Mightier Than the Sword - Written by Quinzel
For the month of September we’ve kind of gone crazy with promotions. This month we’ve probably had the most promotions in a single month within this entire year. I say probably because it very well feels like it with the amount of injections we are currently working on, particularly the most recent handful of promotions. As I am writing this Raiden is diligently putting together three different lists while I’m pulling up data for a fourth one:
- Green Panthera Jacket Promotion
- Enchant Boosters Promotion
- 24 Hour Sale - +5 Vet Lacquer
- Le Pouvoir BOGO Sale (still going on until Oct. 1st, 2011)
Typically, as most of you know injections can take a few days to complete after we’ve gathered all the data. Most of you are probably wondering why it takes that much time and why it can’t just automatically appear the second you make your purchase.
In the past we have made a mention on the forums in a few threads about how injections are done on our end, but rather than making you looking for a needle in a haystack I figured it might be beneficial to have this entry in plain sight right here on our blog. Hopefully, this post will provide some answers.
The first thing that I ought to explain is that we do not have access nor do we have a tool/system in place that would allow us to do automatic injections. Certainly, we have tools that help us to moderate the game and allow us to inject manually, but there is no built in mechanic that automates this process. I’m going to try to explain roughly through a hypothetical example of how this all works. Imagine two different databases – let’s call them DB1 and DB2. DB1 has all your GamersFirst information including your Sword 2 accounts and your payment history. DB2 has all the in-game data including your Family names, Character information, Inventory information, and anything else in-game related. What’s one thing both have in common? Gold. When you purchase Gold through the Sword 2 Marketplace that information gets saved in DB1 and when you spend that Gold that information gets saved in DB2. The issue is DB2 - the one controlling in-game items - doesn’t really talk directly to DB1. DB2 only cares about Gold coming into your in-game Wallet and Gold that is spent in the Bazaar. That is the extent of the conversation. For example, DB2 does not tally up how many times you’ve purchased 3,500 Gold so it can give you X amount of Green Panthera Jackets. So that leads me to discuss our injection process.
I’ll use the Green Panthera as an example. I pull up a report that queries into DB1 and I set the dates for the range of data I need. I can then export the report to an Excel and start sorting it out and creating pivot tables. The Green Panthera had about 2,000 lines of data that had to get sorted down to the Unique S2 Game Accounts and the total number of Gold purchased. Then I have to tally up how many times an account purchased 3,500 Gold so I can give them X amount of Green Panthera Jackets. The report does not give me the Family and Server Name, and it only gives me about 90% of the Sword 2 Account Names (which one the player purchased Gold for as sometimes players have Alt accounts or linked accounts). In most cases if you are expecting a promotional item you should find it has been injected in the inventory of the Family and Server you were purchasing for. Sometimes the report cannot determine which account is your main playing account (account you were purchasing for) so there might be an issue when we are running the injections. Other times, (depending upon the item in question) your Inventory or Premium Inventory is full and the injection fails. If you end up having to submit a ticket we are able to rectify this almost immediately as our AMs have the full list (and even the raw data) for our injections. Just keep in mind that when you’re ticketing in, we usually specify that it will take a few business days to complete all injections. After going through each step I hope it is apparent why it might take that amount of time to complete. Our goal however is to always try to get it done as soon as possible.
We understand full-heartedly that this is not the ideal process for promotional item injections, especially for our players who we would like to give instant gratification to when possible. At the least we would like to offer promotions that make the couple days of wait worth it and hope that the community finds some pleasure in receiving a little something extra for their time and money. This process, although it is the current system available to us now, does not mean it will always be the same system we will live with forever. Our team will continue to work towards improving ways for us to more efficiently and effectively moderate the game and that includes improving or changing existing systems, tools and resources made available to or created by us. As we work towards these things we only hope that the community will understand that those changes and improvements will take time and effort.
I’ll give one example of something that culminated from a long haul of time, resources and effort. It wasn’t until about 2 years to 1 ½ years ago that we were able to create a functioning promo code system. For the longest time, we did not have the capability to give a Sword 2 player a code they could redeem to get in-game items. This limited both our ability to run certain promotions and marketing campaigns. From this need we were slowly able to build a system with the help of IMC Games.
Today, we are thankful that as a team to have the resources available to us now… but it doesn’t mean we will stop asking for more/better tools and resources anytime soon.