Closing down shop
[TL;DR: yes, you can still get SpiralSpy here.]
Several recent events, mainly the latest update, but also the map issue, as well as some personal matters, have forced me to reconsider and come to the conclusion that it is finally time to move on. As of now, I will consider "The Scrapyard" to be a legacy project and discontinue it. The website will still stay around for as long as possible, but I do not plan to invest any more work here.
Phasing out a project is not something, I do lightly. Several causes are usually required for me to do so, but as, already stated, the introduction of exclusive pay to play content was the final straw. I fully understand that Threerings has bills to pay and therefore must (somehow) generate revenue. However, marketing the game as "free to play", but then introducing playable content which can only be unlocked through a purchase is a case of false advertisement. Plain and simple! Consumers may not be entitled to free products and services. What they are entitled to though, is being informed upfront and honestly, meaning, not by the means of the fine print, about (potential) costs.
Of course, some people will argue, that it is only one expansion set that costs money. The rest of the game remains unchanged and therefore, the label "free to play" still applies. This line of reasoning is nothing but a desperate search for (legal) loopholes. I will not give in to it and I will most certainly not cough up the money to pay for the mission pack. Doing so only acts as an encouragement to mislead customers and to add more such P2P expansions in the future. One thing to keep in mind here is that expansion missions were originally announced as CE buyables and then changed to being P2P content last minute. By my count that is the third time, Threerings is testing their limits, that is, their customer's willingness to use their credit cards more often (first time was the doubling of crafting costs shortly after beta, second time was the release of shadow lairs and providing keys through lockboxes). Give in to such acceptance tests and you end up having your expenses steadily raised. It does not take a diploma to see the salami slicing here. Expansion missions (mind the plural here) is an artificial separation between core game and story mode. Those who buy the first expansion will soon find themselves being offered the second chapter, coming with another price tag attached to it (expect around nine chapters for the complete crimson order story). Those who don't will likely find that producing a new chapter binds so much developer time that the F2P section will starve.
The introduction of exclusive P2P content in the game is a slap in the face of everyone, not just F2P players. P2P players, who set aside a portion of their paycheck to buy their monthly supply of crystal energy suddenly find that, yes, they supported the company, but no, the game credit they bought in the reasonable expectation of being able to play is suddenly not good for the new stuff and another swipe of the credit card is required.
Last but not least, and this brings me to the reason, why you are reading this: There is no reason to look down on F2P players as freeloaders. It is true, they do not provide money, but they do provide something equal in value: their time. F2P players are forced to spend a considerable amount of it on tedious things (e.g. farming crowns), which they can then trade to P2P players for crystal energy. As a result, F2P players gain a lot of skill and knowledge. They are typically the ones, who:
- Contribute to the wiki
- Upload videos to youtube (free advertisement for the game!)
- Can carry you through virtually any dungeon
- Keep the guilds alive
- Always seem to have that rare material or other dingbat, you just happen to need right now.
- Always seem to be just there in case all you want to do is to chat.
- Always seem to know how to do X, Y and Z.
Or in short: F2P players provide community glue. They may not be big spenders themselves, but they are enablers of big spenders. Loosing them by restricting them to the same old boring content is a formidable way for turning the game into a ghost town. Personally, I cannot see myself logging into Spiral Knights, just because I find soloing the clockworks over and over again so exciting. I also cannot see myself paying for access to the new missions just to find that those people, I actually like to run with can't come with me.
I disagree with the way, Threerings manages (or fails to manage) the community and therefore I will not serve as a tool to peer pressure friends and guildmates into buying the expansion. Neither will I do this to the community as a whole and so the only logical conclusion can be to decommission this website since it acts like an enabler.
Gute Reise, Everyone!