MOTUC updates

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He-Man.org has posted their latest Q&A with Mattel. There are a few interesting tidbits regarding Battle Cat and production issues, but it also features the longest answer I’ve ever seen from Mattel.

10. What is the purpose of “real” names for the characters, and what is the process for coming up with each new “real” name?

The “purpose” is to give a bit more character and background to the characters of the MOTU world. Although as we have stated in the past, MOTU is always intended to be an avatar for fantasy play. If in your imagination He-Man was named “Bobo the fighting guy” that is okay too. It really is up to each fan to imagine MOTU characters the way they want.

For this particular toy line, MOTU Classics, we wanted to find ways to infuse more background into the characters for some fans who enjoy that approach. Not all will, which is why these bios are for entertainment only. You won’t like every movie you see either, but we hope in time most fans will embrace some of the new concepts we are introducing in this line as much as they embraced Trap Jaw’s new origin for the 2002 show which contradict his earlier minicomic origin.

The process involves going through all the current material available that we have legal rights to including the 2002 cartoon, the mini comics, licensing guides, some of the early books and the original toy line notes and story concepts. We also have notes about what would have been the 3rd season of the 2002 series and have already incorporate that into the line (i.e. Faker’s bio).

Since it is well established in MOTU mythos that characters do indeed have real names (Keldor, Duncan, Adora etc..) we wanted to spread this to other characters as well. In the case of some, like Stratos, he is referred to as Lord Stratos by other Avians, so it is clear that is his name. Other characters like Mer-Man or Hordak clearly have nicknames or military names. So in there case we wanted to provide a real name to add to their backstory.

I can’t fathom why some fans seem to care so much about the “real names”…there aren’t even any new cartoons or comics for the real names to have any relevance to. As far as anyone’s concerned, you can completely ignore those real names.

Mattel also posted an update on Facebook after yesterday’s Merpocalypse.

Hey MOTU fans,

Well looks like Mer-Man swam away way faster than we expected!

I wanted to let fans know we are WELL aware of some major technical problems yesterday with Mer-Man’s sale. A lot of this was caused by the sheet amount of overwhelming fan support for the line with so many fans logging on to buy one at once.

We have immediately taken corrective measure so that this never happens again and I personally apologize to any fan who had trouble ordering the Ocean Warlord. It was unfair for you not to be able to get a figure due to a huge spike in hits on the site. We have a new Castle Grayskull-sized super server dedicated to the site and are now better prepared for larger traffic on sale days.

We have also corrected the problem with international orders and they should not have trouble ordering when Mer-Man goes back on sale in a week or two.

Honestly, we had the same number of units yesterday for sale as we did for Beastman, and it took 41 days for Beastman to sell out. It is always a careful game we play to produce just enough for fan demand without overproducing which would kill the line. (to paraphrase fans from a few years ago…)

As announced we do have more Mer-Man figures coming before the end of April. By the time we increased production, we had to send Mer-Man in two separate shipments. It is the same run, they all just didn’t make the same boat.

Going forward, we have increased production on Zodac and Hordak as well, but the full production of both of these figures should be available on the same day. If the second shipment of Mer-Man also sells out as quickly we will look at increasing overall production yet again until we get the number just right so the figure is online for at least a week or so! We do WANT to get these to fans after all.

As for concerns about quantities, we have looked at the numbers and honestly there are so very few fans ordering anything more than 3 units. By far, 1, 2 and 3 per person are the OVERWHELMING most common orders. We will keep up to ten available for international fans who want to save on shipping.

I will update everyone ASAP once we confirm the second on sale date for Mer-Man. We will continue to work with all of our fans to improve shipping, customer service options and buying options to make this as smooth a process as possible. You have my Mattel word!

Thanks for hanging in there!

-Matty

I know I’ve been pretty critical of Mattel lately, but I think this is an honest and straightforward post. It sounds like they’re aware of all the problems that occurred yesterday and have moved to correct them. (Though judging from the Facebook feedback, international buyers are still having a lot of trouble–and some are attributing it to a conspiracy, natch.)

But what really interested me was the information that the amount of Mer-Man figures on sale yesterday was equal to the total number of figures they had for Beast Man, which took more than a month to sell out. For all the controversy this line inspired, it certainly appears to be popular (even if you believe it’s scalpers driving these sell-outs, scalpers aren’t going to be scalping unpopular lines).

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17 Comments

  1. Motorthing

    Dayraven you are a Gent – Thank you Sir.

