The good news is that it has rather solidly and effectively masked the quote unquote “not as expected performance of HoT” – meaning presumably that other than the initial surge, few people were convinced or tempted to buy the expansion later in the following quarter. I figure that means the GW2 veterans picked it up the first quarter it launched, but subsequently, casual players of GW2 or hardcore players from other games were -not- tempted into following suit.
It’s good that the strength of the gem store and gem to gold currency exchange is such that it can provide a Hail Mary last resort to save an ailing quarter. Cos the last thing we need is NCsoft feeling that their investors are asking too many questions about why this title exists in their portfolio, while showing insignificant profit.
I admit to being very curious as to the lesson they apparently learned.
Is it that they shouldn’t crank difficulty across the board too high, or try to institute too much grind in order to encourage retention?
Or over-focus on the hardcore subset at the expense of leaving the other subsets feeling unheard? Or focus overmuch on Achievers, while forgetting the other subtypes that also play their game?
Maybe they’ve decided that promising the moon in their marketing and under-delivering is a sure way of shooting themselves in the foot, a la O’Brien’s new resolution to deliver actual tangible results for players to judge?
Or that by opening up developer communication channels and inviting civil player discussion and feedback, they might be able to stave off much of the knee-jerk controversy and backlash that follows any sudden surprise change a vocal enough group of players -really- don’t like?
Is it that they’ve decided too concentrated maps and focused metas are no good and they should focus on quantity and more spread out maps like core Tyria?
Is it that they should cater to the seemingly unending call for more 5 man group content at an easy to moderate difficulty level not too far removed from present day dungeons and fractals?
(Mind you, I don’t personally agree with all of the above, especially the latter two, beyond the desire to have more oldstyle exploration and discovery and lore in the maps, but they seem to be somewhat common sentiments.)
Or maybe they took home a completely bizarre unimaginable-to-me lesson learned instead. Like, “raids were the most well-received and regularly played feature of Heart of Thorns! Let’s not bother making open world maps and make our next expansion a whole boxful of raids!”
Hopefully we’ll see more stability in the second quarter and decent enough gem store revenue post-mea culpa patch to take us to Living Story 3, presumably arriving in the 3rd quarter.
Time will tell as to what that lesson learned was.