Well, that title really screamed to be made....
Anyways, this weekend and today I decided to review some of the games I have kept an eye on, and specifically those with changes this past week or two (or upcoming).
The charts allows us to note trends in the popular and maybe some less popular games, and come away with basic conclusions of playtimes.
A LOT of updates, expansions, content updates, etc. have been made to a majority of MMO's which are in the spotlight.
Please keep in mind, the reason we even look at these charts is they do show trends, not REAL numbers.
Make sure to keep that caveat in mind as we look at the scales.
I looked at a LOT of games, but at this point I want to note some I did not include.
Everquest 2, who DOES have an expansion coming soon (like tomorrow...lol). YET, I see no major spikes except for a huge dip last month which must have been a GU.
Due to it's niche, it seems to hold it's own in the scales and is about in the 90th-100th spot.
I will go back to them real soon as I would like to see if the new expansion causes any interest, or if the game has it's dedicated audience and is on cruise control.
Vanguard had a huge update a little while back. But, the game continues to nosedive (example from previous days it has dropped from #195 to #218...yea...pretty bad.)
I think we should probably just let it rest in peace.
Tabula Rasa. I really wanted to include this due to NCSoft's current issues, and having a minor interest in the game. As well, I could have included CoH/CoV. But, the games are low on my radar, and there has been nothing major as of this point on their games for updates.
I will note that Tabula Rasa ranks higher than Vanguard and CoH ranks higher than EQ2.
And as a side note, Lineage 2 is their best averaging subscription based MMO, resting in the 40's.
Finally, I did not include any Free to play's or Asian grinders. Our scales would look bizarre indeed. (For example, Guild Wars ranks #9, which if people accepted it as an MMO, would make it the 2nd most popular North American MMO.)
I mainly looked at current subscriber based games on the markets mind or having a real recent update and is popular. (I guess we could define this as "hyped")
WoW, WAR, LOTRO, AoC, DDO.
Most of these make sense...but, let me explain DDO being here before I continue.
Drastic changes were made to the game recently with Module 8, with the hirelings system (still kicking in) and DX10.
I am of the mind that people who are on the cutting edge of gaming are always looking at ways to see more horsepower.
DX10 games fill that bill.
The game has been a real major group focused system. Seeing the hirelings makes me wonder if this will also bring in more players who want to try and solo (/waves).
Finally the complete change to the tutorial area screams for a retrial as well.
Dungeons and Dragons (like Lord of the Rings) was a major IP boon for Turbine. Somehow the ball was dropped. If anything I would like to see a better game here. Turbine continues to disappoint me also, as LOTRO is one of the worst high profile games I have played (and note this is my opinion, so not a reflection on those who love LOTRO.)
DDO also did nothing for me, but I enjoyed it more due to better looking models and a better looking world feel to me.
But playing gave me no underlying theme. Like, no story or reason for me to be here in this big city
But, who knows what these changes hold. May just be the ticket to keep me and others around longer.
Recently, Xfire has switched to a new display for their data. All charts now go on a weekly listing of numbers. This really helps us get a full overview of the changes depending on updates, expansions, etc.
Lets begin shall we?
World of Warcraft
The launch of Wrath of the Lich King really showed it's muscle.
As we look at the chart we can see the infamous dip for Tuesdays, and then how it scales back up for the weekend.
But, our newest chart, shows a MAJOR jump after the 13th. That is easy to guess.
The second best listing on Xfire of our titles to review.
But, we can see the major downfall from the 30 day turnover. The game had been noted to have quite a huge population...but...
Makes me wonder how much more this will continue to fall, or if this is finally reaching its set base. A lot of bloggers have corroborated this data of servers feeling empty...
The chart does state no change for 5 days though. So, this may be the spot WAR sticks to. Keeping a close eye on this.
My guess is that WAR is the #2 NA MMO right now.
Age of Conan
The chart speaks for itself. It has found a niche. I thought the change in the content from this past week would have brought it up more. But, it looks like Funcom took too long, and now has to live with the consequences.
This could change if they start to offer the free comebacks or trials. This will be interesting to watch as this and DDO are probably the most different MMO's on this list. Do people want something different if it is working well and offers a good game? Or are we stuck in an MMO rut, and all future releases will rely on WoW mechanics to make their game.
As I mentioned, quite a few changes. And we can see an upswing of time near the end of the scale...
It may take some time for their chart to grow, but the numbers are holding out ok and a little increase is a good sign.
This will be the one to watch. I feel their release of the expansion (just like EQ2) is a misinformed judgement. Why release it a week after WoTLK?
But we do see some upswing here as well. LOTRO does ok on the charts as we can see, and keeps a good set of subscribers...all die hard Tolkien fans for sure.
But, as an MMO, could it have had what it takes to attract players disgruntled with WoW?
I will keep an eye on this to see if Mines of Moria makes this game spike or not.
They have only ever reached number 14 on the Xfire charts, so unlike WAR or AoC who topped up at #5 and have had major sales, LOTRO never quite grabbed the players the same way.
Yet, the "dedicated" player seems to be more prominent in the LOTRO universe. Says something at least for the quality of the game for those players.
Like I said, I plan to review these once in a while as the Holidays close in. Will any game catch someones fancy?
Could Spellborn end up here? Will watch for that as well.
Should be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out.