    As for the "I told you so" – well I think any poor soul that missed out on DCUC5, bought the dreadful Orion/Lightray 2 pack and had legs fall off at random, had Sinestro's butt explode or just generally been jerked around by the World's Biggest etc etc. has already had it happen to them. And I get riled becasue it really shouldn't. Toys, right….?

  2. dayraven

    motorthing, not every one is obtuse to what you're saying… i think you're right, had the american fans been blocked, the outrage would have us burning that site in effigy.

    unfortunately, we here in america don't empathize well. we don't understand frustration or tragedy until it hits us. you have an "i told you so" saved for the day matty craps on us. 😉

  3. HarmsWay

    I don't collect this line, so I'm not concerned with this particular issue, however I did want to point out how utterly shallow it is to say,

    "I can’t fathom why some fans seem to care so much about the “real names”…there aren’t even any new cartoons or comics for the real names to have any relevance to. As far as anyone’s concerned, you can completely ignore those real names."

    What's wrong with a little character development? Some of us find it intriguing. Step out of the box, dude! Use your imagination. This is a land of make believe that you've stumbled upon.

  4. Drunken Fist

    I haven't really seen anyone saying that international fans who missed out on the initial batch of Mer-Man because of problems with the site should not complain. If the US had been shut out, I'd be pissed. It's the insistence of some of these guys that Mattel did it on purpose, that it is some sort of conspiracy, that is ridiculous. Mattel isn't guilty of malicious intent here, just the same old incompetence they've made their trademark.

  5. Michael Lovrine

    It always to look at these complicated MOTUC issues with as simple a view as possible. Yes, there is ton of demand. Mer-Man being a lesser popular/known character than Beast Man or Skeletor was clearly underestimated by Mattel. There error, apparently they going to upgrade the web servers in time for Zodak. I think thats more a problem of Digital River than Mattel though. Its all in their ballpark from a technology and online infrastructure perspective. If Digital River drops the ball, there's nothing Mattel can do but watch helplessly.

  6. I donno, it seems to me that if the only thing you have to get your panties in a twist over is toys, then things aren't that bad. Yeah, people who took time off from work or rearranged their schedule to be at a computer have a right to be upset, but I don't see how that is Mattel's problem. And yes, that statement was pure smug self-centredness.

    I think the sale of each MOTUC figure so far has been a completely different experience. I think there's a curve here… The line is getting popular and people started ordering closer to the sale date/time. Mer-Man is the first figure that they've been able to order additional stock for, but he's still a very popular figure. Why didn't He-Man sell out in minutes? They had the same number of He-Man as Skeletor, Stratos, neither one sold out in minutes.

    Look at the trend:

    He-Man and Beast Man: Sold out in a month.

    Skeletor: Sold out in 14 days.

    Stratos: Sold out in four days.

    Faker: Sold out in three hours.

    Mer-Man: Sold out in less than an hour.

    I completely understand the frusteration people are having, and of course people blame Mattel. I realize that people made a point to be at a computer when they went on sale, and for those who didn't get their orders through, they deserve to be mad.

    That said, I guess being biased, its easy to point the gun at the nameless, faceless giant corporation. Its not Mattel doing this intentionally, this is their first time with this kind of endeavour, and even with their resources, they had no way of knowing what the response is going to be. They seem to be at least trying to keep everyone happy. Are they succeeding? No, but I don't know what more they can do? Go door-to-door selling these guys?

    I don't consider myself a Mattel apologist, but maybe I am and I'm just in denial. If I didn't manage to get Mer-dude, yeah, I'd be pretty disappointed, but I wouldn't go on Facebook and be spewing venom like some people are. I think if we're having these same problems three or four months from now, then obviously Mattel is doing something wrong and isn't trying to resolve any of the issues.

  7. Given that few if any international fans were able to buy these… And international fans are a big chunck of He-Man's fans…

    This makes the fastest sell out in MOTUC history even MORE interesting. It means that he sold faster then before on even a smaller audience.

    Mattel has greatly underestimated demand.

    I'm glad they're trying to fix the site though.

  8. Motorthing

    Well seeing as you are down with the Website Owner I guess this isn't going to sit well, but the sheer smug self-centredness and willingness to give Mattel the benefit of the doubt irregardless of whatever happens is breathtaking. The Six previous examples of selling an MOTUC figure didn't give one of the world's largest businesses enough of a hint about the way the wind has been blowing?!!!

