On Wednesday Ivory Tower released the first patch for The Crew in 2015 and, while it may have been a small one at only 178mb it has made some interesting changes, not least of which was introducing a new car to all those who had not pre ordered and new specs for those who had.
The release of the Mini Cooper S came unannounced and was one of a slew of “stealth” inclusions in the midweek patch. Others included nerfs to certain raid vehicles, an across the board increase in grip, the complete disappearance of two faction missions and some new keyboard shortcuts for the chat menus. Introducing these changes and failing to include them in the patch notes can be take in one of two ways by the fan base. Either they deem them to be surprise inclusions that they were happy to see, or, as has been the case here, they breed an attitude of mistrust between the community and the developers and leaves people second guessing what else has been changed without their knowledge.
It’s a difficult line for a developer to tread and one can certainly see why keeping some things quiet would be beneficial in reducing the already snowballing criticism of the studio. However, hiding things as important as the inclusion of a new car or the removal of missions is not only missing out on a good marketing opportunity (in the case of the Mini) but it also sells your community short as was the case with the missions.
Lets take a look at these two examples in particular as they are probably the two biggest “stealth” changes included with this patch, firstly, the inclusion of the Mini Cooper S.
With this Ivory Tower have passed up an opportunity for some free marketing from the news sites who are unlikely to jump on the news of a small balance patch but undoubtedly would have been all over the release of a new car with 3 specs, to all players, for free. They could have put this in their notes and had players waiting to log in solely for the chance to play with the new toy but they instead hid it away and most players would have never even known it was there if they did not take to the forums or Reddit.
Looking at the removal of the faction missions. It is clear to me, and I would assume most of the fan base of this game that making money after you reach level 50 is far too easy. 18k for every PvP race can easily spiral into half a million or more in a fairly casual session. I believe that Ivory Tower have sold the fan base short here, not by removing these two missions which could be easily abused for oodles of cash in mere minutes, but by not trusting the players to be mature enough to understand the reason for their removal.
Of course there are some people who will shout from the rafters that it’s unfair to remove their easy way to make money or that it is a cash grab trying to make people buy Crew Credits but from my experience in PvP and in a lot of interactions across the web the players would understand that these missions needed either rebalanced, removed or reduced rewards.
What do you think? Do you agree with Ivory Towers decisions? Would you have done things differently in their position? Discuss it in the forums or in the comments and let me know.