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Postman
It appears that SOE has taken "The Dares" lyric and applied it to themselves -- "It's your world, you can do whatever you want to do".
 
As many of you may recall, on August 14th, a patch was applied to Free Realms that modified a great deal of items and gameplay. Unfortunately, the official patch notes, posted after the patch was applied referenced the addition of decals and languages to Free Realms, not the sweeping, significant changes that were actually made.
 
Many of the changes were reverted to their original behavior in a number of patches in the following days, including the return of the Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks speed boost on August 18th. Unfortunately, those patch notes only referenced fixing a crashing issue within the client.
 
In the "Thank you" thread for the Speedy Kick boost on SOE's forums, Pex addressed the community in regards to the Speedy Kicks.
 
Those with Speedy Kicks have the speed boost back. We may make it so any future versions of the kicks will be at the reduced rate, but your's are good to go.
 
Based on a few posts, I developed a theory that this has actually already been done. With the help of some <Insider> guild members and FRI staff members, I leveled up my alter-ego (Kate Wolfspotter) to level 20 postwoman this morning and completed the postman collections to earn a new pair of Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks.
 
I then put them through a series of tests with help from Cyn Raindrop and Daddio. Here is a video containing 3 of those tests and you will see, my shoes are much slower than theirs. In fact, they provide only slightly more speed than the pet buff, and are the same speed as eating a bowl of "Soup Du Jour".
 
 
After verifying that there was no doubt that my new kicks were behaving differently than my friends' kicks, I submitted a support ticket. After some research by the referee, I received the final ruling, which concerned me deeply.
 
After doing some further research into this situation I have found that the "old" Speedy Kicks are set at a level 13 speed buff and will remain at that level. Any Speedy kicks gained after the update will be set at level a 11 speed buff. Items may change from time to time as we adjust the balance of the game. Considering the players that have already become accustomed to the "old" kicks, we have decided not to apply any changes to Speedy Kicks that are already in-game. I'm glad you brought this issue to our attention. Sorry for any confusion this has caused you. Thanks for playing Free Realms!
 
First, the game is designed for younger players. What about the young member whose parents have been holding out for months, finally allow little Johnny to play Free Realms with his friends? He spends hours earning the Speedy Kicks so he can keep up with his friends when they're running around FreeRealms, only to find out that.. well... he'll never be able to keep up. In all of our testing, I was never able to keep up with the "old" pair of Speedy Kicks, even stacked with Soup Du Jour.
 
Second, I wonder where this ends. The referee stated that items may change from time to time, as SOE sees fit to change them. How far will they take that? What kind of balance is necessary? What kind of balance does slowing down a job-specific reward item achieve?
 
Free Realms is a game where you have multiple jobs that do nothing vs. players, and there is little need for what most would declare "Balance" is. Combat jobs - it makes sense. Games focused on mini-games played solo? I don't see where balance comes in. If the issue is foot-racing mini-games, etc, balance is easily achieved by not allowing the selection of postman jobs within those mini-games, not by nerfing new players' shoes.
 
Third, I'm concerned with the lack of transparency with patches. I wrote a long post on the SOE forums (http://forums.station.sony.com/freerealms/posts/list.m?start=80&topic_id=11106&#94167) about this exact subject and I sincerely hope there is a shift in policy in these regards. Anytime you tell users you are doing one thing, but actually perform a number of other undocumented things (for better or for worse), you upset your users.
 
Finally, I'd like to bring this back to the article title and the Free Realms mantra of "It's Your World". The past week has been an unsettling time for Free Realms members around the world, as nearly every user in Free Realms that isn't a US citizen between the ages of 13-17 has been discriminated against by SOE. People are discriminated against in every area of the world. SOE appears to be "paying it forward" by bringing discrimination into Free Realms, all in the past week:
  • Age discrimination - Anyone not between the ages of 13-17 aren't eligible for Free Agent program.
  • Nationality discrimination - Anyone not in the US cannot participate in the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs event, nor the new Duelist on Demand feature.
  • Newbie discrimination - Anyone who didn't earn the Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks before August 14th has a lesser version of the original
We already live in a world where all of this happens -- If you had a choice, would you want it in "your world"?
Postman
It appears that SOE has taken "The Dares" lyric and applied it to themselves -- "It's your world, you can do whatever you want to do".
 