    "Things haven't gone perfectly…" may be about the most inadequate way of describing the hour that anyone in Germany, France Spain, Australia, the UK or anywhere else afflicted spent wasting their lives trying to buy a toy it's possible to cobble together in the English Language.

    Whatever it was, it wasn't fun, and complaining about it makes no-one nuts, just normal.

    But I seem to be a lone voice here. That's enough – I got mine, so I can forget about anyone else……

  9. While I love the two-way communication between Mattel and fans, I also think they're absolutely NUTS for giving people a soapbox with which to climb upon.

    I think with He-Man & Beastman people were testing the waters. Many ordered immediately, others casually ordered, some waited until the last minute, and some waited too long. Now that the figures are in people's hands and we've seen how great these are, word is spreading and they're becoming popular. Some people seem to think that them selling out is a bad thing… its only bad if you don't get one. I guess they expect Mattel to produce a bajillion of each figure, which is not feasable. Mattel was also testing the waters… even though it didn't take a psychic to say that the line would be on fire, there was still a chance it'd flop, so they couldn't dive in to the line head first.

    While I will agree that online retail has been around for over a decade, so its not anything *NEW* so this process should be flawless, but still, Mattel is new to the direct-to-customer setup, so its going to take some time to iron out all the wrinkles. While I don't think things have gone perfectly, I certainly wouldn't call it a failure.

    -x

  10. The "conspiracy" holds less and less water the more we do her of international orders that did go through just fine. Well, as fine as things went on Wednesday. 🙂 For those of us who were lucky enough to get our fishies.

    And Poe… Right there with you on the names man… Nothing to get knickers in knots by any means. 🙂

  11. Motorthing

    OK. I don't think it was a "conspiracy" either as stated above – I'm just inclined to be a little more tolerant of the facebook Nuts as I could easily have been one of them.

    And Matty really does have some more explaining to do.

    I just doubt that they will.

  12. Poe

    There definitely appear to be massive problems with how Mattycollector is handling international orders. What I'm ridiculing is the idea of an active conspiracy to prevent international buyers from ordering, which some of the Facebook nuts are suggesting.

    And if only international orders had gone through and not U.S. ones, I'd be pissing and moaning, sure, but I wouldn't be claiming Mattel had done it with malice aforethought.

  13. Motorthing

    as a foriegn buyer who actually snuck through the backdoor to bag a Merman i can comment on the "conspiracy – natch,"

    there is exactly one recorded instance were someone overseas managed to directly order a Merman through the Matty site. There may have been others but none that have come forward on the Org or other boards. That's one.

    Anyone else like me that got lucky did so by spoofing the site through Digital River's order history page. and it took multiple attempts for this to work.

    Buyers in Germany have emails from Matty CS telling them their orders have been cancelled.

    The empty-cart loop that greeted International buyers is STILL active on Matty – try buying some of those useless stands from here and you get the same empty cart loop – every time.

    So Matty's statement above about the "problem" being fixed isn't correct. And it makes no mention of what that problem actually was, why it happend and why it blanked out the International Community pretty much in totallity. It actually totally and utterly ignores the mountain of rage and complaint from overseas and says things will be ok for next time. Well whoop-de-do.

    So anyone want to take that bet?

    And Poe, if the whole of the Gloriuos 52 had been blanked out and only International orders had been accepted on this go-around, what do you think you, and everyone else here would have been thinking, saying, flaming?

    I think things may have gotten a little salty by now…….

    Matty has a fairly poor record for most things at present, about the only thing they haven't managed to screw up or over was getting the 4H to sign up with them – poor quality control, laughable product distribution and inept customer service do not a happy picture make. And this just puts a cherry on the top.

    it's the freakin World's biggest Toy Company – how many more excuses do they need?

    Conspiracy? Maybe not, but only because they are too freaking imcompetent to organise one…….

  14. Jim

    "You have my Mattel word!"

    LMAO

  15. Nicholai

    While I have certainly had problems with their site and some decisions Mattel has made on several of their lines I have to agree that this answer is really honest one and I respect that they gave it.

  16. Frogster

    Just goes to show how much fans cannot get enough of this line, and how no one knew how popular it would be. Glad Mattel is taking steps to address the issues as well, and aren't hiding or avoiding the pointed questions behind all these problems.

  17. Scott

    It's just a never ending cycle: the quicker they sell out, the more people try to buy right away the next time. The more people try to buy right away next time, the quicker they sell out.

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