If we were to take the scales from the X-Fire charts, we can get a pretty good idea of popularity of the various Western based MMO's, and actually create a chart.
Like, for example, we all know WoW is #1 in sales and players. But, can we guesstimate how popular the other games are using this methodolgy?
Lets take a look.
#2 - WAR - Easily the second most popular MMO.
We have heard rumors of customers leaving, yet the latest patch added in two of the missing classes, and the times being played correspond to it's place in our chart. It's popularity still places high on the list, and makes WAR the #2 most popular MMO.
#3 - LOTRO - No matter how much I do not want to admit it, based on the X-Fire chart, and thanks to a new expansion, LOTRO gets in at #3 for popularity. The return of customers who originally bought the game, and lifetimers overall add to time played.
Well done Turbine.
#4 - Age of Conan - Still charting, and being consistent, this is pretty good. There have been new issues with the merges, and some slow response on the next patch. But, there is no doubt that there is a group of people who want their game to be a little different. I still have confidence in them. Now, if they would just speed things up ..
#5 - Everquest 2 - Well, thanks to some brisk sales of their latest expansion, they have made some huge leaps on the X-Fire charts...actually up 20 spots from when I last looked upon them..
This easily drops them into the top 5 Western MMO's
Note, we did not include Guild Wars here, due to one issue. They are not subscriber based, and that is what we are looking at. If we were to include them, they are by far the second largest MMO. But, we also question the MMO connotation, so for our purposes, we will note that WoW and GW are the two most popular fantasy online games. Here is hoping Guild Wars 2 proves to be a powerhouse like it's predecessor.
Now, this makes for our top 5. I do want to include a couple here that I have discussed in the past, and wanted to follow up on.
Dungeons and Dragons Online - The game has seen an upswing, which may be due to the new module that was released. I also have noted in the past that new technologies drive players to some games. With the addition of DX10, I think this also drives new players in.
So, with the upcoming henchmen system (hirelings) and the continued support of the DX system, who knows...maybe this game could do a turnabout (I also want to note that since release, all new content and updates have been FREE, with no expansions or costs associated with this...nice move to help drive new business)
Tabula Rasa - So, what happens when you announce the closure of your game? Bye Bye customers (even though the game is not scheduled to end for another 3 months...OUCH!)
Thats it for now. I am hoping to see a couple of more titles here soon. I may look at the Asian Market and check on games like Cabal, Shin Megami and later Spellborn.