just some advice from a long time fan.