Yesterday, Earth 2 released Iraq, Iran and the Minor Outlying Islands.
This was met with confusion from the community as Iraq was only available to users who didn't buy tiles in the previous Israel release and/or the UAE release 9 months ago. Nevertheless, over 500,000 tiles were sold across the three countries on the day of release.
Many users felt the release was too random.
Bazinga, a community member, said 'Confusion is the one word I'd use to describe this release - we had no idea what was happening, not even an official acknowledgement... we had to figure it all out ourselves'
One player managed to buy 29 Class 1 properties of 750 tiles each, equating to 21,750 tiles - which is 1/5th of the total Class 1 supply per country. He did this by making use of alt accounts, a loophole not specified in any rules. Shane seems to think that these random releases are fairer, but they only appeal to the most active members of the community. This was Shane's goal, so congratulations for rewarding active users, but it really is not the best way.
What's the ideal release strategy?
Release a countdown, rules and guidelines at least 15 days in advance. (Email, official announcements)
Implement a cooldown on property buying per person to increase the number of satisfied customers. This cooldown would be linked to the device's IP address, to at least slow down the use of alt accounts.
After 5 minutes, end the cooldown to allow users to buy as many properties as they want. This means that more buyers will get a Class 1 property, and that the secondary market continues to thrive as Tile Whales buy more Class 1 properties off the marketplace.
This method increases the profit for Earth2 itself as there is more publicity brought by a countdown, and gives the opportunity for players to prepare for the release, resulting in more enjoyable and engaging play.
Our Twitter poll showed users were split over a Random or Countdown release, but most favour a Countdown.
In conclusion, yesterday's release only benefited a small fraction of Earth2 players, left many users confused, and lacked the important factor of an official announcement.