HERO Recon Team goes the way of Design By Me

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We received a press release today about the closure of yet another of LEGO's online services:

"The LEGO Hero Recon Team will be going 100% digital in April, replacing the current physical ordering service with a new 3D version of the LEGO Hero Creator that will offer a better digital experience of building LEGO Hero Recon Team figures online.

"Unfortunately, that means that from April 11 we will take the last orders for physical Hero Recon figures. In its place, the digital building experience will be completely revised and concentrate on the strengths of the LEGO customization experience.

"As with LEGO Design byMe we have seen high traffic to the Hero Creator service, but only a small percentage of the heroes designed have been ordered as physical products to consumers. We are accepting the fact that most visitors prefer to build digitally and therefore improving the options available. Freed from the need to ship physical products, we can now offer a larger palette of Hero Factory elements, making even more building choices. From April Hero Recon figures will be able to go undercover wearing the villains’ masks, armour and weapons."

Reading between the lines, I suspect kids like playing with the designer but then find out that the resultant model is too expensive to actually buy, although to be honest I've never completed a model to see how much it actually costs.

Have you used it? Will you miss it?

26 comments on this article

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By in United States,

I've used it, but I haven't ordered it. I like to play around with the new system, even though I prefer BIONICLE's, so this is welcome for me. I know other's will probably be disappointed though.

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By in United States,

I've used it. It's good, but as in the "reading between the lines" they grossly overcharged only because it was your model not theirs just like designbyme. If they really wanted it to succeed, they would put the prices at the same price as the brand models. It was great idea done in by the usual overcharge that's done with most lego items. What do you guys think? Do you agree that lego grossly overcharges these days for stuff, but this is even worse since its your model? Take the nifty lego sw planet sets-nice sets especially if you don't have the minifigures, but they charge $9.99 us dollars for 68-70 pieces.

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By in United States,

What I "read between the lines" is that they are including more building choices, as a form of consolation for the small percentage that actually bought the models. For me, this news doesn't affect myself, as I have never used the DesignByMe service. One area LEGO could improve in is the ability to export a parts list in LDD, without the use of 3rd party software. This way I could still buy the bricks, and piece it together myself if I wanted to.

This is one more point of proof that LEGO is cutting back on its "lack-luster" products. Hopefully this is a good sign, as opposed to a bad one.

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By in United States,

I once built this awesome 250-brick model, and I was shocked at the almost $1-a-brick price.

And I didn't buy it.

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By in United States,

*reads*

...well OK then.

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By in United Kingdom,

Had to click the link to see what this Hero Recon Team is.
No, I won't miss it.
It's odd though, isn't it? If everyone prefers virtual building as they say, then why was Universe terminated?

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By in United Kingdom,

Because you couldn't build what YOU wanted in Universe. When you stripped away the "Lego-ness", it was just a rather clunky and linear "scavanger hunt MMO" with little else to distinguish it from dozens of free-to-play competitors.

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By in United States,

Well this stinks. No more unique Heroes to order? That's sad. I was hoping they'd at least have another update for the Breakout pieces.
But, I don't really use HRT all that much anyway nor do I order the Heroes I do make (I've only ordered five). I got my Merrick Fortis, so I'm happy with that. Not so happy to see this go down.

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By in United States,

I've used it many times in the past. Though I was frustrated at the piece limit. I ordered one, and received and awesome cardboard box with custom instructions. You also get to give it a name and 'traits', this is purely cosmetic, but it makes it cooler :P The biggest drawback IMO is the length of time to get it. I believe it two to four weeks to ship, if not more. 13 bucks isn't too much for a custom hero, but a villain is the same price. Still I am disappointed at the ending. At least we got an exclusive chest plate :)

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By in United States,

The 1.0 through 3.0 figures were $7.99. The parts available through the hero builder were the same parts they used on the regular line, which means aside from the special chest piece, there were no unique parts or colors. If you were to build Furno 2.0 through the recon team, it would cost you about $12.99. When it was first released, I tested out the Recon Team with the intention of allowing my son to build one of his own. Even my son at 7 years old would have figured out that he could have built the same hero for free using his existing collection. This service was a head scratcher for me from the beginning.

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By in United States,

"...go undercover wearing villains' [outfits]..."

Yeah, people are TOTALLY making undercover heroes and not actual villains. :P

Anyway, I don't care about it changing because I'll probably never use it.

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By in Australia,

I used it once, but then was shocked at the prices.

Lego.com has a long history of drastically inflated prices, so I try to avoid the site as often as I can.

But yeah, I saw how much they were asking, immediately backed away, and never went back.

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By in United States,

I'll be buying one with my grade money. Just to experience it. And for pieces.

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By in Canada,

i have bought 3 myself and was looking forward to buying another 1 or 2 when the new update came out, but now that they are shutting down i don't even think that there will be an update. also lego seems to be shutting down all of the 'good' things that they have started: bionicle, digital designer, lego universe and now hero recon team! i'm starting to wonder if lego doesn't even want us to be buying their sets, they need to stop shutting down all of these good themes.

edit: huw it says that my country is N/A, i'm actually in canada would you please be able to fix that?

