Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keep Calm and Game On

I love forums data. Its a great way to look at how players relate to the game. But I started to wonder... what do other MMO forums look like? I scraped the Aion, LOTRO, and Rift general forums, and charted post views and posting frequency over time. I threw in the Rift PvP forums and SWTOR PvP forums for good measure.* Dotted lines denote major content releases.**

In this context... SWTOR's launch looks stronger than Rift's (the SWTOR PvP forums have higher posting volume than the Rift General forums). While the SWTOR forums have seen a decline in volume, the fall-off is comparable to post-launch Rift - a game that is still going strong a year later. No, really. Play a game of Conquest. Its fun, massive, and has a flobbidy-gillion players.

In the F2P category, at least from posting volume, I'd say that SWTOR looks looks like it is in a completely different league than either Aion or LOTRO. Maybe, one day, the SWTOR forums will look like the F2P pack, but at least for the moment, it'd look pretty out of place.

Much of this just reaffirms the conventional wisdom about MMOs: judging by Rift and SWTOR a fair number of players leave the game after the first couple months. Its normal, natural, and probably healthy. Across all games, content updates reinvigorate the game, but generally don't create lasting upticks.

But if this is the general life-cycle of an MMO... the recent layoffs at Bioware-Austin are puzzling. (And my heart goes out to everyone affected.)

PS:  a second way to look at the data (personally I don't find it as interesting).
* I'd use the SWTOR general forums, but given how the forums are organized, I'd take about 2000x longer.
** I've never played LOTRO or Aion so I'm uncertain how many major releases I'm missing.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff. Good to see you posting again. I always enjoyed your unique and well thought out insights.

    Hope you're playing again and enjoying the game. I'm loving it since the server merge.