It should stand to reason that pre-ordering an MMO should result in nothing but benefit; at least compared to someone who purchases it within the next few months. Over the weekend Atari offered Star Trek Online at a discounted rate of $10 off plus 60 days of additional free gameplay (for a total of 90 days). I would expect this kind of promotion to run a year or more after release, but certainly not 3 weeks after launch. Are players upset about this? You bet. They take it as a virtual slap in the face. Wait, it gets worse. Due to the tremendous outrage of the current player-base and the numerous posts that followed, Atari rescinded the offer from their website. Not only did they cancel the promotion, but they also canceled the extra 60 day deal they had made with players who purchased it over the weekend. This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon, and that did not play out well for the consumer.
Atari broke one of my rules of operating an MMO; “For every new player award, there shall be a veteran reward”. Keeping players is important, so it is good business to reward existing players with something of equal or better value than what you are awarding new players. Now the question is raised of who is actually responsible for this. Atari published the deal, so personally I am resting the blame on them. Whether or not Cryptic Studios is completely exonerable, they are taking most of the flak. At the time of writing, they have not released a statement. At its neonatal stage, the last thing Star Trek Online needs is more controversy. I would like to hear your opinions though, and we promise not to ban you for it.