28/03/2018

Social Media Games #SWTORCompanionChaos

Last week's patch also brought with it an out of game "feature", as it was announced on the launcher and on the website that SWTOR's social media accounts would be holding an "event" called #SWTORCompanionChaos Celebration - could they have come up with a more convoluted name if they tried?

The premise was simple enough, however: a bunch of polls would be posted, pitting various companions against each other with the question of who's better at what they do, to be decided by the players. Each companion was also assigned to either #TeamNico or #TeamShae, so that at the end one of the teams would come out as the overall winner and then... well, we don't know what will happen then, though I can make an educated guess.

I'm not a heavy user of social media (among other things because I don't own a smart phone, which seems to be people's main avenue of interacting with them), but I do have a Facebook and a Twitter account and follow SWTOR's official accounts on both of them. I think they do a decent enough job at posting about game updates and engaging people in random conversation about the game, but I generally avoid reading the responses/reactions because they tend to be a pretty sad affair, more so on Facebook than on Twitter. Maybe Twitter contains a higher percentage of happy gamers, or maybe the concept of following and un-following an account is more intuitive there. Many Facebook users certainly seem to be oblivious to the idea that they can "un-like" a page and stop receiving updates from it instead of constantly posting trollish comments in response to each and every one of its updates.

I do wonder how important social media are for MMOs. I mean, happy players are probably too busy just playing the game to care either way, but if you're someone who's considering trying a new MMO for the first time or returning after a longer absence, I could see you checking out the game's social media accounts and being put off if there's too much negativity in the responses there. Less of that can't really be a bad thing.

That aside, I also have a semi-professional interest in the subject these days since I moved to my employer's marketing department last year. While social media are not part of my personal responsibility, I do find it interesting to see the challenges my colleagues face while handling them.

With that in mind, this new initiative sounds to me like someone new has been taking charge of SWTOR's social media recently and is trying to improve what's happening there. The most striking evidence of this (to me) is that they are finally using the poll feature correctly! It always bugged me when they posted a poll but instead of actually posting a poll they would ask an either-or question in a status update and attach a picture with the two options, labelled A and B... to encourage people to comment with either "A" or "B"? Always seemed very silly to me. Another hint towards a new person being in charge is that the game's Instagram account suddenly appears to have been abandoned. It was never super active, but it used to post at least one picture a week or so in the past.

Anyway, at the time of writing this, we're just waiting for the last poll in the series to go up. The scores so far appear as follows:

Deadliest Droid: HK-55 #TeamNico
Worst Crook: Tanno Vik #TeamNico
Toughest Soldier: Lieutenant Pierce #TeamShae
Most Charming Con Artist: Gault #TeamNico (didn't see this one posted on Twitter, only on FB)
Fiercest Sith: Lord Scourge #TeamNico (same as above)
Best "Fixer": T7 #TeamNico on Twitter, Blizz #TeamShae on Facebook - that one was really close, wonder how they are going to choose the winner?
Most Gifted Apprentice: Ashara #TeamShae currently in the lead, god knows why!


WHY

So, depending on how they decide the "tie" between Blizz and T7 and how the last vote goes, it could still end in a tie between the two teams, but #TeamNico cannot lose anymore.

As for what all this will lead to? Well, considering that the two teams are both named after companions that were previously given out as subscriber rewards, I'd say the obvious answer would be that the winning "team leader" is made available for a second time, whether by serving as a subscriber reward again or via direct purchase on the Cartel Market. I could even see Bioware giving out both of them a second time if it's a tie. If nothing else, I've got to admit that this would be a more interesting way of going about it than simply making players choose between the two available companions directly. Plus, at least for this week the event also seems to have done the job of getting people in the Facebook comments to talk about something other than how the game is dying and they're not getting enough of their favourite content - mostly anyway.

8 comments :

  1. I had the exact same reaction when seeing the fledgling results of the Ashara/Nadia poll. Of the two, Nadia definitely has the more raw power, given that multiple cutscenes demonstrate this long before she becomes a Companion, so according to the Poll's criteria she should not be losing.

    I think the two main reasons why Ashara is winning is because she's often seen to have a more defined personality compared to Nadia (certainly if I were voting for personalities over power I wouldn't go for the - sadly - most naive female Companion in the game) and quite simply because she's SWtOR's Ahsoka Tano. Everything that reminds people of that blasted menace is going to be irrationally popular.

    Still, the other Polls went pretty much as I expected them to. I do find it curious that Gault was a part of Team Nico, though, considering that the rest of his team is largely Republic Companions (this is including HK-55 as he is 'coded' as a Republic Companion) and Team Shae has mostly Imperial Companions, but Guss and Gault are bizarrely reversed.

    Not that I'm complaining, as that's a free win for Team Nico right there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, I was mostly going "WHY" because I don't like Ashara, but yes, it doesn't make sense from a more objective point of view either. :P

      I do have to contest your claim of Nadia being the most naive though! At least she's been around a bit and knows politics. Ashara is the one who followed both of my Sorcerers and turned her back on her old Master based on literally nothing but "look, a shiny holocron".

      I also wasn't too happy with the "most deadly droid" result, because I think all things considered Scorpio should have won that one easily, but I guess people just love all things HK.

      Delete
    2. I would have agreed with you on Ashara prior to 5.8. With her return, she's nowhere near the naive apprentice she used to be, which is excellent development and something which I'd also love to see happen for Nadia when she returns, at which point the balance will likely shift again in Nadia's favour.

      Delete
  2. Gault is listed as #TeamShae on Facebook, and there’s a new poll in which Lokin is leading for #TeamShae. That’ll put #TeamShae in the lead 5 to 3. I’ll be really disappointed if they end up giving out Shae as a companion again rather than Nico because I have Shae but not Nico.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hm, might have made a mistake there, but that still wouldn't mean an automatic win for Shae because of the "Fixer" tie.

      Anyway, they put up a straight Nico vs. Shae poll now while also announcing that both of them will be given out again.

      Delete
  3. Very excited to get Nico!

    It was interesting to read your take on the recent SWTOR social media activity. Thanks for another engaging post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can think of two possible reasons why Ashara is landsliding.

    The first (and rather shallow one), is down to her 'hawtness'.
    Togruta are pretty much up there with the likes of Twi'leks when it comes to Xeno-eroticism among Nerds. Specially thanks to the likes of Ahsoka...
    Nadia by comparison, is generally seen as a boring, plain-Jane, goody-goody, poor man's Kira Carson.

    The second being, that the Jedi Councillor has a reputation of being the weakest storyline in the game. And thus people will be biased.

    Not that I disagree with you. And I like Nadia. But that's usually the sort of thing that unfortunatly dictates these sort of polls. :/

    Likewise, HK is practically the mascot for the Old Republic series, so no real suprise there. And let's face it, Skadge didn't have a hope in hell of winning, against anyone really.

    In many ways, it's almost rigged for one outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Most Gifted Apprentice: Ashara #TeamShae currently in the lead, god knows why!"

    I'm pretty sure that people who think Ahsoka Tano would make a great romantic companion like Azshara. I don't have any statistical data to back it up, but I've seen enough commentary around the net suggesting as much to make me think this is not just idle speculation.

    ReplyDelete

Share your opinion! Everyone is welcome, as long as things stay polite. No sign-in required. I also read comments on older posts, so don't be shy. :)