As many of you may recall, on August 14th, a patch was applied to Free Realms that modified a great deal of items and gameplay. Unfortunately, the official patch notes, posted after the patch was applied referenced the addition of decals and languages to Free Realms, not the sweeping, significant changes that were actually made.
 
Many of the changes were reverted to their original behavior in a number of patches in the following days, including the return of the Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks speed boost on August 18th. Unfortunately, those patch notes only referenced fixing a crashing issue within the client.
 
In the "Thank you" thread for the Speedy Kick boost on SOE's forums, Pex addressed the community in regards to the Speedy Kicks.
 
Those with Speedy Kicks have the speed boost back. We may make it so any future versions of the kicks will be at the reduced rate, but your's are good to go.
 
Based on a few posts, I developed a theory that this has actually already been done. With the help of some <Insider> guild members and FRI staff members, I leveled up my alter-ego (Kate Wolfspotter) to level 20 postwoman this morning and completed the postman collections to earn a new pair of Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks.
 
I then put them through a series of tests with help from Cyn Raindrop and Daddio. Here is a video containing 3 of those tests and you will see, my shoes are much slower than theirs. In fact, they provide only slightly more speed than the pet buff, and are the same speed as eating a bowl of "Soup Du Jour".
 
 
After verifying that there was no doubt that my new kicks were behaving differently than my friends' kicks, I submitted a support ticket. After some research by the referee, I received the final ruling, which concerned me deeply.
 
After doing some further research into this situation I have found that the "old" Speedy Kicks are set at a level 13 speed buff and will remain at that level. Any Speedy kicks gained after the update will be set at level a 11 speed buff. Items may change from time to time as we adjust the balance of the game. Considering the players that have already become accustomed to the "old" kicks, we have decided not to apply any changes to Speedy Kicks that are already in-game. I'm glad you brought this issue to our attention. Sorry for any confusion this has caused you. Thanks for playing Free Realms!
 
First, the game is designed for younger players. What about the young member whose parents have been holding out for months, finally allow little Johnny to play Free Realms with his friends? He spends hours earning the Speedy Kicks so he can keep up with his friends when they're running around FreeRealms, only to find out that.. well... he'll never be able to keep up. In all of our testing, I was never able to keep up with the "old" pair of Speedy Kicks, even stacked with Soup Du Jour.
 
Second, I wonder where this ends. The referee stated that items may change from time to time, as SOE sees fit to change them. How far will they take that? What kind of balance is necessary? What kind of balance does slowing down a job-specific reward item achieve?
 
Free Realms is a game where you have multiple jobs that do nothing vs. players, and there is little need for what most would declare "Balance" is. Combat jobs - it makes sense. Games focused on mini-games played solo? I don't see where balance comes in. If the issue is foot-racing mini-games, etc, balance is easily achieved by not allowing the selection of postman jobs within those mini-games, not by nerfing new players' shoes.
 
Third, I'm concerned with the lack of transparency with patches. I wrote a long post on the SOE forums (http://forums.station.sony.com/freerealms/posts/list.m?start=80&topic_id=11106&#94167) about this exact subject and I sincerely hope there is a shift in policy in these regards. Anytime you tell users you are doing one thing, but actually perform a number of other undocumented things (for better or for worse), you upset your users.
 
Finally, I'd like to bring this back to the article title and the Free Realms mantra of "It's Your World". The past week has been an unsettling time for Free Realms members around the world, as nearly every user in Free Realms that isn't a US citizen between the ages of 13-17 has been discriminated against by SOE. People are discriminated against in every area of the world. SOE appears to be "paying it forward" by bringing discrimination into Free Realms, all in the past week:
  • Age discrimination - Anyone not between the ages of 13-17 aren't eligible for Free Agent program.
  • Nationality discrimination - Anyone not in the US cannot participate in the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs event, nor the new Duelist on Demand feature.
  • Newbie discrimination - Anyone who didn't earn the Rudolfo's Speedy Kicks before August 14th has a lesser version of the original
We already live in a world where all of this happens -- If you had a choice, would you want it in "your world"?

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