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By in Bolivia,

In retrospect, Bionicle has awful pieces that keep breaking, HF is so superior in both aesthetics and piece quality it is not even funny. LDD and Hero Recon Team were not used by buyers enough and LEGO Universe was losing tons of money

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By in Denmark,

This isn't really any surprise! Way to priced for everyone!

But the LDD tool was amazing for making instructions for our own sets, to store the idea, before rebuilding the models into something new. It was a little bit to limited in its piece selection though - and the piece selection changed with the seasons which was really annoying when we should open older models we made!

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By in United States,

"As with LEGO Design byMe we have seen high traffic to the Hero Creator service, but only a small percentage of the heroes designed have been ordered as physical products to consumers. We are accepting the fact that most visitors prefer to build digitally and therefore improving the options available."
People would love to order physical products... If the price wasn't so high.

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By in United States,

I once bought a Recon Hero, Peter Torch, and, though I was not disappointed, it took a month to come after I ordered it. Not only that, but it cost $12.99 for a Hero of 7.99 value. He's still my favorite Hero, though.

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By in United Kingdom,

Unfortunately, the cost of having someone pick the parts off a rack, combined with the cost of then doing it again when someone reports a piece missing, means the price of a custom model is far higher than that of a set produced by mechanical production line. And no-one was willing to pay that much.

For their part, LEGO made a continuous disaster of the LDD galleries and failed to engage with the community on cross-promoting custom/factory/design-by-me sets, but even so prices were always going to be a barrier. Even the 'Factory' sets LEGO mass produced offered poor value-for-money because the limited parts palette led to inefficient designs.

On another note:

"As with LEGO Design byMe we have seen high traffic to the Hero Creator service, but only a small percentage of the heroes designed have been ordered as physical products to consumers. We are accepting the fact that most visitors prefer to build digitally and therefore improving the options available."

I trust there's no lessons to be learned there that could apply to, say, Cuusoo / Minecraft? None at all?

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By in Canada,

There's lots of HERO Recon Team parts (Bionicle-like parts) on Pick A Brick. I wonder if they'll stay there?

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By in United States,

i never used the Hero Recon feature, but i DID use Design by Me and ordered from it. however, i could Pick-a-Brick for a fraction of the cost. i understand the added costs with DbM, a one or two-off print and assebly of the box and instructions, etc... but it still was hard to justify the added cost as a consumer. in general, i support LEGO because i have loved the product all my life, it's quality is SO superior to the knock-offs... i agree with what they have to do to remain profitable. losing money in one aspect of a business means recouping it in another... i wouldn't want to pay (for example) 10% more for an off the shelf set to support unprofitable programs.

i would however, like to see a larger inventory of Pick-a-Brick parts. that software is established, there is no added cost from custom packaging, and there is a premium built into the per item piece, so it seems like a win-win to expand that program. maybe even revamp design by me to only include PaB parts, with a seperate fee for printed instructions/packaging.

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By in United Kingdom,

Thr price hike when they changed to the 'Design By Me' branding and the inclusion of a printed set of the lousy automated instructions was what put me off. Before, you got a standard box with a single printed sheet slipped in the front, and the price of parts matched the pick-a-brick selection. Why'd they have to go and screw it all up?

The technology's getting to the point where we'll be able to print off our own LEGO bricks with a home fabricator before the end of the decade, and yet instead of moving forward, LEGO's suddenly retreating from all the advances its made in customised delivery over the last few years.

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By in Argentina,

Just like Design by me, if they charged the average 10 cents per piece, they would have gotten a lot more physical orders.

If they only see the virtual to physical ratio, and interpret it by thinking that this is what people prefer, they are grossly mistaken.

My bet is that most people would prefer to buy their model, but just no at THAT price.

It would have been amazing to see them try a drastic price reduction before eliminating the service. I bet they would be surprised.

On the other hand, they could know this all along, using the user preference for the virtual as and excuse. Imagine if the design-by-me experience was at about 10 cents per piece, would that benefit the Lego group?

How many people would build just what they want and stop buying Lego designed sets? I bet their set sales would take a hit. No more buying a set for their parts, etc. Plus, many design-by-me designs would be inferior to the Lego sets design wise. TLG has a lot into consideration before approving a set for sale.

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By in United Kingdom,

My son saw the ad in the Lego magazine and had a fair amount of fun, despite the limited variety and number of bricks. But he is only six years old. I was pretty shocked at the UK price, and at the time, it was actually cheaper to buy the parts via the Pick a Brick service, provided you didn't want the exclusive chest plate, though this was slow due to the random name of Hero Factory parts. In the end, I bought one HFR with the exclusive chest plate for my son, plus a pile of spare parts via Pick a Brick.

Personally, I think the ridiculous price created a self-fulfilling prophecy. The concept could be continued sucessfully if the range of parts was increased, number unlimited, priced per piece same as Pick a Brick and supplied in a plastic bag with picture of the complete figure. If you can use the online builder, you don't really need instructions ...

zed

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By in United Kingdom,

I would love to buy some of the models i've made with LDD but the price and the fact I have no money to spare means I don't. Lego had a good idea here with it but surely it made more money for them being able to buy than just creating it for fun on a computer. Why stop it unless they have something else planned.

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By in United States,

Hmm.let's hope we can make villains too!

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